«Here for the first time, out of mere curiosity,» says Maie Krimm, here in Latvia all the way from Pärnu. The shopping cart pushed by joint effort with husband Jaan holds three cases of beer, several bottles of vodka and some other extra such stuff. The lady says that is not for them alone, for tonight. «We ain't no drunkards!» hollers Ms Krimm and tells us that part of the haul is for relatives.
Asked if, from Pärnu, many are coming to Ikla to buy alcohol, she says: «But of course! They are all coming.»
Strolling around in the Ikla Alko 1000 store, one does not feel like in Latvia at all. Parked at the front, majority of vehicles carry Estonian number plates.
As we arrive, a couple of Finns are busy rolling beer towards their RV. They load the stuff and head back for more. Overall, the shopping cart is key word.
From West-Viru County, Targo says he feels like in hunt for alcohol, Estonians and Finns are headed here now. «They will simply skip us now,» he suggests. But this is no problem for him, as helping Latvians is fine.
«Self made problem by Estonian state... Who said rise excise?» assess some people.
A few kilometres into central Ainaži top! Market, things are otherwise. As compared to Alko 1000, drinks selection is smaller and prices way higher.
Alise, a shop assistant, says their clientele is down 40 percent since the border shop opened doors. «The locals are going over to the border too,» says a sombre Alise.