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Monthly Archives: July 2013

What am I doing? I know that I’m overseas and supposed to be I relax mode, but once again I have that double thinking happening. Double thinking that I am running away from something, because that’s what I do, I run away from problems then face them.
For example, I keep saying I’ll quit nursing, travel the world. Does that mean I don’t want to be a nurse and study something else or have a life behind the desk. Next year I would’ve been a real nurse, that’s really really grown up, having someone else’s life in my hands and I’ve just turned 21. That scares the shit out of me. Maybe I can keep deferring but then what would I do with my life. S.eep and work, because I know when I go home I’ll be working my ass off again and all those weird hours.
Or am I just running away from my problems, like. It facing that my mum is having a mental breakdown and I’m not there to help her through so does that mean that I feel guilty for being overseas and. It able to help her, which is why I’m resorting to alcohol and cigarettes. Boys I don’t even want to go there, hearing both from douche bag 1 and douche bag 2. Like why contact me when I’m overseas, I’m away to get away from you and be a hoe bag but you’re always there in the back of my mind. Wtf!!!!!!!!! Like yes douche bag 1 I will never forgot you but please stop being in my dreams.
Maybe that’s why I put up a barricade to protect myself because in reality I’m broken and I don’t know where any pieces are. Which is why I can sleep with some people but not others because they are close to deciphering the real me, the me that I don’t even know. It makes sense in away because I feel I hide myself through the facade of smoking, that I smoke in front of my real friends but at other times I won’t smoke in front of other people because I feel that they judge me, or they just get niggly.
This post is clearly turning turning into a drunk post about a lost person, that’s probably the best way to describe myself right now.

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After a 6 hour train ride from Budapest to Zagreb we caught up with another travel companion and headed off to split. It was another long journey of 5 hours on a bus, luckily I was able to sleep just a little. My friend on the other hand had a seat to herself so she could stretch out and I was with our other companion who snored most of the way. Arriving in Split it was 4am, our check in was for the next day at 2pm. So we pretty much had a whole day before we could actually lie down and have a proper sleep in a bed.
Dropping our backpacks off at Goli Bosi we decided to do a bit of sight seeing. It was dark but the lights of the old town lit up the buildings making it look pretty. Plus Split is also a safe country with low crime rates so we felt safe trawling the streets but on a plus we were also with a male friendso we were pretty safe for 2 girls. To kill a few hours we walked to a look out where we watched the sun rise, and had the experience of sleeping on a park bench. It was just serene, closing your eyes and hearing nature while seeing the sunrise over the mountains. Plus it was lucky we did this Walk in the morning as it would have been way to hotin the afternoon. Waking up after an hour we decided to walk down to some more shade and park benches to nap, I couldn’t nap, so I just ready book, and watched as a squirrel was jumping tree to tree and see if it would land on my friends face.
We then decided to go eat some food and check in because we had made the 2pm mark. So bedtime, well what a joke our room wasn’t even ready until 4pm. So for a Saturday we just had a quiet night, of drinking in our dorm trying to recuperate

We arrived in Budapest and hailed a taxi. Later learning that it was big no no, because taxi men rip you off. Turns out this taxi man was a nice one, he didn’t rip us off, he told us in broken English, that there are many idiots in Budapest and that the formula 1 is on this weekend. Helping us carry our backpacks to the hostel Wombats we had finally arrived and were able to have a good shower and sleep.
Wombats hostel was an alright hostel, not as good as Clink 78, but it is where there are a lot of tour groups. It was also the first hostel where we experienced unfriendly people in our dorm. The Spanish girls, they were bitches, didn’t even say a word, the only sentence they ever spoke to us was “is this your foot print?”. I had to reply no because why would I want to climb up over your suitcase on your pillow. Not logical. Anyway lucky we were only there for 2 nights. The wombats breakfast was amazing, a buffet breakfast with meats and cheeses even a toastie maker. The bar we exchanged our free drinks coupon, and ordered nachos before a big night out. Expecting a cheesy goodness we were surprised to find that it was only really nacho chips with dips, a cheese sauce and a salsa. Not really nachos of an Australian or Mexican standard.
We didn’t see a lot of sights of Budapest, we only saw the house of terror and castle hill. The house of terror is quite interesting, I could have stayed there all day listening to people’s stores of how they
were taken away to gulags and interrogated by the arrow cross, and the Hungarian form of the Cheka. The place I found the creepiest was the basement where they had the recreated cells and gallows. No one paws ever executed there but there was fatal bashings and torture. Turns out like latvija the Hungarians also had hard times.
To liven our spirits a little bit more we took the metro to cattle hill. We were clearly lost but it was surprising that a random old man came up to us and pointed us in the right direction. He was really friendly. The view from castle hill was spectacular and it was for free too so it was nice in the pockets.
Because we had a quiet night the night before we decided to do the typical touristy pub crawl. It turned out to be a lot of fun. Unlike London I was not a hoe bag and didn’t hook up with anyone, but there were still a lot of shots that were drunken. And a stumble home.
I enjoyed Budapest, I’m unsure if I would return again but at least I can mark it off my list that I had been there.

On a 27 hour bus trip you will see:
1. A man in Lithuania peeing on the side of the road openly with his pants down
2. A Russian domestic on the bus
3. Us two nearly having a do,estic over choosing what to do in Croatia and where to stay
4. Breaking down in Poland on the side of the road for a few minutes
5. Myself getting a pimple
6. Getting a microwave meal and the stewardess assuring you that they have diet coke but turns out they only have real coke.
7. Fat shirtless truck drivers on the boarder of Austria and Bratislava
8. Finding out that we missed the metro, and will be in Hungary with only euros
9. Hearing more people have domestics when it’s light out time
10. Arriving in Budapest and not knowing where to go

As you can see I survived my 27 hour bus ride from Riga to Budapest, it actually turned into a 30 hour bus ride and we hailed a cab which turns out to be a big no no here but oh we’ll, we arrrived and didn’t have a map.
At least the cab driver seemed nice, he told us that Budapest is full of idiots and that the formula one is on this weekend.
Let the adventures begin tomorrow

The buzz has probably died down now seeming it did happen over 2 weeks ago but I never got the opportunity to write about Dziesma Svetki, well I probably did have the opportunity but I was too hungover. So now I write, plus I am on a bus and have a lot of hours to kill.
My experience of Dziesma svetki was amazing. Having been a spectator in 2008, it was really interesting participating in the dancing. The dancing which has over 15000 participants also has rankings from group A to E. we were group D- dancing with the more middle aged people. Our rehearsals were crazy, we would rehearse from 8-11pm but we would spend a lot of that time either waiting to find out where to go or just waiting and resting till our next dance. It was a bit of shame but when we arrived we found out that for our2 favourite dances Kumas and Lepna Lepna we wouldn’t actually be dancing it but forming a moving shape. But what can you do, it was a no our just dancing. I was also surprised during the rehearsals we were allocated water for the day, heaps of the young Latvians would just use the drinking water to cool down and not drink it. On the plus side to it being hot, there were a lot of boys taking off their shirts and man did they look nice, letting us have a cheeky perve. With that being said we all here to dance our Latvian folk dances and it was soon time for our general rehearsal with a public audience. Our dance group was big enough that out of the five performances we had we were all entitled one concert off, we even lent some boys and a girl to the Kent dance group from England as they had people who didn’t turn up. Why they wouldn’t turn up, I wouldn’t know because to me you wouldn’t want to miss out on this experience. But back to the general rehearsal performance, this time we were all in our folk costumes which are not the same, so trying to find the purple t shirt dance group you were dancing with earlier in the day became harder especially when the ladies are wearing white head scarves which about 75% of people were doing. But it turned out alright we all found our partners for al the concerts. Especially the one that was televised so we looked super awesome not that you could see us, seeming we were up in the back corner for most of it, though the boys we’re upfront for the boys dance which was exciting because they loved that dance and they looked do good doing it.
So my experiences: the first dance Iebrauca Saulite- a pretty dance, one of my favorites because it’s pretty, it’s also the dance where I screwed up my ankle earlier in the year at the Melbourne rehearsal, I also liked it because I danced this with different boys. Coming onto the stadium we were all in straight lines, and then we would start our dance, if you were watching it from the tv screen in a bit we would be in a darzins( a circle) and then do a bit of a in and out (or as us Australian Latvians call it haree Krishna), it literally looked like a flower blooming, then we would continue our dance and for the last part we would gracefully sprint off stage and quickly because you would get run down by hundreds of other people. You would think it would be a mess but on tv ir watching as a spectator you couldn’t fault it.
Next dance was Lepna Lepna. One of our favorites that we unfortunately weren’t going to even dance as we were the shape makers. At rehearsals it was quite stressful as no one not just our Australian group but other Latvian or foreign groups knew where to go or what to do, as the boss lady was a bit unorganized, luckily we were up the back but you know what on all performances the dance worked out, the shapes looked good. Though the end of the song, there was a mad sprint to get off stage and people would be telling you to run faster so all you could do was hitch your skirt and sprint.
Kumas: another of my favourite dances that we unfortunately were just shapes for. We hardly even ,made it on to the stadium for this one as there was nearly over 2000 people dancing on it, but when we did we had to sprint off In nice lines. I actually felt my ankle roll in it on the last time that I had to let go of my partners hands or I would either face plant or fall and get trampled on.
Kreicburgas Polka: I hated rehearsing for this dance, it was a girls dance and it made me feel like a frumpy old lady. Luckily when we performed this in Melbourne I was able to sit out due to my ankle and one of the boys danced it in my place. But in latvija this dance grew on me. They made it seem easier and we walked on with different female collectives and our group Estonian Latvians were quite friendly. The exit of this was another mad sprint as the boys came on for the boys dance,
The finale we were all given mirrors and all the dancers so over 15000 people were on stage at the same time, sparkling their mirrors doing a Mexican wave.
Out of the 5 concerts the last one was televised, even had my mum and sister had home in Australia watched it, having purchased some hdmi cord that would plug the laptop into the tv so they could watch it on big screen.
Words can’t describe the feeling that I felt when I danced with all those people. The experience of seeing so many dances dance the same dance at the same time in perfect sync. The experience of running home in the rain in my folk costume. The after party, dancing on the stadium till early dawn, hooking up with a Canadian friend that I hadn’t seen in ages but then decided to bail on him because he was just too clingy (I’m mean sometimes, but when I want to dance let me dance god dammit) but then I also had a fight with my best friend and travel buddy. I guess that’s what you get for three weeks of traveling together and only having about 48 hours apart from each other, but yes my best friend and I had a drunk fight and I slapped her which is a shock because I never slap people and I think we were arguing over stupid things like cigarettes, that she had my cardigan and neither of us were letting each other finish talking. But we did wake up the next day wondering what we were fighting about it, it was after the boys told us and then pulled us apart from each other. But we are friends again and have built a bridge and gotten over it, and I’ll always be there for her etc etc.
The next day after the final dance concert and party we had the Gajiens- the parade, where all the participants of the song and dance festival walked down the street, past the freedom monument. It’s a long parade. Last time in 2008, we just thought it would go for an hour, we would see the Australian group and go home, 3 hours later no Australian group had turned up and people were still walking. I ended up going home for a nap because I had had back surgery a few months prior so I missed out on seeing Australia. This time round it was much of the same thing but we were standing around waiting t o walk. This was another experience I will never forget, firstly it was the first time where I saw how happy my cousin actually was and how he was loving this experience, the second being that everyone was calling out for Australia, left right and centre. I true.y felt like a celebrity or that we were suoer stars, you’d walk a few steps and someone would shout out Australia, so you would wave, it was also nice seeing familiar faces in the crowd like my grand,a and aunty.
Having finished the walk, we were super hungry so we stopped off for a kebab at a shop on our way home that we call the drunk food,shop as it sells greasy non Latvian foods and a quick nap before the closing ceremony concert.
The closing ceremony concert had over 18000 singers, it was a spectacular concert hearing the anthem of Diev Sveti Latvija sung by everyone and the audience standing up too made me year up just a little bit. The songs were amazing but it was just a ridiculously long concert. It went for 6 hours and it wasn’t 6 hours of singing. Perhaps 3 hours of singing, 2 hours of brass orchestra which was boring and an hour of people getting off and on stage. Plus the seats aren’t comfortable they are just park benches so my butt was getting numb. I just couldn’t wait for the last 3 songs, Saule Perkons Daugava, gaismas pils and a relatively new song called Dveseles Dziesma. These songs made me tear up too and it was amazing seeing everyone stand up for Saule Perkins Daugava it’s like a new Latvian national anthem. What got the tears rolling though at the end was when everyone was singing Put Vejin, that song gets me at the best of times but hearing it with thousands of voices the tears poured.
After the concert it was another afterparty where we literally sang until the sun rose and we got kicked out of the facility. This is where another memory was made. We stumbled upon a group of people who were singing still so we joined them and sung with them, there some familiar faces but other people that I had no idea who we were but we all seemed to be joined in this unity of knowing the same songs. We sung for a few more hours literally just on a park bench, 2 boys actually crept back into the park and stole 2 slabs of cider, so we had alcohol. Sneaky but memorable, it was even funny when the police drove by and saw us with alcohol all they asked was that it was in plastic cups next time they came home. Then someone came up with the idea of going to the river to sing and party some more but I was crashing so me and one of my other friends went home at 9am. So you know when you had a big night when the tram is already running on normal schedule and the bakery is open. Crashing at home, my travel buddy only arrived home at 2:30pm in the afternoon. But she said the experience was a crazy experience and a memory for her too just drinking by a river.
The evening was spent with a quite night at Lido with our group, a buffet style restaurant where you choose what,you want to eat and how much and they weigh it for you and you pay. The only thing is that the portions are huge. It was nice and chill, we ended up at egle the local place where we drink a d ended up home at 6am. Why in latvija do quiet nights always turn into big nights?
But these memories are what I will hold onto till I die, a once in every 5 year experience.

My next adventure took me on a 2 hour bus ride near the boarder of Estonia to a music festival in Latvia called Positivus.
The bus was full of music lovers and hippies carrying their backpacks and tents. Lucky or unlucky for us the day before we decided to go buy a tent that wasn’t a beach tent and some gumboots and rain costs because these 3 things proved to be quite vital for the weekend. Arriving at our destination our next challenge was to actually find the camping ground and site of the festival. There was no signage anywhere, and a group of us were looking quite lost. Asking the petrol station she told us it was a 20 minute walk to right. Lucky that we asked because we were going to go left. The walk didn’t seem like 20 minutes only because we were weighed down with our alcohol stash of 2 liters of captains and 750ml of vodka plus some ciders and alcoholic soft drink. We found the camping ground which was just a giant field with tents and set up our camp and napped because as most of this trip has been we had a big night the previous night.
Waking up after our nap, it was time to get our drink on, more tents had been erected, and people were gathering around, languages other than English or latvian were being spoken so it was fun guessing which and what nationality people were. Tunes were being played from a red bull DJ car, and we were surprised to hear some Australian songs like Emma Louise and San Cisco, with that we felt that we needed to get our groove on, and started a bit of a d floor on the field. People joined amazing songs were played, even Ida Maria’s I Like You So Much Better When Your Naked, my all time favourite song and a song I hadn’t listened to in years and here I was in Latvija dancing to it. After the DJ ended sadly it was time to hit the sack because it was time for the festival tomorrow and the rest of the three days.
First day of festival we woke up and were glad that our tent had survived because it had been quite windy the night before and our tent dosent offer too much protection, drank a lot of captains nearly a liter between us 2 was drunken. By 4pm being a bit merry we ventured in to do a bit of exploring. There were games and stalls that was pretty cool, even a stall promoting pain relief. We saw the stages, and explored the beach which smelled a bit, we chilled in hammocks in the trees and it was just generally a chilled out atmosphere. It was amazing. Time flew and it was time to catch up with friends and start to see the gigs. The first gig was Crystal Castles. It was pretty amazing and the lighting was quite spectacular. I dont really know much of their songs but it was fun to dance too and watch how Alice Glass would skull Jack and smoke cigarettes in stage.
The next gig was Noah and the Whale and they were the only the band throughout the whole festival that I heard play an encore. Their songs like L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N and 5 yearwere amazing, and it was cool seeing them live, I much prefer their live music. Feeling a bit cold we decided to bail to bed and encounter the coldest night sleep I’ve ever had. I was rugged up head to toe, fresking out that our tent would fly away with us in it and had the weirdest dream where I swear my friend woke me up and said we had to bail as our tent was about to fly away.
Waking up to the sun and a slight hangover seedy feeling, we chilled for the afternoon before venturing back into the festival. As it was the day of Sigor Ros. We saw a Latvian group called The Sound Poets, just seeing the end of them, was still pretty cool, seeing a Latvian band sing Latvian words in Latvia. It’s a pretty surreal feeling. To keep the momentum of Latvian bands going our next group was a 90s group called Jauns Meness. They were cool and I had heard some of their songs back home, grooved to them. They also announced that it was either their third last show or their last show of three. Im glad to say that i have seen them.I didnt see Imagine Dragons but I was able to hear them sings It’s Time from the camp site.. It was then time to go get ready for Sigor Ros. We decided it would be good instead of standing for him to go sit in the hills surrounded by trees. The experience was amazing. I don’t know what his music does but I experienced a range of emotions from smiling, to tears, to amazement, to laughter. A roller coaster of emotions and a place where I could gather my thoughts. We decided that tonight would be the night where we would party, lol jokes, deciding to get kebabs at our camp site instead of waiting in line at the food court we hit a lowland bailed to bed to the lull of drunk Estonians shouting in English that they are so shitfaced, and they are not wearing any pants.
The last day if the festival we woke up and decided it was time to get our drink on, plus our budget allowed us to get some cocktails and more drinks not that they were expensive or anything. Our first drink of the day was a Black Mojitio. We have been pretty much living off Mojito happy hours here in latvija so why not try a Latvian black Mojitio. It contained Rigas Black Balzams, brown sugar, sprite, oranges and limes. I like balzams but this cocktail I wouldn’t drink again. It was time to go see a musician from the UK called Tom Odell. I had never heard if him before, but the way he rocked out on the piano and sang made me want to get into his pants, plus I’ll be able to add his songs onto my forever alone playlist. Another gig done time for another drink which was just jaeger and red bull. In Latvija jaeger bombs aren’t a thing which is pretty sad. Our next gig was to see Darwin Deez. What a fun gig, there welcome act involved a choreographed dance, and they had interludes of them dancing too wi a dance off. It was a fun one to watch. Next was two door cinema club which was also fun but the highlight being seeing the XX. Like Sigor Ros it was amazing but this time we were up the front able to groove along. I was memorized by the lights and the way they sang Crystalized. It was just sad that it ended abruptly especially because it was the last act.We decided that instead of sleeping we would stay up for the rest of the night to catch the first bus home. It wasn’t that long of a wait seeming by the time we left the festival grounds it was already 2am, and having met a friend of a friend who owned a bar and gave us drinks to help make the time pass. Packing up our tent at 4am we were seeing people do the same thing, hoping that they didn’t have the same idea as us of getting the first bus. They did because when we arrived at the bus stop it was chockers full of people and nearly a riot occurred to get on. Luckily my friend came up with the idea that she would put our backpacks in the luggage and I would get the tickets, pushing my way through the crowd I was able to do just that even though the bus driver did get shitty when I said my friend is at the back wearing the yellow beanie so you better let her on. A lot of people didn’t get on the bus and as we drove away you could see them cursing us.
That concludes a weekend away and now it’s time to go back to Riga to pack and wash our clothes to prepare us for a 27 hour bus trip to BUdapest.

Country life was still continuing and it was amazing being fed fatty foods but not worrying about our weight as we were working it off by swimming and walking or just sweating it out in the sauna.
We had an adventure day, our friends family decided to take us out on some sites. One of my friends family was from the Gulbene region. Never having been to Latvija, we went in search to firstly where his grandfather went to high school and then to Belava, where his grandfather went to primary school, and used to live next door where only the stairs of the house remained. He was loosing a bit of hope but surprisingly we found the steps, on an overgrown hill. He took a picture and in the photo there was a white light. I reckon it could of been a family member Or energy just congratulating that he had made it. It was bit inspiring. It was even better when we visited the primary school and seeing his grandfathers painting hanging up there.
Continuing our adventure I noticed that we drive through a place called Zeltini. I recalled that my grandfather could be buried there when he died in 2002. My friends family and our group were quite nice and offered to stop at the cemetery. The only thing was that I didn’t know where he was buried. I was slowly loosing hope, thinking that it could be at another cemetery but they assured me that there is only one cemetery. It was then that my friend called out to me saying that he found him. And you know what he had. I felt happiness and sadness, it had been over 10 years since I had thought of him and now I was at his grave, at his family spot, able to say my hellos and goodbyes. The only thing that had me semi annoyed was that on the rock plaque they had spelt Melbourne wrong spelling it like Melnburna. A thing about Latvian cemeteries are that they are so quite, and beautiful, it is serene, they care for their graves or plots, candles are burnt,vthe sand is raked and there are fresh flowers most of the time. I also sad that I didn’t have any flowers but I’m sure ,y granddad would understand. Tears having been shed and thank your said it was time for the next leg.
Our next adventure was quite exciting. We were taken to an abandoned Russian army barracks and bunkers that were used up until the 1990s and one of the only places in Latvia that still has Lenins giant head from the Soviet times. How in the world would you want to parade a giant head in places of Latvija I wouldnt know but it happend in soviet times. One of my friends decided it would be an adventure and wise to climb on top of Lenins head. Adventures with Lenin being done it was time to put on our exploring boots and explore some bunkers. The first bunker we went to appeared to be closed and locked. But boys being boys realized that was locking the door was only a plank of wood. So the 4 boys with all their strength were able to open the door and break the plank of wood. Inside they noticed large crates that looked relatively new, as they stepped in and as me and my friend inched closer to enter the bunker and alarm sounded. We were like WTF!!!! Why I’m the middle of no where is an alarm sounding, but turning to see that our friends relatives have dashed to their cars we sprinted to, with the boys just being able to close the doors. And quickly we drove away from that section. We then went an explored some abandoned apartments. There were no windows, floors were broken, it was like people just got up and left, leaving things behind. We found old boots and even a Russian newspaper from the year 1989. It’s amazing how people could just leave. We also visited another building that was all dark and chilly, filled with graffiti,the boys started singing an the acoustics sounded amazing. They then adventured down to a dark bunker where the only way they were able to see was by taking pictures with their flash. They concluded that it was either a bomb shelter or an interrogation place. This was a place that isn’t written in the tourist guides but you could just believe what life would have been like living there.
Being our last night living the country life we decided to have a bit of a farewell shisha party by the lake as a thank you. It was nice watching the sunset, smoking shisha, having drinks and eating food but then we got attacked by mosquitos, so someone came up with the wise idea of making a bit of a hot box in the sauna with the shisha. It was amazing, the smoke room filled up with scents of apple and strawberry smoke and it got hot. It was a nice end to country life but it was time to get back to Latvian city life.