Monday, May 08, 2006

The mating cry of a lonely ice hockey fan

Well it has started, that's the IIHF World Hockey , and last weekend saw a real invasion from fans, in particular from the Northern hemisphere, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Belarus, etc. I have to confess that in general they are a well behaved bunch, and mingle well both prior to and after the games, well with one exception - the Finns. What is about them, they are loud, obnoxious and generally polluted, just like our beloved English football cretins.

Latvia got off to a reasonable start, but then along came Finland last night, and to put it mildly we got whipped. But there is still a chance that Latvia will qualify for the next round.

Well as I mentioned before, this weekend really did see the start of Spring, the sun was shining, many of the outdoor cafes were open for business, and with the visitors the place was really buzzing - nice.

I took the chance on Saturday to wander through one of the many parks in central Riga, and it is amazing just what you miss if you do not really look.

First port of call was the bridge, where a certain young man from New Zealand M... and his good Lady L......,as is the Latvian tradition, placed a padlock with there names on it onto the bridge railing. Well M... & L....... your love is clearly still going strong, as it is still there !

Further into the park were two oil drums, suspended in the air, and connected with a wire. - -What to do ? - well for those of us who are of an older generation, when we were young we used to get two cans, puncture a hole in the bottom of them, and connect them with a piece of string. When you pulled the string tight, then you could speak to one another - well this was modern day version, instead of string it was electrical cable and inside the drums were a loudspeaker and microphone, so you could speak to someone who had stuck their head inside the oil drum. No idea what the purpose of this was, but it was fascinating just to watch people trying to figure out what it was.

In another part of a park came across a statue of Mirzo Ulugbek - a Uzbekistan Mathematician and astronomer - 1394 - 1449.

For info go to
The statue was gift from President Islam Karimov Of Uzbekistan in April 2004, thanking the people and government of Latvia for honoring Ulugbek. He said that this monument is a unique symbol of the strengthening ties between the two peoples.

Finally made to the beer garden in the park, and saw some of the most amazing straw figures, Bears, Swans, Chickens etc - a real work of art.
As ever if you want to see full size images click on the small pictures

Sunday was kind of weird, temperature in Riga was 21 degrees, so I thought I would take myself of to the beach and get some healthy sea air - week I lasted about 20 minutes the temperature on the coast was 12.5 degrees - so I decided that I would settle for less healthy city air - well De Laceys to be precise - and surprise not to many cretins of either the football or ice hockey persuasion.

On route back to home came across a small music festival in Jakobs Barracks, where there was a kokle ensembly playing (a what I can hear you ask - - for full info.
But the combination of the music and lady singing was truly wonderful , so I spent some time just listening - so passed a pleasant afternoon, before returning to watch the Latvia v Finland ice hockey -but we will not dwell on that.

Found a nice restaurant in Alunana iela Ciiz Bars - a bit pricey, but very good - and pasta dishes are superb, and I see another one, again in Alunana iela called Le Bohemme has also opened, but indoors only. Have not tried it yet, but if I remember correctly its previous incarnation was a bar with two snooker tables.

And finally that mating cry - well it appears that in the ice hockey world in order for the fans to keep in touch with each other, they acquire a horn like device, and then when they want to find a friend or fellow supporter, the blow into the horn, and create a sound not unlike that of a duck horn - but louder - the most often heard call is Daa.....Daa....Da..Da..Da.Da......Daaaaaaaaa ! - Again not sure exactly what they are communicating, possibly like the duck it is a mating call.


Blogger Longin said...

Latvia Hockey
Fresh HQ PHOTOS from Riga, Latvia.

11:52 am  

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