Monday, July 03, 2006

A Darker Side to Life

Since I started this blog, I have spoken often about Latvia, and Riga - and how it has proved to be surprisingly nice place to live.

However I have always known there was a dark side to life here, particularly in Riga. Since my earliest days when I was at Lattelekom, where I was told I "needed " protection following my decision to raise the telephone charges. A decision which I knew was not greatly appreciated by the population.

Did I really need protection ? - frankly I do not know, but for two weeks I was guarded 24 hours a say, by two somewhat large gentlemen, who permanently carried guns.

Likewise it was not uncommon to hear of foreign nationals being coerced to hand over there phone, wallets etc, if they were found in or around the old city either late at night or in the early hours of the morning -more often than not this was following a visit to a night club and having their drink spiked - in order to make them more compliant.

So as I have said anyone who cares to listen, be careful in Riga, especially late at night, and if you are a little worse for wear, and if you choose to visit one of the many strip-clubs, then beware, because at he very least you are going to loose a lot more than your shirt, and should you decide to debate the bill you are presented with, then you will meet some of the best money collectors in town, with a very persuasive arguments as to why you should pay.

Now the reason I have decided to issue these warnings, is in light of recent event involving an Englishman who was just a year younger than myself.

T..... came to Riga about 18 months ago, to seek a new life - I have to confess on first meeting him I cannot say that I was endeared to him, indeed at one time he did get a mention on the blog. But the reality was that he did no one any harm as far as I know, and by and large kept his own company.

Two weeks ago, he was found murdered in his apartment - since then a number of stories have circulated as to he met his death - but as to the truth - well I do not think we will ever know. It just about go a one inch paragraph in the local newspapers, where it was claimed by the police that he had been killed a by a woman - who then apparently on her own proceeded to rob the apartment of various items and somehow get them back to her home - well outside Riga.

It would appear that The British Embassy have done little to assist his immediate family - son and daughter - who arrived for a remembrance service at St. Saviours church. I did attend if only to pay my respects - not because he was a friend, simply a man who had sought a new life in Riga - but obviously fell into bad company for whatever reason.

So to all who chance upon this blog, and are considering visiting Riga, just remember that there is not a single weekend goes by, when someone does not get turned over.

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