Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Backpack’s Back

When we came in this afternoon from our meanderings around the giant (5 WWII blimp hangars-worth!) market, Ian’s bag was sitting inside the door against the textured orange and gold wall of our room. We didn’t notice it at first, since it’s become so much a part of our environment. That didn’t take away from our excitement, though, when we did notice it. We had replaced only a couple essentials—some conditioner for me, and a UK to EU plug adaptor for us both (I walked unerringly to both an electronics store and the Body Shop in two different malls, neither of which I’d been to before. Shopping has become second nature, I tell you).

I have to say, though, if my bag had been lost, and not ever returned, I would not have been able to bring myself to replace my clothing here. Latvia has been free from the Soviet Union since 1992, I believe, and 15 years have brought big changes. But it seems that freedom has not brought taste, at least not yet. Traditional dress is long gone, and Soviet scarcity is over, and now it’s as if the joy of consumption has taken over completely and the Latvians just don’t have any filters. If something exists, it's for sale. I’m sure this will all even out too soon (I know, I know, I can't have it both ways), now that they’ve joined the EU and are working toward adopting the Euro as their currency. In the next ten years, they’ll probably be wearing generic clothes from H&M and Zara like everyone else in Europe. And that will be sad, in a way, but much better too, in a way. At the moment, pretty much anything goes, and anything is usually disturbingly shiny.


Ian said...

While it is certainly a relief to have returned to me the backpack, especially for the cell phone chargers and other electronic tidbits it contained. It was also of great benefit to have it delivered by airBaltic or whomever to the hotel rather than having to carry it myself. Plus I got 2 free t-shirts and a tiny tube of toothpaste.

HOWEVER, I confess that there was just a little bit of sadness when I realized that I would not have an excuse to outfit myself entirely in cheap Latvian clothing from the market. The fact that Calin has just been insulting my eating habits in the adjacent blog posting makes me think that maybe tomorrow I'll have to pick up some new duds just to get her back.

Ian said...

hmmm... I see that entirely grammatical in that comment I was not. oops.

Shelley said...

well...after calin's post I had this urge to see more evidence. I say get the outfit and then share it with the world!!