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Riga, Latvia March 2005
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Enough about you, let's talk about me....

March 27, 2005

Riga Update
I have added a lot more to the Riga Page. I still need to do a Latvian Food page (requested by Paula). Are you ready to see some pancakes?

Some highlights of the trip:

  • The black currant juice and HUGE mugs of cappucino served at breakfast in our hotel
  • Shopping in old Riga. The wool and linen clothing and the jewelry are so unique.
  • Seeing the Maris Bisofs exhibit. He does little cartoons of Latvian life that are cute and touching.
  • Speaking Latvian often but not having to rely on my skills to survive.
  • Eventually learning how to replace the sim card in Amy's, Aaron's and my cell phone so we could communicate with everyone locally and cheaply.
  • Drinking Latvian beer. There were several new brands.
  • Drinking absinthe for the first time. When I emailed Joe about it he reminded me of a line spoken by Gary Oldman in the movie Dracula "The green fairy who lives in the absinthe wants your soul."
  • Seeing our friends in Riga. They all seem very happy and healthy. It was great to hear Ilze (high school) and Gunta (college) sing in their church choir.
  • Tagging along with Amy as she met her contacts for an article she is writing for National Geographic Traveler. We met some Latvians and Americans doing very interesting work to promote and maintain Latvian culture.
  • Being part of the dance company entourage.
  • Meeting young Latvian designer Yury Kupiansky at his boutique that Amy happened across. Amy, Aaron and I all bought clothing from his collection.
  • Walking around the snow covered Ethnographic Open-Air Museum. It was so peaceful.
  • Buying flowers for the dancers at the huge Central Market

I am sure i'll add more to this list.

March 22, 2005

Return from Riga
I am back and it was great! It was such fun and I was so busy. I took about 6 hour of footage - most is crap of course but that's ok. I tried to have the camera rolling as often as I could. The weather was wonderful - it snowed every day and it was more refreshing than cold. Prices for jewelry and textiles were much higher than when we were there in 2001 but food and beer is still relatively cheap. The 2 dance performances went really well. The audience was warm and receptive and, according to many people I talked to or overheard, the dance style was very new to them. I have a picture page started but only have the first section (Riga Scenes) completed. Take a look. I will add on as I have time.

March 6, 2005

Birthday Boys!
I am leaving for Riga, Latvia on Thursday. How exciting is that? I am looking forward to walking around the old town, eating and drinking Latvian fare and being part of the cultural scene. I will speak Latvian to anyone that I sense has the patience to listen as I stumble through a sentence and is not offended when I can't remember a word and say "oh crap". (My mom has to hear that constantly). I sent a press release about Dana's dance performance in Riga to the newspaper Laiks whose audience is Latvians living outside Latvia. They wrote back and said they were interested in doing an article. We are to contact an editor when we get there. Cool!

I will be separated from my computer for 9 days. I am not sure I can deal. And the weather has been in the 20s and snowing since forever. I like 30 something degrees but 20s is too cold. And I hope it is more snowy than slushy.

We celebrated Austin and William's birthday at a make-your-own-sushi party over at their house. It was fun and after a few initial messy sushi-like creations we all got the hang of it. Here are pics:

Sushi Fixins Chef William
A table full of sushi fixins Sushi Chef William cuts a maki roll
Rachel rolls her on Sushi Chef Mark
Sushi Chef Rachel rolls her own as Tracy and William prepare Sushi Chef Mark and the tuna are nicely coordinated
Tracy in a blur Alan clapping
The present opening portion of the evening

I should have taken along the camcorder to tape the fun. If I had you would not have to suffer through another grainy low-res little film (Quicktime 3.7MB) from my digital camera.

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