This is my second attempt at a blog. The first fizzled out more than a year ago. Frankly, I forget the parameters for it. Anyway, I am a business journalist living and working in Latvia and will try to make some observations about what is going on here from time to time.
It is a summer weekend, I have come into Riga from my summer house in the nearby coastal town of Carnikava. This is an odd thing about Latvia. Despite statistics that make it the poorest country in the European Union, Latvia actually has a relatively high standard of living. Owning a summer place, a car, TV, VCR (increasing, too, a DVD) and a mobile (for US readers, a cellular) phone is commonplace. Indeed, there are more than 1.2 million mobile phones in Latvia, where the population is less than 2.4 million. Looking at Latvia in terms of what people actually own and have, our standard of living is probably no worse than Southern Europe.
In the capital city, Riga, we have a 14 screen multiplex and several shopping malls that can compare with anything in the US or Western Europe. There are, to be sure, quite a few negative aspects to the country and its society, mostly as a result of its Soviet socialist heritage from 1944-1991.
More on that, perhaps, later.