Monday, November 21, 2005

Skating with Penguins - Dancing to Freddie

Until this weekend I had managed to live without Ice Skating or visiting a Latvian Night Club, but I fear I can no longer make such a claim.

To Celebrate a friends birthday, it was decided that on Saturday we ( six of us - M..... (Latvian - wood cutter downer, J.... (Latvian - Birthday Boy and three of his friends) would make our way to the famous Lido restaurant, which apart from selling food, boasts the largest outdoor ice rink in Latvia.

In Spring and Summer it converts back to being a roller blade rink - and I have no idea how it is converted into an ice rink - but clever technology.

My agenda for the day was this

1.00pm - Ice rink
2.30pm - Lunch at Lido
4.00pm - Secret location to watch England v New Zealand
10.00pm - Latvian Night Club - Four White Shirts.

The reason for the latter was to listen to a singer called Freddy.

Now from a personal point of view, and apart from watching the Rugby, this agenda required two things - 1. An ability to Skate and 2. An ability to Dance.

Unfortunately I do not qualify on any of these counts - however help was at hand, at least as far as the Ice skating was concerned. A Penguin !

The Ice rink provides (for children ) Plastic penguins with large feet and handles in their head, such for those who cannot skate, they can keep their balance by holding onto the Penguin.

Unfortunately these are designed for children - and being around 6ft tall, I was a picture of elegance , bent over double, holding onto the penguin handles for my dear life - Pictures were taken of this by those who clearly had gained a proficiency certificate in skating -

I will decide later as to whether they are published

Despite countless falls, even with the aid of the Penguin, I managed to survive this moment of madness - but it was with a great deal of relief when we finally made our way to the Restaurant.

For those of you who have never visited the Lido complex, make the effort, it is quite wonderful, particularly at this time of year when it is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with the largest Christmas tree I have ever seen - and the food is simply great - and cheap.

If you are interested then check out the web site at :

Having dined then I left the group to go watch the Rugby, at our not so secret location, having our reserved space at the bar ( courtesy of Aussie J.....) the two hours simply sped by, with a wonderful game of Rugby, which resulted in a victory for N.Z. This team is simply awesome and next weekend they get to "play" (with) Scotland - God help us. Don not know if I can stand the thought of watching a massacre.

But with ending of the game, I now realised ( dreaded) that it was fast approaching tome to go clubbing !. Anyone who knows me here will tell you that if I am seen put past 9.00pm then something is wrong, and given that after 10 years in Riga, I have still not been inside a nightclub.

However I had been assured that I would enjoy the music, and that dancing was not obligatory ( with six fellows !- I should think not).

So we met outside the said establishment, and in we went - and thankfully J.... had reserved a table, so were not going to have to stand all night.

To cut a long story short, the music of Freddie was OK, the atmosphere was excellent, I made everyone look young - which they were - I think I was the oldest person in the place.

But I here you ask "did you dance? " - Well - Can a pig fly ? - So now you know.

It was an interesting experience, particularly when I discovered on leaving that it was nearly 2.00am in the morning. - I can honestly claim that never have I been out so late in all my time in Riga -and the chances are I am unlikely to repeat this adventure - to old and to noisy.

One lesson for today was learned - when you are 60 ( well nearly) there are some things you should not even attempt- skating with Penguins and Dancing with Freddie.

On Sunday morning I took myself off to church to meet with the vicar, re the childrens home in Zvannieki (For those less fortunate) , and we discussed his wish list, he wants a little time but here is what we discussed.

1. Industrial Quality kitchen sink unit with double sink.
2. Winter Toys, tobogans etc
3. Reconnection of Internet (they have a dial up connection but cannot afford to pay account)
4. TV and video/dvd player

Apparently they had a quote for the kitchen sink unit some time ago and was going to be around Ls350.00 - ish.

I will publish a new blog specifically in regards to what we can do - but in the meantime if you have any thought re above let me know, either direct or via comments. Lets try and make a little difference this year, as there are now 24 children at the home, with ages from 3 - 17.

An interesting weekend - And finally has anybody seen V.... ( Australian/Latvian - claims he can make and build things - like partitions !!!! )


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