Friday, June 30, 2006

Viva la Summer

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer quite the other way

I have to go to bed by day.

- Robert Louis Stevenson

Summer turns out to be so busy with all kinds of social events that I have no idea where from to take the time for working. Next weekend has been planned for me by other people, so has the weekend after….then one weekend free and then a long weekend in Berlin and the RW concert.

This week alone there has been dinner with friends (S, it was so good to see you and Jazz again!), watching football with friends and a short but surprisingly fulfilling trip to another little Estonian island called Prangli.

It’s a small island, only 6 km2 in area and around 120 people living on it, but it has forest and lovely beaches, local school, shop and bar. When we arrived at the harbor, I was just photographing some really old and tired-looking boats there. Only moments later it turned out we were taking one of them to cross the 18 km of water for reaching the island. Altogether we spent only one day on Prangli – from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon, but it felt like at least a long weekend. Most of the time our activities were “chill and grill” and some drinking of some totally legal things and some smoking of some almost legal things. The company was good and the hangover-day jokes by Mr. Rassu kept us all perfectly entertained. I made a mental note about the island for the next event with either my colleagues or my friends. Lovely!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Those bastards....

This is the post I don’t really want to write but at the same time I feel I have to. After the fabulous weekend in Hiiumaa, when we reached N’s place, there was a surprise waiting for us. Not a pleasant one. She had had some uninvited visitors, who had messed up the whole place and taken away her valuable things. I don’t get it, why do those bastardly, sunamabitches thieves go and take from where there isn’t much to take. I mean, get a real job and BUY stuff like the rest of the people do!

This was another one of the stories in the series of “when you are away and having an excellent time, you come home and all the good emotions vaporize to air”. Roughly 4 months ago, when N returned from Venezuela, it was the same situation. The thieves had taken all the more attractive items, like 2 laptops, mobile phones etc. This time (and I’m sure it was the same people) they took what was left, that they rejected the first time, like the stereo, gold watch and jewellery etc. The place was a mess, all the things out of the cupboards and so on. And the worst part was that they had also taken her passport….2 days before her 3-months travel to Equador.

She is now virtually almost without any earthly possessions. The last 2 days have been all about running errands – getting a new passport, getting the visa copies from the embassy in Sweden, acquiring new vaccination certificates etc. I am so glad she finally managed to get everything sorted, so she could leave for the 3-month travel and is able to forget all this s*it and start over after coming back. For sure, I’m gonna miss her but I’m still glad for her.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hiiumaa reloaded

Photo: Roki

This weekend it was Jaanipäev again (or Ligo for Latvians or San Juan for Spanish or just mid-summer celebration for everybody). And quite like last year, we headed to the adorable island Hiiumaa. This time we were under the loving care of G. (a.k.a. Mr. G-spot) and his family and he was a wonderful host.

Our whole adventure started on Thursday evening when by coincidence we (me, N and Roki) happened to shop for drinks in the same supermarket with our 4th passenger Mr. T (a.k.a. the invisible friend). Mr. T was telling us horror stories how people going to Hiiumaa were standing in queue for the ferry for 5-7 hours. Smart, as we all are, we came up with the plan to leave Tallinn at 3 to catch the first ferry at 6. However, at 3, without any sleep, the plan did not seem quite as attractive any more. Nevertheless, we hit the road and by 5 we were in harbor among the first lucky (read: tired) ones. It took us a lot of willpower to not call our hosts already then. So we called at 7.30 when we landed and asked for directions. They were absolutely certain we were f***ng with them up to the moment we actually reached the house;)

Ridiculously early departure time and exhaustion aside, we gained a whole day of perfect leisure with sunbathing, swimming, chilling, calimochos, games, waterpipe, delicious food, good company and lots of fun. In the evening we did all the necessary elements of Jaanipäev – the fire, of course, eating a lot, for sure, jumping over the fire, alone and together with friends and some of the less necessary elements – like for instance wrestling on the grass, getting lots of bruises in the process. For some reason we forgot about the tradition of running over the meadow naked at the crack of dawn…or maybe I just don’t remember or maybe i was already asleep at the time.

The day after was like a day after should look like, another day with perfect leisure and just chilling. The catchword of this day was football. Unfortunately to all of us and especially to our Swedish friends Svenne, Mr Acorn and rootsi Mariliis, Sweden lost against Germany. Had they won we would have witnessed a striptease by our darling Swedes. Not to forget, we played some football ourselves too. After a lot of fake injuries I got one for real as well. Now most of my right calf is blue-blackish and swollen, it’s real pretty:) And later, of course some perfect food and drinks and fire again. And for the midnight snack we had freshly smoked fish and ash-potatoes. Mmmm….could it be any more perfect? And then of course some dancing on the table during the sunrise, lots of good stories and laughing, laughing, laughing a lot.

The last day was some more chilling and then back to the mainland. As usually, many-many more things happened and lots of stories will be left untold but again we had a perfect time, so, thanks to our hosts and thank you Hiiumaa, you never fail to excite me:)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Madrid and Barcelona – day 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Last day in Madrid went flying by. Things to remember are, first, watching the first game of the Spanish team…you can imagine how empty the streets of Madrid were during the game. And second, another date with J.

The same night at around 5 in the morning we hit the road and headed for Barcelona, yipii… beaches and waves, here we come. And the road lasted and lasted and lasted – almost 7 hours altogether and as we’re dealing with the Catalan region, you can be sure they charge money for everything. We paid 22 euros just for the highway toll. Believe me, it’s cheaper to fly.

Reaching Barcelona, we headed straight for the beach….and that’s pretty much how the rest of the days in Barcelona looked like:) Every day there was some beach fun, some sightseeing, some eating and drinking and some going out. Our host P was amazing, he just let us stay in his new rental flat where even he or none of the roommates were not staying yet. Wonderful.

When comparing the 2 cities, I must say that as a city I like Madrid a wee bit more. Barcelona has the sea and the beach – can’t compete with that, but it’s soooooo full of tourists. Madrid is more authentic, with all the little crappy places, it’s somewhat dirty streets and local people. Barcelona is tidier, with lots of beautiful people but not the “real thing”. The waves of course were fantastic, I’m always surprised how much power water has, one seemingly little wave can strip you from your bikini and splash you almost back on the beach. Anyways, me and R had a lot of fun jumping in the waves after a couple of cuba libres – uff…almost better than sex.

On Sunday, when R left back to Madrid, I got the feeling that it was time to go home. Maybe it was because I was alone or maybe 2 weeks was just enough for the moment being but it felt right that I’d be going home the next day. But I’m definitely going back! You can bet on it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Madrid – day 6, 7 and 8

Hey. Yes, I am still reporting to you from Madrid. The plans changed so we head for Barcelona tomorrow, or rather tonite, at sth like 4 o´clock, cause it´ll take us around 6 hours by car. I´m not complaining, I love Madrid and I´ve got lots to do.

On Sunday we went to Rastro in the Latina neighbourhood – that´s street market. It´s something like Portobello market in Notting hill London, but bigger. There´s lots and lots of streets filled with people selling almost everything. You can buy your whole wardrobe, plus stuff for your home and heaps of tacky stuff that you´ll never need but which seem too cool for not buying. Rastro is a lot of fun, especially because the variety of people you see there – and I don´t mean the buyer, the sellers are the ones who range from dreadlocked hippies to old and wrinkled little grannies. And when you´re already tired from shopping, you just head to the closest bar, where you can have a beer and where R forces you to eat snails. That was like fear factor, if I wasn´t looking, they were not so bad but I just couldn´t get the image out of my head.

Later on we sat in a nice little café, eating churros, headed on to another place for drinks and for meeting the cute barman (let us call him J) and his friend and later back home. Each night that we don´t go out, we watch Friends. I think we have just reached the end of the first season:) (Oh, just a little sidemark, but still important in the whole story – I got an awful allergic reaction on my face, and I have no idea what it was from – the sun, or some food or some make-up stuff together with sun? really no idea. Yo no tengo ni ideja.).

Monday saw us 2 girls chilling by the pool (me covering my face just to be sure) and later shoe shopping in a…well…a shoe shop – talk about girly day. And later the same day there was a date with the cute barman/some kind of other job man/future director (as in movie or documentary or tv show director).

Tuesday we hit some of the tourist sites, like for instance an Egyptian temple. The thing with the temple is following…one might wonder what is an Egyptian temple doing in Madrid, but as R was telling me…at some point in history all the major European countries headed to Egypt and when talking about visiting other countries, you bring souvenirs, right? Well there you go…oh, what a cute temple, let´s take it home. There´s not many of them left in Egypt.

And then we had lunch in a creperie, sent my postcards (the ones getting them can now officially start waiting for them) and headed home, for I had to get home and get ready for another date with J. I know there´ll be a whole bunch of people now going, oh, come on K, spill the details, but I say…just call me when I get back home and we meet for a coffee and we can speak more about my travel, ok:)?

And even later in the evening we were just walking around Madrid with a whole group of Aegee people. Oh, I met this guy A again who 4 years ago came to Estonia to a summer university. Time sure has flewn….

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Madrid and Toledo – day 4 and 5

Friday took us to Toledo, or to be precise, R´s car took us there:) Toledo was nice, the kind of town where you can enjoy the little streets going up and down and up and down, have a nice coffee and eat something – and can do all that in one day. For my taste, it was a bit too ….historical. Madrid has so much more to offer with all the diversity.

One thing I still cannot get used to is the habit of eating dinner so late. It´s usually 9 or 10 o´clock, but definitely never before 8, and after dinner you only start getting ready for a party. Imagine I was taking shower at sth past 12, to go out after that. We were going to a discotheque called Aventura, in R´s neighbourhood. R told me that probably because the place is so close to her home she always used to get really drunk in there and this Friday was no different. For the most of the evening I felt like a tourist attraction – lots of guys approaching me, asking if I was wearing lenses and where I was from etc. However, as most of them were trying to speak in Spanish I had to let my pimp (mi chulo) R talk to them. Now, about the getting drunk part…that was all because of a really cute barman who was also taking some interest in us and just bringing the drinks for free the whole night…

Considering the previous night, the next morning was not one of the easiest ones in my life (que horror) and the prospect of going to meet R´s family didn´t sound too appealing. However, the day turned out to be really nice. Meeting the parents, the brother and the cousins, eating some home-cooked paella, trying to answer sth back when they were all speaking Spanish to me:) At some point I just smiled and nodded…while trying my best to get over the hangover and stay awake.

And in the evening there was a birthday and housewarming party of a friend of R´s. When trying to generalize, then it seems to me that the people here drink less, smoke more but more or less enjoy themselves and party the same way as young people back home.


Before i write more about my experiences in Spain, i have 2 announcements to make.

First....i managed to miss the birthday of my blog....June 7th. Congratulations to myself:)

Second...hell froze over and N started blogging (take a look here). So, if we take a look at the date....June 6th...couldn´t she have waited for one day:)?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Madrid – day 2 and 3

This was the momentous day of the cast coming off. Ooh…it felt good. You know, if there´s more than 30 degrees outside, the cast feels like you´re wearing a helmet which is 2 numbers too small. So, now, instead of the cast I´m wearing some equipment which makes me look like a wonder-woman or probably someone from Star wars:)

On Wednesday I digged some more city, just chilling, feeling the vibe, walking through some important tourist spots, blending into a group of Japanese tourists – they never noticed, probably because your vision is limited through lens, had a huge cuba libre in a small street, chatting with a guy from States and a girl from Honduras (topics: Picasso, Dali, bullfighting and Sex and the city), forgot totally about time, had to rush home for a quick shower before going out, had a dinner with Aegee people, walked miles in the city with R, headed to Huertas – the pubbing-clubbing-drinking area, danced in a club for a couple of hours and took the night bus home. So much about Wednesday in a nutshell.

On Thursday R had free and we could have a real holiday day, just chilling by the pool and suntanning and getting a mild sunburn. Later we headed for the more “cool” areas of Madrid. First it was the Fuencaral shopping street where you can find shops for people with cool hobbies to numerous tattoo places and lots of pierced people with dreadlocks. Fuencaral leads us to even more liberal area – the gay neighbourhood called Chueca. These parts of Madrid I really like – it´s a bit dirtier than you average shopping streets but you won´t see any tourists there, just a whole range of colourful locals and lots of nice little places where you can for instance have a huge calimocho and eat pigs ears (we did that for real:) And after that we went back home, had a bit of Vana Tallinn and watched almost the whole first season of Friends.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Madrid - day 1

For about 2 weeks i will be reporting to you from Spain. Whoever is interested, can keep track of my travel here. I´d also appreciate if you told me in comments how life is going in your lives and respective countries.

What do you suggest was the first thing I noticed yesterday in Barcelona airport, going from one terminal to the other? It was a lonely palm tree, peeking around the corner of the building. There was no more nature, just this one tree, but it was pretty meaningful as palm trees have always symbolised warm countries and pleasant travels for me. Lingered in Barna airport for several hours and flew on to Madrid, where R took me under her protective wing and into the comfort of her home, which is luckily enough not far from the city center. The only sad thing so far is that Nk couldn´t join us:(

Madrid welcomed me with summer heat (33 degrees), dusty roads and lots of construction works. The city is really big but not entirely incomprehensible and not quite as touristic as I feared. As I was walking down some of the smaller and quieter calles of Madrid, sneaking a peek into little cafes where only the locals of that street go, smelling the coffee and something sweet being baked, I remembered why I keep doing this, the travelling. It´s all about variety. However much I love the homey and familiar places, it´s the new emotions and images and people and smells and tastes that tingle my brain and fully re-energize me.

And on a more earthly topic… I don´t know what it is about being abroad but I always really feel like buying stuff. I wanna buy shoes and bags and clothes etc. I´ll be coming back home with a hole in my wallet…and in my credit card. I just hope some of the things will be gifts to my beloved ones and not just new things for my humble self:)

Edit: The night was salsa night. Went to a club where they first teach some salsa and later on everybody just shows off what they can do on the dance floor. Imagine me, three-ways crippled: a beginner in salsa, not understanding Spanish (expect for un, dos tres…) and one arm in cast. But don´t you worry, I wasn´t sobbing in the corner. Spanish guys don´t really care if you don´t understand or if you´ve got a broken arm (un brazo roto)…the legs are fine, that means, you can dance:)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

TM birthday

This place is reserved for the post about our company's birthday celebrations, but it only makes sense to write about it when i already have the pics to show it too. But it's worth to wait, patience people, patience!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Photo competition vol 1

A lot has been going on in my life lately. Paradoxically, when there's lots going on, there’s not enough time to write about it. However, some events must not go unnoticed. Last Wednesday we held our first friendly photo competition. 4 contestants, 5 categories, 3 jury members, 20 good photos and 2 winners. The categories this time were: spring, white, old, retro and sport. The final “gala” night at my place was good fun and good things are worthy of sequels – so…soon enough there will be Vol 2. Next time we're gonna have 1 more contestant and several members of the jury have promised to sponsor the event with prizes.

Now, though we already had our winners, an internet voting won’t hurt either, would it? So, you guys, please take a look at the picture and tell me, which one in each category would you pick as a winner (click on the picture to enlarge it).