As a resident of Riga who was practically forced to stay inside his flat on May 7, I was amazed to later see the images on the television of George W. Bush strolling around the streets of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, while children danced around him with glee.
The Georgian president even filled an entire stadium of cheering multitudes. What a festive welcoming the Georgians provided the American president in contrast to the rigid, ultra-formal, lackluster ambience that Latvian officials created in Riga. Old Town was transformed into a ghost town. It looked as if it has just suffered the plague and its residents were dead.
This is a shame. Bush and his entourage left Riga without the slightest notion of how fun this town can be. I understand that the Georgians might have the Latvians on weather, but certainly they can't have an advantage in organizational skills. Or perhaps it is a matter of mentality? Whatever the case, I do believe that as Bush and the White House staff flew back to Washington, it was truly Georgia on their minds.