A police car and a screaming siren –
A pneumatic drill and ripped up concrete –
A baby wailing and stray dog howling –
The screech of brakes and lamp light blinking –
“That’s Entertainment” and it’s a pretty good description of Chisinau too BUT, that’s not the only entertainment you’ll find in Moldova.
Despite the problems that exist in this small and relatively new republic – I had a suspicion I’d love this place and I did. OK, culture vultures won’t find much to photograph and boast about but then, I’ve never been into magnificent churches and over-sized monuments.
It’s small, it has it’s problems (largely thanks years of Soviet mismanagement) and the Eastern part has decided to go-it-alone but, put this aside, grab yourself a Chisinau beer and start talking to the locals and you’ll have a great time.
Once we were settled in our flat (along with an American (Kevin), a Swiss guy (Michael), a Welshman, a French guy (Johan), Sara (an English girl) a dutch guy (who I lost during a night out – and never saw again) and a German guy called Tossten) – we hit the town. I will remember Moldova (and Transdniestr) for the following things…
Buses that cost 4 pence
The man wearing a cabbage leaf as a hat (apparently this is not unusual)
People who talk with high voices (a Russian thing) and say ‘excuse me’ when they don’t have what you want and ‘good luck’ when you leave.
Cash machines that don’t work with any card that has a ‘chip’
Girls that dance with themselves in the mirror in strange Sunday night discos
Eating cucumber with honey!! (try it – it’s nice and not unusual for Moldovans who “like to experiment with taste combinations”)
Girls in high-heels and dresses to impress 24-7
Common parents. You get these in Moldova when you get married. They are very important and should be visited first during important holidays (Christmas etc)
The breakaway region of Trandniestr – a non-recognized (therefore non-existant) country that does exist and resembles Moldova but in Cyrillic. Luckily for me the border guards wanted to marry Ajda and decided to like me. I was mildly concerned when he laughed at my name and called me ‘big man’ but I think he was joking.
…and last but not least the people. That is, almost all the people we met in Moldova. In particular the ‘shoe man’, Marisha, Natasha, the girl who worked in the bar (and told me how to find shoe-man) and most importantly Cristina and Dumitru. They were all great and I’ll write about them all when I have time as they all deserve a mention – however I have 10 minutes to get back to our hotel and 40 minutes to be the other-side of town.
Odessa is a cool city, full of people and today we walked up the famous Potemkin steps, explored town and failed (annoyingly) to book ourselves on the ferry to Istanbul tomorrow.
You can see a selection of pictures HERE
Love from the black sea