Kosovo’s Bill Clinton Statue.
On Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina Kosovo, there is a statue of Former President Bill Clinton. It is about 3 meters high, made of bronze and is carrying a book with the date 23-03-1999 on it. That made me wonder what Mr. Clinton is doing there. Obviously, this statue must mean something for Kosovo.
NATO started the bomb raids that eventually ended the Kosovo war at 23-03-1999, heavily influenced by Mr. Clinton. The Statue is a token of Kosovo’s Albanian population’s appreciation.
In 2009, Mr. Clinton made it to the Unveiling of himself. He said, “I never expected that anywhere, someone would made such a big statue of me” (quote; The Telegraph)
It is kind of fun to see a statue of a living person. In 2009 he was no longer president. I am sure he has done god things in his time. But for me and probably most people I remember him mostly for the Monica scandal.
The Statue commemorates a difficult time in history and the formation of Kosovo. One of the newest countries in the world. This means something. Not like in Skopje, where it seems like the city have gone completely monument bonkers with kitschy statues all over the place.
The statue has been controversial. Obviously not all the citizens of Kosovo like it, especially if you are of Serbian decent.
It has been criticised for not looking like Clinton at all. He has for instance exceptional big hands. When I was there somebody has stolen the letters on the base. And the surroundings are not very inspiriting . I was looking for the Hillary clothes store, that should be close by but I didn’t find it.
Bill deserves to be remembered for his part in ending this civil war. And nice to see his legacy is still living on in Kosovo.
Well – Always been facinated by this game, that is all over the world. The profit must be quite good, as it take only a minute to realise, that the one doing the magic tricks is not alone in this scam. Most of the bystanders is into this game as well. The bystanders will win some money and in this way draw the attention of the tourist. They will also try to make the tourist join. Maybe a lot of money will change hands. They are leading the bull to the slaughterhouse.
At first you maybe will win some money, when the bet is low. But as the bet increses suddently you ill not be that lucky. You will maybe think that you always has 1/3 chance of winning, but you will be wrong. What if the ball is not in the game at all, but somehere else? Then there is 100 pct. chance of losing.
You can better you chances by saying that you think that the ball is under one of the shells and then turning over the other two, leaving the one, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
If you want to play this game, do it for the fun of it and never for money you do not want to lose.
Transnistria – a country that dosen’t exist.
Transnistria is a bit of land between Moldova and Ukraine near the Dnestr River. It broke ties with Moldova and declared independence 1990 resulting in a civil war ending in 1992 It is a fully working state with police, army and currency (transnistria Ruble). It has not been recognised by any United Nations member and rely heavely on Russian subvention. Belowe is a pictureframe of Putin at Dnestr.
There is absolutely no reason not to go to Transnistra. The people are really friendly and its kind of fun, that the country do not exist Official. Do not be let on by the old stories of the borderproblems. Nowadays it is fast and easy to get in and out.
In many way it is just like a fairy tale about communism like it should be. Marx didn’t define Communism other than as a paradise utopia that followed socialism. Maybe Transnistria is it Not that life is not hard in Transnisstria. It is. This enclave is frozen in time.
Tiraspol is the Capital of Transnistria. Here there are still many of the soviet statues of Lenin and big impressive soviet communist buildings along the main street.
Well, It is impossible to get enough of Lenin. In Tiraspol he is still around.
There is another blog post about Tiraspol, see below .
Transnistria Tiraspol – Independence day celebrations.
In the backstreet the nice and easy life of the citizens of Tiraspol is lived.
On the production side nothing really seems to work. Lots of factories was abandoned. But this is the same all over the world. Or maybe the closure of the factories are a result of the civil war?
Is a city close to the border with Moldova. Known for Bender Fortress and little else. I didn’t like the fortress much. It was crudely renovated with big blocks of cement, and that was not invented in 1538. However I think there is other more interesting thing to do in Bender.
And yes!!! – There is a green Lenin in the park.
Bucharest is a wonderful City. The Taxies however not so much.
After a bone breaking ride from Sofia to Bucharest by minibus with no shock absorbers trough the night, I arrived in a ploughed field outside Bucharest in the middle of the morning. My options where limited. Two taxi drivers where waiting. You just know this is not going to be good. I did get him to use the meter. But of cause with a tax of 17 Lei instead of 1,39. This is just an example.
As I figured out it is the tariff on the metre that is the real deal breaker.
Above is seen a meter. This meter is completely legal. There is two tariff. One for driving and one for waiting in queue. (It happens :o)) This means that there is no Sunday afternoon tariff and no other kind of extras. If the driving tariff is not 1,39 Lei or there about. Something is fishy. Do not take anything for granted. Everything can be faked. I was told by a local, that an indications could be found on the side of the taxi as shown. If the data of the orange plate is outdated, it is definitely a pirate. The above picture is of cause of a legal one. It seems to me just a little bit to easy to falsified. And I know that when you see the meter, it is to late.
This leads me to the wonderful world of mobile data. You can of cause use your mobile phone to access a maps and here it is easy to see how many kilometres there are to your destination. Gives a rough estimate of how much the faire will be. Gives a bit of leverage.
Bucharest is a wonderful city to get lost in. And when you want to go home taxies are very cheap and available. It is possible to get taxi with apps. or just phone them to avoid the hassle.
I kind of like the rascal’s. It is just like putting your wit up against theirs and loosing. It is only a question how much.
When succeeding in getting a 1.39 Lei Taxi, I think it is important to tip. It is really not a question of survival. It is in the end of the day it is only money.
The train between Bucharest and Chisinau is absolutely wonderful. It have been unaffected by time and is a real treat for Soviet nostalgic like myself.
Buying a ticket in Bucharest main station Gara de Nord was absolutely no problem. Now 435km of pure nostalgia on wheels was ahead. In the front of the train there were 2 passenger carriers for local not going on the whole length of the trip. The implications of this is that this is going to be one time-consuming trip. The train will stop at every single village on the way. But as I see it, this makes it a true little adventure. It was warm like a Russian sauna when I entered the train. The smell of sausage, sweat and cigarettes was very strong. I asked if it was possible to open the window but according to the conductor it was not possible. I was in a 4 bed compartment. This is 2nd class. In 1st class there is only two beds. I shared the compartment with a man from Moldova. Most compartments where empty in my carriage. At 1700 sharp the train was set in motion. The little ventilation from the speed helped.
The slow journey trough the relatively flat landscape with frequent stops commenced. The train was signalling trough the night and the monotone sound of wheels on track had a mesmerising sound to it. The further we drove into the night, the colder it got. Lined has been provided by the conductor. And I had good use of the rough thick blanket At 0230 we arrived at the border. All the border and custom control was done. I had a problem, as the Moldavian side had to check my passport. Normally I will be very reluctant to leave my passport out of sight, but if you cannot trust border authorities, who can you trust. It took the better part of 3 hours before I got my passport back. I put it all to a part of the experience.
Now one of the weirdest scenes and part of the reason for going on this train. The changing of the wheels. In our modern efficient time this is relic from older civilised ages where travel took time. To prevent any invasion by rail the gauges is a little smaller in Moldova than in Romania. Hence they will lift the carriages and change the wheels. This is a very loud business and there is a lot of moving around and working with heavy tools. During this time you will find the toilet locked….They need to change the Engine too. In the next compartment there has been removed some steel poles to release wheels from the body. To separate the body from the wheels heavy duty hydraulic lifts are used. It is a massive job and takes 3-4 hours. During this time you are going to stay inside the train. I do not know if it is a military secret anymore, this business with the track, but I took some pictures with my phone. In II world war it didn’t hold the German invasion and nowadays it is just a mayor inconvenience. For non tourists I can see their point of view.
For me however it is a genuine adventure. This is what train travel is all about. Original and unique. It is just like looking into a world 40 years ago. A time machine on wheels. And gives you time to reflection or some much needed sleep (bring earplugs .o) ).
Facts: Bus 8 hours – Night train 13 hours 49 min.