Between Ukraine and Moldova is a small forgotten nation known as Transdnistr. The breakaway republic, once part of the USSR, declared independence in 1990, and although not officially recognised by most countries, they have their own government and currency, and visitors still have to obtain a visa to enter.
Our hotel is modern, but Soviet style. I start to snigger as pick up the folder in the bedroom and read the description of the hotel services, detailing how they offer “speed dating” in the bar. It certainly sounds like a euphemism to me, and I become even more convinced when I read about their “private room where you can relax in utmost privacy or conduct confidential business negotiations” I feel sure that there is more to this place than just a hotel.
Initially we are the only two people in the restaurant for dinner, but there seems to be a private party going on next door, and we watch guests arrive. One by one, or sometimes in pairs, the most stunningly beautiful girls arrive, wearing precipitously high heels, skirts so short that if they even slightly bent over I could see their breakfast, or dresses so tight they would have needed a shoe horn to get into them – usually with splits reaching for the armpits. When I say that these girls are glamorous, I mean it to the point that they would not look out of place on a red carpet in Hollywood. These are amongst the most beautiful and elegant girls I have ever seen!
The girls are truly conversation-stoppers. Or rather starters – we do wonder with so many flashy and seductive girls (and mostly scruffy corpulent men) if this is anything to do with the “speed dating” and “private room” we read about earlier…?
They all disappear behind a wall at the end of the terrace, to a private area, but being the nosy sort, I go to have a peek. Popping my head around the corner, I see that the setting is equally sophisticated, with colourful drapes and a multicoloured fountain.
Having taken what I had hoped was a surreptitious photo of the girl in the gold dress; the chap in the background comes up and starts to talk aggressively to me in Russian. Although I can’t understand what he is saying, I feel quite uncomfortable about his demeanour, so I shrug my shoulders, smile sweetly and hurry back to where David is sitting.
Not wishing to gatecrash the party next door, nor wanting to change money into Transdnistrian Roubles just so that we can have a drink in the bar; we retire to the room fairly early.
I’ve been asleep for a couple of hours when a sudden noise wakes me up. I hear the clippety-clopp of high heels on the hard floor of the corridor, then the slamming of a door. I look at my watch – it is 02:30. More clippety-clopp and door slamming follows, accompanied by giggling and laughter. It seems a number of guests are returning to their rooms a little worse for wear.
I have almost managed to drift back off to sleep by ignoring the noise from the corridor, when I hear shouting. Loud shouting. First a male voice, and then a female. A very loud door-slam follows, with the noise seemingly emanating from the next room. More shouting. They are obviously having a major ‘domestic’ dispute.
At around 04:15 there appears to be a ceasefire, and I am just returning to a slumber when they start off again. At this stage the fight gets pretty intense, it sounds like things are being thrown around, and I am very much expecting to hear the sound of broken glass followed by sirens. Thankfully that does not happen.
By 05:15 the argument reaches a crescendo: the female screams what I can only assume are Russian profanities, slams the door and leaves him, running down the corridor with more clippety-clopps. It doesn't sound like he follows her.
Was this another "speed date" gone wrong, or did the "confidential negotiations" break down? Either way, I am extremely grateful for silence at last. and I collapse into a deep sleep.
It was an interesting evening to say the least.