Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tornadoes and other countries

Off to Soroca in the north of Moldova today. Leaving Chisinau on the very nice road to Soroca, I am startled to see a road sign to Odessa showing a distance of only 175 km. Moldova is really quite far south, isn't it? My suggestion to go to Odessa instead is not taken up. I wonder if there is a train to Odessa? Those steps? Potemkin, or is that the villages?

It's a city of formerly 40,000 inhabitants, but now only has 29,000, it is estimated, what with having no work. Interestingly, the richest people in the city are the Roma residents, whose richly ornamented houses overlook all other houses in the city. I am told that in Moldova the Roma are mostly settled (but so they are, actually, in most other countries?? - but usually their settlements are dumps) and that they are amongst the richer part of the population. Good for them!

After work we climbed, no actually, we drove to a monument at the edge of town, it's a tower in the form of a giant candle, supposed to be a national symbol, put up by the communist government. No-one seems to know what it is a symbol of....

From it, you have a stunning view over the ???? river, and across the river lies Ukraine. Wow! The village we saw in Ukraine looked very organised, with neat gardens, good houses, but pretty much at the end of the place. Talking of very organised - I was amazed by the huge fields I saw in Moldova. The explanation I got for this was rather muddled and I'm not convinced. Basically the land was privatised afte de-communisation - and then? This happened everywhere; in Poland the strips of land are the size of Germans' beach towels, and even in Lithuania they are quite small, though not as intensively farmed as in Poland. When the Scandinavians came to Lithuania after independence, talking about farmers' cooperatives, the Lithuanian farmers threw up their hands in horror - 'we are not having that again!'. So how have the Moldovan farmers managed to organise these huge fields? In one case I even saw a huge modern combine harvester, though there were also plenty of horses and carts on the roads.

On the way back, idly glancing across some fields, I suddenly spotted a little tornado whistling along quietly. It was too little to pick us up - we met it on the road - but it was interesting to watch it picking up little bits and pieces and swirling them through the air.

At home, in the evening, the piano tuner appeared - it was the fastest tune I've ever seen (not that I have seen any, but I thought it would take a few hours). Fairly painful to listen to, but now the notes are in tune. Not all of them work well...but for me it's enough. And the landlord even paid for it - wasn't that nice?

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varske said...

Have you seen the reports of the sellout of President Voronin of Moldova to Russia?


It deals with the Transdniestria problem by taking both of them back inside the Russian sphere of influence and ending Moldova's aims of joining Europe. Seems pretty grim.
Does anyone there know it's happening?