Late night dinner with president Traian Basescu

Cezar blogged about this as we had presidential company on our last dinner downtown: the Romanian president, Traian Basescu together with his wife sat just next to us and enjoyed the specialties like a normal couple.

Traian Basescu is well known in Romania because of his “informal caused” events. He is often seen alone in public places, driving his car or skating along with the youngsters.

Few people know that these events are very well planned. I was talking with Dan Petre a few weeks ago that the new politicians have to mix more with the crowds. The “vip” look with limousines and annoying bodyguards is not what the voters want. So, there are counselors in Romania building new images and political brands.

As we speak, I know only 2 politicians that received and implement this type of political/PR behavior: Mircea Geoana and Traian Basescu. Geoana rides the subway and sometimes walks on the streets during the rush hours. Basescu is more visible as he is the president: he shops in the local Carrefour, he skates, and he is taking his wife to the restaurants or to the movies.

As I was involved in some events where the president was invited, I had the chance to discover all the security details of the “unexpected visit”. First of all, the secret service is no longer wearing only black tie. Sometimes they wear casual or sports wear and they are in the premises 2 hours before the president. After they secure the routes and the exits, they mix with the people. If the event is planned (there is a press release that the president will be there), they send the German Sheppard trained to find explosives.
When dining downtown, the secret service is very careful not to disturb the local clients. They work in couples (men-women) and they seem to be there for a drink. Because the restaurants in Bucharest need reservation (not easy to find a table in a good place for dinner), the officers will keep a table occupied until the president arrives. You’ll notice them because even they are a couple, they don’t talk and they drink water/juice for almost an hour. During this waiting time, other arrangements are made: in order to avoid other “drinking and driving” scandals, the management is asked not to leave branded bottles on the table.

The president is a fan of the Jidvei’s wine as his friend Adriean Videanu (the mayor of Bucharest) is secretly involved with this Romanian vineyard.

Returning to our evening, it was fun because not every day we have the chance to eat with the president 🙂 – I must say that he confirmed again that he is a “people person” as he was very careful to salute us or to socialize with the regular clients.

For the press:
– the president told his wife that he dismissed his bodyguards for the holidays;
– the waiter came with a bottle of white wine and served him a glass;
– yes, he was driving 🙂

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