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October 9th 2007
Published: October 14th 2007EDIT THIS ENTRY


because Steph gave away her breakfast to gypsies
Due to the room being full of guys and the fact we were awake most of the night we stayed in bed till everyone else had got up. We got up and sorted out some mundane necessities and left the hostel around twelve.

We bought breakfast from the local supermarket which consisted of a danish pastry, fruit and juice. We sat and ate it on the steps of the cathedral watching people pass. At one point a Romany lady and her kid came up to us asking for money. We firmly told her no, but I gave the kid one of the pastries. I will never give money to them, but what is a bit of food when it is so cheap here.

Our first and most time consuming task of the day was to find an internet café to organise a trip to a vineyard. We looked for hours and we did get sidetracked in our searches but we really couldn't find one. Around three we decided it would be easier to just find the agencies directly that ran the tours than to book them over the net. We found Solei tours which gave us an overpriced tour
On Call WaiterOn Call WaiterOn Call Waiter

amazing buzzer to call your waiter over
to Milesti Mici which we considered but we would have to organise transport ourselves to be able to afford it. In the hotel where Herz car hire were located we found a woman offering tours for better prices, so we booked it for tomorow.

We found an internet café ironically enough right next to the bar we had a drink at yesterday. The connection was slow so we didn't spend much time, but enough to sort money matters and send "we're safe" e-mails. After we visited here we saw a few more internet places scattered around. Just goes to show sometimes it is easier to find things when you're not looking for them.

Back at the hostel we showered and spent some time chatting to an American guy called Chris. He had just come from Istanbul and had a guidebook so he let us look through it. He attempted to go to a place called Transdniestr today with a Canadian. It is a self declared republic that isn't actually recognised by any other country. They want to rejoin the Russians and return to a Soviet lifestyle however Moldova will not let them so the two places are antagonising each other no end. For starters Transdniestr has it's own currency, laws and postal system. Border control is one big bribe fest and Transdniestr have actually banned trains from going through the country into Moldova entirely. Moldova have recently retaliated by stopping cars with car registration plates from Transdniestr and removing them. After they have done this the cars cannot legally drive around the country and the Moldovian government won't let them renew their licenses either. Altogether entry into Transdniestr depends entirely on the border guard, the amount you have in your pocket and whether they like you or not. Anyway Chris and his friend got though the first two checkpoints but were simply told to "go back to Moldova" by the third border guard.

The Cactus café was our chosen destination for an evening meal. Lonely Planet said it had plenty of choice for vegetarians so that swayed us. Turns out that plenty of choice meant I was picking from the garnish menu, but they were more than happy to make it into a meal for me. We had a rather large cheese platter as a starter which Rob was mannly enough to suffer the blue cheese so we could have a clean plate. The meal was pretty good but the best part was definitely the bell on each table so we could signal the waiter. We did chat to an old man who was from the south of England but was pretty miserable so we let him be. Dessert was a 13p ice cream from McDonalds on the way back (2p cheaper than the Ukraine). We had a conversation with the guy who served us who evidently enjoyed the fact we were real English and not Americans.

Not quite ready to return to our cell we went to a local studenty pub called Autobus. We both ordered our bottles of draught Chisinau and sat down and enjoyed being in the presence of people who were enjoying themselves. Even though it is so close, the Ukraine and Moldova really are worlds apart.

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10th December 2007

Is it just me but I've never experienced any real problems at the Moldova/PMR border or the Ukraine/PMR border. Only one hiccup when I didn't have the invitation letter to stay at a private address (but eventually crossed the border with a promise to return the next day with the official letter - cost 1 ruble (about 6 pence)). It does help to have a russian speaker along!! Must admit Tiraspol is a fairly quiet place though some good places to eat - Ukrainia recommended - and of course the expansion of "Andy's Pizzas" from Moldova.

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