Walking around the back streets of Chisinau at night is not for pussies …there’s too many stray dogs! (get it?) …it’s not for wimps though, or for people with vivid imaginations. I mean, I don’t want to bash Moldova, I like it here but, even the most loyal Moldovan nationalist would have to agree – the infrastructure here is in a mess. There’s not much street lighting, the footpaths are destroyed and occasionally manhole covers are missing too. Walking home tonight I fell over three times, was attacked by four stray dogs and fell into three manholes. It puts hairs on your chest navigating these paths.
In fact, look out of any window in Moldova and you’ll see many reasons to protest however, talking to the people I’ve met it’s clear to see – there’s nothing rotten about them. Populations should definitely not be judged by their surroundings. Actually, it occurred to me this evening that, this is probably the biggest tragedy of the political mess here in Moldova – there’s a whole generation of smart, educated, loyal, funny, talented and overwhelmingly honest people who could do so much with this country.
Anyway, my flat is in downtown Chisinau on a road called Grigore Ureche street which runs parallel with the single most important road in Moldova – Stefan Cel Mare. Stefan is Mr Moldova and despite a tendency for brutal murder of invading Turks and Tartars – he was a “remarkable historic personality, fearless commander of armies and a bright diplomat”. He’s highly admired in MD where “his merits for this country cannot be doubted”. I think Grigore is a poet. Anyway, the flat is beautiful, in fact a little too beautiful (and big) for me but still it makes a change from being in a hostel and I can walk round naked without upsetting people …not that I do, but if I wanted too.
Amusingly, my Moldovan toilet, like the last time I visited, comes complete with a hand written nonsense notice. Last time the sign asked me not to “Flash the toilet paper” and this time it reads “push hard but gently”. Work that out.
So, as I said previously, after two nights of almost no sleep on those night trains – I spent Saturday with a headache, lost my sunglasses, rediscovered my bearings and then slept… only until 8pm though because, Saturday night in Chisinau is party night and naturally – I had to check the bright lights and loud noises of Chisinau’s hedonistic night spots. I can confirm that they are a) bright b) loud c) hedonistic. Taxi drivers still believe that god (not sensible driving) will save them.
On Sunday, I rediscovered Chisinau with a hangover, ate the most awful meat(?) pie in “Tari Bari” and watched as various desperate guys tried to seduce beautiful Moldovan girls. The first guy, a frustrated looking guy in a suit tried (unsuccessfully) a ‘number on a napkin’ approach with the girl on the table opposite me and the second guy simply pleaded until the girl in MacDonalds got annoyed. Unfortunately, it seems to be a one-way thing because I sat waiting but no Moldovan beauty came to harass me.
On Sunday evening I walked around the burnt-out Parliament building and the semi-destroyed President’s office then ate salad and fixed the worlds problems with Oxana in ‘Passion Bar’.