Monday, October 26, 2009

All Change

Last Tuesday saw the farewell drinks for our soon to depart Australian/Latvian J.... ( he with upstanding hair). Given the departure of so many of the village people a good turnout was achieved - see pictures below.I cannot believe how quickly the year has gone by, and in a couple of weeks it will once again be time to visit the British War Memorial in Jelgava, but this time I suspect it will be a journey alone - and for the first time no British Ambassador will attend. This is due to the fact that the previous Ambassador had to return to the UK, due to the ill health of his wife, and no replacement until April 2010. No idea why - I would have thought the Foreign Office must have a host of ambassadorial candidates - maybe I should apply ?

Speaking of Ambassadorial candidates with the departure J..... ( See above) who will act in the interests of all those Australian's here in Riga, as apart from his mainstream business he was of course the the official Australian representative in Latvia - again we can wait and see. But I will give you a clue he in one of the pictures above !!!

Last weekend saw some fascinating Rugby Games - but unlike in previous years only three people to watch the games - me, J.... ( Australian - just SIPing along) and C.... ( English - newly established printer guru). Thought the Irish teams are doing remarkably well !!! - who
would thought Glasgow and Edinburgh would trounce Connacht and Munster - no doubt reality will strike later, and what can we say about our favourite Welsh team - The Ospreys - not a lot - sorry S....( Welsh - sadly missed rugby pundit).

So what of Riga you may ask ? - well as in every year Riga is in period change - from the wonders of summer, sunshine - outdoor bars - cheap beer - to the joys of a winter wonderland - but in the middle this dull, dour greyness is creeping over. Frankly it is a bit miserable - however just to keep us cheered up, this week has seen two "major" events.

Firstly we had our world famous meteorite land, which ultimately proved to be marketing stunt by Tele2, to promote Latvia in the news in a positive manor for a change ??? - then yesterday saw Riga come to complete standstill for the best part of 4 hours - why because some young presumably mentally deranged man climbed to the top of the Vansu bridge because he claimed he wanted a better view of the city - but as the authorities decided to close the bridge the end result was total gridlock in the city - absolutely nothing was moving.

Finally some of you may remember my attempts to set up an online book market to sell my
old collection of books, which has proven to not be one of my best marketing endeavours - well if I had a problem what about this guy ?

Friday, October 09, 2009

And then there was one ( and a bit)

Well as suspected this week ( yesterday) saw the demise of the last Stars Bar in Riga, with previous one in Lacsplace closing some months ago. So for those of us who remain we are but left with the old faithful Paddies.
Of course there is also Alberts , but unfortunately at least for me they no longer sell my flavour of beer.

It is interesting to note that Paddies was the first pub I was ever in in 1995, and now it appears it will be the last, and in truth of late it was (is) the only pub that felt like a Pub - So Riga has seen over the recent times the closure of De Lacy's - Dickens - Star (Stella) chain of three - I suspect Riga now has the lowest number of "Pubs" in the Baltics. So perhaps for those astute and financially endowed persons now is the time to give serious consideration to opening a competitive Pub in Riga - I think we need one.

Now speaking of dissapearing things - does anyone know what happened to young C.... (English - dealer of sorts) - he has just disappeared - me thinks therein lies a tale. Likewise this month (29th) sees the departure of J.... ( Australian/Latvian - consulate superb) - so if any of you who new him would like to wish him farewell, I am sure he would be great full for a call or e-mail.

Many of you will remember T.. ( American - famed for his hearty laugh and weird candles). Well much against the advice of all he is off to America with his beloved lady S.... (Russian - also into weird candles) to get married. Indeed as I write it may well already have happened. One of the many benefits ? he will gain is an instant family - and for her part she will permitted to reside in the US of A - not sure who is getting the better deal. However notwithstanding my personal misgivings I wish them both well, and trust they prove us all wrong.

This weekend sees the return of Heineken Rugby, so for the small group of us left with an interest in rugby it will a return the village lounge to watch and hopefully enjoy. It is sad to think that not so long ago we had enough people ( 20+) to host a completion to forecast the highest number wins, now at best we would have three people.

Riga and Latvia are again making news, but let me give to two pieces of relatively good news.
(1) Riga will launch in partnership with Air Baltic a Ls 5m marketing campaign to promote tourism in Riga - called "LIVE RIGA" - let us but hope it successful - and
(2) Finally Riga City council is to crack down on the rip off bars and clubs, as of 3rd October police can shut them down - we can but hope it works

Both stories can be found at

So there we are disappearing pubs and people, and it looks like this forthcoming Remembrance Sunday I will be making the journey alone, and on the subject of journeys alone - young A.... ( Australian/Latvian - king of Latvian souvenirs) is off to roam the mountains of Lebanon this weekend. He expects to walk around a thousand kilometers !!! Apparently this is annual thing for him to renew his energies - to him I take my hat off and wish him well - it will be interesting to hear his tales when he returns.