Sunday morning, after a leisurely breakfast, I decided to go to the market to get some food for the week. I walked past the headquarters for the Popular Christian Democratic Party, right across the street from my house.
I walk a few blocks down my quiet street (Nicolai Iorga) then through the park in the center of the city.
At the fountain in the center of the park, children rent battery-powered cars to drive.
Brides always come to get their pictures taken in front of Stefan Cel Mare ("The Great"), one of the first kings of Moldova.
Then I cross Stefan Cel Mare Blvd., Chisinau's main street, and walk past the Orthodox cathedral.
Continuing down Stefan Cel Mare I pass many kiosks where you can buy magazines, Coke, ice cream.
Just outside the market are lines of women trying to sell clothes.
There are plenty of places to exchange my dollars for Moldovan lei (13.65 lei to the dollar) or a wide range of other currencies. Most of them are open on Sundays though the banks are closed.
As I enter the market I find racks of fresh bread.
Many of the booths sell imported fruit and other products Americans don't see at farmers markets. Most of the prices are marked and are not negotiated.
Other booths sell the produce of local farmers ...
.. and local fishermen
I can also buy carbonated water either "with syrup" or without, if I don't mind drinking from a glass that doesn't seem to be washed very thoroughly.
With my arms full of groceries, I decide that it is too far to walk home. One alternative is to take the trolley bus for 6 cents.
But I choose to spend an extra dime and take the mini-bus. It follows the same route as the trolley bus but will stop whenever a passenger wants to get on or off.
After I put away my groceries, I watched a bit of a World Cup soccer match (called "futbol" here). I missed many of the subtelties of the match both because my understanding of soccer is rudimentary and because I had trouble following the commentary in Romanian.
Then I went for a short bike ride to a lake not far from the center of the city.
Some people swim at a beach, though the teenagers prefer the concrete wharf so they can dive into the water.
Others go fishing, with rods or with nets for very small fish.