Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sun, Sea and Spoks

Well that was an interesting week - Sailing, opera and Rugby

The company troops, along with the hangers-on ( S..... Welsh & I.. Scottish ) duly assembled at the marina - to board our Yacht. Do not get to carried away with your imagination, it was a boat of questionable vintage, but as the skipper was even older - we could but assume that all was well.

The evening was simply stunning as we sailed down the Daugava at a leisurely pace ( Snails walk faster !) - but as we were in no hurry and the food wine and beer were to hand, we simply sat back and enjoyed the views.

The trip down the Daugava cannot be described as scenic, this is a working port so the views consisted mainly of cranes, piles of coal ( where does it come from ?) and general dockland area's.

The trip down river took the best part of two hours, but on entering onto the Baltic Sea proper, then up went the sails - and over we keeled at the customary 40 degrees list.

I cannot lay claim to be great lover of the string and rags brigade type of sailors, but when all you have to do is sit back and enjoy it certainly is a wonderful way to enjoy the sea.

After some thirty minute of "sailing" we began our return trip. whereupon we were treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets that I have in a long time.

I have promised the said Welshman that I would make no derogatory comment in regards to his sailing attire, specifically the Shirt - but as his good Lady has apparently banned him from wearing it in Sunny Wales it can only be viewed in Riga.

So ended a perfect evening, good company, stunning weather.


Now lets us talk about Opera Spoks ( Phantom of the Opera).

The grand event was being held in the open area called Mezaparks, in what must be one of the largest outdoor arena's anywhere. It is a beautiful setting. Having arrived early - as opera was due to start at 9.30pm - I duly took my seat and looked at the "stage".

Basically it was a giant white sheet ( ok it was a projector screen) - suspended above the stage, a slightly smaller TV screen to the right of the stage, and again suspended in the air.

Now the actual stage was more like a pop concert stage.

Now I have to admit before I go further, that I have seen he original Andrew Lloyd Webber stage show in London - so it was pretty obvious that we were not going to see that - but nonetheless expectations were high, amongst the now assembled audience ( I would guess around 10 thousand people were there).

So 9.30pm came and went, but no sign of any action, finally along came 10.00pm and then lo and behold all was revealed - we were waiting for the Latvian president to arrive, and park her backside on the Presidential seat.

Finally the Show began, all the familiar music was there, but if I explain how it was presented, on the big sheet were static images of god only knows what, but one of them was a picture of star constellation !! - what that has to do with Phantom of the Opera - I have no idea !, then on the stage came the stars - well at least second rate English singers playing the Phantom and Christine. Well the Phantoms mask was clearly a painted on thing, all that was missing was a red nose and we would have had Coco the Clown. As for the Lady playing the part of Christine - well she screeched rather than sang. The accompanying Latvian cast, frankly made the English stars look second rate.

Now all the songs were sung in English, but to ensure the audience got the general drift of the story there was a Latvian narrator - weird to say the least.

And if you are wondering about the TV screen, well without that 90% of the audience would have no idea what was happening on the stage itself. They might as well have stayed at home and watched it on TV.

One final comment when was the last time anybody went to see the Phantom of the Opera, and had the ability drink a beer, eat Crisps, ice creams etc ?

I made it to the interval, and took my leave - Sorry Andrew - if you had been there I think you would have cried, but no doubt you get a percentage of the takings.

The weekend consisted of Rugby, Rugby and Rugby on Saturday - in which all Northern hemisphere teams got stuffed - but a good day was had by all - and of course a few liquid refreshments were consumed.

Sunday was simply beautiful, and so it was off to Jurmula to enjoy a barbie, I understand the Celtic trio also spent the day on the beach - magical.

So as I put fingers to keyboard, I can tell that today temperature is 30 degrees, and similar weather is forecasted for the rest of the week.

Riga is simply looking stunning in the sunshine - wish you were all here

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