On Thursday evening, I went to an InterNations get-together. I enjoy these for a number of reasons. One – it’s an excuse to drink on a school night; two – I get to visit a new bar or café that I’ve usually been meaning to check out but never got around to doing it; three – I get to talk to cool people from all over the world. This time round it was Amplua in Old Town and, over the course of the evening, I spoke to people from Denmark, Austria, England, Norway, Poland, Italy, America, Iceland, Sweden, Slovakia, France and Hungary. And Latvia. (As it’s mainly an expat affair, I can only assume that they were there to find husbands…)
The surprise of the evening was that there were FIVE Irish people in attendance – including my good self. FIVE. This is unheard of as the Irish are usually greatly outnumbered by other nationalities. Two of them I already knew so I set about finding the strays that I hadn’t encountered before.
One of them was absolutely charming. The other one – well. Judge for yourself.
Me: So, what are you doing in Latvia?
Ugh: Well, for the first five years, I was doing a Russian. Then I was doing a Latvian for a few years. Now I’m free!
Ugh: Are you OK?
Me: I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.
The sad thing is that the majority of the tossers you meet here are British or Irish. If you were to put the same question to a Swede, for example, you’d get a simple, bullshit-free answer that included a company, a position and a marital status. However, ask some of the Irish or British people living here what they do and you’ll get fluff about “having interests here” and “looking into opportunities”, when what they really mean is “I’m a horny old devil who likes eyeing up women young enough to be my daughter”. I don’t know if it’s like this in every country, but Latvia really does seem to attract some creepy old codgers.
But for me, even more disturbing was that during this exchange, a Latvian woman (who’d clearly staked out her prey) was giving me the Death Stare. Seriously? You’re more than welcome to this ‘prize’. I’d take a Jānis over this dude any day of the week.
Related post: What to expect when you’re expatting