I discovered that I was staying with Moldovan, and perhaps world, celebrities. My hosts, Tudor and Lidia, more famously known as Boonikul (grandfather) and Boonika (grandmother) participated in the 2005 Eurovision contest. The group, Zdob si Zdub, got to the semifinals placing 5th or 6th in the competition that year. The musicians are/were Tudor's students. Lidia showed me photos of many of the celebrities who have made the pilgrimage south to visit them: Michael Palin, a former president of Moldova, and other faces/names I do not know.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh7ENLO2CNQ featuring Boonika. It is hilarious and so much fun!
Tudor (Boonikul) makes and repairs drums, and he continues to teach music.
It is duckling season and everywhere we walked yesterday we saw ducklings with their mothers and also human duck sitters to make sure the ducklings and ducks stay safe. Lidia and Tudor cleverly tied the leg of the mother duck to a pole because the ducklings will stay wherever she is.
At breakfast, Tudor opened a bottle of cognac and poured Lidia a small glass. She drank it with one go and then he poured me some which I also drank in one gulp. Good thing I was riding in a boat today instead of hiking!
With breakfast finished Nelea arrived to transport me to the Lower Prut Floodplain. Nelea and I got into one of the wooden boats with our boatman and Leonid rowed the other boat with local guide Veonika. Veonika is the Chief of Scientists at the Lower Prut Floodplain Reservation.
In some areas along the Prut River we were able to take short walks on the exposed land, but mostly I sat on the boat's bow and enjoyed the ride, scenery, and sun. The Prut River serves as the border between Romania and Moldova.
We stopped for lunch under the willow trees. Interestingly, the willows were weeping drops of water from their leaves--shedding the excess water they had absorbed. All around us insects, birds, and frogs were chirping, trilling, whistling, singing in unison with the sound level matching that of a not too distant jet engine. There were bird soloists like the cuckoo and others whose voices rose above the chorus. We saw swans, pelicans swirling overhead, egrets, seagulls, herons. As we boated, frogs jumped from their grassy carpets into the river, and I could see them swimming below the water's surface.
Almost six hours later we returned to our starting point and the day on the water was over. Back at Tudor and Lidia's rural pension, they played music and sang for us, we had an early dinner, and then drove back to Chisinau.
|Grandma Beats the Drum|