30 August 2005

Holiday in the South

My friend Shane, all the way from Dublin, came over last week. We had a great time in Helsinki and also went to Tallinn which was good fun. Here is few holiday shots.

For me Estonia has always been a bit problematic. Unlike most Finns who have been there several times I only had my third visit this weekend. I first went there 1987, which obviously was the soviet time. Only things I remember from that trip was my dad bribing everybody with chewing gum, which they did not have in Soviet Union, and that it was freezing cold. That was an Easter weekend then. Second visit was new year’s day 2004. It was very cold then as well and now, well a bit of a rain but generally fantastic weather and experience as a whole.

The reasons why I have been boycotting our southern neighbours has never been me disliking them. Quite the opposite. Finns in general look down on Estonians like Swedish people look down on Finns or Estonians Russians and I have always been a bit ashamed of this whole cycle. Other thing, mostly in 90s and early 2000 was the Finns misbehaving in Estonia, getting an awful and arrogant reputation and buying only cheap alcohol and pirated goods. I just felt a bit left out of that as well, but now I feel like I could go there every weekend. Really enjoyable and extremely affordable town. The only threat seems to be the EasyJet which ships the British tourists in with next-to-nothing prices. No offence my British friends but you behave even worse with alcohol than we do. And I thought it was impossible.

I do not claim to be an expert when it comes to Estonian culture, history or politics but I still find it rather interesting. I have lots of love for the country but I am saddened to see the speed that they are heading to complete free market economy (yes, the one where consumer has no rights but still spends). This seems to be quite a common thing in the former eastern bloc countries. The trouble is that very few people ended up making lot of money and the gap between poor and rich is relatively wide. I suppose the changes happened so quickly and the people were excited about the newfound possibilities that this was hard to avoid. They should have looked for the answers from the north, not the west.

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