I am delighted to report that I have completed my road research! Even though I’ve had the luxury of breaking the research up and retreating to my apartment between trips, my time on the road was nothing short of cruel. The horrendous weather in February and March took all the fight out of me, not to mention the fantastically long hours I spent driving on the second worst and worst roads in Europe.
I returned from Moldova last night and I’m suffering from the usual post-trip exhaustion and brain damage. I have anecdotes upon anecdotes to share, but I won’t be able to marshal the motivation or wits to type them out for a few days. Besides, I have seven bottles of exquisite wine and a bottle of some of the best cognac available in Europe vying for my attention.
I will say this though, the Moldovan police are unequivocal dicks. I have never seen police so shamelessly devoted to bribe shakedowns. Indeed, I wonder if they have any time to enforce the law what with them padding their drinking budgets. Once I was stopped twice in five hours, both times for ludicrously bogus offences. I was an easy target though; an American in a mirthfully old and ailing Romanian car. Though in all fairness, police target locals just the same. They don’t even wait for drivers to do something potentially wrong. The instant they say ‘goodbye’ to one victim they flag down the car that happens to be passing at the time and go to work on them, like they were working an assembly line. Their favourite made-up infraction is running a red light, which is something you can never effectively deny, even with the accompanying evidence of 57 other cars running the “red light” with you. It would be comical if it weren’t so infuriating.
I’ll leave you to absorb that morsel for now. More stories in the coming days.