Riga, Latvia, 4/23/93, my diary

IMG_2011

Across the lobby of the bus station, an old woman slowly combs out her gray hair. She smooths a long purple scarf out on a bench, then lays a white kerchief within it, and finally ties the ensemble over her head and shoulders. It falls apart. She repeats the entire process.

Outside, a three-legged black-and-white dog trots across the dirt. It’s getting cold, but most people prefer to wait outside the station. A young man counts out coins to his irate wife so she can use the Russian-era telephone inside. I hear coins clinking, jingling in everyone’s hands as they double-check their change before entering.

Hours later I find I am staying in a student hostel, with no heat. The heat stops on April 15 to save on gas. They owe the Russians. The bathroom down the hall has only one light bulb – it’s in the shower. The toilet closet is completely dark, and wet. Searching around on the wall for a light switch (there was none), my fingers come away with chalky paint on them.

I’m now sitting on my single bed wearing my coat as I write this. The room has a plank floor painted with a milk-chocolate color paint that is peeling at the edges of the boards. The wallpaper, which is a light brown print, has been pasted right over the electric wires on the bare walls, providing many strange creases.

Riga 4-23-93

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Latvia and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s