Well whilst I'm sporting injuries I have to say on the whole things are looking up.
I have a mouth ulcer from a nasty toothbrush... Been chucked out..., ribs that are no better this am... Damn I was hoping to wake up and be better, and a blind pimple in a nasty place that feels like its as big as a tennis ball ball but is the same size as a chuppa chup. Ouch. Yes... Nasty.
Telling you guys as I can't tell anyone here and I'll not have to see you laugh. So that's the down side.
The upside.. A half decent mattress, a half decent pillow, a fantastic shower... Bliss...I don't have to take altitude pills getting in and especially out of a bath to have a shower, and water comes out the shower head rather than running around trying to get wet, like in Estonia. They'd taken water saving to a whole new level, and it was affected every time someone close turned their water on.
And... An enormous towel... Very wide, very long... Worn out - I might add - but big. And a flannel. Joy! I wrung out the flannel though and heard a dismaying noise. When I looked the flannel had fallen into holes. I'm a tad worried if I dry myself vigorously the same thing might happen to the towel. I might just be standing in shreds.
They have been used a few years too long by the look and feel. Clean, but no longer white or thick. David tells me his flannel fell apart as well.
So another night of not enough sleep, but how can you sleep in a furnace and put an icecream in the middle of the room and expect it to cool the room down. The window idea worked to a point. There was a lot going on out there, so I had to shut it.
Today started with a city bus tour and then the old town by foot. It's quite beautiful here and has a cruisy feel. Because we are at the end of the season, the city was quiet, not many tourists and not many locals much either. We thought they might still be stuck at the state forest.
At the end of the walk rita took us to her favourite amber shop.... Nobody bought anything. Ted kept disappearing, later we learnt he'd gone for beer, so when we were anywhere for a while, he would nip in for a quick ale - 10 am in the morning. When you look at him you can see he has the alcoholic nose and cheeks. He certainly has the demeanour. So... When we went to the dinner with the accordion player and the dancing, we sat with Rita and Ted. We made polite conversation as you do. I asked if she spent much time at her house in Riga... I really meant her home. Poor choice of words. She said no, she never owned a house in Riga she had an apartment. I let it go as I didn't want to make her feel dumb for not understanding me. He said ... Rita just lied to you. She owned several apartments and during the GFC lost all of the family money. Didn't you Rita. She said well actually we were buying a property and we needed more money so I had to put extra collateral for the bank and then everything went wrong. I'm not sure if she defaulted or if the bank collapsed but it seems she lost all of her properties. A bank took them. Maybe she was over extended? None of my business and certainly he was rude to tell us such a personal story which wasn't his to tell. He was gloaty. Then he said that he was forced to do his own ironing. I made a joke that he was well trained. He said no, it was because she was incapable of ironing his shirts to his satisfaction. And then he said... I like my shirts ironed properly. Just ask my two ex wives. Pig! I don't know why she is with him. She could do better. He said that he didn't want her to work, but she said she wanted to keep working. It seemed to be an open ongoing argument. He is retired but seems to join her -officially this time, and unofficially other times -on her tours.
He said they talk on skype every single day when they are apart and then he started to talk about her complaining about her group members. I changed the subject. He could get her sacked if Bunnik found out that she talked badly about the people on the tour. She's entitled to blow off steam to her partner, but letting him repeat it is very dangerous. He has no boundaries where it comes to what's appropriate in relation to her job. I think he's a control freak. He doesn't leave her alone for a day, and tries to tell her what to do.. Well she's a grown woman, I hope she sees through him, before he costs her the job. So the end of the story is - he's a creep in expensive clothes.
Back to the tour... At the end we went our own separate ways. Libby and I were busting for the loo so that was a priority. As we needed to buy something to use the toilets we stopped for lunch. It was very good and we got to try some of their different breads as well. I had a plate of smoked meats and pickles, David and Libby had soup, and Kevin ordered carbonara but ended up with bolognaise.
No matter. All good.
We walked around to the St. Peter's cathedral where there was meant to be a market. This turned out to be a few tables of cheap tourist crap but also some beautiful hand knitted socks, some knee high. The thing is the wool is really really scratchy. I don't think people would like it. So again our $$ are safe.
We meandered down to the zeppelin hangers that were built elsewhere in Latvia during the war but then not used. They were moved to Riga and are used for markets. It was fascinating to walk through. Every kind of poultry part, every type of red meat, including all the offal. I mean ALL the offal, hearts, lungs, sweetbreads, pig snouts, you name it, they sold it. Fresh and smoked. The fish market... Stall after stall of smoked and dried fish. Tons of fresh fish, and other stalls of fish heads, backbones and rubbish flesh. Dunno who wanted that stuff but clearly there's a market for it.
There were biscuits, cakes, doughnuts, pharmacies, clothes, jewellery... All mixed up together. Sort of like Vic market. There was a bakery that people were lining up for the bread that was being baked right there. Talk about fresh. Outside there was fruit, beautiful quality and veg. We saw some mushrooms that looked like toadstools... They had yellow tops and yellow gills. Aren't they poisonous?
Apart from Kevin buying a palmier our money stayed in our wallets. From there we started to wander back with a plan to go on the little cans, boat which does a circuit. Encounter we found a place to change the batteries on my watch and I'm pleased to report that it is working perfectly. Two batteries for 7 euros. About 10 bucks. Done on the spot. So happy.
We finally got to the place we needed to be to catch the boat and after waiting on the boat for what seemed forever off we went. It was 5 Lats pp. 1 Lat = $2. So a $10 cruise. It was very peaceful and beautiful putting around. It was such a glorious day. We couldn't have asked for better weather.
Back at the hotel we had a leisurely tipple for a while and made a plan for dinner. We all then headed back to our rooms for a rest before heading out again for tex/me dinner. This was a great experience. The food was all good. We all tried chilli poppers... Have you had them? Chilli stuffed normally with cream cheese.... These had cheddar, them battered and fried. They were good.
Libby and Kevin had paella which looked fabulous, I had a massive bowl of chilli con carne and another one of rice, David had a massive burger and chips. In addition the boys had nachos and Alan had a prawn Caesar for entree which was a 12 inch dinner plate full followed by the hugest smoky spare ribs I've ever seen with salad and chips. Add 2 x 1/2 L beers, 4 cokes and 2 soda waters.... 42 Lats. About 60€ or 84 bucks for 5 huge meals. We kept looking at the bill but it was right. Unbelievable.
So a cheap meal to end up a glorious today.
I'll leave you today with a funny story.
The bathrooms have no plugs. Steve asked at the reception desk. The lady said they are kept under the mirrors in the corridors. So he told everyone. And last night David, Kevin and Steve, goodness only knows whether anyone else was there, but they went looking under the mirrors in the corridors. Of course, they weren't there.. Why would they be.. This am Alan told Steve that he had asked at reception and they would order one for you. (God knows why). The plug under the mirror in the corridor was of course a powerpoint in our room. Not that it's a true corridor but I guess things got lost in translation. How funny that grown people were looking for a bathroom plug in the hotel corridors. Hope you are enjoying the stories.