Friday, August 3, 2007

Should we run when we get off the plane?

This is the question Jess asks as we pull into the airport in Riga, Latvia. I say I don't think so, but who knows.

We get through passport control pretty easily and head over to the bus. We get on and Jess goes up to the woman and pays. She doesn't smile. At all.

Everyone smiles at Jess because she's cute and small and she smiles at people and that usually eases the initial tension. She didn't smile. At all.

We get to the hostel after walking past it and realize that it is on top of a booby bar. Nice! Well, aparently not really in Latvia. Not the women. We both agreed that Latvia had the best looking women so far but the booby bars are run by REAL shady elements - former KGB types and Russian mob. Tons of British people come here for batchelor parties (why, I have no idea) and they run tons of scams on them. First there are hot girls that call you into a bar fro "free" drinks, then you get a bill for like 1000 pounds (2000 bucks) and if you don't pay, they cut you off from your buddies and get you into a room and beat the shit out of you and still extract the money. One guy got pummeled, had cigaretts put out on him and left for dead.

Apparently, the police are worse than they are in Belgium. I'm sure they get paid off and look the other way.

There were tons of weird people in our hostel. These are the people I imagined we would run into on these trips - real dorks, who because they are on the road, try to reinvent themselves as someone else. It doesn't matter what country I'm in, I'm an asshole.We walked around and looked for some caches but had no luck. We saw most of the main sights, including the 3 brothers - these medieval buildings which are supposed to be the epitome of medieval architecture in Riga. They were cool. We got food and decided to cook that night. We also went and got some drinks at this liquor store place and when we paid the woman didn't smile. At all.

They're fairly fucking miserable here.

I guess I would be too if it rained as much as it did when we were there. Because it was so shitty we took it easy the next day and headed to the Museum of Latvian Occupation. It documented the occupations by both the Nazi's and the Communists. It was very interesting and had tons of information. It was cool to hear other perspectives - even how they felt the US and GB allowed the Baltics to be kept by the Communists after the war, despite Churchill saying, this is not what we fought for. We again tried to find some of the local caches but to no avail. We were stumped and decided to email some people for help. I had an idea where at least one was but because the building was like possibly falling down and it was a church, I said nah, but I was right.

The next day we went to Cesis - it is a medieval castlel, town and the castles' ruins. If, on the odd chance you find yourself in Riga, Latvia, you can skip Cesis. It was a two hour bus ride there - which wasn't bad because we both crashed and got some sleep. The castle was cool - when you get there, some girl in costume gives you a lantern to use as you walk around the towers. It definitely helped a lot in certain parts. They're doing a lot of work to restore the castle and do excavations - so in 20 years, when it's cool to go to Riga and people say, "I saw this amazingly restored castle in this town called Cesis", we can say, Yeah, we saw it when it was a dump.

We got on the bus back and it was packed. And it was hot. And the bus was from like '79. The only thing to make it worse would be if someone had a chicken or something like you see when people are on buses in Mexico or Guatemala or something. We made it home, alive, hot and probably smelly but we couldn't tell since the rest of the bus smelled like shit. Checked our email and ran out armed with some hints and found two caches. Thank God, because I really don't know if I plan on going back here again. Definitely not for three days. Oh yeah, did I mention no AC?

No comments: