Tuesday, November 18, 2008

18 November! (Happy Birthday, Latvia!)

With the rabies scare over, I was able to fully concentrate on work, work, and more work.

As of six minutes ago, the independent state of Latvia is officially and 90 years old. For those who don't know, 18 November is Latvia's Independence Day. A huge light-show deal was going on over the past weekend, too, called "Staro Riga" (www.staroriga.lv), which will certainly rack up a pretty electricity bill for the city's November account.

Independence Day in Latvia seems like a slightly bigger deal than that celebrated in the States - first of all, I can't remember a single 4th of July wherein I felt compelled to participate all day long in something. Most people seem to concentrate on the odd parade and the obligatory fireworks that happen once it gets dark. And if you have a grill and use it on this day, more points to you. Independence Day here went on all day long, mostly involving all sorts of documentary films that I didn't go see because I got to work from home today - that was my dose of fundom. I made it to the city centre in the morning to work from the new apartment in time to watch the morning's event of people laying flowers down at the foot of the Freedom Monument. We got to watch President Zatlers put down a bouquet of flowers larger than his torso, and then the whole slew of former presidents, ministers, members of Saeima, political figures, ambassadors, etc., put down their flowers. They cut the feed before the "normal citizens" got to do their stuff.

So even with all of the activities and Independence Day business going on today, I stayed at home and worked, then took a nap, then walked around a bit, got stuck in major people traffic, took some pictures and eventually made it to Krastmala to see the fireworks. Which weren't all that outstanding, but at least they had a few stints of "red-white-red" to keep it patriotic. It was very windy and we got some snow with which it was painful to be hit in the face. Tra-laaah!

I know it's a bit of a bummer I didn't walk around more, but I was out of the country last year, so this is a step up, if nothing else :)

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