- Driving outside of Chisinau resembles a video game: How many potholes can you avoid? Bonus points for passing that swerving marshrutka! Double points for not getting pulled over by the police!!
The roads are partly bad and partly very bad. It's not exactly relaxing driving and I have started doing what everybody else does: driving slalom around the potholes. More often than not that takes you on the oncoming lane but as long as there is no oncoming traffic, you're fine. Hm, maybe it's really more like an Olympic winter discipline, now that I think about it, only you don't get medals. We took a trip yesterday that should have taken half an hour on normal roads but did in fact take us about an hour. But we got there, so there's that.
The street repair is ongoing but not exactly up to par - someone out there loves fixes that go perpendicular to the road, like so many lines down the road. Many lines - 20, 30, 40. The kids open their mouths and say, "Aaaaaaaaaaaah" and they make this stutter-sound that you normally get when you pound them on their backs. They think it's ridiculously funny, and that the Moldovans need to fix their roads if they want to get into the EU.
- EU. Every EU citizen will shudder at the thought but Moldova is totally geared towards joining the EU. There are local elections coming up, you see, and the slogan of one of the parties is "Towards a brighter future, towards the EU!" Let's say, it's a piece of work.
- Shopping. Mostly, the shopping is good. Fresh produce is a bit of a problem but that is supposed to get better with the coming growing/harvesting season. I'm a bit disgruntled that I forgot to bring spinach, lettuce and kale seeds - they would grow nicely here and we'd have fresh leafy greens.
A thing to remember, always, when shopping in countries like this is that when you find a product you like and will use, get as much as there is. Those crackers they kids love? I bought the three boxes they had in the supermarket in the first week and haven't seen them since. It's a bit erratic what you get and what you don't get. All the supermarkets have an astounding array of Asian foodstuffs; sushi supplies, miso dark and light, teriyaki sauce in five different varieties, three dozen different kinds of Asian noodles. It's quite remarkable, especially since I haven't seen a single Asian face since we got here. I can't find marshmellows, though, or food coloring. (I need those for some science experiements.)
A lot of the products are Russian. I'm a bit careful with Russian foods ever since our bad experience with the milk. I've also been careful with frozen stuff. Speaking of which: my kids love frozen peas and frozen raspberries, and also fishsticks. In our local supermarket, the Greenhills, there are large bins in the freezer which hold loose peas, raspberries, and yes, fishsticks. I've gotten the raspberries (and picked out the odd pea before mashing them up for a homemade ice cream) but I can't quite bring myself to get the fishsticks. I admit it seems practical to buy as many sticks as you need but somehow it also seems so... not clean? I think of broken freezing chains and all that. Not so bad with fruit but really bad with fish. Let's have fishsticks when we are in Germany in July, then.
I think that's it for today. I need to teach some kids now.