They say it’s the first impression that counts, and Moldovan authorities decided that German Chancellor Angela Merkel should have a good one on her arrival in Chisinau on August 22.
Moldova used to be known as the land of pastures green. So the capital’s city hall went to great lengths to remove ugly metal billboards from the highway connecting the airport with the city center and plant patches of fresh lawn instead.
However, Moldova is also one of Europe’s poorest countries, which may explain why the freshly laid sod mysteriously disappeared by the next morning.
Authorities quickly replaced the missing sod before opening an inquiry into the missing turf.
In the meantime, police cars have been sent to patrol the area to make sure the grass stays green – and in place. It’s not known how much the extra policing will cost the capital’s cash-strapped town hall.
But Moldovans are hospitable people and will be happy to know their illustrious guest had a smooth, relaxing ride into town before talks that might result in additional economic aid for Moldova.
Maybe the Greeks might want to take notice of that when – or if -- they invite Angela Merkel to Athens.
-- Eugene Tomiuc