Anyway, we went to the Daugavpils Olympic Center with the kids today. Once again, the contrast was seen between the modern multi-million dollar state of the art Olympic center and the surrounding buildings. The Olympic Center is enormous and very cool--it's sleek and modern and has some really neat things going on. For instance, you pay at the desk to use the pool by the hour and rather than giving you a locker key with a wrist band or pin on key, they give you a waterproof neon band (different sizes) with a chip in it. You scan the wristband to go through the turnstile and your "hour" begins. The lockers all use the wristband with the chip to open and close, but yours cannot open another locker--I checked :-) You can also check your time left at the pool on a little scanner at the pool area--kind of like doing a price check at Wal-MArt!
So, as usual, there are some weird differences in American style pools and Latvian. They seem to be virtually NO rules enforced. No one fusses for hanging on lane ropes, no one yells at children for running, no one really bothers the kids at all....UNLESS!!!!!! UNLESS, your kid happens to have her hair down! AAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHH! Natasha kept telling me she needed a rubber band and I kept telling her not to worry about it (they always fall out in the water anyway!) As soon as that child jumped in, some woman was on her like white on rice, pony tail holder in hand! I think the exchange must have gone something like this: LADY: YOU! HEY YOU! You MUSt wear this in your hair RIGHT NOW! NATASHA: YES! I tried to tell my insane American mom, but she did not listen to me!
Oh, more oddities..you CANNOT wear your outdoor tennis shoes or street shoes on the pool desk or even in the locker room. YOu must leave your tennis shoes in a basket outside. But I had flipflops on and they let me wear mine in the locker room. The kids anticipated this and had brought flip flops.
Big major oddity was tons of old, hairy pot bellied guys walking around in weenie bikini's, but that's not a Latvian oddity, just a European one :-) One guy in particular had Micahe and I in stitches bc he reminded Michael of an older, drunken colleague from years ago.
So the kids had fun jumping off the starting blocks, playing in the kids pools, etc. Then I sweet talked some woman who worked downstairs by telling her how progressive the center was and that Michael was an architect of sports centers in the US and could we please photograph it? She was pleased and let us go. WHEW.
I really think Dima is going to die of an ulcer before he is 16. That child thinks we have never used crosswalks or purchased things in a grocery or really anything. Michael assured him at one point, "Dima, Mom and Dad have traveled to many countries. We've got this one, man!" BUt that poor child just gets very stressed out if we aren't doing it his way. HE has taken to walking about 10 steps in front of us.
So now we are off to dinner. They want to go eat Chili Pica (pizza) AGAIN, but they ate it for lunch and two times yesterday. We refused. We are going to Gubernators, the place with all the dead animals. The food is gooooood and the menu MUSt have SOMETHING they can eat. IT's about 10 pages long!
SO, see ya later!
|A BAR!!! OF COURSE!|
|View form the top of the Olympic Center--housing|
|Looks like basketball, but it's being used for hockey now|