Bucharest was the darkest capital of the Soviet bloc. Now, neon crawls and pulsates at night and the din of construction and traffic gives the city a vibrant pulse.
At the Corina truck stop, where diesel fumes mingle with the smell of barbecue, the colorfully clad wedding guests also seem a part of the new Romania — on the surface.
Black Mercedes limousines are parked outside, and heavy gold chains glitter on necks and wrists. Roused by frenetic clarinet licks, the dancing crowd pumps hands into the air and sways to the sounds of Gypsy folk — an eclectic mix of Romanian pop and traditional Gypsy music.