Another day another country. Lithuania went much the same way as Estonia, but this time I'd already been warned what to expect, so the silence wasn't as disconcerting.
I then had 3 hours before flying home, which I spent walking the streets of the Old Town, I did find this place, which I want to believe was the Eastern Bloc's answer to NYC's Studio 54. Notice too the impressive hours of business (9pm-5am). Alas I was never to go inside, which may well have been a good thing as it will forever be the urber 70s kitch heaven of my imagination.
It's always nice to give something back to the community, even if
you do feel the need to paint it in corporate colours and cover it in
your logo. But I'm not against that, after all there's no such thing as
a free playground as anyone in the lunch business knows only too well.
It's just that if you're going to go that route you had better make
sure you keep it nice and clean and graffitti-free if you want it to be
a positive representation of your brand in the community. And not a
junkies hang out. Made me realise that a higher level of commitment is
going to be demanded from companies in the future, as a lot of what
they do is going to hang around the web for a long time.
Is this the best looking airport in the world? It's now my personal favourite. It's like arriving at some palatial manor house. And yet, everyone I spoke to about it in Lithuania was embarrassed by it, which is such a pity.
I don't know if it was because I was missing my son or not, but I really love this idea of having a pinboard in the childrens' play area for childern's pictures. A missed opportunity for a child-friendly company to get involved.
During the years of occupation, anyone leaving flowers here would be bundled off to Siberia. As a result the Latvians refer to this war memorial as the travel agency. Kind of sums up the spirit of the place, that attitude.
Flew off to Latvia that night. Same deal the next day, 9.30am start and then the rest of the day to myself.
This time, I killed them. Same jokes. Same provocative thoughts. But what difference. A wonderfully lively debate afterwards that lasted 40minutes. What can I say, different country, different culture same material. Latvia, I love you.
They also had something of sheer brilliance at the event - instead of having to put your hand up and ask questions you could SMS it to a screen.
After, I went walking around the Old Town. Whenever I go abroad I never really do what I should, museums, sites etc. For me I like to just sit and watch and absorb the place I'm in and that's exactly what I did.
I was invited to tour the Baltics and give a talk about the 'new world' and how agencies need to adjust to it. My first stop was Estonia and I died; my tried and tested jokes - nothing. My most provocative opinions - not a murmur. And at the end, two questions.
Afterwards talking to the organiser he told me that this was typical Estonian - they're very quiet and respectful when it comes to people talking especially foreigners. Small comfort, but comfort none the less. That night I was flying off to Latvia, which gave me the rest of the day to explore the old town.
There really is something about this place. A real sense of energy, a belief that anything is possible, but there's still a respect for the past, but one that goes only so far.
Let me give you example.
I don't know if I was being ultra adventurous or ultra cautious by opting for a curry, but I did. Anyway, this is what it looked like from the outside
And this is what it looked like inside. (Sorry about the crap photo but it was an awkward shape.)
And it was the same all over city. Take a look at this place.