My week of havoc and adventure in Dracula’s land

Posted: March 6, 2013 in Odds and Ends, Social commentary
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I returned just over a week ago from Romania, where I was visiting with my fiancee, Diana, as it is her home country.  We were invited by the largest television station in the land, ProTV, to take part in a 2-day live filming of their nation’s most popular variety show, Happy Hour.

HAPPY 01

On Wednesday, February 20 and Thursday, February 21, Diana and I literally became stars in Romania overnight via our appearance on Happy Hour.  On the streets, everyone recognized us following the broadcasts and complete strangers were walking up to us, wanting autographs and photos.  It was almost surreal, seeing how big of an impact was made in such a brief period of time!

BRIDAL

Happy Hour show host Catalin Maruta was a hell of a guy and a natural showman, whom I shared an immediate affinity with.  We both understood the intracacies of live performance, and capturing the audience was as easy as breathing for me, as was responding to and playing off of Maruta’s shtick.  They had me dressed in “ie si itari” traditional Romanian garb, doing a traditional Romanian dance, which was harder than I originally thought, as far as the coordination of the steps went.  Diana was taken to a bridal boutique unbeknowest to me, and as they marched her out with an awesome looking bridal gown on live TV, I actually thought that she was going to ask me to marry her right then and there!  For a moment, I was completely lost as to what was really going on, before I realized there was no priest showing up!  It was just meant to be a foretaste in light of things to come, as Diana and I are tying the knot this year.

TRADITIONAL

TAXI MAN

The producers of Happy Hour had me play a prank on a local taxi driver “nea’ Mircea”, where I lost my cool with his inept driving and proceeded to destroy his 25-year-old Dacia 1310 model taxi car with a baseball bat.  The cops showed up in force and actually sabotaged our prank before we could bring it to its intended conclusion, which caused quite a showcase for the cars passing by the scene of the “crime”.  The next day, Mircea was made-up to look like he had been physically assaulted by me, complete with wheelchair, bandages and bruises on the Happy Hour set.  That particular latter episode got a huge ratings number from what we were told, and the TV station was more than happy with how everything went down.  The Romanian media covered our appearance en masse, as Diana and I were featured in tons of magazines and tabloids, both online and in print, following our TV jaunt.

GIFT SHOP

MOUNTAINS

poză 5

We even got taken to Dracula’s world-famous castle in the Bran district of Romania, in the mountains.  The real bummer was that they had closed the castle grounds by the time that we arrived there, so I only got to see the castle from outside the iron gates.  I must say that the mountain region of Romania is light years different than the view from the cities.  To be completely honest, Bucharest for example, is falling apart on nearly every street corner.  The roads are full of cracks and potholes, the outer faces of the buildings are peeling and crumbling, homeless animals are running rampant on the city streets, grocery store windows are blank and lifeless, and there is garbage and graffiti everywhere.  In so many ways, the city looks like a second world country, whereas the mountain towns look majestic and grand.  Quite the anomaly, to say the least!

DRACULA

CASTLE

I was able to also do some personal training in Romania at a local gym, showing the guys training techniques that they had never seen or understood before.  That, in itself, was a rewarding experience; to share the accumulated knowledge that I have from 25 years of physical training.  In addition, I was able to meet my future mother-in-law, Ileana, as Diana’s father has since passed.  My girl told me about her dog, Lucky, who lives with her mom, not liking men.  Well, I have to say that Lucky and I got along more than fine the minute that we met, proving that it takes an animal to know an animal!

TRAINING

All in all, Romania was a cool experience, and I am sure I will be back there sooner or later.  That said, I would love to wrestle in Romania and even play there with my band(s).  I really felt that after our Happy Hour appearance, people would have loved to see me fight, but there is no scene for professional wrestling in Romania.  Perhaps I will be able to find the right people to make that happen, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

WILDLIFE

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