In 2002, my parents decided to take me to Moldova. I was not excited. I heard how bad it was and did not want to experience it firsthand. The only part I was excited about was the trip there and back. I love flying and every time I travel I always demand a window seat by the wings. I like watching the flappy parts move up and down. I love being in an airplane in general.
When we arrived to Moldova, I was able to sense the disaster. Their airport was shoddy. The airport had no machinery to check what was inside a traveler’s luggage. The security had to open each bag up and dig through it. When security started to rummage through my father’s suitcase, he noticed an old film camera. Remember those camera’s that were about a foot in length. Yeah, we had one. It was before the digital camera was invented. Right away, the security guard started to bark something to his friend and wanted to confiscate it. My father had to tell the guy off. He did not look happy placing the camera back in the luggage.
We were picked up by my mother’s friend. As we drove through the city, I was so very thankful that I did not live there. The city just looked poor. We stayed at a friend’s apartment in Kishinev.
Some of the problems with Moldova:
If you live in the city, you must choose between eating meat or cable television. Unless you are rich, you cannot have both. People dress up to go food shopping. The people of Moldova do not understand the concept of baggy jeans or oversized shirts. They dress to fit. The average salary of the average person is about $100 American dollars a month. Manhole covers are missing. So if you decide to take a stroll at night, you must be equipped with a flashlight or risk falling into a manhole. While the streetlights are there, they do not work. Hence, the flashlight. There is no hot water. You have to boil water in pots to take a hot shower. Showering takes a very long time. We, in America, see many stray cats. In Moldova, you will see herds of stray cats and dogs. Shopping at the outside market is no picnic either. I pushed shoved by an elderly lady, who then gave me the stink eye. Yes, I was pushed. Not the other way around. And I got the STINK EYE. Kids of all ages drink alcohol. They just buy it at the market or off a dude near a park.
Nothing is as bad as their toilets. The public toilets are the vilest toilets I have ever seen. There is fecal matter and urine all over the walls, the toilet, and the floor. A person stands at the entrance of the facility giving you three sheets of toilet paper. You can still read the fine print of whatever newspaper article it was from. I would have had better luck crumpling up some magazine pages. At least they wouldn’t feel like sandpaper. Gas station toilets, well, they’re a hole in the floor with a wooden hut for privacy. I was so scared of using that type of toilet that I had my mother stand nearby just in case I started to fall into the hole.
The “police” are another issue. I was at the American Embassy with my mother’s friend. She was trying to get a visa approved so that she can come and visit us in the future. I was standing in line by myself and when a police officer approached me. He was rude and arrogant. I was Americanized and from Brooklyn. Nasty mixture. He started asking me questions and I tried to answer as best I could, but my Russian wasn’t very good. I answered in half Russian and half English. He didn’t understand me and that caused a situation. So we got a little loud with one another. My mother’s friend came running out and calmed the police officer down. She explained that my Russian is poor and my Romanian is non-existent. Also, when traveling to another city in the same country, we were stopped by their version of “border” patrol. The officers looked at our passports and kept staring at them as if we were aliens. A friend of my parents told my dad to just give them ten bucks each and as soon as he did, all was good and we were wished a good day.
On the bright side, I got to see farm animals. My parents and I went to a village to visit some of their friends. I saw bunnies and pigs, and chickens, and roosters. I wanted to shoot the damn roosters come sunrise. Those god damn forsaken creatures would not shut up. I couldn’t sleep. There were flies all over the place.
People of Moldova have a holier than thou attitude. They are arrogant and very money hungry. Many are thieves. If you’re at the market, you have to hold your purse or wallet in a safe place because they try to steal it from you. The country is very poor. People would rather dress nice and starve. I would never return to that country. There is nothing there. But then again, I can imagine that there are countries in worst shape than Moldova. I LOVE AMERICA. America has its own faults, but I LOVE IT.