The longest leg of my road research kicks off tomorrow. I think. There’s a chance Mother Nature isn’t finished with me yet. After four days of aggressive snow melting, we were 90% free from the drifts that had pile up over the course of three snow storms the week before. Obviously, having this much good fortune wouldn’t do and so Mother Nature pooped on us again last night to the tune of 4-5 inches (10-13 centimetres). And it’s not that light, fluffy blow-away kind of snow, this stuff is heavy, wet and dense enough to stop a bullet. I haven’t checked, but it’s safe to assume the countryside roads were closed this morning, if not still now. More snow and freezing rain is forecast for this evening and tomorrow. So as usual, I am at the mercy of the elements.
In car related news, it died again. Natch. When I tried to start it up Friday morning, it didn’t turn over and there were no dashboard lights, but smoke was soon wafting out of the electrical motor. After troubleshooting to the best of my abilities, I was ready to have it towed to a garage again, but then a friend called his son-in-law who sent over a mechanic who turned out to be a dream. Not only was he by far the most competent mechanic I’ve met in Iasi, but he worked on a Sunday and refused any payment beyond the bare minimum. It’s all sorted out and the car has never run better.
After raving for weeks about the impossibility of getting my beater car road certified and declaring that I was going to defy the system and simply not seek the certification anymore, it was gently suggested to me that even with the sweeping crack downs on corruption in Romania, it was still essentially unfeasible to get the certification without bribing someone, even if you showed up with a Porsche, just off the assembly line, never mind a 16 year old, Romanian-made car being held together with spit and rubber bands. Moreover, it was going to be virtually impossible to sell the car without a certification.
My options are to give a little bribe to the state run agency, a medium bribe to a independent agency or a huge bribe to a totally illegal guy who works out of a rented garage. I’ve chosen the medium bribe option, because it still legal (I think) and it is by far the most efficient. However, they are backed up with other people in my position and I am not going to be able to get an audience until I get back from the road trip, during which time, if I get caught by the wrong guy, even though I still have two weeks grace period to get this done, I could be in trouble. Gulp.
Or maybe I’ll just sell the car while I’m in Moldova, where they don’t give a rat’s ass about Romanian certification.
Assuming no natural disasters, I’ll be largely out-of-pocket for the next two to three weeks. Send good luck vibes my way.