Friday, July 30, 2010
Follow the link to read an opinion on the differences of Baltic States by Justin Petrone. Quite a lot about Kaunas there too. Surely, he could have been a bit more cautious with his opinions - now they sound very American in the worse meaning of the word (that is, ignorance). But let's forgive him for what he is, and read yet another opinion to the differences in the region. Link.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Web shopping is a rather convenient way to purchase items for a foreigner. First of all, the Google Translator is there to aid you, and sometimes the shops even have the menus in English. Not to mention, that in Lithuania it is often easy to make a simple mistake in the shops: No, there really are no customers servants in about any Lithuanian shops - they are all shop detectives hired to see whether you are pick-pocketing!

Web shops are in a way better: you can really see all the inventory without any "How may I bother you"s or "Could you please leave, we need to spend some quality time speaking to each other here"s. However, that still does not mean the service would not matter. And service may easily be the weakest link for  webshops too, and all too often the answer to any question is silence. For example, I was interested earlier in buying an AIO computer. I sent a few simple questions to 13 shops. Got one answer, and - perhaps this part surprises no one - bought it from there.

The web shops, as any shops vary a lot in quality, but here are a few places that are more recommendable than the others - with a few commentaries.

Domestic: - a webshop for anything related to photography (except the nude models, which of course was what we expected to find there :P ). They have price level which is quite much on par with German and French shops (especially when counting the delivery costs in). Inventory is rather good, and they even hold the descriptions of older models there for reference. I even found a Lithuanian instructions for my Panasonic LX-2 there - which is in my case better than the Italian ones I had. - here, the selection perhaps in not that amazing, but they did have in inventory that old adapter for my ancient HP laptop. The bad side is that this original part lasted for a few months only (which I cannot really hold against the reseller, but the JV of HP and our rabbits). - If you are not looking for plugs or memory cards, then this is the shop for you. A bit spice to the bedroom in the form of Polish branded underwear. Prices are cheaper than at the high street retailers, plus you will avoid all the blushing and "I'm not looking this for myself, but for my wife" -situations. - one of the many web shops for computers and accessories, with one exception - they answer your questions. Already that makes them worth the purchase - and then they are not really that badly priced either. Unfortunately, you can pay for the items only by Swedbank web bank, or bank transfer. - a bizarre shop, which sells a bit of everything. I guess you could actually buy anything from there! Shower cabins, fashion clothing, computers, cameras... you name it. The selection is very limited, but then again, the prices are often rather fine. - a nicely priced web shop for IT-related equipment has also affordable prices, even though it is not among the cheapest ones. The selection seems good (perhaps a direct listing from the GNT reseller platform?), however they are not that strong in communication.

From abroad: the Lithuanian Pixmania site. It is not such a marvel it used to be some years ago, but still they have a fine price level, and the delivery costs are usually only 34 LTL (but it takes a week). - the British eBay page is in the end the place to buy, if you want anything exotic or spares. When I paid more than 100 ltl for the HP charger when buying from Lithuania, now I got a spare with 20 ltl from China - including the delivery!

And yes, you most certainly can use most of these web shops even if you are a tourist. Just agree the delivery to hotel, and give your phone number. Most of the time, it will work out just fine - and some companies most likely allow you to pick up the items with web shop prices from the local dealerships (Fotofabrikas at least used to have an office in Molas in Kaunas,).
Friday, July 9, 2010
While writing this entry, the decisions have been taken: Soon the administrative fines for not having the national flag on pole on national holidays will go up. They will be from 100 to 600 LTL and sound like a new way from the conservative government to squeeze incomes from the already oppressed people.
As ridiculous as it sounds, one really must possess a flag and a flagpole (or a holder for a flag fixed on the wall), and yes, one has to hoist the flag on every event that has some significance to the nation. There are no exceptions - if you are not home or even in the country, you have to arrange a friend or a neighbor to do the job, or risk the fines.
As you perhaps have already guessed, the state will not aid the puchase of the flag nor the pole - if one can afford a house, it seems one must as well have the finances for the necessary equipment (a bit like a car owner should afford a fire extinquisher). No matter how nice view it might be to see every house flagging the death of a president or speculative coronation day of long dead king (and I am sure some mp is jerking off for the sight), I find it hard to support forcing people to such a worship of the state. Reminds me kind of the good ol' times.

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