So now you know I don't know what I'm talking about, I'll tell you about repeatedly clearing my ears. I became extremely uncomfortable and began all the tricks to equalize pressure. I was fruitlessly jawing so hard it was embarrassing and I turned in towards the window as to not show off my gaping grill and 7-day old road breath to my co-pax. After setting my newspaper on my lap, and jawing my gaping grill and 7-day old road breath at my good friend Jaro in 25B, the oxygen masks dropped. We exchanged looks thinking it was just another Ukrainian malfunction of life...but we were brought back by the shouts in Russian and my personal safety demonstrator diving from the aisle for dangling rubber.
The flight attendants are walking down the aisle, speaking in Russian two or three rows at a time, inciting a cascade of yellow masks up, over, and off dizzy heads. I reached my hand towards the aisle, “In English, please.” Commanding the kind of attention Air New Zealand would hire Richard Simmons or body paint for she curtly mentioned we were “below safety level.”
Greedy Westerners we are, we did want more. A short stay in the near-Turkish quarter of Odessa, then a harrowing, yet pressurized short seven hours on an overcrowded Moldavian minibus to Chisinau. On Sunday after doing battle at the Chisinau bus station, fighting to avoid not only Transnistria, but also the smugglers route that goes much further west, near Romania, on our way back to Odessa.
Unable to come to a consensus on why we love traveling the back roads of Eastern Europe, we often use the adage; travel expands your boundaries, tests your limits. I believe it’s safe to say this weekend we crashed headfirst through those boundaries. One of our favorite comedians, Nick Swardson, frequently jokes he wants to start a game show with terrible prizes, such as; live wolves, trips to Iraq, etc. The prize leading the victorious contestant to question; “did I lose?” So why the hell are we in Moldova…did we lose?