Ileana Streinu


Travel links
Countries I lived in, traveled to or just had a short visit to:

2003 note.
One more thing. I used to be very fussy about proper spelling, and I still am. But I wrote this in a burst of inspiration one cold Winter day, dreaming of exotic travels and fine food while procrastinating digging up my car from under a foot of snow and while my brain refused to focus on a theorem I had to prove. I have classes tomorrow and I have no time to check the spelling of names I pulled hastily from my memory.

If you notice something wrong, hold on: vacation is around the corner, and this time I stay home. Travel reveries will re-emerge, and then I will put order in my collection of travel photographs, and look up words in dictionaries and travel guides, and all will look well. Come back later, if this caught your attention.

2005 note.
An old Romanian joke comes to mind, as I revisit and add to my travel notes. It dates from the times when we were stuck in a country where very few could venture outside. And now, only a few will probably remember or understand it, but I can't help adding it here, with a sort-of self-deprecating tone: "mai e state ..."

2016 note.
It is true: "mai e state...". A few years ago, an American colleague who read my travel notes was intrigued, and did a search on the internet for an explanation. He found an article pointing to the correct origin (and the explanation) of this joke - and emailed me: helas, the riddle was cracked!

But fear not: this is none of Turandot's riddles. No head will fall, no prince will lose his kingdom - you do not have to crack it, too.

Because I think that - unless you lived in Ceasusescu's Romania (as we did) - the sad, politically desperate irony of this untranslatable "joke" will escape you for ever. May my new country never have to experience the paranoia that unbridled power generates in un-educated, un-informed, evil, vain, power-hungry "leaders".

Ileana Streinu