This blog is essentially a collection of posts I used to write on Facebook combined with my travel blog and expanded to make a very public forum of my thoughts regarding Pop Culture, The Interweb, Cartoons, Comics, Ultimate Frisbee, Absurdity, Life, Travel and whatever else captures my attention long enough to write about it...

Enter at your own peril!

16 May 2011

Who want's to go to Moldova with me?

(or lets go watch Moldovan Idol)

I've had something of a love affair with Moldova since my first glance at the country (outside of a cryptic reference from Prince Vigo in Ghostbusters 2) with their opening Eurovision performance in 2005 with Bunica Bate Toba (the first year they entered)... Zdob si Zdub are apparently a completely legit (even if their name means nothing and their website doesn't work) band based in Chişinău (the Capital) who have opened for some big name acts... These guys were also the entry for Moldova in 2011 with So Lucky.

Anyway their discography is follows
  • 1996 – Hardcore Moldovenesc (Moldovan Hardcore) [honestly I'd probably buy an album called that if I saw it for sale]
  • 1999 – Tabăra Noastră (Our camp)
  • 1999 – Zdubii bateţi tare (Zdub Guys Beat It Hard) [SOOOOOO many jokes to be made]
  • 2000 – Remixes
  • 2001 – Agroromantica
  • 2002 – Рок Энциклопедия (Rock Encyclopedia)
  • 2003 – 450 De Oi (450 Sheep) [Sheep... right...]
  • 2006 – Ethnomecanica
  • 2010 - Белое Вино/Красное вино (White Wine/Red Wine)
And this isn't mentioning the interweb hurrah over last years Moldovan Entry by the Sunstroke Project and Olia Tira called Run Away (aka "saxman"). Hell Saxman became something of a thing briefly... (hell just google "Epic Sax Guy)

Other Moldovan entries include a brittney spears impersonator in 2006, a semi decent violin powered number in 2007 with flags, a terrible dropping of the ball in 2008 (but picking up of a teddy) and in 2009 the prancey back up dancers were all that saved it...

Anyway Moldova is completely landlocked surrounded by Romania (whom they were a part of in between the wars and stole their flag off) and the Ukraine (so guess who they vote for/with in the Eurovision?). It's apparently one of the poorest countries in Europe, would dearly like to join the EU (But isn't allowed because it's so poor) and had the distinction of being the first country to vote itself a communist president (in the post soviet period).

Trawling the CIA database I did find it amusing that there are only 11 airports in Moldova, with only 5 of them even having sealed runways...

I did seriously think about trying to get into Moldova last year on my trip, but given there are painful visa proceedures and not a lot to do unless you're big on corruption, organised crime and communism I gave it a miss... Apparently it's a big source for people trafficking. A post soviet collapse lead to a lovely little civil war that isn't completely resolved too...

Wikipedia gives it a long write up from the middle ages to today and what travelly type info I gathered can be limited to this
1) Moldova does wine
2) They have a museum
3) Monasteries
4) More wine

Wikipedia also has mention of surprising growth in the popularity of rugby union in Moldova... go figure

So turning to the "experts" on travel... The lonely planet website... the following arises
  • The language is confusing... from the actual language to whether or not it is even different to Romanian
  • Just getting there is a pain in the ass if you aren't in Romania, The Ukraine or Hungary already and you can't get a visa at the border when you arrive by train (my fav method) leading to you getting turfed at the border or arrested. PLUS Australians need a letter of invitation...
  • Street crime however is low (because there aren't enough visitors for this to be a legit occupation... nice to know) 
  • A direct quote probably sums up the organised crime point... "In Chişinău fleets of BMWs and Mercedes dominate traffic, while fashionably dressed youths strut down boutique-lined avenues and dine in fancy restaurants. How did this excessive wealth find its way to the capital of one of Europe's poorest countries? Answer: you don’t wanna know and we ain’t asking. The stunning contrast between rich and poor is only overshadowed by the conspicuously bold acts committed by individuals who are clearly above the law and shamelessly conduct themselves as such."
I guess all considered I might not be getting there any time soon... I'll just buy the album =P
Love, Hugs and Kisses

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