Friday, August 03, 2007

When It All Comes Together

note: since writing this, we've moved to the library next door, where the wireless is free. Very posh.

We’re in Pärnu, Estonia right now, sitting in a Tex-Mex Restaurant and killing time before our ferry out to the little island of Kihnu. We came up on a bus from Riga this morning, which left at the ungodly hour of 8:30 am (what will we do when we’re back in the real world of schedules and early morning work times? Well, at least what will Ian do?). We were the last people to arrive at the bus, around 8 minutes before it left. We found two seats together, though, and since the final destination was Tallinn, it’s probably good that our bags were the last ones thrown into the hold. It was a double-decker bus, and I have to say, I slept through most of the 3 ½ hour trip. I’m sure this was self-defense, because I didn’t actually get sick. One great joy was that we actually stopped at the border, and they actually took our passports and stamped them! I don’t think this happens much in the EU anymore; between Portugal and Spain, for example, there’s only a derelict checkpoint building that clearly hasn’t been manned in years. Even though both Latvia and Estonia are members of the EU, since they border Russia and Belarus, it seems they may have border crossings between them for many more years. Portugal, of course, only borders Spain, and much as they complain about each other, they trust each other to come and go benignly.

When we arrived here at noon, we didn’t have tickets on the ferry which leaves at 6:15pm and arrives on the island at 9:00pm; we didn’t have a place to stay on the island and we were hoping to stay 3 nights on a busy weekend in August; we didn’t have any Estonian cash; our backpacks were very big and heavy; and we didn’t have tickets back to Riga on Tuesday. And we don’t speak a word of Estonian.

But now we’re all set—got some cash; bags are in Left Luggage until 5:15; we’ll buy tickets on the ferry; helpful tourist offices here and on Kihnu hooked us up with a room and a ride from the boat (our cell isn’t working well again, and charged us £2 for the dropped call to Kihnu’s tourist office and the only pay phones in Pärnu are at the post office and only take cards which you buy there so we still have 450 Estonian Kr. with which to make more calls . . . from the post office . . . ); we’ve bought tickets back to Riga on the much more civilized 12:05pm return bus; thank you in Estonian is tänan. Anyway, it’s all very exciting to be in a completely new place. And, while Tex-Mex theoretically isn’t Estonian food, I can say with assurance that it’s also not Tex-Mex.

No comments: