Thursday, 26 July 2007

Update #12 - Long story................. long

Wow, I just had a very very long phone call (crystal clear quality) from Kherson (Ukraine), I don't want to see those roaming costs. But we do everything to keep you updated. So here we go.
Our boys were on the way to Moldavia when we talked last time. To sum up Romania, a beatiful country, verly lovely, but also very poor. On their way through the mountain passes, they did a refuel at a gas station and looked pretty astonished, when the owner started speaking German to them :) Afterwards, they continued their way south, trying to find a spot to spend the night. But that turned out to be difficult, as whenever they thought they found a nice spot, someone came by, either some farmers, some guys trying to repair their car or just strange lights... so our heroes fled before anything could happen to them (to be honest... we would have done the same). So they stopped on a mini parking space around midnight and rested until 4.00 am. Then a Mercedes Sprinter came by, 3 guys hopping out, doing... hell who cares, Martin just kicked the gas and tried to get away. In doing so, they made it to Iasi (Romania) finally. Shortly before the border, they couldn't resist to take a nap. When they woke up again, they were surrounded by a lot of people and cows, all waiting for the bus. Next time you better watch where you park your car ;) The border to Moldovia, a short drive for our heroes, but a great income for the customs officer. They directly asked for a bribe, so a beer and 5 bucks and they were done. Hold it, entering Moldovia with a car... you could bring bugs with it into the country. That's not possible. So what next ? Yes, the officers sprayed disinfectant-spray all over the car. Die you bugs ! Can we now pass the border... well, do you have Moldavian money ? No ? Then go and exchange some. Allright, so Richard went to the bank, which luckily was right next to the customs office and exchanged 5 bucks. And what did he get in return ? Moldovian money ? You wish. No, he got a certificate, saying the exchanged some money. Well, that's a cool way to become rich. Remind me to adapt this for students coming to my office ...
Finally, our boys were free to go and headed to the Capital Chisinau to get some rest, but as this city or rather this country isn't much of a beauty, they kept going straight for the Ukraine. However, the word highway gotta have other meanings, in Moldavia it means farm track. So making 2 miles took them almost 45 min, eventually stopping for a few seconds to search for a "real" road using field-glasses (finally they come in handy). Nothing helped, Moldavia sucks. So off to the border, where - who would guess so - they had to fill out a lot of forms again for the Moldavian officers. Entering the Ukraine didn't appear to be much easier: filling out visa forms (luckily in English) and a car insurance form (only in Cyrillic). The officers looked like they saw another 2 idiots not being able to speak Russian. But then, the major officer showed up, being all interested in the car. How old is it ? -> 20 years. How cool, I drive a Luars (never heard of that before) with a VW engine and a dashboard from Audi. Your trip is cool, maybe I'll join on the Mongol Rally 2008. That made it a lot easier. Direction Odesa, which isn't easy as a) the road looks like a clobbering (dt. Bombenteppich) and b) there are no road signs. Probably there are, they just can't read them. As we talked on the phone, the get passed by police cars in rapid succession. But none of them stops them, it seems that they are to astouned to 2 Europeans in such a car in such a country, that they miss the point to stop them. As it gets dark, it gets more and more complicated to guess where the road might be and avoid driving into huge holes on the street. Luckily, they finally make it to Odesa, where they stay in the Hotel Palladium (sertified for 4* ;)). After taking a shower they are asked to remove their reserve wheels from the roof of the car, just in case. How friendly.

2007/07/26 14.09
Kherson (Ukraine), mileage counter shows 4478 km

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