Kunal Mukhopadhyay

Posts Tagged ‘Baltics’

Maiden Voyage to Baltics

In Blogging, Globalization, Travel log on May 13, 2010 at 9:46 am

I’m on the plane, in Riga, on route to Stockholm. The aircraft is a Fokker100 operated by Carpatair which has a Romanian flag on it. On my way here, I flew on the same aircraft type but one operated by a Belgian or French company (Blue Air?).

The flight to and from Vilnius (from Riga) was on a Fokker50 owned and operated by airBaltic. The aircraft reeked of urine and was pretty tight. The warm temperatures outside weren’t helping either. I hope that is the last time I fly that aircraft on airBaltic. Or any other carrier for that matter.

It was an interesting experience to be in the Baltics. The experience at the airports (Riga and Vilnius) were unique. Internally they have been fairly modernized and one would think one was in any other European country. Then as the airplane taxied down airfield I saw old Migs and rusty Tupolovs scattered around. There were some classic Russian helicopters too. The ones you saw in Rambo-II! But these were silent. Parked – only a distant memory of the bygone Soviet era.

The weather in Vilnius was lovely. Warm and sunny. And so were the people I met. The roads were  probably a nasty reminder of the former communist influence here. Pot holes. Concrete blocks. Rough. But the cars on the road weren’t!

I somehow get the impression that there is still a lingering “air” from the Soviet era in the Baltics with respect to service. An attitude of – “this is what you get…take it or leave it”. But not so in the younger generation who are friendly, speak English and appear to be updated with the modern times. I wish I could somehow reward this lovely young lady at the business lounge in Riga, for her excellent service with a lovely smile. Maybe next time..

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Let him who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.

In Blogging, Globalization on May 13, 2010 at 9:43 am

I heard on the radio yesterday a very good comment made by an Estonian official (former government minister) on the recent news about Estonia having fulfilled (or close to) the requirement in order to switch to the EURO currency.

He remarked that the EURO nations should first take a closer look at their own members (reference to Greece, Spain and Portugal) before setting such high demands on prospective non-Euro countries. How true. The irony is that at the end of the day, countries like the Baltic nations may actually have a stronger economy than the so called  “stronger” nations (strong meaning those in the Euro zone).

Estonia is on its way. Lithuania and Latvia are working their way towards the goal. Maybe Greece, Spain and Portugal ought to be “degraded” back to non-euro status and the Baltic nations given their seats instead!!