Monday, June 05, 2006

Beginning of Latvia

A lucky 2nd post for the day. The people on the east coast might get this before they leave work for the day, my west coast peeps, when your coming in from lunch, boom a 2nd post. How is that for service? Its 10:15pm here, still as bright outside as if it was 5pm, and since most things stay open till 4am even to 6am, no point going out early. I have a feeling in fact Monday will be a slow night, in fact I've decided to stay an extra day here in Riga, mainly cause I like the city, and also cause I didnt realize but most of the museums are closed on Monday, so I wasnt able to see any of the places today I wanted to.

One lesson i've already learned is buy your bus tickets in advance. I left Estonia thinking i would show up at 1030am and get a ticket for the noon bus. Well the noon bus was sold out, so I had to wait around for the 15:35 bus, which turned out to be a 6hr local bus. Not fun.. So now i'm going to buy the bus tickets a day in advance for my upcoming trip to Vilnius, Lithuania.

After finally arriving in Riga, I ventured out and stupidly went to an Irish pub. Basically every weekend here is host to a British stag party, this was was rather rowdy, with both men and women, inlcuding one of the first sights when walked in, some pale drunk english dude, pulling out his package trying to impress the Hen's, they weren't and urged him to put his shrivled up package back in his pants.. Then I had some expensive unremarkable Fish & Chips, and wandered around to get my bearings, but called it an early night. While I prefer Riga old town, to Tallinn old town, these streets are much much harder to figure out and navigate, but the last day in Tallinn, my awesome map reading and sense of direction had kicked in, and I didnt really need to look at a map to get around anymore. Riga is very very different for sure.

This morning tried to get an early start, but as I said most musuems were closed. I decided to venture out to the only open museums and was glad I did. The travel section in the NY times did an article about a year ago about a woman trying to find this Open Air musuem about 30 minutes outside of town, learning from her mistakes I made sure to ask an english speaker(plenty of them out there, i'm telling you the ability of people to learn 3 or 4 langauges easily is something we in the USA need to learn.. at least we need to learn Chinese, as they will own us pretty soon at the pace we are going..) and asked where to catch the Bus, once on the right bus, everything was pretty simple.

Boy i'm glad I went to this museum, as it was totally different from anything I expected. Its about 30 minutes outside of the city, basically in the sticks, its a 100 hectacre sites that features over 125 exhibits, its all outdoor and basically shows the old Latvian way of life and their expertise in building wooden houses. There were all from the 16th and 17th century, some earlier even that have been either re-created or in many cases moved from the countryside. It made me think, that before electricity, running water, and all the things we take for granted, people had to live and adapt and the Latvians were very skillful with wood. Took some great pictures, including one of a great church. I tagged along with a french group getting a formal tour. I stood out being black and young, and they were all old and white, but my basic, and i mean basic French I was able to follow along a bit.. I gotta get learning more langauges like these folks here..

Some other quick observations from the first day, the weather turned lovely around noon, sun came out, temp got up to 22 and the WOMEN CAME OUT.. I mean seriouly everywhere you looked totally beautiful ladies wandering the streets, alone, in pairs, with boyfriends. It is said this city has 3 women for every 1, and if that is the case its a lovely thing, as most of the women are quite lovely.. many blondes, with piercing blue eyes, but also many dark haired girls with green eyes. Whatever the gene pool that made up this mish-mosh of people, it worked out well. Didnt get many stares from folks, only sometimes the really older folks or youngish and naturally many kids, but at the same time didnt see any other black folks during my ventures today.

Mom, lots of amber, I guess amber basically was first found around the Baltic Sea area, and amber is everywhere, sorry i'm not shopping cause you would love it. Second pancakes are huge here, had some for breakfast and they were great, i was wimpy and just had honey on them, I might try to try something more creative on them tomorrow. Also this is definately different from Russia era occupied times, as at the central market any and all types of food. Imported cheese, meats, oils, tons of fresh fruit, just for miles and miles. If you have the money you can eat well here, no more days of lining up and hoping you get enough bread for the family. The times are changing here and the people feel very western. Even saw many 5series Benz and one beautiful red Ferrari, so whoever has money has no problem throwing it away.

3 comments:

Kevin said...

Ayan, saw this on CNN, thought of you. Please check this out:

Curbing human traffic
U.S. warns Germany about prostitution during Cup
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/soccer/specials/world_cup/2006/06/05/human.trafficking.ap/index.html

"A U.S. congressman and other anti-trafficking advocates estimate that thousands of foreign women, many from Eastern Europe, will be forced into sex work during the four-week tournament that begins June 9."

Investigate for us!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh your too funny. Yes in Cologne there is a huge brothel they build just for the cup. They put the flags of all 32 countries on a poster outside, and had to take down Iran and Saudi Arabia cause of death/bomb threats.. so dont Eff with those countries.. But yes I hear alot of women will be in germany working... I'm on a limited budget but i'll do my best to investigate...

So far i like the baltic women, its sunny in Latvia and they all just seem to appear outside when the sun is out.. gotta figure out where they go when it rains..

AO

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