Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beating the Retreat

This is where we did the Embassy retreat. It was decidedly less rustic than the previous weekend's retreat. Not that it wasn't nice, but it was a little weird to find such a massive mowed-grass expanse out in the middle of the Latvian forest. While odd, it was also perfect for playing frisbee and such, since it's forbidden to walk on the grass in Riga's urban parks, which, to my thinking, kind of defeats the purpose of a park. A nice green space is better than none, but where do the kids play frisbee here?

In common with last weekend was the combination of sauna and swimming hole, which is apparently pretty central to a place being worth driving outside the city for. Not in common with last weekend were three giant trampolines, which were great for keeping the teeming hordes of Embassy children amused. In common with last weekend was a dinner of grilled shashlik (aka shish-kebabs), which is ubiquitous here. Not in common with last weekend was the price, where last weekend we grilled them ourselves and this weekend we paid for lodge-provided food as if they were some Michelin Three-Star restaurant serving world-class boiled potatoes and shish-kebabs.

The photo was taken from the top of the observation tower casting the shadow. While it's no Guatemala, Latvia still doesn't have the safety- or liability-consciousness of the US, and the tower was pretty wobbly and didn't have much in the way of guardrails. We risked all, and lived to bring you the evidence.

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