Life in Latvia, Junk Shop at the End of the World

A middle aged couple come back from the supermarket. His gut’s hanging over his tracksuit bottoms, necking a can of strong beer.

A pigeon flies over the trees that cover up rows on rows of 10 story tower blocks, Soviet era. Clapped-out 1970s Russian sedan parked on the pavement.

Stubbing a cigarette, the door downstairs chimes as an old Russian lady fumbles inside, shopping bags bulging.

Earlier this morning, a postman came by with a bag full of promotional leaflets marked U.S. Mail. People still carry around those old plastic bags branded with American cigarette company logos, and my wife tells me these were hot stuff back when the Russians hated the Americans and her step-dad was locked up for wearing Nike trainers as capitalist contraband.…   [continue reading]