pühapäev, september 24, 2006

Latvia is Just Alright with Me

The woman who cuts my hair is a Latvian. She's really nice, and, I have to say - her country gets a raw deal. For starters, Latvia consistently polls as the greatest enemy of the Russian Federation. Estonia came in fourth after Georgia. We've been lucky to have things work out ok here at my blog, but things can get downright dirty at Aleks' place - www.allaboutlatvia.com.

And if sneering former colonial masters weren't enough, Latvia gets broadsided by its Baltic brothers on a frequent basis. The Latvians are often the butt of jokes. In Estonia, if you are stupid, you are loll nagu lätlane (as stupid as a Latvian). I have also sensed that Lithuanians regard their northern neighbor as sort of a foolish country.

But compared to Estonians, all the Latvians - not that many, but how many do you need for a big, fat American-style generalization? - I have met have been softer, more pleasant people. Estonians are so puzzling that its hard to tell what emotion they are having, if they are having an emotion at that moment. They are like a nation of poker players, if you get what I mean.

Plus, if things have been hard for Estonia, Latvia's always gotten it just a little bit shittier. For some reason, even though most countries in the world could care less about some boggy land of Lettish people, Russia and Germany both have been so enthused about occupying and colonizing said land that they were willing to expend thousands of lives and considerable amounts of hard currency - not to mention effort - to try and do so. And yet Latvia survives, limping along here and there, but still running.

So to all Latvians, today I'd like to say Prieka!

6 kommentaari:

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Let's take Valka and Valga. If you cross the border a couple of times you are fed up with comparision. Get the best what both parts are offering, that's all. Or not?

Anonüümne ütles ...

ok id just like to say that it is perfectly normal to make jokes about your neighbours
I have noticed that northern neighbouring nation gets most of the beating regarding slowness and dumbness.
Estonians mock finns, latvians make similar jokes about estonians. For example latvians ironically refer to estonians as "gorjatshie estonskie parni" (hot estonian dudes) suggesting that regular estonian is as hot-blooded a snowman.
It supposed to be funny by some weird latvian sense of humour.
Also I think that considering Kossatšov`s remark about suposedly radical views of Ilves, Estonia may jump up in the enemy-charts

Luarvik ütles ...

Oooh, don't even get me started. I'm currently residing in Latvia. And honestly have NOT encountered a nation ruder than the Latvians. I dont know how would it feel like if you befriended one - but on the street, the service sector - just plain horrible. I get told off pretty much daily at any given store/restaurant. It's either that, or they just ignore you and keep on reading their book, doing their crossword or chatting to each other. Also, they insist on (and keep on doing so) talking to you only in Latvian even after youve asked them politely to speak in English and then in Russian. Sometimes when they continue in Latvian, i just reply in Estonian. THen they get puzzled. The local Russians have proven themselves far more reacable and open.
Latvians have got a ton of jokes on Estonians = stupid, slow and gullable.
THey're not technologically advanced - no mobile parking (there is a way, but VERY complicated), no free wifi (very very few places), no id card and digital signature to name the few.
I didnt know much about Latvia before moving here, know even less about Lithuania (talk about THI breaking the myth of Baltic unity:), but it has turned out to be not so welcoming of the foreigners. I'm sure every Estonian working here has their own horror story to tell.

Well, obviously its not ALL bad:), or we wouldnt be here in the first place, but the bad, when you have to deal with it every day, sticks out...

Giustino ütles ...

Also I think that considering Kossatšov`s remark about suposedly radical views of Ilves, Estonia may jump up in the enemy-charts

That guys head is so far up his ass, I don't even know where to begin. What happened to the Russian intelligentsia? Did Stalin kill them all?

From what I have read, Lenin did not support the annexation of the Baltics. Stalin, up until 1938, did not attempt a reannexation.

And even in 1940, the Soviets had to set up cosmetic "people's revolutions" because they were so scared that people in the outside world would recognize violence and greed, thus hurting the international socialist cause.

But in 2006, Russian leaders still feel that they are owed something in their near abroad, like they have a right to say whether or not a neighboring president is a radical.

Ilves is a pragmatist. Has he demanded Setumaa back? No. Was occupation reparations part of his campaign? No. Why is Ilves a radical? Because he was born in Sweden and Russia is as foreign to him as it is to Tarja Halonen and Frederik Reinfeldt.

Notsu ütles ...

"Gorjatshie estonskie parni" is a Russian joke originally, Latvians and Lithuanians have just picked it up. To my weird sense of humour it is funny too. It enhances one's self-esteem sooo much to be made jokes about.

But Latvians are not so much more goryatshie than us. I met a Latvian who had once visited Estonia. His description of it (imagine it in a slow monotone and hardly any facial expression): "it was... a good time." And I wondered if anybody but Estonian, Finnish of fellow Latvian would have believed that he REALLY had a good time. I, Estonian, did.

Mike Johnson ütles ...

Photo of Riga Old City street and Dome Church is Copytight (c) by Patricia Tourist Office, Riga, Latvia. www.rigalatvia.net. Common courtesy normally suggests a display of a photo credit in a story or BLOG article, Regards, Mike Johnson, Patricia LTD, General manager.