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Published: September 2nd 2009
Liepaja, Latvia - 1 Sept.09
and leaving it - on 2 Sept.
further in the moment moment (see below) now 11.30am - 2 Sept and I am on a bus writing this (cos I can - but no weefee here! altho some do I believe...). Just as well the bus had a relaxed time table otherwise I would have missed it - I was waiting in wrong place and ran towards tram waving but the driver just took off (typical all over that!). I was thinking taxi - if I could see one as had 5 mins to make bus, but made it anyway - only about 6 people on bus so I guess he was happy to wait a bit. The bus is going from Liepaja to Klaipeda in Lithuania where I will check out the world nature heritage Curonian Spit - a long thin sand bar, that if I do not visit I never will - and like all nature it is vanishing at rate of 1m. a year and disapearing into the Baltic Sea I guess. This is a bit of an accident coming here - like most things on mr Mink's daily rambles lately. Came to Liepaja as it was on hourly bus route form Riga and I was hopping off 2/3 way in Skrunda for Sandi's family tree thing. I have decided I will see more Lithuania now - not just Vilnius, since I will likely never come here again - so many countries, so little time (accdg to travel map country count on TB I think I now up to 40 - but who is counting? - its not the number - only 196 to go!!
Poland will likely will be light on - I was told by my rocker friend/popstar Revo (below) that it is “boring” and Krakow is much more interesting - and an American/Polish guy at K&G in Riga was also from Krakow - so thats enuf to spin Mr Mink's random travel deck!
to be in the moment it (was) going on midnite 1 Sept. (when I wrote this bit) and I have been rockin' out with the kids - as 1 Sept. is the first back to school day they party up and have rock music playing all over town - so it was like schoolies week on the Gold Coast with all these teens wandering aorund, as they do, in groups etc. I met Revo a real live Latvian rock/pop star on the bus (apparently with a real no.1 chart hit to his credit) when I got back on the bus in Skrunda after my Zelma Rosenfelda stop - Sandi and Lian will know what that is. He was going to Liepaja with his guitar in the rack overhead and told me there was a special day for the above back to school type thing - and Liepaja is the no.1 city in Latvia for rockmusik for some reason, much more so than Riga. It is the 3rd largest city in Latvia, yet the population is still only 80,000 or so - each time I come to a place like this the bus station seems to get smaller and more deserted! - Riga bus station is a metropolis compared to this - and Skrunda - they did not even have a ticket office when I hopped off there on the Rosefelda family tree search for my friend Sandi and her sister Lian - you simply bought the ticket from the driver on the next bus on the way thru. Anyway we got to Liepaja and the last I saw of him (then) was him heading towards the tram stop while I went to check when the bus went tomorrow to my next stop in Lithuania - its a complicated business and there might only one a day, so better check! Then got the tram downtown - the bus arrived via back streets and seemed to be in the middle of nowhere - well it is 1km away from main art of the city - annoying when that happens. I hopped on and off the tram in Riga without paying this morning - but here you paid the driver thru a little slot - she was not impressed with the 1 and 2 santimas coins (30 santimas (70 cents)- the sign I think indicated don't bother tendering them. Found the Fontaine Hotel - famous for the junk shop “foyer” and the different colours and themed rooms - I am in the dark pink “corner” room in the attic - very easy to bump your head on the way to bed. Had shower to freshen up and change of clothes - and went off in search of the rock music coming from somewhere - strange how it all seems to sound like The Smiths from a distance?! in the main town square there were indeed some rark going on on a stage- a metallish (but in a nice way) band on, then another one - the female guitarist/vocalist actually had 2 guitars, cor! I think one or other might have been Russian. It was great to hear some live music. And saw and met my new muso friend Revo checking out the action. Then had a pretty ordinary cappucino with a bit of cheesecake - 6pm and getting a bit late for afternoon tea but fill in before dinner. walked down to the beach/seashore - the sand is indeed pretty white and fine as Revo had told me- but you would not drown easily in the Baltic it is so shallow. It is supposedly a blue beach - waterquality measure as pollution has been considerably minimised since the Soviet years and it is packed on the weekends - but this was midweek and 7pm so less so. There was a large statue looking out so sea in memory of an American plane and 8 crew lost (shot down by Soviets?) in 1951 which seemed a little strange.
Anyway back to my bizzaarre hotel - after quite a few aging timber building shots - they really are quite unique. The dining options seemed the Old Admiral - near the hotel - but closed. The hotel told me the rent was to great andthey had moved the kitchen upstairs in hotel next door - who told me it had been closed over a year - I think evidence of the economic crisis and how the LP is not that “updated”after all.
So seemed could be gteed food at the Fontaine Royale - the bigger glitzier brother of mine on the waterfront promenade - and where Revo said he was playing at 8pm. Had some difficulty finding the Jungle Garden or whatever out the back - but sure enuf he was indeed on stage hammered onan amped up acoustic - only caught the end of his set but it sounded quite good - so took some snaps and he saw me so got some of him looking my way. Exposure was difficult tho as not much lighting and getting dark. Now he must have had a no.1 charter as there were some screamers there and some 15 yr old girls surrounded him for autographs after - on arms, backs, chests etc. Took some snaps of that action like a good paparazzo - then went off in search of dinner in the Fontaine Royale.
The glitz and gilt is indeed very much in evidence here, like the kitsch and junk where i was staying. Anyway had a spinach and sorrell soup (about $3!)- only had cream of sorrell soup once from freshly picked sorrell from workmate Marjorie in Wellington years ago. Since was still flavoursome but not quite the same. then a simple pepper fillet (abt $20) - with a yard of pear cider. As I had a free beer voucher Revo had given me before I went out the back to the now dark garden - it was metal time now but it was energetic and not too boring - the youngies seemed to be goin' off and having a good time. Met Revo again - he was going to be playing a couple of numbers with some people later as finale - but it was about 11.30pm and I only had Tshirt on and getting cold so repaired to the hotel. Where I more or less fell asleep trying to write this with an additional herbal liqueur from Tallinn= latter part finished off on the bus.
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