Published March 20, 2022
I was disapointed as I caught my first sight of the ground, 'Ah, no snow then.' I thought as the plane approached the runway.
I wasn't expecting the same SNOW MAGIC I experienced a month earlier in Tallinn, but some would have been nice.
Immigration was an annoyance, as was relaxing in the terminal with militant female security guards patrolling for rule-breakers. This Latvia place was aparently a stickler for rules. I enjoy breaking rules. A fun dynamic was already being set.
I ate some lunch in the terminal and then headed for the bus. As I boarded the thing, the happiest damn bus driver in the world greeted me.
I can't remember exactly what he said, but I do remember he said it all with the zeal of a dof dof is a new word that now exists, I was going to write dog and then something about a dog being happy with some kinda bone or something, but I'm keeping it as dof
this motherfuckin' bus driver was a mo'fu'n DOF.
The guy truly loved driving that bus.
When I arrived in my room I was happy to find an extremely Latvian view out the window. I don't know why it was extremely Latvian, it just was. I felt like I was in Latvia and I liked that.
I turned on the television and as usual went straight for the news. . .
CNN Ukraine Russia Invasion Madness
Between my trip to Estonia and my trip here to Latvia only a few weeks had passed, but the world had changed. The pathetic Russian regime had invaded Ukraine with a dumb brutality.
A month earlier the invasion of Ukraine had still been a question, now it had been answered - missiles, bombs, bullets, tanks, soldiers tearing up a country.
And the country I was now in was looking east, wondering if it was next.
On the streets of Riga, Ukraine was present everywhere. There wasn't a street I walked down that didn't feature a proud Ukrainian flag flashing up on a digital billboard or painted on the side of a building or hanging outside a storefront, there was even a massive bunched up collection flying high on a roadabout. I saw more of the yellow and blue bands of Ukraine than the red and white of Latvia.
I watched the invasion of Ukraine play out on the television in my hotel room throughout the trip. Weird time, but not really. Just the usual kinda crap, taking the long-view of history. On one of the nights I heard some loud construction work roar into life outside, the booms of some machine sounded like bombs going off and I questioned for a moment if World War Three really was on. It wasn't, not yet anyway.
I was stuck to the TV and to my phone, I stayed in my room a lot, mostly only going out for meals. I wasn't feeling much connection or excitement with Riga, and that's okay, can't fall in love with every single place I ever go.
I had two long walks of exploring, one on the day before I left, a lovely stroll around town and one on the morning I did leave.
That morning I got breakfast and left early, walking to the Old Town. There was something unique about the architecture of Riga, it was different from Tallinn and the rustic, worn-down yet still not dirty or broken looking nature of it was appealing. Like a magical sad clown or a beautiful depressed puppy.
But, for some reason it didn't produce any feelings of sadness inside me.
As I crossed the bridge to catch the bus to the airport I saw a woman in the middle of the road, at first I throught it was a protest, then a scammy hobo, then an instagram whore before finally realising the woman had just been in a major car crash, a pile-up to be exact.
I enjoyed the novelty of the wreckage on the bridge, took a few pictures and kept walking.
I got on the bus to the airport and approached the driver for a ticket, as I got to the front an old face rendered, DOF! The same extremely friendly and nice bus driver from before.
Riga could claim one prize - home to the happiest damn bus driver in the world.
Latvia wasn't one of my favourite countries, maybe if I found her covered in the same amount of snow as I found in Estonia she could have been.
I still liked it, it was Latvia, a completely nice, little country.