Saturday, June 1. The first day of summer.

And yesterday was the last day of school. Celebrations of "Children's Day" are going on all over the city. I saw demonstrations of handicrafts and artwork that school children had made. On one sidewalk the area had been divided into five foot squares and children had been given colored chalk and invited to decorate. It looked as though they would judge the artwork and award prizes. Around the corner was a stage with children singing and dancing Moldovan folk songs. Then there was a table set up for arm wrestling contests. Nearby was a different game: each boy wore a judo belt. They started in the middle, each holding the other's belt and it was a two-person tug of war to pull the other to your side of the mat.

At the other end of Stefan Cel Mare Street was a rock concert. Not far away was a wrestling contest. The winner in the younger division (maybe 10 years old) received a live rabbit for his prize. The junior high winner got a live chicken. And the top three got bags of chocolates. I didn't realize today was a special day, so I didn't bring my camera. I just happened upon these events as I went to the market to buy some delicious sweet cherries and strawberries, new potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions and chicken for barbecueing on the gas grill I brought from home.

I went to a folklore concert in the afternoon. The band was professional but they had a soloist for each song. Many were children. Some sang, some played pipes, recorder, violin, clarinet. All soloists received bouquets when they finished.

Sunday, June 2. Office picnic.

Sunday morning we went with our local staff, spouses and children to Vadul lui Voda (The King's Ford) on the Nistru River for a picnic. First we took a relaxing ride on a boat down the river between Moldova and its breakaway province Transnistria.

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We passed a hand-powered ferry. A cable went across the river, and the ferry-master pulled the boat across.

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After the picnic we went to a "rest base" owned by a taxi company for their employees but since they were not using it today they happily rented it to us. Some of our group skipped the boat ride to ensure that the pork and chicken shashlik were perfectly barbecued.


Moldovans don't really like to rough it when they have picnics. So many people sat inside to eat the delicious food.


But the table wasn't big enough so others, including all the foreigners, happily ate outside.


After lunch it was time to relax.

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