Sunday, February 12, 2006

Chisinau Chronicle

I’m currently in Chisinau, capital city of the Republic of Moldova. Moldova is a former soviet republic which became independent in 1989. It lies between Romania and Ukraine, near the Black Sea but without any coast. The official Moldovan language is Romanian, but Russian is still regularly used. I didn’t know much more about Moldova, apart from the things I’ve learned from my Moldovan friends and colleagues. I concretely knew about the good wine and had heard about the beautiful women. Having arrived yesterday in the afternoon, I haven’t had too much time yet to try the wine… but as we’re having the meeting at the State University I’ve already confirmed the rumors about the beauty of women!

It’s quite cold, even though it is nothing that can be compared to what I’ve recently experienced in Finland. Temperature must be around -5°C, but Chisinau is completely covered by snow because it’s been heavily snowing since yesterday evening. In one hand, it is very beautiful, but I have to confess that it is also a bit annoying to have to walk in the snow and the dirty mud accumulated all over the roads. Not to mention that I don’t have any kind of proper clothes or shoes for this kind of weather.

In a more general level, Moldova is quite different from any place I’ve been before… at least in Europe! It is definitely one of the least developed European countries, which also goes to say that it seems quite unbalanced. In a way, Chisinau reminds me of some of the African capitals I’ve visited: long and wide avenues with some quite big and impressing buildings (normally belonging to the governing bodies) and, side-by-side, obvious signs of extreme poverty. Not to mention the mini buses full of people! Of course, Moldova kept some of the positive things of the former soviet regime (e.g. the investment in education), but it is pretty obvious that it also kept some of its negative sides, as for example the bureaucracy and the excessive power detained by the ruling political class. It shouldn’t therefore come as a surprise to anybody to know that the current ruling party in Moldova is… the Communist!

The best thing in Moldova is, however, the hospitality of the people. As it very often happens in poor countries, people are humble and friendly and they are always ready to do whatever it takes to make foreigners’ visit pleasant. And I have to say that, at least for now, they are really achieving it! On the top of everything, I also have to confess that I feel very happy – and almost proud – of the fact that I can understand the language to a very high extent. It gives a nice sense of familiarity that definitely helps to make me feel at ease and enjoy my stay!

Chisinau, February 10, 2006, 4.15pm (EET)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent, love it! » » »

3:09 PM  

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