Back from Lusitania. Things Lithuanians could learn from the Irish. Part II

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Apologies for delay in updating the blog. Few amazing things happened in the meantime:

- I am starting a Photography and Digital Imaging Course at the Centre for Continuing Education in Art and Design in the National College of Art and Design. They've got my money and the birth certificate (which came as a big surprise for me - the passport is not not good! I was even tempted not to translate the certificate (which is in Lithuanian and Russian). A look at the certificate has reminded me that I was born in Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. But if they need it...)

- "Guardian Abroad" has listed my blog in "Global diatribes and politics" category. It took about a month of waiting after applying, meanwhile I was trying to update my rantings regularly. I can take some time off now:) Joking. The pressure is high to remain in the category.

By the way, exactly 6 days ago my Lithuanian blog celebrated it's first birthday. A virtual friend of mine Aunty Sigita has compared blogger's mission to that of actor's described by Stanislavsky as public loneliness. As time goes by and more people discover my musings in cyberspace I have to admit I start to feel more public than lonely. Here's to my ego :) And here's to you who read and comment and keep the ego thriving!

Now back to to-do-list which was scribbled before I left for holidays in Lithuania or Lusitania as a young charming Irish fella working with me calls my home country. I can tick all segments and if I could choose two best they would be:

- Three days here:

Sand dunes in the Curronian Spit

and here

The Hill of Witches in Juodkrante, Curronian Spit

and here

More sand dunes in the Curronian Spit

- The Opening Concert of Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra's Season. Violinist Liana Isakadze performed D. Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No1. while piano virtuoso Konstantin Scherbakov (he's much hotter live than in his website) was my favorite of the night and played P. Tchaikovky’s Piano Concerto No1. Lots of fireworks (perhaps not as many as in Lang Lang's perfomance), as one should expect from Tchaikovky, but the dialogue between the pianist and the orchestra was magnificent. Whenever I hear a symphony orchestra playing, it always sends shivers down my spine. Although I would have preferred something different to Tchaikovky... My sister calls him a storm in a cup of tea. By the way, speaking of Lang Lang, he's coming to Dublin, yet alas for no particular reason I am unable to book tickets (5 months beforehand!) on National Concert Hall's website. Have emailed them about the problem. I know Lang Lang is quite "fireworky" and different to the likes of Andrius Zlabys whom by luck I managed to meet and hear while living in Philly (listen to the recordings he has on the website or watch him here if you want). No fireworks, I should say. Yet Andrius (who also comes from Lithuania) is not coming to Dublin, but Lang Lang is and after hearing him in the "Painted Veil" I loved the Chinese melodies he was performing.

Sorry for being carried away with the last passage...

Anyhow. I'm back from Lusitania and without two pennies to rub together (payday is in a week). After all Lithuania nowadays is not that different to Ireland - everybody talks about property and building sites are mushrooming everywhere. Although there are things my fellow citizens could learn from the Irish:

* Manners. When you shop in "Dunnes Stores" you say sorry if you bump into somebody. If you shop in Lithuanian supermarkets you say nothing, you bump again. And again. Until the person you're bumping into realizes he or she has to move. After he or she does you say nothing and carry on shopping. Similar manners in public transport (although it arrives on time unlike in Ireland and the timetables announce the time of the arrival to a particular stop rather than the time when the bus leaves the first stop).

* Customer service. I was surprised when after complaining that the wine I got served in a glass was corked the waitress replaced it. On the other hand, the owner was present in the cafe at that time. When my friend accidentally broke an empty pint glass the waitress asked her to pay for it. When an elderly woman walked into a boutique shoe shop after saving for a decent pair of shoes for a good while, the security guard asked her to leave pointing to her that she would not afford a pair of shoes there. Besides being bitchy shop assistants tend to be very pretentious. And waiters in most cases are way too slow. I'd love to see them working in Dublin restaurants the way they do in Lithuania. They wouldn't be able to keep up with the pace.

* Music in public places. Supermarkets are blasting Tina Turner... Come on! Although I have criticized Irish radio, at least there's no Tina in the supermarkets...

* Too many old cars on the roads. I know they are cheaper, but thinking of he future the government could do something in order to make the society more aware of sustainability and environment. I.e. in Sweden the government is offering a 1000 Euro refund when purchasing an environmental friendly car. Although some producers have increased the cost of such cars by exactly 1000 Euro. Bugger...

* Lunch breaks! Especially if you do a 12 hour shift. A receptionist of a fancy hairdresser has no lunch break (this is as witnessed to me in person). Outrageous!

*Go organic and go small! Although Lithuanian vegetables, berries, fruits and mushrooms smell of what they are and are not polished in order to look more presentable, I miss small organic produce shops. The country is devoured by supermarkets possessing imposing names: AKROPOLIS (after the Greek Acropolis), BIG, MEGA, etc. And although we are an agronomical country, because of these supermarkets we might face a similar future like Ireland when you won't be able to get local tomatoes or potatoes.

*More varieties of beer and wine, please! If you're a fan of Aussie Shiraz, you're screwed. Likewise if you admire Belgian beer. And although Ireland has the highest excise duty in the EU (2.10 Euro for each bottle of wine), I can't understand why wine in Lithuania costs the same as in Ireland. And it is boring in most cases!

*Engaging in reading while using public transport. Although busses in Lithuania (especially in the mornings) are more packed than in Dublin (because they take as many people as fit and by fitting I mean fitting - like cornichons in a jar), even those who manage to get a seat still rarely engage in reading morning paper or a book. Whereas in Dublin, even in a packed Luas or Dart majority of the passengers seem to read. Reading is good for brain exercise! And for learing new things.

* Security staff is for security purposes, not for scaring people off. They are scary in Lithuania, believe me. Like freaking Gestapo.

For those who changed their mind and don't want to visit Lithuania ever, please look up at the photos posted above :)

This Post has 3 Comments Add your own!
John - September 24, 2007 at 10:31 AM

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. It is always great pleasure to read your posts.

irlandesparahispanohablantes - September 25, 2007 at 10:46 PM

great photos! Lovely beaches..interesting comments..I'm from Wexford-we have a very nice beach outside our town called Curracloe

Anonymous - May 17, 2008 at 3:14 PM

It's not true that Lithuanians don't say sorry after bumping into someone. I do. And I do that in Lithuania, and I never lived abroad for more than 8 months of my life.

But... some arrogant ignorant, self-centered people in Lithuania really don't if you look less solid than they look like to themselves, lol, if you are a child, but not very cute or something.

I believe that Lithuanians are less polite and smiling than any Westerners, but look how much of politeness they have experienced in their lives in the USSR, lol. They are changing, but not as quickly as you'd expect being such an intelligent lady yourself. They aren't all as intelligent and keen to learn as you are after seeing the state of things abroad, to the West.

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