Molvania, a land untouched by modern dentistry

by Symptom Advice on March 11, 2012

March 9, 2012, 7:11 pm

I am addicted to humour. For me it has lessened the misery of this wretched world and I’d heartily recommend it to co-sufferers. The humour and wit of Stephen Leacock, P. G. Wodehouse, Art Buchwald, O. Henry, H.L. Mencken and Richard Armour have so far sustained me. and then came the elixir Molvania – (A Jetlag Travel Guide).

Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Rob Sitch. 2003. Hardie Grant Books, Victoria, Australia

The three names that one assumes are the authors, mentioned on the cover, are supplemented inside by seven more whose role I wouldn’t know, but I bless them all.

Nor is it clear where Molvania the country, is, though it would appear to be somewhere in Eastern Europe. So the reader, nor I, need bother about booking a passage to Molvania with the travel office, but travel in an armchair with the book is good enough.

First an explanatory note on Humour and jokes. The great Sigmund Freud wrote; "A favourite definition of a joke has long been the ability to find similarity between dissimilar things" and "… it is either a hostile joke serving the purpose of aggressiveness, satire, or defence ", an illustration of which is the following:

On an official visit to Britain, he was driven in a 6-horse drawn carriage with the Queen, to Buckingham Palace. During the lengthy drive, one horse noisily released wind and the Queen felt so embarrassed and told Bush "mr. President, I am sorry, but as you have just heard that there are things that even the Queen of England cannot control". Bush replied "your Majesty, no matter. Until you told me so, I thought it was the horse".

Arthur Koestler considered it to be the reaction to the collision (‘bisociation’) between two independent, contrasting matrices of perception or reasoning. The Bush story has the two incompatible matricies, the staid George Bush and the Regal Queen on the one hand and the release of noisy wind on the other which is totally incompatible with, at least, the Queen..

With Molvania, one gets staid travelogue information on one matrix such as "Customs & Duties – "there are technically no limits on the amount of alcohol one may bring into the country…",

followed by the other but incompatible matrix

"… but customs inspectors will often demand you open a bottle so they can test its contents before letting you go through".

The book will speak for itself and here are some of its selected, delicious morsels within quotation marks. I’d advise against trying to pronounce audibly these place names; a sore throat could ensue.

Warning to readers – "Not all pages (of the Guide) correspond to the sections indicated. This is not an editor’s mistake, but due to the fact that this book has been printed in Molvania by a company that is very superstitious in matters of numerology".

Some aspects of History

"Molvania, the world’s number one producer of beetroot and whooping cough is a country steeped in history…..".

-To travel there one needs vaccinations for "…cholera, typhoid, diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, polio, tuberculosis, malaria, tetanus, dengue fever, and tick-borne encephalitis. those planning to travel into the countryside might also consider an anthrax shot".

- In Classical Times (50 BC – Roman Invasion)…Hortensius Clarus led his legions East ,… upon taking the city of Jraftwok, "..he demanded the king’s daughter as a concubine. she bravely slit his throat after he insisted she shaves her armpits".

-Busjbusj, the Father of Modern Molvania was affectionately known as Bu-Bu; ".. this pioneering statesman has roads, bridges, statues, rivers and even a communicable disease named after him".

- Djar Rzeumerten was Molvania’s most famous philosopher "…whose greatest achievement was to actually prove that he did not exist"; if Rene Descartes who said "I think, therefore I am" was around, hand-to-hand combat would have been inevitable.

Customs – "if invited to someone’s home, remember to always remove your shoes in the entrance as a sign of respect, and to give yourself something with which to hit the family pet should it attack".

Sports – "Molvania is football-mad. Sadly, their national team has had little in the way of international success, especially since the introduction of random drug-testing".

The people – Bulgs in the south and centre make 68 %, Hungars in the north 29 %, and the Molvs mainly in prison make 3 % .

-"In Holy Week… married couples will often abstain from domestic violence".

Weddings – are of enormous social significance. after the wedding ceremony, "the happy couple are led into separate rooms to consummate their union".

Language – "Molvanian is a difficult language to speak… ". there are several phonetic sounds which "linguists suspect could represent either a rare dialect or merely peasants clearing their throat".

Music – "Molvania has a rich musical heritage… origins stretch back to the Middle Ages when shepherds would carry a kvkadra ( a simple brass horn used to drive away wolves)..".

Traditional dances – they have the Mzazeruk "… in which a trio of young women perform an energetic jig while a circle of men attempt to fondle them".

Crime – "Pickpockets are active around many of the major railway stations… if something goes missing, the best thing to do is to look for a Guarjda Civilje" (a cop). "Chances are he will be the person who stole it".

Telephones – Within Molvania, ",,. Simply dial 01 and wait for a buzzing tone, which will generally be followed by the sound of someone clearing their throat loudly and cursing. This is the operator".

Cafes – Road-side cafes are popular as are the street cafes in Paris, and you can take a seat and have things to eat or drink.

-Bardjov Observatory with a radio-telescope, part of NASA’s SETI program, for collecting signals from outer space. Now due to funding cut-backs it is used to re-transmit EuroPorn Cable TV across Molvania.

-Bardjov diners "are always welcome in Maria’s Brasserie", but the advertisement earlier read "they are welcome in her brassiere". The error was regretted.

-While shopping for curios in Bardjov, travelers might hear the "familiar tap-tap-tap of chisels on brass; "Often this is just a dentist plying his trade…"

-Bardjovians wish to be automakers. ‘Their Skumpta has scored well in recent safety tests that involved four leading European car models being driven into a wall at 60 kmph. The other three suffered extensive front-end damage whereas the Skumpta emerged unscathed, having broken down every time during the run up’.

- "…deep rooted traditions continue to flourish. In many villages here it’s not uncommon for elderly women to grab you by the ears and spit three times into your face, said to offer protection from evil-spirits. It won’t however, protect you from tuberculosis…".

-While trekking up the Postenwalj ranges, trekkers "are advised to wear bright clothes and avoid looking like a moose or gypsy labourer", as the Svetranj Gun Club members take to the hills for target practice.

-Though Molvanian cedar is strong when first cut, it easily splinters and cracks without warning but is the only timber that does not rust.

-In Dzrebo, the Best Boutique hotel award went to the Salvation Army shelter.

-Aquatz Jcejlezic is a famous fountain, and as with the Trivi Fountain in Italy, young lovers would make a wish before tossing a coin. This practice has been banned ".. after well organized gangs of gypsies, many equipped with scuba equipment, began raiding the facility"

The Great Central Valley.

- caffeine lovers can order a kappacinjo, a locally brewed coffee topped with a layer of frothy milk uniquely derived from animals infected with mad cow disease".

-became "… the first city in Europe to permit driving on either side of the road and giving livestock the vote".

Dining. Yankjees is a newly opened diner offering "what it calls ‘Molvanian American Cuisine’ . however, due to the chef’s somewhat literal interpretation of foreign recipes, ‘hot-dogs’ are best avoided".

Editor’s note to visitor-diners.

-" We have recently been informed that our previous edition’s advice about belching loudly and breaking wind at the end of a meal in western Molvania as a means of showing appreciation is apparently not accurate. The Contributor responsible has been sacked".

- In Gyrorik cathedral , kissing the famous Zjekvel Bell is said to bring good luck, although the high rates of Herpes simplex infection among believers would cast some doubt over this claim".

-The local Buro dj Turizm (Bureau of Tourism) declares "In Jzerbo every day is a holiday" which could explain why the office seems to be permanently shut.

- "The government bus line AutoMolv operates a weekly service that generally runs non-stop (it has no brakes)…"

Dining. "…if a local artiste performs at your table, good manners dictate that you give a tip; the amount depends on whether the performance takes place next to your table or on top of it".

Bull-fighting. "Instead of teasing the bull with a red cloak, he controls it with a long-handled electric cattle prod. Naturally the crowd loves every minute of this unique spectacle and will often wager large sums of money on how many minutes the animal will last before going into cardiac arrest"

-Vlatvja was Lublova university’s famous astronomer who would gaze at the heavens through a long tubular device he called the tojlet rol. In 1496 he was called before a Papal inquiry where charges of heresy were dropped. he was however condemned to death as an idiot.

-In the Jzerckev National Park, visitors, keen to enjoy the natural views, are warned that for much of this section of the journey the train travels through an underground tunnel.

-Although the hotel Trizcejem Dormitorj claims to offer ‘disabled access’, "one visitor reported that the wheelchair ramps on offer were so steep that anyone attempting to use them, if not completely disabled, would soon be rendered so".

-PM Tony Blair visited Zjej Zjej, one of Lublova’s most prestigious dining establishments. This is true but they fail to mention that he was a part of the EU Parliamentary delegation that was looking into likely sources of the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

Taking the original rail line from Lutenblag to Jzerbo, "…passengers may, however, alight at Trbeki Junction and complete the remainder of their journey by horse-drawn donkey. Most visitors view this as a charming option, until they realize that it’s the only option".

-Travel – Passenger trains have no reserved seating in first-class and no seating at all in third class unless you count the roof".

bicycle – a Brochure titled "seeing the city by bike" is available from most book stores as well as the casualty ward of the Lutenblag Hospital.

Accommodation – Rojal Palatz Hotjl. "Prices are understandably high although you will save by booking a room during the winter off-season when the hotel is closed.

U Tri Hradjna was recently voted ‘the most beautiful hotel’ by the readers of the Vision Euro magazine, a quarterly publication catering for the visually impaired traveler.

Diagzop Hostjl opposite the railway station, "…has no shower or bath facilities, but you will find a discount car wash across the road".

Hotel music – Folk musicians are often used by Molvanian restaurateurs as a means of encouraging diners to leave at the end of a meal.

Taxis – "many cab drivers will refuse to pick up diners after a meal at" Nenja " Olga’s due to the high incidence of passengers vomiting inside the vehicle".

Dining – Kisjipja is run by a married couple (if the arguments from within the kitchen are anything to go by) …"Bring a can of insect repellent which will not only keep the mosquitoes away, but also can be sprayed onto your food to improve the taste".

Sadjevcis "café caters for the city’s academics and intelligentsia and, as a consequence, is generally empty".

Space Technology – "Molvanian scientists designed and built the first space-craft to be fuelled by refined mineral turpentine. Tragically, Splutfab I exploded on launch killing its entire crew and stripping paint from buildings within a 5km radius. Splutfab II was more successful and in 1963, Molvania became the first nation to successfully land a man on Poland".

Entertainment – In the Workers’ Theatre, the acoustics were said to be "…so good that one could whisper on stage and be clearly heard in the Information Ministry building across the street".

Statues – The statue of Helmzlog III, the Liberator of Lutenblag is holding aloft a sword and what was for years assumed to be a shield, but has recently turned out – on closer examination – to be the grille of a Fiat 350".

Science – Jzeovak Tkermec was a brilliant scientist. "In 1987 he succeeded in grafting a human ear onto a mouse. but his greatest breakthrough came a year later when he successfully managed to graft a mouse onto a human ear".

Public conveniences – Lutenblag has the prototype of the world’s first and only female urinal. Installed in 1896, "It still operates, although first-time users are advised to bring a change of shoes".

In the unique mountain region towering above the River Fiztula, "… you can trek the famous Valentinji Promendji (‘Lover’s Walk’) amidst the beauty of forested slopes, covered in cyclamen, heather, gorse, and used prophylactics".

Hotels – The Zibberrief Hotjl, like its owner’s teeth, has undergone extensive renovation, and most rooms offer TV and private bathrooms".

"The slightly drab décor of the rooms is brightened up by the presence of pot plants and a variety of colourful bathroom mould".

"Djormi’s has been closed down by authorities after guests reported finding video cameras hidden in the womens’ shower facilities. The owner, the irrepressible Viktor Djormi, originally denied all knowledge, then insisted the cameras were there for security to prevent soap and towel theft. The matter is still before the courts where a full bench of judges are now into their second year of viewing the taped evidence".

-Sasava is a city often compared to Paris, "not so much for its culture or architecture but the fact that it is overcrowded and covered in dog droppings".

- "… a number of events are planned including open-air concerts, fireworks displays and a small-pox eradication campaign".

- The Zcejet Kcev is a chalet that has a "..comfortable, fresh-air feeling – due in part to the fact that a large chunk of its roof is missing".

- "No one spends much time in Sasava without being offered a glass of biljgum, the locally brewed brandy. This highly scented, thick liqueur is quite unlike anything you’ve ever tasted – unless you inadvertently swallowed fabric conditioner – and is generally offered at the end of a meal as a means of prompting the guests to leave".

- Svateho is a trendy eatery. "Choose from a menu of smoked pastries, smoked sandwiches, and smoked, smoked salmon, as well as some local specialties such as hvarus mecac (sheep’s scrotum and rice)".

- In Fzovrezec Steak Cave, "… patrons have the opportunity of hearing local musicians play the zamfir, described by one visitor as a cross between a gypsy violin and a rusty car door".

- The old city of Sasava is not large, and if you get an early start you can complete a leisurely walking tour of all its highlights in a day, allowing plenty of time for meals and getting mugged".

-Tick bites can get infected and "… the sufferer may experience fever, headache, extreme fatigue and neck stiffness, which are – coincidentally – also the symptoms of a night listening to the Sasava Symphony Orchestra".

- at the Tleojczeks vineyards, there are "…scores of visitors lined up at the wooden bar, quaffing mouthfuls of wine and spitting it out into a large centrally-placed spittoon. For those on a tight budget it is possible to wait outside and sample the contents of the spittoon for a slightly reduced cost".

-"The best way to see the Old Town is on foot, preferably your own, although there are beggars based at the railway station who offer a piggy-back service".

- there is a baby-sitter service. "all their nannies are trained in first-aid and hand-to-hand combat".

- Mid-range dining can be had at the Mdejazcic, where you can feast on such local delicacies as igormzca (meat roasted on a spit) and nzemji (meat roasted in spit)".

- In the Gyrorik Art Gallery, restoration of a suspected Rembrandt was begun by the Curator Mzecjenj. The outer layer of the painting was delicately stripped away. The work took almost 16 months and eventually revealed nothing underneath. … all that remained of value was the frame, which now holds a copy of mr. Mzecjenj’s letter of resignation".

-Donkey-handlers can be hired for rides. "A word of warning- some visitors have reported being kicked and even bitten by these ill-tempered beasts and so care should be exercised. Fortunately the donkeys themselves are quite placid".

-At Sjavtzas, "the rooms are plain and simple with no real surprises apart from the odd frog in the bidet, (the owner tells us that they are edible). and there’s a pleasant courtyard out the back where guests can hang washing or themselves, depending on their mood".

- "One of the most fascinating items on display is the zmittenblag, a fearsome jagged sword, used by palace officials from the early 14th century onwards for performing circumcisions and trimming hedges".

-In Vajana, "diners my bring their own wine but should expect to either pay a 20 % corkage fee or, alternatively, allow the waiter to drink 20 % of the bottle".

In Vajana, a good budget option is Olga’s, a small private hostel run by the feisty Olga. "…there’s space to chill out in a shady terrace garden, that, like the owner’s armpits, is delightfully overgrown".

Motoring . Drivers are "..strongly advised to contact the Vajana Police Headquarters and leave details of when you are planning to set off, when you expect to arrive and – in the event of trouble – whether you’d like your remains to be buried or cremated".

-In Lake Vjaza, "for a small tip your captain will launch into a traditional folk song. For an additional tip, he’ll stop".

- there are numerous sandy beaches around Lake Vajana….. "Naturally enough, the entire area is very popular with nudists, and several stretches of shoreline are designated ‘clothes free’. Binoculars are available for hire at most nearby shops".


Disclaimer: This writer declares that he has no stake in this book; he might however seek appointment as Honorary Consul for Molvania in Sri Lanka


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