Photo:Les Haines

A window of opportunity 4


Common interests and redefined comparative advantages create favourable conditions for stronger cooperation among Poland and the Baltic States. Read

Mark case 165x152

The view from behind the wheel 7

Author:Mark Case

I am in the unfortunate, if entirely of my own making, position of spending quite a lot of time behind the wheel of a car, simply because I live in Riga and work in Jurmala. This combination does have one advantage that the drivers of cars going (or rather not going, as is more commonly the case) in the opposite direction do not have - I travel twice a day against the flow of the worst of the traffic. Needless to say, I generally feel quite smug about this, so it came as something of a shock the other day when I had to go to school and then drive straight back into town, placing myself firmly in the worst of the rush hour traffic. I was horrified at the prospect, but tried to calm my shaking hands by reminding myself that some people do this every day, and thinking about the reduced chances of fatal accidents at speeds that rarely get above twenty. In the event, the drive back into town was just - well, boring really. You sit in traffic with nowhere to go and nothing to do and watch your fellow drivers watching you. And looking around, I realised that the same is also true for the majority of other drivers: in a situation that seemed the height of frustration - to be stuck on the way to work, when people have tasks to get to and important things to do - everyone seemed to accept their fate with a calmness that was frankly astounding. In a city that is not famed for the good manners, or patience, of its drivers, it appeared that the regular morning drive had reduced all of them to the same level of dumb acceptance that one expects from sheep. Read