| ...These baby pine trees are called "Mutant
plants" and the proof comes from the fact that pine tree
needles normally grow in pairs, in other words, two at a time,
whereas here there are three or four. Other needles
grow directly from the tree trunk while the trunks themselves
vary between being extremely soft and as hard as beechwood. It
is only to easy to see, as well as feel, that a genetic mutation
has taken place here. Apparently unconcerned, Doina
went up to the soldier who was acting as our driver and, through
Galia, asked if we could continue our journey. We therefore said
goodbye to the biologist, got back in the van and set off again.
The further we drove, the more the landscape gradually
changed. We could see huge flat areas of land, as if enormous
bulldozers had levelled out the ground. The soldier sitting in
the back with us told us that 12 or 13 villages around the power
station had been razed to the ground and buried, along with an
entire pine wood. Everything is covered over by earth.
The soldier's words made a great impression on us. We looked
out of the window at what looked to me like an enormous cemetery
and I slowly began to realise the extent of the ecological disaster
that had taken place here. And I was frightened. The anguished
feeling that I had had from the very beginning grew even stronger.
As I knew that the air was polluted, I took short, shallow
breaths, even though it may seem stupid, as I sometimes do when
riding a bicycle in the midst of the traffic in the city.
All this made me even more nervous and irritable and when at a
certain point the driver took some disposable protective masks
out of the glove pocket to put over our faces, I almost snatched
mine out of his hand. I immediately said "Sorry," in
English, but the young soldier appeared to understand my tension
and quickly replied "Da, da!" and something else that
I was unable to understand...
the ruined City Hall of Vetka