At the town of Bendery, just before the border with Moldova, two young Transdnistrians had got on the bus and sat next to me and Carlos. We spoke to them in a strange mixture of English and French, not finding much common language in either but still having a friendly conversation. When we got into Chişinău they showed us to a currency exchange booth so we could get some Moldovan Lei, and called a taxi for us to get to a hostel. A short drive through the dark and potholed streets of the city took us to a place near the centre.
That night a huge thunderstorm rocked the city. I lay awake listening to the rain lashing down, and got up late the next day as a result. Having gone for a short walk through the city centre in the dark when I arrived, I set out for a longer explore, through the city centre parks and past the plain-looking cathedral. Carlos had gone to find a different place to stay, not being much impressed with the hostel, but I soon bumped into him in town. We were both taking a photo of the presidential palace on the main street when a young police officer came up and asked us what we were doing.
One of the consequences of travelling through Transdnistria was that I had no Moldovan entry stamp in my passport, so technically I was illegally in the country. The police officer introduced himself by name and asked to see our passports. I thought this could be a problem, but fortunately, his phone rang before he could look through them. He gave us a quick salute and strode off.
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