From Casablanca I climbed into a cab that advertised 1,39 lei/km on its door. It’s about the cheapest rate in town. I explained to the driver that I needed him to take me to the airport, wait for me while I got my luggage, and then return me to my apartment. He spoke very little English and I spoke very little Romanian. It was a complicated affair. Fortunately we were able to understand each other just enough to get the ball rolling.
Thirty minutes later I found myself talking to customs officials. They had my camera bag, but had no knowledge of my backpack. I didn’t really care. I had the most important and expensive piece of luggage in my possession. There was some discussion over the correct documentation required to shoot a film in Romania, but I pleaded ignorance. I also showed them some paperwork from Canadian customs related to my equipment and that seemed to do the trick.
I always knew there was a possibility that shooting in Romania would require special permissions and paperwork, but I chose to cross that bridge if I came to it. Romanian officials are notoriously corrupt and there is no guarantee that talking to one department would secure the cooperation of other departments. It’s best just to pay bribes if asked and move on. Fortunately, no such ‘tax’ was requested. This will be my second time shooting in Romania, and so far I’ve found every authority figure to be very respectful of my Canadian passport.
It also helps that the EU has been cracking down on corruption in Romania. Foreign investment and international loans tend to flow better when sound business principals are practiced.
One 150 lei cab ride later ($52) I was back in my apartment with my camera. I also was now in possession of 6 fresh t-shirts, 5 long sleeve shirts, and 1 jacket. I packed them into the camera case for the added protection they provided. It felt great to finally be able to ‘move in’ to my new Romanian home. The act of unpacking my clothes made my stay seem more real somehow.
The cell phone and computer power adapters remained awol because I packed them into my backpack. I bought their replacements at the Unirii Shopping Centre a short time later and settled into an Irish pub (boasting free wireless internet) to reconnect myself with the world. I was back in the game, and ready to resume this whole, ‘shoot a series demo in Romania’ business. I was two days behind schedule, but all things considered, I think I faired okay.