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Burnt hair and beans

Step off Stefan cel Mare into another world – the Piata Centralã – which opened its doors (or its gates) in 1994 and since then has been a veritable hive of activity. You can buy just about anything here  – from mohair shawls to plastic sheets and tweezers. And, while there’s a fair amount of genuine tat, there are plenty of good bargains to be found – if you have the time and the inclination to root around. Or, as in my case, you couldn’t find your way out of a paper bag on a good day and end up wandering for hours trying to find a way out.

I found this fruit – and have absolutely no idea what it is. Any ideas? The seeds taste a little like cranberries. Before you buy, they cut a hole in the skin so that you can see the seeds (I assume to see if they’re ripe) and then you can flower them to eat. Am not quite sure whether you eat the white pith or not, but so far, I’m alive. Really tasty stuff, if a little messy. Am glad that the carpet in my hotel room has a little bit of red running through it:-)

With acres and acres of the usual fruit and veg, there are also bags and bags of beans and pulses and seeds. Each neatly labelled … in Moldavan. Still sore at being snapped at in a market in Bonn for daring to take a photo, I asked permission to take this one and was treated to a tasting session and a detailed explanation of what everything was … in Moldovan. A woman trying to sell me a shawl pulled a thread and burned it and made me smell it. It smelt like burnt hair. Didn’t quite get that particular marketing trick.

One stall had recyclable shopping bags from Carrolls in Dublin . There’s been quite a lot of oddities in the last few days – I’ve spent two hours each evening this week glued to the TV watching a show set in Alaska. The congregation at Mass was mostly Hungarian and then the shopping bags from Dublin – seems as if my life is passing before my eyes.

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