Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Stormy Times

For the last two weekends Riga has been relatively free from the British invaders - can only assume that after the revelry of the Christmas and New Year, that the poor wee soles have had insufficient funds to bribe Ryan Air et al, to bring them to Riga. However I have it on the good authority of F.....( Australian mega hostel owner), that this weekend will change all of that and that we can look forward to once again the gay banter of drunken cretins - F.... this, F... that etc - ah the privileges of a British education will once again be demonstrated to all.

I was asked last night in De Lacy's (actually outside as I was having a cigarette), by a young man from Scotland "where are all the girls ?", so I had to advise him that De Lacy's is now a men's only bar, where no self respecting Latvian lady would frequent. When he asked why ? - I told him about our weekly invasions. Now at this point he agreed, that it was a disgrace - but then immediately asked where he could get a s...g (apologies to my lady readers), and what was the best night clubs to get girls. So obviously he is here to take in the cultural joys of Riga - I think not !!

On the village front, all absentees have now returned for duty, in particular S..... (Welsh abstract thinker) - J... (Irish - ginger ale specialist), B...... (Irish - clothing magnate) and J... (Irish - Irish slimmer of the month - December 2006).

And so it was that the weekend saw the Heineken Cup games, on both Saturday and Sunday - however with sympathy for my liver I forewent the rugby pleasures on Saturday, and limited my viewing to Sunday afternoon, and very enjoyable it was with all the regulars back in place, and duly seated at our weekend rugby haunt - I enjoyed the games and the banter, before retiring home to a well earned sleep.
Now while it has not exactly hit the headlines, there is a major crisis within the hairdressing industry, particularly here in Riga. As anyone knows the ladies take a great deal of delight in changing the color of their hair in accordance with the changing of the seasons. At this time of the year, being Winter, then bright colors are in in - BUT is it Winter ? - because we are still basking in positive temperatures - so if it is not winter - is it Spring - much confusion abounds !

You can see it in every hairdressing salon, the question are being asked " what color should I have ?" - but the hairdressers are as confused as everyone else - but I noticed at the weekend one young lady has come up with the answer - multicolor hair, that way she is ready for Winter and Spring weather - clever is it not !!

It does make you think about the side effects of this weird change in weather - who is buying winter boots ? - whats the point of having ski's - even the outdoor ice rink in Dome square, normally very busy at this time of the year, is almost empty.

Even I have apparently wasted money, buying winter vests - which are to warm to wear, with my SHORT sleeved shirt !! At least I will not have to buy tights !!

Monday night saw a wee bit of a breeze sweep across Latvia, up to 50,000 people were left without power by winds gusting up to 115 kilometres per hour - almost hurricane speed. Flooding threatened many low-lying areas, including the capital, Riga, where the river Daugava surged two metres above normal levels.

For those who frequent some of the more upmarket shops and stores in Riga, Armani and the like, you will have become accustomed to seeing the in store security guard - more often than not he (never seen a female security guard in Latvia) will be the only person in the store, as the shops they are guarding are not frequented by us more normal mortals.

Today I noticed a first - at least for me - a security guard in a restaurant !! Now we have all seen these security guards in the pubs, particularly at the weekends - but in an upmarket restaurant - never - at least until now.

With the renovation of the Hotel Latvia, a new and seriously upmarket restaurant was opened called Gastronome ,and lo and behold it apparently needs a security guard - quite why I cannot fathom, it is not as if you can simply waltz in and snatch a meal. But anyway there he sits from 10.0am until whatever time in the evening they close - and I have to say a more bored individual you would be hard pushed to find - but not only that he actually occupies a table, that could sit four people - so the restaurant deprives itself of revenue as well - strange but true. Mind you having just walked past the restaurant at lunch time today, I did espy two senior executives of a well know bank with offices just opposite the restaurant - Many of you will know them well J.....(Irish and a real treasure) and R....(South African and noted for his personality) - so perhaps the real reason for the security guard is to protect bank executives from their irate customers.

That's the problem with living in this village there is no hiding place !!

Finally just to let you all know the Public Christmas trees have now been removed, but for the most part the Christmas decorations and lights in the streets and stores are still there, and if you really hurry you can still but all the Christmas decorations at your local Rimi store.

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