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From the editor

Shhh… it's a crisis!

Vel ir laiks, vel ir laiks, vel ir laiks.   
Rudens tals vasarai pieskariens    
Vel ir laiks, vel ir laiks, vel ir laks   
Musu cels vasarai cauri iet.       

(There is still time…
The fall is but a faint touch to summer
There is still time…
Our road carries on through
the summer)

-"Vel ir Laiks" Zigmars Liepins

Everyone is sick of hearing about it, talking about it and most of all, being in the middle of it, so don't ask.
But the times, they are a-changin', making way for new ideas, as well as revisiting the successes of the past.

 In a rather unexpected show of poignancy, Latvian President Valdis Zatlers, while addressing parliament, put down his prepared speech and started speaking from his heart.
Zatlers reminded people that twenty years ago, when the independence of Latvia was restored, people would say that they would much rather be poor, but free. He then asked everyone to think about what role they played in the current situation.

"Nearly 20 years have passed since the restoration of independence, we must think about and find an answer to this question: At one time we were prepared to build our country's welfare barefoot, if we had to, but amid freedom," he said.
After joining the European Union, credit was easy to get and people were overtaken with consumerism, something which is coming back to bite them now. Salaries have been cut in half, many people have lost their jobs. But this isn't something uniquely Baltic. Recently, British Airways even asked employees to work without pay for a month in order to help ensure the survival of the airline.

I recently heard a parable about a sparrow that gets stuck in some manure. The sparrow starts chirping for help and asking someone to get him out of the manure.  Along comes a cat, who takes him out of the manure and promptly eats him.
This pretty much sums up the attitude in the Baltics for the most part; the fear that sounding the alarm on some manure, may lead to being eaten by a cat.
 The air of uncertainty isn't dampening the spirits of tourists, who may find that service has even gotten better in some areas, as people have finally realized that being nice attracts people, and people bring money.

 A sense of despair has yet to overtake the Baltics, despite the seemingly hopeless situation many find themselves in. The people still have what made them strong in the first place; an unwavering spirit, an uncompromising mode of survival and millennia of perseverance in times of trouble.

 In other news, summer is finally here, and spirits are slowly being lifted. Lithuania and Estonia are getting ready to enjoy their song and dance festivals, and Latvia enjoyed a parade of blondes marching through the streets.

Corruption and fraud crackdowns are at a high as well, with the government finally taking some steps in closing down nightclubs and bars that have swindled tourists.
Despite everything, there is no place else I would rather be than the Baltics. The fresh air, beautiful people, food and music are some of the best in the world. So forget about the crisis and just have some summer fun!