Transdniestria's Most Wanted (Part One)
Tiraspol Travel Blog› entry 85 of 94 › view all entries
Some people might say where is Transdniestria, because to most people this self-declared Republic is unknown. I too use to think like that, I too was a TransdniestrianVirgin.
Transdniestria, or Pridnestrovskaya Moldavskaya Respublika (PMR) which is it’s proper Russian name, is the area of land the covers only 3567 square kilometres between the eastern border of Moldova with the Ukraine. With a population of approximately 555,500 citizens, this country gained its ‘independence’ from Moldova in 1990 which resulted in formation of a new country after a bloody civil war.*
* I must point out that although this country has it’s own currency, police force, army, borders, President and Parliament; it is not internationally recognized with only Russia acknowledging its existence.
Early in the morning at stupid o’clock, Derek (an American who was staying here) and I left the hostel and found the bus, which would take us into town – Bus 18. The price was 2 MDL (€0.12 ) and the ride was exciting.
When the bus had arrived there was no room, seriously people were spilling out the sides, which just meant people had to push harder to get onboard – including Derek and myself.
During most of the ride I was squished up with my face against the door, holding onto a handle, which was at a higher angle than my body. Each time the bus stopped and the door opened I would often swing outside the bus until I could get my footing sorted. Yes, this was my idea of mingling with the locals using transport.
The Central Bus Station meant locating a marschrutes (a taxi van that is popular with locals and went when filled up). After paying the 30 MDL fare (€1.80), we drove the 2 hours or so to Tiraspol.
Although located only 76 kilometres away, the journey does take a considerable amount of time. Potholes needed to be avoided, swerving to miss the occasional dog running on the road, along with the ice and snow, it was pretty treacherous at times, and then there is the border crossing itself.
I have been through some interesting border crossings before, but this one was a little special. The reason is because this country is still considered part of Moldova by the Moldavian Government and therefore they do not recognize this border and do not have anyone stationed there. Here all the border guards are Transdniestrians and the crossing is known to be corrupt.
This area of the world is known for its corruption, black marketeering, manufacturing and smuggling of weapons, and trafficking of humans and drugs, which means that if you get into trouble, because no country officially recognizes it (apart from the big one), there are no embassies or consulates should you need them.
It was going to be an interesting visit into the PMR.
PART TWO TO FOLLOW SOON ……