Highway of bones

I’ve been driving on this road for hours now. It’s half past three and I’m only at Râmnicul Sărat. Almost another 300 kilometers to Iași… at least 5 hours of risks and terrible death possibility.

This road has killed something around 100 people in the past year and every time I’m driving on it I feel like I’m going to be the next. It’s like a big, long cemetery.

It connects Bucharest to the Moldavian side of the country, Iași and Suceava being the main cities in the area. It like a big artery, trying to provide blood to an entire area but somehow it got clogged by the pressure and the flow. It’s now narrow, poorly planned, crowded and dirty, keeping them underdevelope, no matter what people and the ones elected are trying to do.

Is it a 2 lane road?

Not really, but you can’t say it’s a 4 lane road either. It that certain type of Romanian architecture that points out to the narrow minds we are sometimes. It’s that type of construction that comes from petty theft, poor country and no gram of meritocracy. Is the perfect ilustration of how thousands (literally) of citizens can suffer and ultimately succomb, to the incompetence and villany of authorities.

Romania is already in its 30th year since it became (theoretically) a democracy and the way things look, from the road infrastructure point of view, is gruesome and terrible. We have managed to build 500 kilometers of highway in about 10 years. It’s an average of 50 kilometers/year which is not only pathetic but also points to the number of road casualties we could’ve avoided. Because in the end it’s all about saving lifes and only after that about saving time on the road.

You can see from a distance, as you would pass by these cities, that time pretty much stood still around these parts. Many people left for better developed parts of the country and many more went to other places of Europe. What to do here? To wait for the tens of Governements, moving on and off the country’s steering wheel, to give you the infrastructure everybody needs to develop? No, you fucking go and never look back.

I guess that not even back in the 15th-16th century you wouldn’t have so many, statistical chances to die while driving you cart from Bucharest to Iași, for example. With all the wild animals, the outlaws and the lack of overall medical care, I do believe there were less deaths/year while walking down this road. Right now, it looks as if this damn road was some front line, in some war and after it stopped the crosses started popping up from all the death that took place over there.

But this is in fact because people are dying in carnages on this road. You get a real chance to become burger meat if you don’t drive close to the right and behind some other car, in order to get some protection in case a screw head decided he has to lose control of the car while driving like on a highway on the opposite side of the road. Because of the fact that you lack the second lane to be able to overpass while staying safe, this road has a half of a lane on the exterior, just enough for a small vehicle to fit. So in case that two normal cars try to overpass each other, they may be able to do so without invading the cars passing by on the opposite side of the road. Still, if you are trying to overpass a truck and you are squeezing him as close as possible to the limit of the road, then you have to go over the centre of the road, which means you can scare others that are trying to do the same things like you, but on the other side.

Bad things can come out of this situation. And they have…

The ghosts of the past

On top the overall sensation of old and bad, the sides of the road and whatever comes into your way, doesn’t look better either. Bad shaped horses, pulling on almost demolished carts, being driven by shadow looking men. Two limousine cemeteries, in two totally different places (why?!). Some water peddlers for rent, brought over from some lake, most probably to be repainted… still looking very ugly in the overall scenery of the places I’m passing through…

Focșani, Bacău, Roman, Târgu Frumos… all of them communist cities, that were brought up from mere villages (with the exception of Bacău) in order to give reason to the fact that the regime was building flats and apartments in a totally crazy rhytm. Nowadays, the small ones struggle to exist and to keep the minimum number of people that would maintain them in the “city category” while the bigger ones have issues with the administration and generally, lack of funds… so deep that in the future winters the citizens may have issues with the thermal energy.

The funny thing about this road is that right now, as I’m writing these lines, there is a protest that is about to start, initiated by a business owner from Suceava. The protest is called “#șîeu” and is the Moldavian version of “#metoo”, meaning that “me too” wants to have a highway to Moldavia. Check out the cool video this guy made and the whole campaign as he managed to build the FIRST LINIAR METER of highway in Moldavia, on his own expenses. It costed 4500 euros and it seems it respects all the normatives in the matter.

Now I don’t know if this protest is going to make any kind of difference, I personally don’t think so. The only good thing coming out of it, as far as I can see it, is the fact that is somehow gathering us around this central idea that we can’t take it anymore. In the end somebody will have the guts to throw the first molotov cocktail towards the snakes that always take the power in their own and exclusive interest.

As for the road/highway to Moldavia, there isn’t any hope. It still remains the highway of bones and until we will see it finish, the layer of bones will only thicken. The funny thing is that there is no respect for this… at least respect.

As today was the day that in Romania this guy made history managing to spark a nation wide protest, the governing party announced in the morning that today, our Transport Minister will open the works for the Moldavia Highway. In this ironic way of showing us that they do something, choosing this Friday for this “announcement”, exactly this Friday, can only tell us more about the quality of the people that are trying to pose into nationalists, lovers of each citizen, or rather about the lack of it.

Meanwhile, Moldavia stays pretty much secluded, un opened to real business and under developed when you compare it to other regions.

Maybe the future holds some bluer skies…

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