Friday, May 01, 2009

Hockey Night in Rezekne

Your correspondent and a local guide were dispatched for a research trip to beautiful Latgale, in eastern Latvia, along the Russian border. It was actually a very interesting trip and we met some great people and learned a lot, which is kind of the point of your correspondent's day job.

In the evening, the trusty local guide was dedicated to finding a decent television to watch the World Championships of Hockey. I'm not talking about the NHL: Although you wouldn't know it by reading or Yahoo Sports, there is a world-cup tournament happening right now. (If you are interested, the U.S. is doing ok, while Latvia managed to beat the Swedes for the first time ever and advance to the next round.) It's apparently not a big deal in the U.S., which is sort of too bad, because it is clearly a big deal here.

On Monday night in Rezekne, we went searching for a bar where we could watch the (admittedly great) Latvia/Sweden game. Unfortunately many of the bars within walking distance had mirrored windows, were open 24 hours a day, and advertised slot machines prominently on the outside. Not being interested in these places where gambling or some other unsavory activity would happen, we made our way to Rezekne's other major hotel, which had a bar with a TV, pictured above. That is your correspondent using the table as a tripod to capture the scene. And yes, to the right, that is a pole of the variety that might be used by an exotic dancer. Not that there were any strippers working that night: It didn't seem to be laid out such that there ever would be; maybe the pole is there for the convenience of patrons? In any case, even if we didn't really find a U.S.-style "sports bar," the game was entertaining enough to carry the evening, and the pole was never put to use.