Thursday, April 24, 2008

Food for thought!

Well it does but appear that Spring has finally arrived in Latvia, the trees are showing signs of life, the blossom is actually out ( well in the countryside) and the outdoor bars and cafes are being erected, in preparation for the 1st of May, which is when I am told is the legal date on which they can open. However this has stopped some of them from serving the clientel now !

Now on the subject of erection ( no not that kind !) - have you ever wondered how they put up these cranes which are used in the construction of tall buildings ? Now I have to confess that this is not something which keeps me awake at night. But the other day I happened to on hand when such an event was taking place next to the new Rietumu Bank offices. Watching this engineering spectacle, has once again confirmed to me that I do not have a head for heights - and I certainly would not want to do this for a living.

It looks a little like a giant mecanno set, where you had to figure out that if you joined this bit to that bit, inserted the nut and bolt, then hoped it would stay together !!

In the case of they young man on the crane, there he was with no safety harness, dangling on a limb of the crane a good 40ft or 50 ft in the air.

Last weekend saw me extend my time on earth by another year, so thanks to all who sent me birthday greetings and bought me a beer (all four of you !!!). Must confess I do not feel any older, perhaps thats because I have always felt and looked old !

In general life in the village has been quiet, over the last few days, with no real activity or gossip to report on. On the Zvannieki front - well just possibly the kitchen will be finally finished this week, or at least this is according to V....(Australian/Latvian ship repairer). But then again he said this last week, and the week before ........ - but to be fair it appears our itinerant kitchen fitter Juris - cannot be convinced to go out and just finish the job !! - Perhaps he needs a little physical convincing??

Still struggling to get the final audit on the kitchen project approved by Rietumu Bank, but with a little bit of luck should get this done before the end of this week, which will then allow us to proceed with the new project again being sponsored by the bank. But at least this time we know the rules of the game.

As I have indicated before it is always nice to get comments on the blog, and this week I received a comment from a gentleman called benimaclet, who I guess is a resident of Riga. He suggest that I do not have a lot of sympathy for the "cretins" who are done over in what he refers to as "shady scams" - and frankly the answer to that is - No I do not - There is not a city in the world where such goings on do not happen, and if you are silly enough to allow yourself to get into that situation - well there is only one person to blame ! However I do have every sympathy for anyone - cretin or otherwise who gets physically attacked, nobody deserves to get beaten up and robbed.

He also comments on the lack of public toilets in Riga, and indeed the minimalist toilet facilities in many of the bars - all of which is true - so no argument there. As for his point is there any other city so badly served for public toilets - well in my limited experience almost every city / town suffers from a lack of public toilets.

Then he points out that given my dislike of the "cretins" why I do visit the pubs where they congregate ? - Well from my point of view De Lacy's etc were my "village" pub, but unlike my village pub back in the UK, they of course were not going to turn away this cash jackpot every weekend, albeit from young Brits determined to achieve only one thing - get pissed !!

Nonetheless whilst I cannot wholly agree with all his comments, it is nice to see this subject from another perspective.

Now speaking of pubs, I hope no one is planning to visit the Stella bar in Skunu Street in the near future as this article appeared from the Leta News agency yesterday

''Stella Pub'' cannot resume operations at this time - Food and Veterinary Service

RIGA, April 23 (LETA) - Last night, the Food and Veterinary Service (FVS) halted operations of the ''Stella Pub'' sports bar on Skunu Street in Riga's Old Town, and the bar cannot reopen at this time.

The FVS shut the bar down because hygienic violations were established, which apparently has led to several customers being infected with the Hepatitis A virus.

According to FVS's information, one of those infected with the virus is a ''Stella Pub'' chef, who did not know that he was ill while on the job.

As reported, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has begun an investigation into seven cases of people being infected with Hepatitis A.

Laura Bundule, head of the PHS's Public Relations Department, told LETA that it is possible that these cases are connected, because investigation results reveal that all of the infected worked or had eaten at the ''Stella Pub'' bar on Skunu Street in Riga's Old Town.

All of the infected have been placed in hospital and are being treated for the virus.

An investigation continues and the Riga Department of the Food and Veterinary Service has been informed.

The manager of the ''Stella Pub'' sports bar Andris Brucis admitted to LETA previously that the company's representatives are shocked about the developments. Due to health reasons, the sports bar was immediately shut down and all necessary inspections carried out, which the Food and Veterinary service requested. He pointed out that no unsanitary conditions were found, and nothing suspicious was found in the sports bar's food products that could have infected people with the virus. Brucis had intended to reopen ''Stella Pub'' for business at 1 p.m. this afternoon

I bet no one actually ordered a pint of Guinness and some Hepatitus A !!!!

So on that Happy Note I will conclude this little episode, and as the sun is shining, and a clear sky - time I think for a stroll in the park !


Anonymous BeniMacLet said...

Hello, thanks for the response and I hope no offence was taken by my comments.

On the first thing about the rip off establishments I don't believe that its ever acceptable to blame the victims. You have to put in context - a lot of the British travellers who come here will have been in tourist resorts in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Turkey where it's quite common to be offered a free drink to visit a bar. In those countries it results in nothing worse than a sore head the next day, so many will accept the offers here (and when they've stopped me they've said nothing about strip bars or lap dancing.)In Latvia however, it results in an empty wallet and maybe a few broken teeth, not what the visitors expect and a bit of naivety doesn't justify that treatment.

There's clearly an issue with public pissing and not just from the tourists. I fail to see how a city that's squandering half a billion on a bridge and another few million on an unnecessary library can't pay for even a few chemical toilets the cost of which would be minimal in comparison.

Finally, about the ex pat bars, it's all personal preference I guess. When I first came to Riga in 2004 I went to places like De'Laceys, McShanes and Paddy Whelans but the moron factor multiplied with the cheap flights. A bar full of obnoxious and loud pissheads isn't my cup of tea and from your posts, not yours either, so I can't understand why you don't go somewhere like the new town where there are plenty of good stag free bars?

Anyway again good job on the blog it's an interesting read.

9:08 pm  

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