Countries formerly part of Mother Russia I

There is something about leaving Russia…

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it is such a big chuck of land and that even after 10 days of constant rail riding you realize that yes…I am still in the same country but I’ve zoomed through nine timezones.

Or maybe it is the fact that you only have about a day remaining on your visa. When it’s a visa that took twenty days so secure with much hilarity, you just know that over-staying isn’t going to be the smartest move you made that year…and that name dropping Sidney Crosby (no matter how convincing you may be) isn’t going to make it all better.

Or maybe it is the fact that you’ve arrived in Riga, Latvia, the democratic darling of the Baltic’s.  The gingerbread architectural wonder of East.  The stag party capital for English soccer hooligans and axe-wielding Norwegians.

You know it is a friendly country when the paramilitaries are walking around with good ‘ole M-16’s instead of a member of the Kalashnikov family, where NATO isn’t a dirty word and the first thing that is handed out to you on the street is a advertisement for a strip joint and a coupon for a drink on the house.

Sneaking into Europe through the back door was going to be easier than I anticipated.

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