Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011

Now that is an every day miracle from God!  It is 10:15 p.m. and the sun is setting.  How beautiful!

The day started with a visit from Gertruda, Tourlic and Anita.  Gertruda needed some documents from the apartment and Tourlic and Anita just wanted to hang out and wait for their car to be serviced.  We sat around the kitchen table drinking coffee and tea while sharing information about our lives.  It was very comfortable.  Anita is such a gracious woman.  She told me that to get her bachelor's degree she had to write a paper and defend it.  She compared the original Othello by Shakespeare with three modern film versions.  Now, I never had to do anything like that for my bachelor's degree!  ......And......she was doing it in English.  I don't think I could do it and English is my only language.

We finally figured out how to use the washing machine which empties into the bathroom and plugs into the wall in the hallway.  There is no dryer so our towels are hanging on a line on the tiny balcony.  We can't wash our underwear until the towels dry.  The line is not long enough!

This is the view out of the living room window.  Notice that entire yards are turned into gardens.  It is that way all around town.  Normally they have two gardens.  One for potatoes and the other for other vegetables, mostly root vegetables.  Every yard seems to have a very large wood pile.  They must spend all summer growing gardens and chopping wood.

We went on a little shopping excursion in the village.  There really isn't much there.  There is one gift shop and most of it came from China.  We went to another store where there was a lot of miscellaneous stuff.  The girls bought more nail polish.  I got toilet paper which is grey.  It was 34 centums which is about 68 cents.  The four rolls probably equal about one regular roll of Charmain.  I took the girls to a cafe which is really like a very small cafeteria.  This post is mostly about food!  I got a piece of pork which is what I would call a cutlet in America....they just call it meat.  It is very thin boneless pork chop which has been pounded, floured and fried.  With it I got two salads.  One is scallions which are not quite like ours, thinner and greener, chopped up with cucumbers and sour cream.  The other was wonderful.  It was whole kernel corn, mushrooms, cucumbers and tomatoes chopped very small and marinated in oil and vinegar.  They don't just cook a vegetable, they mix things together and make them into salads with lots of sour cream.  L got french fries which looked hard and dry to me, and the same corn salad I had.  S had baked chicken and Latvian potato salad which has green peas and meat in it along with potatoes, mayo, eggs, and carrots.

These are shops in the village

They call this area Center City.  The fountain reflects the Nordic history of the area.

Next we went to the outdoor vegetable market where everything is grown locally.  We got tomatoes, cucumbers and teeny tiny wild strawberries which taste like a gift from the heavens.  Then we were off to the butcher shop to buy sour cream which is stored in a large vat beside the cash register.  You pick out the size container you want and it is filled with the world's best sour cream.  From there were were to Maxima for more liverwurst for the dog and some milk and yogurt for us.  The milk and yogurt come in plastic bags.  Mayo is also in a plastic bag which has a screw on spout.  We then went to the veterinarian to get food and flea and tick meds for Kilo.  I take it she does not get these specialities often.  I have taken two ticks off of her in the past two days.  Sabina spent 5 lats of her saved money on these items (that is about $10).  They had Purina ProPlan which we feed our dogs.  The size bag we use costs us about $30.  It would have been $50 here, but they sell it by the kilo so you normally only buy a little at a time. Sabina got 1/2 kilo for her dog Kilo....Interesting name, huh?  Finally we went to another market to buy S's favorite sausages.  The word sausage covers lots here, but not anything like our Jimmy Dean.  It is more like kielbasa or hot dogs.

Back at the apartment I made salad by cutting cucumbers, tomatos and scallions very small and mixing with sour cream.  I eat that with pickled beats which S thinks is disgusting!  Labels on most of the food is written in Russian and Latvian.  Of course I have to guess at what things are.  The sun is almost gone.  It is hard to go to sleep when the sun is shinning in the window!!
It is now 11:30 p.m. and I believe it might be dark enough to sleep.  Goodnight from Latvia.

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