Welcome to Moldova ! It's the small country chilling quietly between Romania and Ukraine. A country you probably didn't know existed, but, it certainly does exist! Fact. And if you want to get up to speed with all things Moldovan, you might want to give the Moldova Ukulele Road Trips Podcast a little listen. It's got great guests, songs and 'sort of reliable' fun facts. Or you can come get a first hand experience yourself, traveling through its calm and authentic countryside before you make it to the capital Chisinau.
Above, a few photos from Chisinau, and from the quiet Moldovan countryside.
I arrived in Moldova just in time for the "Limba noastră" public holiday, which is a celebration of the Romanian language as part of the Moldovan identity. Which was a bit confusing as I had been hearing a fair amount of Russian in the city. The traditional Romanian/Moldovan music was great fun though, and I thought you might enjoy a small slice of said fun.
However, as you spend time here, you slowly understand how complex the situation of today's Moldova is. Following roughly 200 years of Russian domination, the people, as well as the languages have mixed, and it is not uncommon to hear Romanian and Russian entangled in the same conversations, even sentences. I might point you here to the direction of the UkuRT Podcast's guests Serghei and Max, who give a much better account of this issue than I can, being only a curious foreign backpacker.
But another event coinciding with my first week here was the start of large protests against corruption and the dire political situation, at the week-end. To get to the point, the corruption has attained such levels, that over a billion (billion!) dollars have vanished from the state's treasury in recent years. Issues with which a lot of people are much more concerned with than with a language divide. Tents of protesters still cover the Main Square as I type this post, two weeks later. Spending time there, I met Liviu, the young man who started this whole movement for justice and transparency, alone, back in February 2015. This desire for change culminates now in daily protests, concerts and speeches right in front of the Parliament building.
The music is an integral part of the protest and joins the strong emotions of the Moldovans gathered every day on the square. A young musician, Patrick, was kind enough to play "Taticul meu e la Razboi" again when I requested it to him, having heard him once before. A truly moving song by Teodor Neagra on war and grief.
You can also get a little feel of the nights around the tents (and a bit of ukulele music) in this short report by TV Jurnal.