14 Oct 2007

Goodbye Finland, Hello Eston..*BAM*

Posted by walterheck

Three hours later I woke up and made my ferry reservation to Estonia. Tiina had sent me an email telling me which was the cheapest company, so I booked that for roughly 20€. Then I went back to sleep a little bit more. I got up at quarter past seven and tooka shower and packed my bags. I had said goodbye to Serkan the previous night, so I quietly left the house when I was ready around 8:15.

I made my way to the ferry terminal and arrived there at 8:50, right in time for checkin which started at 9:00.I got my ticket and proceeded to the boarding area where I had to wait until I could board. I fell asleep of course, but that was just convenient as there was absolutely nothing to do in the boarding area (I didn’t have any euro’s left besides the few I was going to use for breakfast). When I woke up, boarding had just opened and I proceeded to board the ferry.

The boat ride was going to take 3,5 hours, so I proceeded to the panorama deck on one of the top floors thinking that there would be a nice and quiet place to sit and work on the laptop. I was wrong! This panorama lounge had a stage where some awful folk music was performed that was only watched by a bunch of old people. To make matters worse, after that they started playing bingo. I ignored my way through all this and watched some desperate housewives (yes, I am gay 😉 ) with my headphones on.

After I was out of stuff to watch, I fled the place looking for a cheap café on board the ship to spend my last few euro’s on a breakfast. I bought a nice shrimp salad sandwich and a coke. After eating it, I went back to my backpack I had left in the lounge. I sat next to it and just slept through the rest of the journey as I had only slept 3 hours the previous night.

I woke up 20 minutes before arriving in Tallinn, just enough to see the city from a distance. It looked very beautiful, with a beautiful old part on a hill and a more modern part a bit further away. I got off the boat when it docked and walked into the city. I was very nicely surprised by the beauty of Tallinn!

I love coming to a new country: new money, new simple words and phrases to learn, a whole new culture to learn with all it’s customs. I arrived in Estonia with an empty wallet (I had to get rid of my last euro’s) and an empty mind. Since Helsinki had been one of my goals and my next goal, being Thailand, was gone I now felt completely free to do whatever I wanted. An awesome feeling!

Since I didn’t have a map, the tourist information was closed and I had to drag around my backpack, I chose to spend the rest of the afternoon in a coffee place where there was wireless internet. I catched up on stuff (I am doing that a lot these days, constantly being behind on everything) and around 19.00 I left for my host’s place.

I took a bus from the spot where they had advised me to take it from and listened very carefully to the names of the stops the driver was announcing. In cases like this, when I am traveling in public transport in the dark, I never sit down because that means the risk that I fall asleep is high. I could feel that I was at high alert: paying a lot of attention to everyone around me and everything that happened. I find that for some reason, traveling in the dark alone makes everybody become a potential robber or criminal. It is a very unpleasant feeling and a little bit scary. Then something happened that unfortunately did not make this feeling get any less in the future…

I got off the bus, followed the directions my hosts had given me but felt a little lost. I (thought I) had learned that asking never hurts. Boy was I wrong! I asked some guy that was knocking on a window of one of the apartment buildings, figuring that he probably lived there and would know where to go. He only spoke Russian and since my Russian is pretty basic (all I can say is “excuse me, do you speak english” and “I don’t understand Russian”) he was obviously not of much help. I tried to thank him and make it clear that I would ask someone else, but he wouldn’t listen and kept speaking Russian to me.

I walked away because I saw some younger kids who would probably speak English. They did and they told me I was very close. I walked in the direction they said it was (I was basically standing 20 meters from the street. Now all I needed was to find the right building. The Russian guy however kept following me and treid top convince me that the street I was looking for was in another direction. Luckily the young kids saw that and pointed in another direction. I started to be suspicious about the Russian guy and walked away from him. He however kept following me and kept talking to me.

I asked a taxi driver that happened to pass by for the right building (again, I was standing right in front of it but it was dark so I couldn’t see.). I walked to the door now clearly feeling that the Russian guy was up to no good. I tried ringing the bell, but the calling mechanism was not very obvious plus I was getting nervo… BAM! He punched me in my face and went into battle stance. Since I was carrying a backpack and my daypack with my laptop in it, I was in no position to fight back (also, my last fight was in primary school :)) so I chose the other obvious course of action: attract attention. I started shouting and that made the guy so nervous that he walked away when a lady with a dog came in my direction.

My nose was bleeding heavily and the lady obviously did not really know what to do. I convinced her that I needed to be at number 39 and she rang the door bell for me. Covering my bleeding nose with two hands I headed inside. The door opened: “Hi, I’m walter. I just got punched in the face by some crazy guy”. Johnny looked at me a little flabbergasted. He pointed me towards the bathroom and gave me some cotton balls to stop the bleeding. I looked in the mirror and assessed the damage: a nose that hurts like hell (nothing broken) and two busted lips. Great! I cleaned up and then explained the whole story to Johnny. He told me that this was not the best neighbourhood but that this has never happened. Guess I was just unlucky to ask the wrong guy :(

I guess this was one of those things I knew would happen eventually. Still, they always come unexpected. I tried to not let it get to me and tell myself that this was not really a big problem as nothing got stolen. It was kind of hard, but I guess that is one of the lesser sides of traveling.

After I had calmed down from the shock a little bit, Johnny made me dinner. He had been at home the whole day because he was feeling sick. Lena was still at her mom’s place. I talked with Johnny for a while and it turned out that he was also a computer programmer, albeit more oriented towards web programming. Him and Lena have started a company (http://rural.travelage.eu) not long ago for promoting rural tourism in Europe, quite interesting.

After a while Lena got home and she was equally surprised about what happened. She told me that previous guest had been offered the use of a mobile phone when they were lost and asked someone for directions.

We all worked for a while and talked in between about all kinds of things. I noticed that their internet connection was very fast and they told me that Estonia is actually one of the most wired countries in the world (to my surprise). After a while I decided to go to bed early since I was very tired. Lena and Johnny both had to get up early the next day, so we all went to bed.

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7 Responses to “Goodbye Finland, Hello Eston..*BAM*”

  1. Damnit, man, adventure is hitting your life like a motherf***er! Never trust a person who is speaking Russian, especially in Estonia.

    I’ll let Ruud put things in a mildly psychological perspective now….

     

    Paul

  2. All right I will, here’s my advice: next time just kick the sonofabith in the motherf***king balls, we don’t want peaces of shit like him to have children anyway. Hope it helps.

    Gr
    Ruud

     

    Ruud

  3. Now for a somewhat more subtle comment (apparently my last comment wasn’t ‘mild’ enough…). Although you’ve obviously gotten to meet a lot really great people on your travels you shouldn’t become too trustworthy. Just a bit of xenophobia can be a very handy trait for survival, especially when you get to poorer countries (on the other side, you shouldn’t get too jaded either or you won’t be any fun at parties). Just remember that you’re walking around with stuff worth a year’s income for a lot of people and sadly greed often reveals the worst in people. Anyway I hope you’ll only get to meet nice people for the rest of your trip.

    GR
    Ruud

     

    Ruud

  4. “I chose to spend the rest of the afternoon in a coffee place where there was wireless internet. I catched up on stuff (I am doing that a lot these days, constantly being behind on everything).”

    Damn, your holiday sounds an awful lot like work sometimes.

    Gr
    Ruud

     

    Ruud

  5. He Walter,

    Wat iedereen vergeet te zeggen: wat vervelend voor je. Maar wel fijn dat Talinn een mooie stad is.

    Groeten,
    Branco

     

    Branco

  6. I can’t believe you used ‘flabbergasted’:-D

    Maar wat een toestand om mee te maken zeg! Ik ben net halverwege je blog beginnen te lezen, nog veel te gaan (je documenteert je reis bijzonder goed moet ik zeggen) maar dit ziet er niet zo leuk uit :-( Ik zal verder lezen om te zien hoe het je verder vergaat, maar ik hoop dat je er bovenop gekomen bent…

    Groeten,

    Sonja

     

    Sonja

  7. […] I had been to Tallinn before on my trip last year and didn’t have the best memories of it (remember this?). You can imagine I was not overly keen on going to this city again, even though the situation was […]

     

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