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Cuenca vs. Chisinau: Ex-pat praises new home: Ed O'Connor

Posted 7/17/19

Coming from the relatively cool temperatures in Cuenca, Ecuador, to the summer heat of Chisinau, Moldova, climatically similar to Pennsylvania, will take some adjustment.

Wow, has it been hot! …

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Cuenca vs. Chisinau: Ex-pat praises new home: Ed O'Connor


Coming from the relatively cool temperatures in Cuenca, Ecuador, to the summer heat of Chisinau, Moldova, climatically similar to Pennsylvania, will take some adjustment.

Wow, has it been hot! “Well, Ed, exactly how hot has it been?” It’s been so hot that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have started telemarketing. It’s been so hot that I saw two trees fighting over a dog (Johnny Carson one-liners).

In truth it has been in the 80s and 90s. The hottest day was 37 degrees Celsius. That is body temperature, 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. I was sweating more than a straight conservative going to vote in San Francisco.

Fortunately, the beer is cold and cheap. I procured 2.5 liters of the liquid gold, 85 ounces, for $1.60. At the outdoor market, a draft or a draught was 65 cents.

I purchased something that I hadn’t bought in years — sandals. The last time I bought them was in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1967.

There has been some political unrest in Chisinau, and we were emailed asking us if we were in harm’s way. Short answer — no. Olga received a message from a local friend telling her that it is just more of the same and not to be concerned.

A lot of the “demonstrators” were bused in free from the countryside and were paid to hold signs. For some, it was a great way to see the big city and make a few bucks. They camped out in front of various government buildings. Just by sheer coincidence (wink-wink), most of the tents they used were exactly alike and they even had hydration stations. Hmmmm.

As usual, the organizers were unhappy that elections did not go their way. So, which political party here do you think was trying to regain power by any means, putting themselves first and the country last? — the Democrats. Sound at all familiar?

“Ed, you Republicans are all alike.” Au contraire mon ami. I am neither a repooplicant nor a dumborat. I am an equal opportunity offender and just like when I refereed basketball or umpired baseball — I call ’em as I see ’em.

Since I am already there, did you happen to see the dumborat presidential debate? When the 10 socialists/communists walked on stage, Stephen Sondheim’s song from the musical “A Little Night Music” came to mind — “Send In The Clowns.”

I see that Middletown is increasing school taxes. Come on now — they have to pay for their union dues somehow. And just like playing tag — you’re it.

What would it mean and how astounded would you be if you read in the Press & Journal that your property, i.e. school taxes, would be decreasing? It would mean that it was either April 1 or some reporter at the paper was mentally deranged.

And now, of course, somebody, meaning you, has to pay for the new mini-stadium at the high school. What is a “mini-stadium”? Is that a place where you play mini-sports with mini-balls? But not to worry, the mini-price tag is mere a 3.2 million mini-dollars.

Cuenca to Chisinau

I was asked what are some of the main differences I noticed between Cuenca and Chisinau. In Chisinau:

• The price of apparel is higher.

• Food and meats are cheaper and better.

• No pickup trucks in the city.

• Traffic stops at crosswalks.

• Many more emergency vehicles.

• No blaring car alarms.

• Cars use turn signals.

• Drivers don’t blow the car horn as soon as the light changes.

• No street dogs or confined canines constantly barking.

• Public transportation is cheaper and better.

• No diesel buses spewing pollution.

• No noise at night — we can finally sleep.

• No loud-mouthed gringos trying to win the gringo-yelling contest in restaurants.

• Weather is different — there are four seasons.

• There are more insects, including mosquitoes.

• Phone, cable and internet are better, faster and cheaper.

• Very little graffiti.

• No dog poop or other obstacles on the sidewalks.

• Streets and sidewalks are wider.

• Much more green space.

• Toilet paper can be flushed.

• Public restrooms are clean and have toilet paper, paper towels and soap.

• People are very punctual.

• Haven’t seen anyone peeing on the sidewalks.

• Electricity is 220 to 240 volts.

• Cars are 30 percent to 40 percent cheaper.

• Gasoline is much more expensive.

• Wine and beer are much better and cheaper.

• Street names are posted at every corner.

• Haven’t encountered the “gluten-free fad for frenzied folks” crowd.

• Businesses don’t close over lunch hour here.

And there are more quacks in Cuenca than on Old McDonald’s Farm.

There are umpteen other differences I have found but this will give you an idea.

There are some glaring differences between now and when I was last here in 2017:

• Much more traffic.

• Drivers seem to be more in a rush and impatient.

• More litter and broken glass on the ground.

• Infrastructure has deteriorated and needs repaired.

• People are more rude.

So far, we haven’t been able to do any traveling. We must remain locally since we are waiting to hear from repair/service people to take care of things in our apartment.

Also, we are expecting a call from the lawyers regarding an extension of my visa and Olga is waiting to hear from the Moldovan government about a possible retirement pension since she worked here for 25 years.

In some ways it would have been nice to return to Pennsylvania, but there is one insurmountable problem — we are shy about $30,000 yearly of what we need to live there. May have to ask the editor for a raise.

Remember when you went to wedding receptions and the band or DJ played the various special dances to get the guests on the dance floor such as “YMCA,” “Celebration,” “Macarena,” etc., I have one question for you.

The “Hokey Pokey” is that what it’s all about?

From your intrepid traveler ... Eddy O

Ed O’Connor, a former resident of Middletown and Lower Swatara Township, is an expatriate living in Chisinau, Moldova.