Here I am in Riga, Latvia, after having taken the fairly empty overnight train from Vilnius, Lithuania. I climb the spiral staircase to the fourth floor of my hotel, drop my bags and fall over. I didn't get enough sleep on the train because of the quaintly annoying Eastern European custom of being woken up from your nice, comfy sleeper berth by gruff border guards matching you with your passport picture. I've also been wandering around Riga in the drizzling rain for the last few hours because my room wasn't ready, so I'm somewhat grumpy. :
I'm just going to veg out for a bit, lie down, and watch some mindless TV.
I find MTV Europe while channel surfing. Gak.
Sometimes, when I'm travelling, I find that the universe decides there will be certain themes to certain days. Today seems to be one of those days.
Last night, just before boarding the train, I ducked in to the grocery store in the basement of Vilnius train station. While browsing for snacks, I found a packet of ramen with the brand "California Sunshine". Of course, with a name like that you'd figure that it'd be from anywhere *but* California. Out of curiosity, I flip it over and see.
It's from Walnut Creek. Okay, truth in advertising, I guess. And welcome to the global economy. At least it wasn't Milpitas.
On MTV Europe, they're doing "anthems", whatever that means.
Californication, by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is on. Okay, sure, I guess that's an anthem.
Followed by Green Day's Redundant. Yeah. You're telling *me* that's redundant. I get the joke already.
I've crossed eleven time zones and gone seventy-two hundred miles east. I'm in a place where less than a dozen years ago the cultural icons were statues of Lenin and red stars. A city where Soviet naval officers retired to. And yet, California keeps smacking me across the face.
Thank you, world, I get it. And all the Californians can now tell me smugly that they live in the center of the cultural universe, and isn't that just how things are?
Time to go splash my face with some water and go confront Riga before I look out my hotel window and start seeing Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge.
I'll be less cranky after I get some lunch.