Bits of Chișinău

Jim Carey in “Bruce Almighty”, but dubbed in Russian. And the bus didn’t even get out of Bucharest yet. I have a feeling that this weekend will be interesting.

The people laughed at the jokes, though. Most of them. Well…that part, where a monkey comes out of a bully’s ass, is funny no matter the language.

 

It’s boring to refresh my phone every now and then to check the internet. I’m glad that I don’t use a smartphone anymore. What would be the benefit? In a 10 hours bus ride, the battery would die. Twice or thrice.

I have a book with me. “Business design”. That would close my eyes. But the lights are off. The movie now is annoying. Something with loud and annoying penguins. I just want to sleep. Somehow. But there’s not enough leg space. In the ad, they said there would be plenty. One shouldn’t trust ads for the cheapest product/service available.

Why did I drink that 7 PM coffee?

First stop. Second stop. Third stop. Night. Somewhere in the nowhere. Just gas stations. Connected by roads, and roads connecting cities. No person connected to the other. In lines for the bathroom. In circles smoking outside. The rest just waiting in and around the bus. Next time I’ll definitely take the train. At least I can move. And I don’t have to see a movie that I don’t want to see anyway.

Did I manage to sleep somehow? Or did I just closed my eyes for hours and thought about the most random stuff possible until I bored myself to death? Either way. Outside is raining. I’m glad that I have a chance to use that rain jacket.

The dude next to me said that we passed the Central Station. Not cool. The driver says that we didn’t. Cool. Locals not knowing their territory.

I forgot the bottle of water. Who’s thirsty at 6 AM on a raining morning anyway? But I did take the pretzels.

Here I am. It’s cold. Take the luggage. The backpack, the trolley, the pretzels. Go to the bus shelter. This English rain won’t stop anytime soon. Take the jacket out of the trolley. Ask a random fellow if this is the Central Station. It is. Check the map. Small talk and figure out which is the way to the hostel. Good. It’s walking distance from here. Darn running shoes. They are not waterproof at all. On the contrary.

An ATM. Out of service. Shit. No Moldavian money yet. That has to wait. A 24 x 7 cafè. With people inside. Eating stuff and drinking coffee. It will be my turn, soon enough.

Big crossroad. What’s on the map? Ok. Cross diagonally, through the underground tunnel. I like urban tunnels. This one, in particular, looks like a whole marketplace under the streets. I bet it will be so crowded in a couple of hours. But, for now, it’s only me.

Alright now. Turn left. Now right. Check for the grey gates. Lev Tolstoi No. 52. Doesn’t mention anything about grey gates with yellow edges. But the doors to the courtyard are open. Ok. This must be the place indeed. I see the name of the hostel written on that board hanging in the tree. I imagined I will arrive later. I bet nobody is awake now, except maybe that black cat in the box. Lucky me that I am not superstitious.

Let’s wake up somebody. Ringing bell time. There’s a bed just waiting for me in there. I know it! Poor her. She opened the door, told me to pick whatever bed I want, that we will be talking later, and she crawled back to her room.

Zzzz…

People talking. What time is it? Alright, that’s a 3-4 hour sleep. Should be enough for the day. Let’s introduce ourselves. Some small talk. Bingo! I hear  somebody saying coffee? I did! This would be a perfect morning if only that rain would stop. Oh well. Taking pictures in the rain is awesome they said. Or the pictures took during the rain are awesome. Why do I have only my running shoes? It seems that I’ll continue working on my book today.

There’s a big guy coming down the stairs. Frank. American. Nebraska. Awesome. Trio small talk now.What’s to be seen and done in Chisinau?

The rain stopped. Finally. Each of us received a map from Olga and now we were on our way. First we grabbed another coffee and some breakfast at Safran Cafè. Nice place, good service. Already feels weird to see restaurants where they smoke inside. In Romania, we stopped doing that. For now. We are not quite decided yet. Is it a good thing or a bad thing, that the law has changed? Doesn’t matter that much if you ask me.

Central Market. Awesome place. They have everything there. And it’s big. Crowded. Chaotic. Like a maze. But with a bazaar feeling added to it. You hear Russian and Romanian. Frank knows the words. But just the Russian ones.

He wanted food. I wanted pictures and sightseeing. We had to split our ways for now. He went back to the hostel. In the meantime, I went west.

Boulevard Stefan The Great. This seems to be the main road. The city centre is not that big, and in a couple of hours, I checked some of the main things marked on the tourist map.

Town Hall, Triumphal Arch, Cathedral Park, Cathedral of Christ’s Nativity, Stefan The Great Central Park, The Parliament, Presidential Palace, Capitoline Wolf next to The National Museum of History, Government House, National Palace, National Theatre of Opera and Ballet Maria Blesu, Mihai Eminescu National Theatre, and the surroundings.

 

The Triumphal Arch. I imagined it’s slightly bigger. But I like how that big flag looks inside the arch. And how  the arch it’s positioned in axis with The Government House, The Cathedral Park, and Grigore Vieru Boulevard.

Next to the Cathedral there’s a big chess board. And people were playing. It was about the end of the game. After a lot of thinking and just a couple of moves, the black king has been defeated. He was cornered by a pawn, a knight, and the white king.

The sun was out. Enough to create some interesting shadows, but then the clouds cornered him again. It went like that throughout the day. The shadow moments were interesting. The rest of them were dull. By the time the younger challenger arranged the pieces on the chessboard, the shadows went backstage.

Stefan cel Mare Central Park. Here is an abandoned building. It was a cafè. And it has been abandoned for quite some time. The rust, the dirt, the spoiled finishings, the vegetation here and there, the broken tiles, and how people are just passing by. I was curious to see how the interior looked like. I climbed the stairs, but the door was locked. I googled it. Apparently, the plan is to “honor” that spot with a luxury hotel. Taller than the Parliament. But it’s not decided yet. Or at least that’s what a 2015 article said.

In front of the Parliament, people are protesting. Patiently. They have tents outside. I’ve never seen styrofoam used both as insulation and beds in tents before. And no people around. Just a couple of guards. Perhaps the rest were inside the tents. Who is protesting Friday at 3 PM?

On the other side of the boulevard, there’s the Parliament Palace. Surrounded by some metal panels. From far I’ve seen the stairs and they are in bad shape. I guess they are working on the site around the building, which looks to be in good shape.

Plenty of things left for tomorrow.

On the map, it was mentioned that I will receive a gift if I take a picture of 7 landmarks. I will never find out what the gift was. The gift shop wasn’t where the map said it would be. At least everything else was in the right spot.

The map also says Chisinau it’s one of the greenest cities in Europe. I’ll have plenty of time to check that tomorrow. If the weather won’t play any tricks on me again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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