Friday, July 20, 2012

Up, Up and Boompsydaisy !

I know its been months since I updated the blog, but when life is so exciting as it has been in Riga these last few months it has been hard to find the time to quietly sit down and put fingers to the keyboard. ( Do you believe that ?).

Any how to give you an quick synopsis - June saw the annual deforestation take place throughout Latvia, locally it is called Jani and Ligo, when as ever the natives head for the woods and lakes covered in tree leaves (if you are a man) or flowers ( If you are a woman) - not sure what the gay community do ! As ever the weather was typical for mid-summer - overcast,rainy and in general miserable - but as always the Latvians ignore all of this and just enjoy the party. This year the festivities took place over the weekend, so I can but imagine that the on Monday morning there was a few headaches as people returned to work, but suspect many took an extra day "holiday".

Speaking of the weather, in general summer has been pretty poor, with only a few truly hot and sunny days, and the outlook for the rest of July is more of the same. July however did bring the annual return of A...(English - with thirst for Guiness) accompanied as ever by his ever faithful compatriot B....(English - makes charitable donations to Riga police).

Apart from bringing me my supply of bacon, he had also managed to arrange a trip to the air Baltic Training Centre to "fly" in Boeing 737-Classic simulator. On arrival he took the Captains seat ( well he is older than me) and I sat in the co-pilots seat. After going through the pre-flight checks and engine start-up procedure, it was time for him to take control and get us from the terminal to the runway.

At this point I should point that all of the foregoing was under the strict supervision of V.....(Russian - ex Lattelecom engineer) It was at this point that things started to go slightly astray. To "steer"the aircraft you use a small and very sensitive wheel, but A... was a little over eager, resulting in us weaving from side too side on the perimeter track, whick in turn left A... feeling somewhat unwell (Motion sickness - I think) and so with great reluctance he abandoned the captains seat and retired to the safety of the rest area.

So now it was my turn !- and it was true that little wheel is sensitive, but after a few mishaps we did make it to the end of the runway at Riga airport. So now as I applied the throttles we sped down the runway, and at 180 knots gently pulled back on the "stick" and we climbed up, up into the blue yonder. ( As you will have guessed by now the combination of the visuals and movement of the simulator make this whole thing feel truly "real")

After doing a circuit over Riga Bay, it was time for the tricky bit landing - but following V..... instructions to the letter and watching my ILS indicators closely, we did indeed touch down safely. Much later I was given a printout showing my landing (see below) and for a first time effort I awarded my self 5 out of 10.

Now that I was halfway to being a pilot of course I wanted another go, so with the flick of a switch we moved from Riga Airport to Gatwick, and one again take off was good as was my circuit down over Southampton Water, before once again descending towards Gatwick, but I fear to tell that over confidence crept in - and let me just say my landing was with a definite Boooomp, and I finally ended up in the grass at the end of the runway.

A really great experience, and an excellent way to end the day last Saturday, and hopefully next year A... will be able to have another try. On reflection I think his big mistake was not having any Guinness during the day, prior to going out to the airport !

We have also seen the annual migration of Latvian Americans/Australians returning the land of their birth - J.... ( Latvian/American - wants to be buried in a military grave) and L...... (Latvian/Australian - who does not care where he is buried) - but no sign of C..... (American - retired film set maker). But as we are all of a similar age when we meet for a beer, it is like a mini oldies convention.

We did see some birthdays in July, first was S... (Irish - penchant for doing good - and succeeds), I did join him in the early part of the evening, but as I later found out his celebration continued into the wee hours of the following morning - with results one would expect when mixing beer with copius amounts of shots.
The second was J... (Irish - plays with gaming machines) - celebrating his 50th - although I have heard that he over indulged on the Vodka, regretfully no pictures have been made available - as yet !!

So there you have it for June and July, Ligo, Jani, Sun, Rain, Flight Simulators and Birthdays !, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the return of S.... (New Zealander - somewhat apathetic towards the royal family). on his return from Miami, albeit for only a few weeks before he returns for good to the States to once again bring life to defunct gaming machines.


Blogger Krystyna said...

Very nice blog.

12:15 am  

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