Monday, March 28, 2016

Initial impressions of Riga

I came to Riga because I wanted to go somewhere I had never heard of before. After seeing Tallinn (capital of Estonia), I had somehow underestimated the size of the Latvian capital. My bad. It is huge, and buzzing with people (although I was told that it is pretty dead in winter). Tallinn, I had seen in a day. I am glad that I have more time for Riga.

Since I was too tired to explore anything on day 0 (no idea why, all I did was take a 1.5 hour flight; old age is surely catching up), I decided to walk around my hostel. This place is right by a six-point crossing, and blaring loudness. Traffic, live music, and what not. There is also a casino I can see from my room, its lights dazzling me, reminding me of Manhattan. Five minutes into coming here, I heard the familiar beats of the dholak playing outside. A big group of White Hare Krishna fans were singing, dancing, and chanting. Who would have thought this is the first thing I see in Latvia.

During prior travel research, I had seen a Pakistani restaurant, whose website was not updated after 2013. When I asked the receptionist, she gave me a dirty look, and handed me a list of the nearby Latvian buffets. Point accepted. When in Latvia, don't sniff around for biryani. Whenever I look up a new city, I look for "(name of city) famous biryani resraurant". Oh, well!

So I just walked around, went to a nice coffee place, chatted up with the young lady there, had some pina colada flavored Frappuccino, and looked at the shops. Tomorrow, I shall explore the city, although the weather says severe thunderstorms. If the weather is umbrella-worthy, though shall hear more of Riga. If not, though shall hear me whine here, right from the top deck of my bunk bed.

P.S.: This place is almost desi-free. Two hours of walking, and I saw only one desi (who is surely not a tourist, since most desis travel in large, rambunctious groups). Just saying.


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