Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The time is Easter, therefore, a happy Easter wish from Riga, its Wormelings (see the whole story some blogs below), and thanks for looking in.
After trying to rent not only a bicycle, but a pedaler as well (and failing to find anyone wishing to take the risk of a Wormeling on the back seat), the Wormeling scout had to move on. He found a more welcoming Riga in two street musicians at Vermanes Park, just about center of the city. The Latvian Foreign Ministry and Riga Cathedral are in the far background.
There are some famous names associated with the park, because at one time some of Riga's people had the park almost for themselves.
A famous Latvian publishing couple, Antons and Emiliya Benjamins had a big mansion next to the park. Their newspaper "Jaunākās Ziņas" could boast the largest readership in the world per newspaper published--four persons per issue. Antons Benjamins (1860-1939) started his life as a school teacher and director, then moved on to become an editor with a number of newspapers in Riga. Following his apprenticeship, in 1911 "AB" then became editor in chief of JZ. The newspaper played an important role in popularizing the Latvian language in a then largely German-speaking Riga. Unfortunately, the newspaper stopped publishing in 1940, and was replaced by a Communist Party newspaper "Cīņa".
After visiting the Benjamins estate (it is a hotel and restaurant now), our Wormeling went to look for a rest room. Vermanes Park, a much more public space now than in the 1930s, did not have one. What next?
Let me see. Where can I do it?
This looks as good a place as any to lay an Easter egg. Or maybe not. Let me look a little while longer.
The Latvian Freedom Monument (Brīvības piemineklis), built in the 1930s (from donations from the citizenry), and with an honor guard of Latvian soldiers in attendance during daylight hours, has to suffer insults from a certain kind of tourist, who, when in need to relieve himself at night time, is not shy to relieve himself on the monument.
However, rather than blame a tourist, the blame should go to the Rīga mayor who for reasons of his own refuses to build a respectable public outhouse nearby. However, perhaps the hide-and-seek that goes on between the police and those who relieve themselves is a kind of double-mirrors game that at the same time reveals, then hides a political rivalry. It is getting to be ridiculous situation. The Riga Dome will fix the problem, but it is waiting for 2014, when Riga is to be City of Culture , Europe.
Until then Wormeling scouts have to hold it, and grin and bear it. After all, they are not tourists, but were born in the basement of the Riga White House (pils).

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