“Hunny, would you like breakfast?”
Ordinarily, at home, most breakfasts include cornflakes (or fruit loops or some other nasty sugar filled cereal for those under 14), maybe some toast, orange juice and coffee. When we got out for brunch, an ordinary order is likely bacon and eggs or pancakes. This is pretty universal at home and it is not something that would need to be written up in the Encylcopedia because it is just the ordinary.
Welcome to the Baltic States!
Breakfast here is: bread (dark delicious rye) cheese, cucumber, tomatoe (usually wedged, sometimes sliced) and coldcuts (usually pork). This is universal, it is not writen up in the encyclopedia of the baltic states and EVERY breakfast (Russia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuainia) is ALWAYS the same. Perhaps it SHOULD be written up because travellers like us call this lunch! Nope; no bacon and eggs, Nope: no cornflakes: Nope: no pancakes. If you want breakfast you need to eat lunch. This is just ordinary.
“Hunny, would you like to go to a movie?”
At home, you ordinarily would line up in a crowded theatre full of adolescent hormonal teenagers (pleasantly annoying, but loud), purchase a ticket from an indifferent teenager, stand in line to order the popcorn that you can’t help but order because of the pervasive scent of fake butter and salt. You then find your movie and rush the doors to get a seat in an appropriate location for your particular vision and hearing needs (these change as you get older!). NB: no matter what movie you are seeing the theatre number is the farthest one away from the ticket taker.
Welcome to the Baltic states!
We started with recognizing the movie posters even though they were written in some random language with lots of vowels and squiggly lines over the letters. We figured this was likely a movie theatre, so we did the ordinary and stood in line patiently to buy our ticket. This is where the similarities end.
The movie theatre in Riga was delighfully plush, devoid of teenagers, and instead had a light scattering of young adults clearly enraptured with each others company in a quiet and subdued manner. The lovely ticket seller (who was not a teenager) spoke excellent English and reinforced that the movie would be in English with subtitles in both Latvian and Russian. We were sold..who doesn’t want to see the next Bourne movie with russian subtitles?
Choosing the movie is only the beginning. We were offered MANY times to choose from and once we made our selection the screen in front of us light up with the available seats to choose from. After selecting and confirming the seat we were once again asked if there was anything else we required. We then found ourselves with 2 tickets in our hands with all the information needed: theatre number, seat number, movie time etc… This was so civilized and allowed us time to go for a beer before the show! We found our way to the concession which was a challenge because of the lack of aroma of popcorn, fake butter and salt. To our delight, the greatest selection was the size of the beer and the brand…domestic or international? We went for local and large to enjoy along with sensless violence on the big screen. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that our theatre (like all the others) was right next to the concession stand. Here this is just ordinary. We could take some notes about how to run a theatre for adults at home!
“Hunny, you need a haircut!”
At home the ordinary way to accomplish this is for Heather to get the razor out in the kitchen, and 15 minutes later I have my head mowed. I am then good to go for another month or so.
Welcome to the Baltic States!
I inquired from the hostel where I could get my hair cut cheap and fast. The nice hairbag said ordinarily you go to a “Klipeada” (or something like this…clearly i had no idea what i was looking for) and a hand wave with a vague direction to find said location “over there.” Off we go on an adventure! We found the word and entered the building to find a lovely beautician completedly devoid of any sort of personality. She informed me she would cut my hair for 12 litas. (hell of a good deal!).
The Battleaxe who owns the show finished emptying a can of hairspray on the customer in front of me. Its a good thing neither of smoke because the room smelled like napalm and was HIGHLY FLAMMABLE. Judging by the smell of the other passengers on the buses, this hairspray use is ordinary. It was my turn and she politely smiled, indicated the chair and proceeded to wrap the gown around my neck tight enough to strangle most normal humans. She weilded the razor with 2 hands after we agreed on the length of “quite short.” She proceeded to mow off all my hair. With skilled hands she attacked the hair in my ears and my eyebrows. Needless to say I won’t need a haircut until Christmas..perhaps longer. The 12 litas also included a head massage with some sort of grease, and an ample supply of some perfumy stuff that I am convinced is just as flammable as the hairspray. When i walked out of the Klipeada I felt like a scratch and sniff sticker that didn’t need to be scratched! This is just ordinary here.
I wonder what our next ordinary adventure will be?