16 Oct 2007

Not seeing Pärnu

Posted by walterheck

The next day I got up before Johnny and Lena again to not disturb them in their morning rhythm. After I had my shower I slept a bit more until Johnny and Lena were ready for breakfast. We had a nice breakfast together. Since Johnny is a programmer, he has very flexible hours so he can start his day at 10 if he wants to (of course this means working late, but that’s a small price to pay). After breakfast I started sending out text messages to hospitality club hosts in Parnu as I still did not have a host for that night. Due to the way HC profiles are set up, a lot of people leave their phone number which can be very handy in case of last minute requests.

I also took some pictures of Johnny and Lena and their lovely cat that looks so much like Doerak (I miss you!) in front of their super cool living room world map. Then I left the apartment with Johnny who happened to go in the same direction as me. We took a bus to the center and Johnny explained to me how to get to a good place to start hitchhiking. I double checked the information at the bus station, bought a ticket and took the bus. I fell asleep of course and woke up just as the bus was at the end of the line (which was where I needed to be).

This was my first time hitchhiking out of Scandinavia and I was a bit nervous, probably partly due to what had happened a couple of days ago. Even though Baltic people don’t like to be called eastern Europeans, the country sure looks like an eastern European one from time to time. I didn’t quite know if this was a good place to start hitchhiking, but I started anyway. After about half an hour I was picked up by a nice Finnish driver who spoke a little german. He took me all the way straight to Parnu. All right, I felt much better!

Whjen we got to Parnu, he insisted to buy me some coffee (or in my case, a cola) and would not let me pay for it. Very nice of him! We talked a bit more and then he had to leave as he was there for work. I stayed and got out the laptop as I had seen more people with laptops which probably meant there was free wireless there. I was right. I still didn’t have a place to sleep for the night so I started sending out more text messages. In total I sent out 8 CS requests, 1 HC request and 12 text messages. I have never before had to do some much to get a couch.

At some point I thought I wouldn’t find a host at all and I called a hostel to ask them if they had some place for me to sleep. Luckily, shortly after that, someone responded that she couldn’t host me, but had found her sister prepared to pick me up and host me. By that time it was 19.00 however and dark outside. I still had to wait until 21.00 before I would be picked up however. I spent that time having dinner and reading email and watching some tv show to get the stress of this day out of me. Parnu is probably an interesting little town, but at this point I hadn’t seen more than a coffee place by light 🙂

At 21.00 the sister, called Krista, picked me up and we walked to her apartment that was right on the sea side. It was a nice walk after sitting inside the whole day. Krista told me about Parnu on the way home. This was one of the biggest summer towns (much like Renesse in Holland): very busy in the summer and almost dead in the winter. Tourism was booming here, plans for building expensive apartments all along the coast line are continuously being made (and approved, to much regret of the locals).

Krista’s apartment was really small but cosy. It had a really weird layout though: in the kitchen, there was an open bathroom. That meant that when someone was in the bathroom, either taking a crap or a shower, the other people in the apartment would either have to stay in the bedroom or living room or in the kitchen. I had no problems with it for a night, though.

Krista told me she had a 16 year old son that was sleeping in the bedroom (which would be my room for this night) and she was sleeping in the living room. I put my bags down and then we walked the dog. Krista lives around 150m from the coast line in an old apartment building so we walked along the beach. Here I could clearly see the results from the earlier mentioned summer tourism: a boulevard that had all fountains turned off since it was not summer anymore (who cares about the locals ?!) and a few expensive resorts with a tropical swimming paradise. Apartments are mostly being bought by rich Finns as a nice apartment with a view to the sea costs roughly 100.000€, which is not much for people with a western salary (but a lot for average locals). A solid investment as I see it, since this town had explosive growth written all over it.

Krista told me that by daylight I would have been able to see the sea from the windows of her apartment, but as it was pitch black that was not the case now 🙂 When we got home Krista gave me some delicious bread with fish as a late night snack (I wasn’t really hungry but couldn’t convince her 🙂 ) I then spent some time looking for a couch for Riga. I noticed again that although living conditions were sub-optimal (but still pretty good) the internet was lightning fast. I like Estonia :). After that I went to bed as we had to get up early the next morning (Krista is a teacher at a school for mentally challenged children so she cannot be late for work which starts at 8).

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One Response to “Not seeing Pärnu”

  1. “he insisted to buy me some coffee (or in my case, a cola)”, how can you visit so many coffeehouses and STILL not drink any coffee?!