Quote of the Day


I will tell you that the city of Riga is a city in shock. A small decent town with a troubled past history & a potential future identity crisis. Until recently this city was a real "find" on the travelers' itinerary, since the advent of the cheap airlines any asshole can make it here... & they do!!

[...]

Strip clubs, casinos, and sleazy operations have begun to make a reputation that attracts the worst of what the west can offer. This city has become a Mecca for the hordes of obnoxious, ignorant, and ill-tempered stag party groups from... you name it... To the dismay of the local population, blind eyes of the powers-that-be have allowed the slimy fucks from the gutter of society to make a three ring circus out of a city that has the potential to be the Cirque du Soleil... Friday & Saturday nights have now become a parade of men in identical shirts, who digress from intolerable to absolute pollution... They shit on this city & half the time end up paying for it in cruel & unexpected ways...

- MR. GORDONSKY'S RIGA CITY SPY MAP

Having experienced a few stag parties in Wroclaw, Krakow, Tallin, and now Riga, I can tell you that Eastern Europe cities have every right to complain about the hordes of dumbasses which invade their town every weekend. Time was, meeting Brits while traveling around Europe was a real pleasure. Few people are as open-minded and fun to be around as British tourists. Unfortunately, the proliferation of no-frills airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet has made the aforementioned cities and others such as Bratislava, Prague, Budapest, and Vilnius, a cheap option for a weekend of boozing when the sterling pound fetches such a good exchange rate. Which means that, nowadays, the majority of Brits you meet in Eastern Europe are a bunch of uncouth and vulgar idiots who are piss-drunk by 7:00pm. It doesn't take a fertile imagination to picture what they look and act like by 2:00am. . .

The hostel owner took a few of us out last night, and I was able to chat with a few locals and some French expats in Belle Epoque and Orange Bar, two of Riga's most popular bars. And I can tell you that Brits are reviled here with a passion that is almost fanatical. Not far behind are the German and Italian tourists, who travel to Riga for the sex tourism.

Too bad those stag parties are giving British tourists such a bad name. . .

20 commentaires:

Robert Walker said...

Ugh. How downright shitty.

Here in New Mexico, many feel the same way about tourists from Texas. But, man, it's certainly not as bad as what's described in your post. If anything, it's more of an annoyance here. There, it seems like it's truly beginning to ruin their towns. Very sad, indeed.

Why are there so many dipshits, and why can't they just bugger off. Well, one can dream...

Joshua said...

With all due respect, this seems somewhat hypocritical given the number of times that "hot women from Country X" have been mentioned in the last few posts, not to mention the story of the German reporter. Granted, you're not waking up in an alley everyday, but it's a slippery slope, friend.

Patrick said...

Joshua: You can appreciate the beauty of the ladies of the various countries you visit without making an ass of yourself. And no, I haven't yet woken up in an alley, or been slapped in the face. My mom raised me right, you know!;-)

Comparing these last few blog posts to the behavior of many of the dumbasses who comprise the many stag parties that pollute the air of several gorgeous Eastern European cities is quite a stretch. I'll admit that I'm a sucker for a pretty face. And Poland, Estonia, and Latvia have plenty of pretty faces to go around, but your post seems to imply that you have never seen a British stag party in action...

Also, visit the aforementioned countries and try not to go nuts about the stunning women you'll see there. If you can, then you are made of harder stuff than I am...:p

SteveF said...

It's a passion so strong that they must come this close to stopping providing cheap booze, readily available strip clubs and accepting a general boost to the economy. For sure, Brits abroad can be rather embarrasing, but hypocrisy is a bit unedifying too.

tomlloyd said...

Well, as a Brit I sadly have to agree with Pat - there's a very obvious minority here who can only be described as scum undeserving of a passport.

Mark C Newton said...

Of course, lucky for you, Pat, that you don't have to be around them all year like we do! Saturday night in Nottingham (which is I think the UK capital for Stag and Hen nights-or it once was) has this kind of drunken debauchery every week.

I read somewhere that the Brits have always had a culture of drinking, even going back hundreds of years. In the 1600s it was said the average person in one city drank 17 pints a week, compared to 3 in more recent times. That's an average figure, of course, and doesn't represent the louts we export every summer.

Patrick said...

Stevef: Boost to the economy? They stay in hostels and spend their money on 2-3$ half litres of beers. They contribute nothing to the economy or the tourist industry. Quite the opposite, as many travel-related publications are encouraging travelers (those who stay in big hotels, go to nice restaurants, buy ridiculously expensive souvenirs, and actually visit tourist attractions -- hence, who contibute to the economy) not to go to Riga on the weekends. The downside of that is that it's almost impossible to find a hostel bed in Riga on Friday and Saturday nights without a reservation, while most of the hotels around town have vacancies.

The stripclubs and the stag party agencies are all run by the Russian mafia. So whatever money the Brits bring in goes to criminals.

So there is no hypocrisy in this instance: Everyone in the tourist industry and the locals don't want to have anything to do with the stag parties.

Mark: Canadians, Australians, Germans, etc, all have a culture for drinking. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just that the obnoxious dumbasses who travel to Eastern Europe every weekend should just show a little respect. It's possible to get hammered and have fun without creating such a fuss...

Mark C Newton said...

Yeah, you're right. No denying that. I think they flock out there because it's cheaper than doing it here. As you mentioned, the cheap flights to cheap places is the incentive. Yet, they're here on the streets in the UK, too, equally dumbass, equally making a fuss.

I think much of the problem is too deep-rooted in culture. Many young people seem to simply live for the weekend where they can get pissed. Despite the plethora of other activities for them to be involved in. Or perhaps it's the celebrity culture, where we idolise people such as Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty; hardly great role models...

Damn it, I want out!

SteveF said...

Pat,

I haven't been to Riga, but I have been to Tallin (not on a stag I should add!) and my experience there was that drunken parties frequented "regular" bars, in addition to the sleazier (possibly mafia run) venues. They were therefore contributing to the local economy. If that's the case in Riga then fair enough, no hypocrisy.

Shara said...

You know, for a blog that's call "Pat's Fantasy Hotlist," it's tiresome to see posts that have NOTHING TO DO WITH BOOKS. While I understand and appreciate the fact that it's a bit much trouble to create a secondary blog for other stuff where you could put travel posts (you don't want to lose your current audience), you might really want to consider it. For all the reviews and announcements you offer, I've reached a point where this blog is no longer the "must-visit" it used to be.

It's just a thought. I might be the only one tired of seeing travel posts in this blog, but I've been growing tired of the non-book-related nature of recent posts for a while, and seeing a stripper first thing in the morning was the straw to break the camel's back. Maybe your male audience enjoys such images to draw them into your posts, but I doubt much of your female audience does.

Then again, I could be wrong.

Patrick said...

Shara: As I've been backpacking around Eastern Europe for the better part of the last 5 weeks, I can offer little more than travel-related material. I'm flying home on Thursday, so expect the blog to return to it usual content by next weekend.

As for books, I only brought three novels with me. One of them I reviewed, the other I couldn't finish, and the last I'm currently reading. Plus you had two "bonus" reviews of the Subpress novellas.

Given the circumstances, that's the best I can offer. . .

Jason Durall said...

It reminds me of my time in St. Petersburg, where the hotels were full of drunken Finns almost 24-7, making noise and getting into fights almost continually.

The only respite my girlfriend and I had from the wave of drunks were the museums, palaces, and historical landmarks. We were astonished when we were able to buy tickets to see the Kirov Ballet company on their their first performance back in Russia after being on the road for a year, on Christmas night... 3rd row center, for $35 apiece. The theater was a third empty, as well.

Several locals told us that they didn't care for the way things had changed, despite the wave of new money. That was 14 years ago... I'm curious if it got better or worse.

Leslie Fox said...

Here I am trying to enjoy a picture of that wonderful stripper and the view is marred by a bunch of d-bags taking pictures. Talk about irony...

SteveF said...

Jason,

I was in St Petersburg a couple of years ago. Thought it was utterly incredible. Didn't see a great deal of drunkeness, but I kept it pretty quiet myself, so wasn't really in a position to take note of such things.

Shara said...

Pat:

The fact that you're traveling and can't update as often on books and such is FINE with me. That I can certainly understand, and don't hold that against you in the slightest. Lack of posting (and this may not be true of everyone) isn't something that'll prevent me from coming back to the site. Unrelated material (unless you were to give your blog an obvious new focus) will.

But again, that's me. Have fun backpacking!

Gabriele C. said...

You don't need to read the travel posts if they don't interest you.

I for my part enjoy a little side tour now and then. :) And thanks for the warnings about the stags in Riga - as a woman traveling alone I prefer to know about these things before I run into a bunch of drunken Brits (or Germans, but we don't have a stag party tradition; ours hang around in Mallorca with not even that much of an excuse).

Anonymous said...

And I thought your travel-blogs were every bit as interesting as your book reviews. In fact, traveling is a fantasy for me, not a reality, so I'm enjoying traveling vicariously - fantasizing, in fact...

except for the drunken parties, since I'm female. But a very interesting commentary on guys.

Adam Whitehead said...

As a (hopefully) civilized Brit, these who go abroad for cheap stag dos are a bit of an embarrasment. My group of friends may not be averse to having a good time in a bar in say Amsterdam or Castellon, but then the next day we'll be checking out the local gallery or castle something. People who go to an awesome foreign country and spend all their time in the bar really perplex me.

Aaron said...

So it seems that you are saying that now that those of lesser finances can travel there, they are ruining the place. So what, only rich people are allowed and they never fuck up anything? Right.

Patrick said...

Aaron: It has nothing to do with greater or lesser finances. You'll find idiots in both categories, and everywhere in between.

One can enjoy the Baltic States with a very reasonable budget, as Yours Truly can attest.

The Brits who go to Tallinn, Riga, and other Eastern European cities for stag parties and other boozefests simply act like annoying dumbasses. That's why everyone wants them out of there.

It's not a question of money per se. Although if they did not have the advantage of such a strong exchange rate and cheap flights, they would stay where they are...

Which wouldn't be a big loss for everyone involved, methinks!;-)