Tuesday, December 23, 2008

103.6% of Transdniestrians Can't Be Wrong!

This time of year, when it is so cold and dark, my thoughts generally turn to Tahiti, but now and then I think about the cushy Cabinet position a friend's sister says awaits me when she takes over Transdniestria. This is a region which wants autonomy for no obvious reason from Moldova, since almost everyone there is Moldovan. During one election, the winning candidate received 103.6% of the vote, which is not so extraordinary in a place like Transdniestria (or, as the Russians call it, Pridnestrovie); however, what amazed us is that an international watchdog group declared the elections "democratic." Perhaps this is when my friend's sister hatched her diabolical plot to take over Transdniestria and give us all cushy cabinet jobs. (N.B.: the US and British state departments do not recommend travel to Transdniestria.) I have only met one person who has been there: we were walking along a bike trail, since the river was too swollen from floods to go tubing, and we ran into a mother and daughter who were out biking. Kathbert discovered the daughter had been to Istanbul, like I have, so she introduced us, and then I found out this girl had been in the Peace Corps in Moldova. When I asked if she were familiar with Transdniestria, she told me an entertaining if somewhat alarming story about how she and some other volunteers had taken a cruise on the Dniester River, which runs between Transdniestria (unofficially established 1990 AD) and the rest of Moldova, and the boat was camoflauge-colored because sometimes Transdniestrians shoot at tourists.

But that isn't really what I was going to blog about today. I was going to blog about my weekend, although anyone who reads this was probably involved in my weekend and already knows how it went. I can sum it up in one word: Transdniestria. First, on Friday night, Aimee attacked Cashmere. (Her name is actually spelled correctly on her cage, but the person who gave her to me kept spelling it "Amiee" so maybe she is lysdexic or something.) Cashmere was not entirely innocent in this regard, since she was chasing Aimee when Aimee turned on her. I was right after them, about to scoop up Cashmere, when Aimee attacked her in the litter box and she literally went flying and landed on her side. I caught Aimee and put her back in her cage, then I called Anna Banana 2 to ask what to do about these behavioral issues, since her father had been a veterinarian. She reminded me that he had been a LARGE animal vet, so we had moved on to other topics when Cashmere came and stood in front of me. She looked as if she had been in a boxing match! Her left eye was swollen shut, and her left ear was drooping. I said, "I have to go!" and grabbed Cashmere, who was unusually pliant about being cuddled; but when I tried to put some ice on her poor swollen face, she bolted out of my arms. I was reluctant to take her to the animal hospital, partly because of the cost but mostly because how would she react to being stuck in a box, taken out in the cold, and having strange people poke at her when she was already so traumatized? I called Kathbert, and she agreed with me that I should just watch her at home. Her eye and ear grew better over the course of the evening, and by Saturday morning she seemed to be her usual, perky self... except that she is now terrified of the guinea pigs. Hardingfele came over and examined her eye and ear but could detect no sign of trauma. Then we filmed the guinea pigs and Sylvia. Here, at last, is the long-promised footage of real (not virtual) Sylvia hiding in a check box, trying to turn over, and waddling around.


Famous Hat

(I was going to blog about my parents' visit, but this post is already too long, so I will do it in a subsequent post.)

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