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...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Little Green Ladas

I'm always looking for blogs with a travel-twist -- and if you know of any, let me know.

So when I chanced on a first-hand account of the Bush-Putin Summit held in Bratislava yesterday, in a blog written by comely Karola Lenehan, I was brought into that event first-hand through her impressions.

But what I loved most, since I am not very politicised and this blog piece isn't taking you to where you think you're going, were her photos of that and other events, which capture the texture of life in her world vividly. That Karola's got an eye for composition, and the quirky, a sure-fire winning combination in photography.

My favourite? The green Lada, of course! Parked with great self-dignity to the side of a wooded road.

Lada love

Ahh, the Lada. I know it well.

I've driven its Soviet-bloc first-cousin, the Dacia, and its more elegant brother, the Volga, around many parts of Eastern Europe. The Lada itself I never got to drive, although I hired it and a private chauffeur during my mercy trip to Cuba some years ago, which if prodded gently, I'll offer up as a blog memoir one day.

The Lada is an one-of-a-kind car, ironic for this massed-produced humdinger.

Bumpy, yes, disagreeable, yes, temperamental, definitely, but it's because of that that I remember it, after so many other hired cars of my travels have been long forgotten.

Mind you, it's not a patch on the Skoda Tudor Coupe, but then, the latter doesn't come in Stalin-baby-puke-green.

Long after there is no Soviet Union, the Lada lives on, a relic of an unforgettable past.


  • I have this recurring fantasy of a new post-comunist car called "The New Yugo", which would do for people who drove comunist cars what "The New Beetle" did for Sedan owners.

    By Blogger patricio lopez, at Thu Feb 24, 08:56:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Ooh, what a naughty thought!

    How very Goodbye Lenin!, too.

    Whenever I see a "New Beetle" on the road here, it's invariably ridden by a pseudo-beatnik with a "Honk if you love Vegans" bumpersticker, who couldn't afford the "New Mini".

    Mind you, they're ever so cute, in a semi-retro-futuristic way (hello Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow).


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 24, 09:15:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Hey! Some of us *do* love vegans! ;)

    But I still wouldn't be caught dead in a New Beetle. My little Honda Element is all the cute a vegan boy needs.

    By Anonymous Jason Schmidt, at Fri Feb 25, 04:53:00 am GMT-5  

  • Dacia factories in Pitesti Roumania, were actually building the DACIA, under RENAULT license.
    The dacia is based on the RENAULT 12.

    By Anonymous SHUSSBAR, at Fri Feb 25, 12:39:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Hey Jason! Fancy meeting your-codeine self here. I hope you and the missus are well!

    As for vegans, eek, nuff said, with a cherry on top, but, I'm glad you have an Element.

    Not really being up on automobiles and the makes, I had to Google Images the Element, and right away I recognised it. Sure I've seen plenty of them around -- looking boxier than any Volvo next to it. ;)

    Just kidding -- Hondas are super-chic in Europe, and around the world. Plus they are a drag-racing requisite, n'est-ce pas?


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 25, 01:37:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Wow, really -- the Dacia is an adulterated Renault??

    Well I think the site said that Renault bought them out in 1999, so when I went as a teen in the early 90s (1993 or so) with my parents, they were still clunky, and irascible creatures, nothing like a Renault.

    For the record, though I like the Lada, my favourite "abroad" car is the Bombay Ambassador. It feels like you're driving an elephant. :)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 25, 01:40:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Guys, in case anyone is interested in the Bush-Putin summit, hat tip to Karola, here is a great first-hand Slovakian lad's commentary about it, as seen thru' a libertarian anarchists' point-de-vue. ;)

    Hey, I may not agree with everything Lemuel says, but the important thing is to be an eyewitness to history...and then blog about it.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Feb 25, 02:12:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Well, before 1999, it was controlled by the roumanian gouvernment of course, but the cars were made with "help" from Renault. Sure not following the same standards!
    DACIA probably made more than 1 type of car, but the DACIA i know, looked like that:

    built from the Renault 12 :

    The new dacia line, now that Renault has control of the production looks like that:

    Enjoy those beauties of the past!

    By Anonymous SHUSSBAR, at Fri Feb 25, 03:35:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Well, thanks for mentioning me.

    Heck, even I dont agree with everything I say... ;)

    By Blogger lemuel, at Fri Feb 25, 05:04:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Prodding gently. I await the story.

    By Blogger Morphess, at Fri Feb 25, 05:45:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Gotta love the Lada vs. Skoda... MORTAL COMBAT!!!

    Victoria; you should join the rest of us at nomadlife: http://nomadlife.org/2004/10/how-to-join-nomadlife.aspx

    We'd love to have you!

    By Blogger Devrim, at Fri Feb 25, 07:44:00 pm GMT-5  

  • With deep respekt to the Skoda, I choose the Lada, Devrim.

    And thank you for the invite to become a nomad. I certainly will consider it, but alas, I fear my travelling days are over.

    Between the ages of 5 to 25, I had no peer mileage-wise (for "just folks". I'm sure Paris Hilton et. al. racked up the frequent flyer miles).

    Now, I lead a sedentary if fulfilled life. I don't even have a camera, digital or old-fashioned.

    But as the French say, on verra. :)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 03, 12:43:00 am GMT-5  

  • Morphess, one day, one day. One fine day, you will have it. ;)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 03, 12:44:00 am GMT-5  

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