Adventures in Latvia

Yesterday morning we made our way to the food market, Balti Jamma Turg, in Tallinn for some street food and free time before our bus to Riga that afternoon. I mostly just relaxed with some coffee while the rest of the gang wandered off to do their own thing. But I did get to indulge in some Uzbek food for lunch, which was delicious. 

Soon it was time to head over to the other side of town to the bus station. Calvin hooked us up with some "lounge class" seats on the bus, which basically meant we had much more room, a good foot rest, and a granola bar and water bottle waiting for us in our seats. This made the four and half hour bus ride much more enjoyable. However, I was freaking waiting for my dissertation results which were scheduled to be released at 8:00 AM UK time the next morning. So I occupied myself with personality tests and other random quizzes on the internet.

As we neared Riga, my occupation with my phone briefly broke and I noticed heavy snowfall outside. Great. I wasn't ready for this at all. Thankfully, by the time we arrived in Riga it had mostly stopped and our hostel was only a 10 minute walk away from the bus station so we gingerly walked across the freshly fallen snow, checked into the hostel, and went out to scavenge for food since we were starving. We found a Tuk Tuk Express - a seemingly generic kebab shop - that was open. As soon as we started eating we thought we were in heaven. I've had a lot of kebab (it's my go to fast-food in Europe because it's cheap and good) but none have been as good as this. As Rupa put it, it wasn't just kebab, it was "fucking kebab." At first we weren't sure if it was really that good, or if we were just that hungry. Our suspicion was that it really was that good and that hypothesis would be confirmed the next night... 

The next morning I woke up and anxiously checked my results on my phone before rolling out of bed. Turns out I had nothing to be anxious about because I got a distinction on my dissertation and my overall MA. I was so excited and immediately told the group I wanted to celebrate that night. 

In the mean time, we made our way to St. Paul's church for the start of a free walking tour where once again, we lucked out with an amazing guide. It was too cold for me to remove my hands from my pocket and take photos. Plus it's sometimes to focus on what you're experiencing instead of taking pictures. On the walking tour, we met an Australian named Pierre and chatted with him throughout.

At the end of the tour, we headed back to our hostel. Carol decided to go to the local markets, and Rupa and I decided to just relax with some coffee at a local coffee shop I found online. As we were walking there we ran into Pierre and he decided to join us. So the three of us ordered coffee and settled into the only available table and began chatting. Before long we landed on the topic of languages and linguistics. That prompted a man who was about to leave to come up to us and say "Not to eavesdrop, but I heard you talking about languages and I'm actually a linguist!" 

After a few minutes of him standing there talking to us, Pierre and him realised they were both in Tartu a few nights ago at the same restaurant. Pierre had seen him on a date with a "weird girl" because she brought a book on the date. Turns out she was worried he was going to be late so brought along her favourite book: The Communist Manifesto. To each their own. He pulled up a chair and the four of us kept talking throughout the afternoon.

As night fell, we started getting ready for a night out with some people we met at our hostel, Pierre, and a few people from his hostel. Our first stop was the Radisson Hotel for their skyline bar. Granted, our view was limited as all the tables right by the window were occupied, but I still enjoyed the view (cause I'm a sucker for any kind of birds eye view). The music was great and so was the company. After a few drinks, we decided it was time to move on and find some shisha. Leave it to Calvin to get us a hostel across the street from a hookah bar, so thankfully it was an easy decision as to where to go.

As we were walking from the Radisson to Medusa, we pointed one of our members to the same "fucking kebab" place Rupa and I went to the night before, while the rest of us marched onward through a little park as a shortcut. He messaged us about how good it was, and has since gone back, sharing pictures of his kebab with us. So it really was that good.

While we were walking through the park, one individual made a comment about how he had to pee. All slightly tipsy we just encouraged him to go by a tree. He was too polite and modest urinate in public. Well someone said he was ridiculous, and that "it's so easy for guys, I would even do it!" So we dared her to go pee in this park, not thinking she actually would. But before we knew it she was sprinting across the grass toward a tree where she squatted and took a piss, leaving the rest of us laughing at the fact that she actually did it. She trotted back to us as if nothing weird like peeing in a park of a capital city just happened. 

The rest of our night consisted of smoking, friends, laughter, and good conversation before we all parted ways for our respective adventures to continue.