Some things change and some things dont. Karosta maintains a military presence in the area.. The Latvian navy as part of NATO is now present.
| presence |
Young Latvian men of 18-25 are conscripted to serve at least 1 year. And so you can hear young male singing voices.. marching songs in the morning float over the walls of the compound.
This is the location is where for 3 weeks, conscripts receive their basic training, before being assigned to offshore positions.. Saluting, marching, drill, discipline and comradeship.. Learning to leave behind family and girlfriends..
It was not difficult to explain to military persons the concept of mapping, and GPS, a military invention. Even the basic guards at the gate had no problem. We spoke of marking their route using a real-time global positioning system.. Making a link to the marching songs they sing.
The Admiral was arranged to talk with us, to find out who we were.. He guessed we were from the K@2 cultural centre in Karosta..
And he was rather cheery and friendly, "Lovely weather isnt it?".. He asked us Internationals where we came from.. Gabrial about AREA51 near his reservation in Nevada. I expected some small talk about Scottish whiskey or golf.. It was agreed we could come back in the morning the next day.
| morning ceremony |
We arrived early in time to find a nice position to watch the morning flag-raising drill. Then it was two flags, but now a light blue one makes three. Facing the line up, we looked into the row of conscript boys.. Us slack and casual, them rigid and in fatigues..
Once the flag was up, we were told to join the unit..
Positioned into the column on the end, rather than walk to the side.
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| karogs || GPS map |
Then our movements and pace quickened, and followed that of the troop. During that time we were like the unit.. We all had the same view.. of the back of marching soldiers. But of course the conscripts in the front knew where they were going..
Maybe as a treat for keeping in line, we were allowed access to the Palace.
| palace |