The Dark Side of Sunshine

The detectives crash out until about noon. We’ve got a four bed room and there’s a girl on one of the bottom bunks making a medium ruckus packing up her shit as fast as she can. Maybe she has a train to catch soon. More likely she’s trying to avoid any sort of contact with the Disaster Trio that swooped in at ungodly o’clock and napalmed the place with booze giggles and snoring.
We take our sweet time getting situated and showered up. Not sure what time check out is but we’ve probably missed it by now. Eventually we pull all of our bags into the lobby and get ourselves collected to some degree. Thomas is there again, all smiles and loopy.

“Well, what do you guys feel like doing?”, “I dunno. Get a beer and figure it out?” Thomas hears this and grins, “I like your style”, “I like your moves.” He pours us a few Mezpils and we get out to the back patio to come up with a game plan for the day. It’s overcast and threatening more rain. Quick look at the weather forecast marks that as a certainty. Well, we can do some research here for a bit on what to do in Riga in the rain.

Wicked Weasel is working out to be a good hostel. Location in Old Town is perfect, it’s clean and I think the beds might have been comfy last night. A bar, daily activities, lots of nooks to kick it in and a full kitchen to work with.

A couple beers in and we’re starting to feel normz again. As foretold, the rain starts coming down in earnest. We’re not quite in the decision making frame of mind yet so we get another round and toss on some metal tunes to help kickstart the ol’ head meat. This spills over into watching metal vids, briefing Agent Oogie on some classics like One and Peace Sells.

By the time Thomas comes out for a break we’ve moved well passed that into the realm of technical death metal. “Sorry dude, we’re listening to death metal”, “Oh ok, what’s this? Kind of different”, the initial onslaught has moved into a melodic, classical sounding arpeggiated breakdown, “It’s Archspire. They’re pretty sick”, “This is nice. Like the Dark Side of Sunshine”, “Haha I like that. The Dark Side of Sunshine. We should call our new boy band that”, “You guys want me to grab you a few more beers?”, “Fuck. Why not?”

The day passes slowly and we still have no plans. Not that we really need any. Just like our Wroclaw recovery day, everyone seems decently content to chill with beers, shoot the shit about whatever, and basque in the beauty of giving no fucks and having no plans. If you’re in good company any ol’ place can turn into a good time. No need to force ourselves into touring around Riga if this rain-soaked patio is the wave we like being on.

I go to take a squirt and leave my phone on the bar. Find these later. Goons.

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We start figuring out what our next steps are going to be, backtracking through our Unroute and trying to decide where we should take Oogie in the week that he’s going to be joining us. He got a one-way flight like MacKay and I did, so we’ll need to take return flight prices into account and travel distances between places when deciding where he should fly out of. We could get into Estonia and Belarus, maybe all the way to Kiev in that time? Hmmm Belarus and Ukraine are fairly large compared to these other places we’ve been to and no idea what real travel times may be. Could be a fair distance between ‘highlights’. What other stupid ideas can we conjure up? I mean, really we could go just about anywhere.

We start spit balling until something sorta sticks: “Take the ferry North of Estonia across the Baltic?”, “That’s fucking interesting. I kind of like that idea”, turn to Oogie, “What about you?”, “Sure man. Doesn’t matter to me, it’s gonna be an adventure no matter what way we go”, “This is true. Well let’s just get to Tallinn and figure it out from there. I’ll hit up my buddy in Copenhagen just in case we get that ambitious”, “Who’s that?”, “Mikkel, remember? That Dane dude we met in Vietnam”, “Dane in Vietnam…”, “In Hue, tiny bar, I played piano. People hated it”, “Oh right, right”, “Yeah him and his brother crashed at my place a couple years ago and we went to Coachella together. The night before we left his brother took this huge sh….” (But that’s a story for another time).

And in the spirit of moving on and getting the new guy broken in (some more) we march straight over to the bus station with our minds set on Estonia’s capital.

Bitchface

First place we kick up to is a bust. Their last bus has already left and the next one isn’t until tomorrow afternoon. Hmmm shit, that’d put us a day behind our non-schedule. Ok thanks. We cross the hall to Econolines. I go in to check it out while the guys scout other options on their phones. Scanning the bus boards and it looks like we may be in luck, there’s one left for today and it’s a straight shot to Tallinn in four hours. Perfect!

I go up to the counter to inquire. Smoking hot blonde bus girl in a blue uniform that matches her eyes, “Hello”, “Hi there, how are you?”, “Good thank-you”, “I’m hoping to get three tickets on the next bus to Tallinn. Are there still seats available?”, “Yes, one second”, type type type-y type, “There are still tickets but there is no drinking on the bus.” Odd comment, maybe she has me confused with the Lithuanian Kool Kids? “Oh ok. Yeah no problem. We don’t do that anyways.” There’s an awkward pause as she sizes me up. What the hell is happening here? “It’s just that there is a bit alcohol smell. Have you been drinking?” Whaaaaa? “We had a couple of beers earlier in the day. We just want to get on the bus and get into Estonia. We’re on vacation.”, “Yes, see we can not let you on the bus if you’re on alcohol.”

I’m stunned into another long pause. There’s a thick tension in the air as an epic stare down begins. It’s a ‘You’ve got to be fucking kidding me’ vs ‘Yes I have this power over you’ stare-off and it’s the most intense one I’ve ever been in. Her ice blue eyes are unwavering as she reciprocates an eye-grinding so fierce I’m almost instantly watering. We’re going deep, boring holes, mining for logical defects. I break through. Yes. I can read her mind. But at the same time I’ve forfeited my own defenses. She’s in. Eyes on Kill. Lasers of judgement and motherly scolding. It’s a race now. Pupils scanning into the dark recesses, probing for answers. We’re locked and neither is going to crack. I’ve just about seen enough though, she won’t back down. I can see it. She needs to win this. There’s an unnatural drive behind this unusual policy. A history. A past failure that she needs to right. With me as the new shining example. What a fucking Bitch. She sees my mind think this and leans in harder by just narrowing her eyes a millionth of a nanometer…

Just as our eyes begin to twitch and bug out, MacKay bursts through the door and breaks the spell, “What’s the situation?” I keep my composure, no need to verbally be on the attack here, she’s already won. “Will you please repeat what you said to my friend here” and wow does she double down in the most fucked up way possible, “You will not be allowed on the bus and if you keep talking I will call the police guard and you will talk to him.” MacKay’s jaw hits the floor with a loud smack and his eyes are hot air balloons. “Seriously?”, “Yes. Please leave.” I throw my hands up in defeat and motion towards the door. MacKay stomps out incredulously.

We get back to Oogie in the hallway, “Any luck?”, “Ahhh no. No, I’d say that was the opposite of luck.” MacKay turns to me for some answers, “How did that happen?”, “She asked if I’d been drinking, I was honest and said we’d had a couple and she said we couldn’t get on the bus while <air quotes> On Alcohol </air quotes>”, “And then straight to threatening with the police?”, “Yep”, Oogie takes a step back, “What? Really? We’re not even drunk”, “Yeah, she said she’d call the guard”, “The fuck?…

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“Yeah it really did. It went from a pleasant ‘Hi, I’d like three tickets, please’ to ‘You will talk to the police’ in about 3 sentences”, “What a fucking Bitchface!”, “Yeah, no kidding”, “Well shit. What do we do now?”, “Get the fuck out of Riga, that’s what. We’re all packed and ready, might as well go somewhere”, “Ahh ok. Any ideas?”, “Let’s just go anywhere”, “Anywhere?”, “Yeah fuck it. Anywhere in Latvia. Let’s go”, “Yeah I guess so, eh? Check out another town”, “Exactly. Let’s just go anywhere.”

MacKay spots the metro sign, “Let’s go ask this lady.”