Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday night, it was said aloud in TV. What we all knew, what no one wanted to admit. Lithuania needs more immigrants, for the sake of immigrants. After the news came out, the people were given the vote. The message was as expected, and approx. 80% showed agreement upon that there is nothing the country would need less than immigrants. It sure is a pleasure to live here, feeling all needed and wanted and stuff...

They are all coming here, right?

But lets forget the people, and focus to this piece of news. Why does Lithuania need immigrants? If you have ever played bullshit bingo, you know the answer. The keyword is the one that should help any Western nation to overcome and be the leading technology oriented and sustainable nation in the world. It is the godsent gift to the mankind. The Innovation.The make brief news short: more immigrants, more innovations.

At the moment, there are little immigrants in Lithuania, who would wear a tie or a blazer. They are now desperately sought after. It has been understood, that these people innovate the innovations, create the creativity and know the unknowable.


Hey, I have seen this before. It is one of the thousand and one fads a country desperate to change its course tries just to notice it does not have anything to attract the people. Someone, somewhere has again taken Florida's Creative Class from the shelf, got inspiration and forgot to read more than the cover. Nah, the bare amount of foreign people is no guarantee on any innovation, prosperity or creativity - they don't just come here and make the country a world leader in anything. If that would be the case, IBM would have branch offices in every refugee camp.

Surely, some time has passed since I last time read that book, but if I am not totally wrong, one needed different people to be gathered to a creative cluster. May be that I am mixing some Porter in here, but what the heck.

Still, that book may well have the key to the future of Lithuania. That is, gays. Gays were part of the creative class, and why would not they be - every politician from far right and priest has been telling us how the gay possess a twisted mind. In other words, they are different, and differences culture creativity, when we take a different approach to daily issues. Perhaps mom can be dad, food can be drink, water can be dry? If you do not even try to question the "facts", there is no chance to create anything new. Before judging gays, one should remember that innovating and creating is also against God - he is the only Creator, isn't he? And as we have already taken blasphemy as the national strategy, why we try to create double standards?

However, Lithuania just happens to be one of the more homofobic countries in the Europe - which also could be a perfect reason to take the gay as a solution. The nation must find itself and question its old values. Non-gay is not a Lithuanian value - the country of jolly horsemen - but a standard set by fear. Gays are not going to hurt anyone - surely, some of prefer women and some men, but why to focus on that? I mean, that parlament member raging over the sex habits of gay people perhaps gets laid once a month - is he being just jealous?* That could also explain the reactions from the church, who just lost their right to copulate with children (a very twisted form of Catholic birth control).

If Lithuania would become a gay friendly society by accepting a part of the creative class, also other parts could be easier persuated to move here. One possibility would be that the sexual minorities would move here first from the oppressive neighboring countries. That would leave Lithuania to a situation similar to the "good ol times" when Vytautas the Great was leading the country. Those times the country with little interest in religious affairs was home to many cultures and minorities - even the Lithuanians were a minority. The first accepted minorities would create space for the others, and perhaps the educated would follow. If the minorities will be accepted to be part of the society, they are given the tools to work with and resources to innovate, the future of this tiny nation could be very different from the direction where the current path is leading to.

* there was a Lithuanian MP, who was totally shocked on how he should explain two men having sex to his children. I also would be really, really shocked, if I would have to describe how he is having sex with his wife to my children. But in the end, I guess I as well as he, would be better off not going into the details. When you tell stories on things you are disgusted of, whether it is people of different sexual preferences or barrel grown short-sighted right wing populists, you tend to get carried away.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Haven't spent too much time in Lithuania recently, been busy exploring Russian tourists in Eqypt and the wonders of hostel life in Tampere. As there was little more than the all inclusive hotel that I saw in the country of sand and 1001 leathal fishes, I guess it would be a much better idea to brief you on the all exclusive Tampere trip.
It was a dark and a stormy night, when we landed to Tampere last Sunday. But little did we know how the weather would turn its back on us - perhaps the first snowstorm of the year began the moment we were waiting for our luggage to arrive. The destination was Hostel Sofia, the YWCA hostel of Tampere. Earlier, this hostel was notorious for having a tight curfiew - either you were inside before 22:00 or the Christians showed no love to you: you were not let in after the deadline.
These days, Sofia is a all exclusive hotel. Yes, I believe that is a better description than a hostel on the 2 person's room we booked. It was actually a flat divided into two rooms, and the prices were on a regular hotel level - of any other city in Finland, except Tampere and Helsinki - the 2 person room without a lunch and with a shared toilet/shower did cost 72 euros a night. Breakfast was 13 euros for 2, thus the actual price was 85 euros. Surely, living in Tampere did not look too good at that moment, given the wet shoes, disgusting weather and baffling price level.
Thus, it was the time to find cheap places to eat - and good beer too! Quite obviously, Finns like to eat kebabs. Almost every corner in the city had a pizza-kebab restaurant, and the price for a kebab was from 4,5 till 7 euros. Quite much higher than e.g. in Germany. Also, there are quite a few Chinese places. Of them, the first we visited was Lotus Garden. The menu outside had very attractive prices: take away meals were less than 6 euros. However, inside, the reality bote with its sharp teeth into the groin area: all meals were more than 11 euros if eaten indoors and the water did cost 1 euro a person.
On the other side of the main street (Hämeenkatu), there is a much more affordable place, where the prices range from 7 to 10 euros a portion. Also, the food was clearly better there plus the service faster. Lotus Garden did offer a more authentic looking Chinese restaurant, but when a person living with a Baltic budget looks for a place to eat, the curiosities do not really matter. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the more affordable place, but it is close to the "Surprise Me" - gadget shop, the number one place in Tampere to buy your rubber duck.
The next place we tried was La Mamma, located in the shopping centre Koskikeskus. This Italian style restaurant seems to be also run by Turks, but what was a very refreshing change was the menu, which contained only one food with kebab meat. The pasta did cost 6,5 euros and a steak 7,5 - the portions were so huge they would fill your tummy for the whole day - but there is the danger of becoming over filled. The food was of a standard gasoline-station level - the steak was dry and the salad was barely defrozen - but still the restaurant was truly bang for the buck. And the coke was 2 euros of 0,5 liters - I guess that is almost cheaper than in a shop.
Then, it was time to test real Italian food - we went to Pizzeria Napoli. Napoli is one of the oldest pizzerias in Tampere and boasts a menu with 100+ pizzas. It was terribly popular during the lunch time, but we managed to catch the last free table. For 7,5 euros, one could choose from pizza or pasta meal, which did include a rather standard salad table known from any kebab pizzeria, a free drink (milk, water or soda water) and a cup of coffee or tea. The food was fine, although the pasta was significantly smaller than the previous one - which also included free water and salad buffet.
Then it was time for something more extreme - we fetched from Kebab Pizzeria Koikkari (located 2 kms from the centre) the largest pizza of the town. This 30 euro and 70 cm monster was more than enough for a group of 6. It was the usual, freaking greasy Turkish style pizza, but really worth to see. It kept me wondering, how it could fit a pizza oven.
The last restaurant was a bit more classy than the previous ones. In Tampere, there operates a local brewery Koskipanimo, which operates a brewery restaurant called Plevna. Not only does the brewery offer the best stout and wheat beer in the country, the food is rather good too. The German style restaurant offers some quite traditional Finnish foods, but there is certain hint of Teutons in it, offering a rather good selection of German sausages. The food is above average in quality, and it is mostly stewed in beer.
But eating only fills your stomach, one needs also food for the soul and the brain. That is, beer and coffee. For beer, the most recommendable place of the whole town is Oluthuone, which quite simply is also the best. This traditional looking bar, offering mostly Koskipanimo's products and having its very own lager too, is open every day from 12 to 02.
Another quite fine place is Hemingway's Pub, located close to Tuomiokirkko. The small and cozy restaurant perhaps does not have such a selection to offer, nor is it the cheapest pub in Tampere, but the people there are perhaps a bit more classy than in the Finnish style drinkers (there must be an equivalent for a diner, I'll call it a drinker) Ale Pub and Ale Bar. Those two are the places to go, if you fancy the cheap pint and the company that also fancies to drink it cheap. But back to Hemingway's: it offers surprisingly good coffee, if it is fresh at the moment.
Then, closeby, there are two other famous cafes, of which other is recommendable. Vohvelikahvila is a cafe famous of its waffles. They cost from 4-7 euros a piece and are usually topped with spray-cream. The coffee was perhaps organic, but one never can truly tell on a cup made with an automat. Avoid, unless you want to go there for the athmossphere. Instead, I recommend Satukahvila, Fairytale Cafe, located almost next door. Here the coffee actually is good, although in comparison to Hemingway's it is nothing that special. Still, the rather nicely decorated cafe looks unique: the ceiling is breaking, windows look like from 1960's and it is fille - totally filled - with paintings.

About Me

My Photo
Baltian kv.
Tämän blogin kirjoittaja.
View my complete profile