Weird and Wacky in Chisinau

I’ve been living in Chisinau for almost three months now, and I thought that it would be fun to share some of the interesting venues and events that I’ve been to/attended so far. 

Erudit Café: I was introduced to Erudit Café a month ago by a peace corp volunteer, and I really enjoy its relaxed atmosphere. It is a cozy venue where customers come in and play board games while enjoying a drink. This cafe doubles as a board game shop, and you can buy (or just play) games that come from all over the world. Side note: they also have Cards Against Humanity! 

Morj at Art Labyrinth

Art Labyrinth: Art Labyrinth is a popular hangout spot with the international volunteers. It is a cultural center which hosts “various events, concerts, exhibitions, classes, workshops, working tea and vegetarian club.” So far at Art Lab I’ve attended an African Dance class, watched two movies (in English with Russian subtitles), been to a fundraiser/swap meet for a local dog shelter, and watched a Ukrainian folk band perform. It’s truly a multipurpose space, and if I am being  honest, it is a place unlike any I’ve ever seen. It also, oddly enough, has a considerable amount of Japanese calligraphy hanging in its various rooms.

International Cat Show: About a month ago I received a phone call from my mentors, asking if I wanted to go to a “cat exhibition” with them. I was curious, and so an hour later off we went. Well, it turns out that a cat exhibition is exactly what it sounds like. Displayed in a large expo hall were award-winning cats from all over the world. From what I could gather from the information sheets, these cats had won prizes in categories judging their breeding. Some of the cats also seemed to be judged on their size. I have never seen cats that big before! Some were even the size of large spaniels!

Earth Hour: Last Saturday I went to the Chisinau Botanical Gardens with another volunteer to celebrate Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet, and is organised by WWF. Engaging a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues, Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement.

Besides total darkness (!), we got to see some people from Art Lab performing with fire (blowing fire, juggling, dancing with it…), as well as a military band play Moldovan folk music. In fact, what with the band and their colleagues (who I suspect were required to attend, as everyone was in official uniform), nearly 1/2 of the audience seemed to be some sort of military personnel. The other 1/2 consisted of families with small children, people in their 20s, and a lot of TV reporters. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, and at the end we all joined to dance the Moldovan Hora! All in all a good way to promote environmental awareness and spend an hour without electricity.


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