If you take out the initial shock value of hearing about the loss of Pavel, yesterday was a great day and definitely one to go in the record books.
I woke up at 6am after a very restless night of sleeping. But that didn't seem to stop me because I got dressed and headed to Peace Corps to get the day started (even though the rest of the city was still sleeping). I hung out at Peace Corps for a bit before I got restless and decided to go for a walk. Just as I was walking out the door I got the phone call. The need for the walk couldn't have come at a better time. I decided to leave my camera behind because I didn't want to be distracted with looking for things to photograph.... I just wanted to go.
I called my friends Nick and Kelsey and they said they would meet me in an hour for some tea/coffee/something. While I was waiting for them I headed to the art piata to relax and enjoy my favorite location in Chisinau. Plus, I knew that due to the beauty of the day there would be many more artists than usual and I was excited to see who had been hibernating in the winter. I found Nadeja who is a woman I had photographed back in the fall. She had told me not to forget her because she said many Americans ask to take her picture and they say they will return but they never do. So, even though I did not have a print for her, I wanted to let her know I hadn't forgotten. And neither had she. She remembered my village and some information about me. After talking for sone time I told her I was hungry and I was going to go to the store and get some food. She ended up leading me to a buffet style restaurant and hollering at me when I went in the wrong direction.... It wasn't the best food I have ever had, but, as she said, it has a bathroom.
After that Kelsey and Nick arrived. We were on a hunt for an outdoor patio to grab (another) bite to eat and some coffee or tea. Nick had an idea in mind but couldn't exactly remember where it was. I the midst of searching we came across some vendors set up on a street selling.... Vintage film cameras. I about fell over backwards because I was so excited. Unfortunately they only spoke Russian so it was hard to communicate, but I found a Kiev4 which was a brand if a camera I had been looking for. They were made in Russia way back when and are no longer produced but, if you get a good one, they take quality photos. There was another one I wanted more but they didn't have it, so I settled for this one for 250 lei to experiment. The other one I wanted was 200 UsD. I will keep looking :) Now I know they are there every Saturday and I can't wait to go back to see what I can find (and purchase film because I forgot that.. minor detail).
We finally found a restaurant with a patio and sat outside to enjoy our meal. Tasty tasty tasty. Then we went back to the art piata and ran in to our friends Nancy and Tony (just as we were talking about them and a painting they had purchased in the past). They then joined us for a walk through the park (where the guys enjoyed a couple of beers they bought from a street vendor and drank in the park because you can do that in Moldova). The cold front that had been predicted started coming in rather quickly so we headed to a photo exhibition I had heard about that was free and included wine, food, and concerts. My favorite things all in one!
When we arrived to the location it looked like nothing more than another abandoned building.... And that's exactly what it was. The photos were kind of impressive, but whatI liked most was the ambiance if it all. Everyone was talking to people whether they knew them or not, smart people brought their cameras and video cameras, and the music was great. There were rooms all over the place, including one that looked like at one time it was a stage and there was tiered seating. Another room has letters from an old printing press, and another had old doors that were hand carved. Paint was peeling off of the walls and the floor was dusty but it didn't matter... Because it was awesome. Then, as you followed the signs to the WC you would cross through a small courtyard where people were gathered, sitting on chairs, enjoying their cigarettes and the discussion. Then there was another short passageway that led to another set of rooms (where empty cages sat that looked like snakes were once in them!), before we finally got to the back.... Which we thought led to the WC. But there was still one more passageway to get there... And a park to cross. But in this park were many cages of beautiful birds: peacocks, different kinds of pigeons and doves, and pheasants. The colors were so beautiful against the gray, chilly, windy weather.
Then, although I wanted to enjoy more music, drinks, and snacks, it was unfortunately time to go. But I so hope to be able to get back to that space and maybe set up my own exhibition and include the photos my students take! Hmm... Ideas!!