I first started drafting this article over a month ago, when I was still actually in Kaunas. Then I did some more writing a couple weeks ago while I was in Ukraine. Now I'm in Moldova, and damnit, I'm gonna publish it today! Heh.
Let's start with what I wrote while still in the city:
I am still in Kaunas; I think it's been two weeks now. I've struggled with a cold the last week, and in fact my sinuses currently feel like they're trying to explode. (Maybe this is spring allergies, too? I've never had them, but I've also never done spring in Europe.)
Today is one of the warmest days yet this year. Dozens of beautiful Lithuanians are streaming by on this pedestrian street in old town. I'm just about ready to ride again, but I still don't mind wiling away time in this town.Next, here's what I began to wrote while in Ukraine:
I've been in Ukraine two weeks now, but not ten minutes ago I accidentally said "labas" instead of "dobre dayn". In Lithuania, I met a lot of amazing people, did a bunch of super cool things, and generally have a lot of love for the country.So let's start there!
There's also a feeling of possibility that exists throughout eastern Europe. The power structures are not well-established. Community is important, and the exhilaration of independence (Lithuania became indepedent in 1991-2) has not worn off. Yeah, there is corruption and cronyism, and barring global revolution the divide between rich and poor will just continue to grow like it does everywhere. But the powerful people are still treated like small-time crooks, and they don't have the pervasive control exhibited by Western media and multinational behemoths.
What saddens me is that all-pervasive control is coming. I see it in the ubiquity of Coca-Cola and McDonald's. It's in the big loans from the EU, with forests given as collateral. It's in the big fancy cars, even if BMW and Mercedes are seen as redneck cars more than anything (in Estonia, anyway). I just hope they only go kicking and screaming.
So what am I doing about it? Well, there's this thing called music.
|Solo in the Nemunas|
|Kenny Wolleson's marching band|
I am now at least six weeks ahead of the events I'm writing about, so it's in everyone's best interest if I keep things moving along! So to summarize the rest of my stay, I slowly got better from my cold, had a lot of great conversations, met with new and old Lithuanian (and American!) friends, and watched intently as spring fully unfolded from the slumber of winter.
Finally, I packed up and headed south. I've come 2000km since then, so there is plenty more to talk about! Sooooonnnnnn