Thursday, March 31, 2011

The race is on !

Well the 1st April is about to dawn, and the race is on to have the first outdoor terrace open, and if if my first impressions are correct the Kiwibar and and the Indian Raja will be if not the first certainly among the first to open - with a brand new decking - all will be revealed on Friday the 1st April !! - now is that an omen of doom or not - Aprils Fools Day ! But as well known the 1st of April is the official date for opening the terraced outdoor bars. - I wonder who picked the day

Today saw the first serious (what is the opposite of exodus ?) - anyhow incoming of seriously drunk stag group - needless to say from UK - having been banned already ( this was at 6.00pm) from a previous local bar, they made there way to the local hostelry - needless to say on their arrival I swiftly left - not a good omen for the weekend - on the other hand perhaps they will get arrested/mugged or even shot ! - even the the so called stag in a banana outfit - so no signs of originality there ! ( OK I do wish them to be shot - but a little mugging would be ok and arrested would be acceptable)

One interesting point - last winter in Livi square they erected Riga's answer to the London eye - needless to say with sub zero temperatures the uptake shall we say was minimal - so what do they do with temperatures on the up - of course they take it down ! - God only knows what it cost the owners - or did Riga council subsidise the whole thing - would not surprise me.

Much has been made of the recent input of Russian "investment" into the Latvian economy - and to my surprise I learned that the "No Problem" outdoor bar/restaurant in Dome Square alongwith its sister "Eglite" has been bought by a Russian investor - we can but wait and see how it effects the prices charged.

Likewise I also learned (Although this is only heresay) that a recent appointee to the Latvian Parliament (Seima) - cannot speak Latvian - only Russian - and as the only language of the Seima is Latvian - it does make you wonder how he can contribute ? - hey but welcome to a democracy !

But as Spring doth approach and the temperatures doth rise (today was beautiful) - I look forward to welcoming back all those of you who did but flee the winter months.

April will also mean that I have been in Riga for 15 years and 4 months - who would have thought when I arrived in January 1996 - just under a quarter of my life in Riga

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Latvia in Space

Well, well sometimes I come across some amazing, but relatively unknown facts about the goings on in Latvia, and today was no exception - Latvia has an Astronaut (Actually a cosmonaut) his name is Aleksandr Kaleri, who was born in Jurmula in may 1953 !!

OK he is of Rusian descent, but he does hold dual nationality Latvian/Russian

As we speak he is flight engineer of the ISS space station, but is due to depart this March

Todate he has made 5 EVA's totalling 25 hours 46 minutes spacewalking and has made over 7 "trips" into space with visits to MIR and ISS space stations.

Well done the Jurmula man !! for more information on him visit

Monday, March 07, 2011

Bar Managers and Ice do not mix - Proof

They say that every picture tells a story, so what to make of the picture below ? and what inspired him to take to the ice ?

But do you recognise this internationally famous person ? - well to save him any embarassment I will withhold his identity - but for those in the know he is from down under (which may explain his tentative ice skating) - and is somewhat associated with running a bar and hostel in Riga

I don't if this is a coincidence but a few years back another well know bar owner succumbed to try his ice skating skills - and to similar effect to similar effect - a coincidence ??

First clutch the side !! - but in this case that was not enough to prevent the inevitable

Also please note that in both cases they have their backs to the camera - I wonder if it was the same camera man ? and just to add to the coincidence both were skating (??) on the same outdoor winter rink, albeit in different locations.

So what else is going on in Riga, well with a wee bit of luck the dire winter temperatures are on the way up, and all being well we should be rid of the remaining ice and snow in Riga by the end of March. But as ever you never know it will not be the first time we have snow in April - but ever the optimist I hope not.

Anyhow this weekends sporting climax has to be the rugby Match England v Scoland on Sunday ( at least for me) - but given Scotlands track record this season- I will watch with trepadation - but as I said before - ever the optimist.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


I am indebted to young C.... (English - renowned club owner) for the following piece of information trivia - however in this case it might actually be useful.

There are a few things that can be done in times of grave
emergencies. Your mobile phone can actually
be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival.
Check out the things that you can do with it:


The Emergency Number worldwide for all
Mobile Phones is 112.. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your
mobile network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and your mobile will search any existing network in your area
to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly this number 112 can be dialled even if the keypad is locked. This works on all phones worldwide and is free. It is the equivalent of 000.

Have you locked your keys in the car?

Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone:

If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their mobile phone from your cell phone.

Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be thousands of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other 'remote' for your car, you can
unlock the doors (or the trunk).

Editor's Note: I didn’t believe this when I heard about it! I rang my daughter in Sydney from Perth when we went on holiday. She had the spare car key. We tried it out and it unlocked our car over a mobile phone!'

Hidden Battery Power

To activate, press the keys *3370# (remember the asterisk). Do this when the phone is almost dead. Your mobile will restart in a special way with this new reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery life. This reserve will get re charged when you charge your mobile next time.

This secret is in the fine print in most phone manuals. Most people however skip this information without realising.

How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?

To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 #

Ensure you put an asterisk BEFORE the #06# sequence.

A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.
If your phone ever get stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody did this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.
This secret is also in the fine print of most mobile phone manuals. It was created for the very purpose of trying to prevent phones from being stolen.

Also -ATM PIN Number Reversal - Good to Know !!

If you should ever be forced by a robber to withdraw money from an ATM machine, you can notify the police by entering your PIN # in reverse. For example, if your pin number is 1234, then you would put in 4321. The ATM system recognizes that your PIN number is backwards from the ATM card you placed in the machine. The machine will still give you the money you requested, but unknown to the robber, the police will be immediately dispatched to the location.

All ATM’s carry this emergency sequencer by law.

This information was recently broadcast on by Crime Stoppers however it is seldom used because people just don't know about it.

I have not tried all of these, but (1) and (2) do work - and as for ATM fraud, well a bit difficult to check out, as if I tried to check it out and it works, and the police do arrive ( But how quickly ?) - I could be in trouble. But might be worth checking out with your bank, as I think this info was in regards to UK ATM's

Will get back to life in Riga in next episode - but for the moment the good news is that is getting milder !!