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Riga

Forget Sex, drugs and rock n roll....I prefer Jack, metal and Guns...big guns.

Words to describe what I did today…hmmmm not sure I'm going to be able to manage this one, but I'll give it a go and start with the boring stuff first.

Today started out like any other day on tour, where the passengers have a free day…..with me sleeping in until the last possible minute I can get up to get breakfast. The with me going back up to my room and watching TV for the rest of the morning. Pretty boring stuff huh?

At about 1pm I went out to get lunch and ended up in a Japanese Restaurant, I ordered far too much food, thinking that one order was only going to be six rolls. I had no idea that one order was twelve rolls and so I ended up with twenty four sushi rolls. It certainly explained the funny look the waiter gave me when I ordered two dishes. I ate my lunch in a rush and got most of it to go and hurried back to the hotel to meet Louise who I am currently sharing my room with.

We were leaving at 2pm to go shoot AK-47's in an old soviet bunker. Didn't my day going from boring to Oh my god, what the hell? In a big way! Firstly, we had to find this hostel called the Naughty Squirrel, who I had booked the shooting through, we walked into the old town and found it with no trouble. This of course meant that we were about forty minutes too early, as I had allowed for getting lost time. We went into the coffee shop next door and I had a very bad cappuccino. Again with the coffee I never drank before this job.

Finally, it was time to go into the hostel and announce we had arrived for our shooting experience. We sat in the waiting room for about twenty minutes, paid a guy some money and off we went. The guy (who never told me his name) took us down to the tram stop and got us tickets and then we rode the tram about six stops to what seemed like the middle of suburbia. I chatted to our new friend all the way, turns out he has been living in Latvia for the last five years and is actually Australian. He wanted to know all about my job with Tucan and my life on the road, its always interesting swapping stories with people like this.

We arrived at our destination and walked for about ten minutes to a huge building site, all I could hear was hammering and circular saws and an insane amount of noise. We proceeded to walked through the site, I was now wondering where we were going and the whole thing started to feel a little dodgy. Of course I wouldn't have had it any other way, the last thing I was after was some manufactured, fake experience, no, I can get that in Australia.

We came to the entrance of the bunker, which was no more than a tiny shed, which covered an old concrete staircase, which led down into the blackness of the Earth. When we reached the bottom, there was a heavy steel door, with a wheel that needed to be turned to open it. Once we were behind the door, there was complete silence, it was as though the noisy building site above had evaporated.

We entered a medium sized room, which had a small counter and walls absolutely covered in guns. We signed a pretty simple waiver and read the rules and chose our targets. Louise chose a standard issue, and I chose to shoot at James Bond.

Then we entered the main area of the bunker, a long room with a small wooden table and about thirty feet from the table were the targets we were going to shoot at. We stood in there for a while before a large, I think Russian man came in with arms full of weapons. I wanted Louise to go first as she was in the armed forces and has experience with a weapon, but she insisted she wasn't very good and that I should go first. In the end the Russian man flipped a coin and my number was up.

I think the Russian guy wanted us to start small, so I was handed a Glock 17 hand gun, given about fifteen seconds worth of instructions, (in Russian) and then it was time to start shooting. I lifted the pistol, looked straight down the sites, aiming for Bond's head and gingerly squeezed the trigger. I had no idea what to expect, I knew guns had a kick back so I was prepared for it, but I didn't know how much of a kick back I was going to get. Bang! The gun went off, now knowing what to expect, I got a bit more confident and squeezed off another one. Bang! I aimed the gun at Bond's chest and squeezed off three in a row, Bang! Bang! Bang! One more bullet left, but where to put it? Bang! To the head, that will do.

Louise then had her go, I stood back and watched glad I was wearing my hearing protection, although it didn't sound as loud now it was someone else firing. After Louise had finished her rounds, we walked up to our targets to see how we went. Louise had got a bulls eye and managed to get five bullets on target. I had managed to get all six on target and even got Bond right between the eyes.

The next weapon, was the one I had come for, the AK-47 Kalishnakov….I've been wanting to do this all season. No that's not right, I've been wanting to do this ever since I saw my first action movie and I can't even remember when that was. I was handed the large weapon and again given virtually no understandable instructions on how to use it. Lucky I do watch a lot of action movies and not chick flicks, well, I guess if I was that sort of girl I wouldn't even be in this situation. I picked up the AK-47 with the greatest respect, and cradled the butt of the rifle in the crook of my arm, it was much heavier than I thought it was going to be. Our friend from the hostel must have sensed that's what I was thinking, so he said, It helps if you fire them off really fast. Good solid advice, as it turns out.

Pick a point on the target and once you have your shot take it again, Bang! And again, Bang! And again, Bang! And again, Bang! I squeezed off six rounds, I had been contemplating taking off the goggles to get a better shot, but I was glad I didn't as a rogue shell hit smack on the left side of them and another one hit my left hand.

Louise had her go and then we went to inspect the new damage to our targets, again I had gotten all six shots on target. I was now starting to get really pleased with myself. Next on the weapons list was the pump action shot gun. I got the unclear instructions, and picked up the weapon. Luckily this time I didn't really need them, the pump action shot gun, weapon of choice of one of my favourite action heroes, Mr. Bruce Willis, I've seen him operated this baby a hundred times.

I picked it up took aim and fired, pumped, fired, pumped, fired, pumped, fired. I looked over at the Russian guy who had this look on his face, like he wanted to say, how the hell do you know how this thing works, this well? Louise had her go with the shot gun, but had a bit of trouble with the pump action on it. We inspected our targets, and yet agan I had gotten all six on target.

Now it was time for the BFG, Big f***ing Gun (said with Russian accent) not my words folks, theirs. It was a BIG gun, the 15mm SPAS combat shot gun. It was one of the heaviest things I think I have ever picked up and actually had two trigger for extra safely. I knew this thing was going to have one hell of a kick back on it. I decided it was probably best to follow our friend from the hostels advice and fire off these rounds as quickly as possible as I could barely lift the gun.

I lifted the gun into the crook of my arm, pressed the safety trigger, leaned forward to compensate for the kickback and squeezed the trigger.BOOM! I turned my head to look at Louise, Holy s***! I exclaimed. I love this gun! I had actually spoken too soon, as the gun had decided to jam and out Russian friend thought I was just being incompetent. It took about ten minutes of me holding the gun and trying to fire it before he went to get someone else to fix it. He left the room, taking all the guns with him.

Another man came in who spoke a bit of English and we trouble shot (pardon the pun) the problem together. That is, he fiddled with the huge gun, handed it to me to test, I handed it back, he fiddled some more. It finally started working again, almost at the point where I had decided it wasn't going to work and thank god because my arms were killing me from holding it up for so long. BOOM! When the gun unexpectedly. I quickly fired off the remaining rounds and handed over the weapon to Louise who had slightly more trouble lifting it than me.

Last trip back over to the targets, now it was time for me to get smug, all rounds on target. Our friend from the hostel wasted no time telling both Louise and I how good a shot we both were.

After we had fired off all our rounds we got to have a few pictures with the AK-47, Pump Action Shot Gun and 15mm SPAS. Louise made fun of my awesome bad ass look I gave the camera while holding the guns.

We left the bunker, I took James Bond with me intent on showing all my defense force friends how good a shot I am. We got back on the tram and went back to the hostel for a beer. We then walked back to the hotel and I went off to do some printing. Wish I'd done that earlier in the day, what an anti-climax. At 7:30pm we met Andy and wento out for a drink, I messaged Paul and he turned up too. I wanted to go to this metal bar I had found, now that's a perfect way to end today. Drinking Jack Daniels and listening to metal in Eastern Europe.

We had a few drinks in the bar called Rockabilly's before heading to a restaurant for dinner, and then heading to a local bar and meeting a Latvian friend Andy had made a friendly middle aged man in a leather jacket named Ragnar. Ragnar sat at the bar and chatted with us for about an hour, he insisted that I sit down and then sat down next to me. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop looking at him. He had the most crystal clear blue eyes I've ever seen. I had another Jack Daniels and chatted to him, about I can't even remember what. We then left the pub and said goodbye and went in search of another bar. There didn't seem to be much going on so we wandered around the streets for a bit before heading back to the hotel. Paul and Andy went to the casino type place across the street, but as tomorrow is a dreaded travel day, I went off to bed and dreamed violent dreams.

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