Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 58: Moving in to Tallinn

We had our last breakfast at Iira and Olev's, said a brief farewell, and piled in to M&M's car. What was on the menu today? Being as they are our usual chauffeurs, they were used to us not having much of a clue as to what we want to do. The only thing we knew we had to do was visit the souvenir shop once more, move our stuff in to Tallinn's Old Town, and then go meet and greet with Merika and Alar. Of course, after all that, we would be having a feast at the Peppersack! I know -- right? Everything is about food lately!

We had been to Old Town once before, but here we were again. It is nice, because Tallinn looks as though it is literally split in half: part new, part old. We are staying in the old part where cobblestone streets make way to centuries old buildings, churches, and even a town square! It's very easy to find our place. Once you go through the town square and past the well, you'll find an old large door leading to a building, almost directly adjacent from the well itself. Yep, we were staying in a very historic house! I don't know how dated the place was exactly, but Tallinn is almost a thousand years old... so maybe the hotel was fairly old, too! The inside is definitely modern, though... aside from things like the ceiling and stairwell. For one, it has a sauna, large Samsung television, kitchen, fireplace, washer, sitting room and of course two very comfortable-seeming bedrooms!

Once we had our stuff all brought in to the hotel, we went to the mall and looked around for a bit. I found a really cute dress! You  know the type that that goes to your thighs and has huge pockets on it? That kind. But of course being as this is Estonia we're in, everything is exceedingly expensive. They don't even take Euros most of the time, anyway... it's all about Crowns! Well, soon that won't be the case (they are changing to the EU currency), but it's still a bother for us all the same. Anyway, so because of the inflated prices, I didn't end up buying anything (KP found a bikini top for 54 crowns or something like that). We then proceeded to our meeting place at the appropriate meeting time, a fashionable 5 or 10 minutes late. We found out that Urmas and Uncle D were going to venture off somewhere in the grocery store to find things to eat, and KP and I were to chill out and wait for them with M&M. It took Uncle D and Urmas a long time, so KP and I went to the perfume shop and the Body Shop and made ourselves smell pretty (or un-pretty, your choice). Still, no sign from Uncle D and Urmas. We wait a while longer (I almost fall asleep), and then Markus gets a cell phone call saying that Uncle D and Urmas are already at Merika's! So we high tail it out of there and drive to meet them. Of course, it was only a few minutes away so it wasn't a very long drive.

Once we got to Merika's we were greeted by the neighbor's dog and its incessantly loud barking. I didn't mind so much -- I thought it was cute! But Uncle D seems to notice that all Estonians have dogs, and all of them are far too vocal. Hmm -- reminds me of my family's dogs. But! Merika doesn't have a dog... instead, when we walked in to the backyard, there was the cutest persian cat waiting to greet us! It had giant amber orbs for eyes, I swear. It also recently paid a visit to the cat hairdresser, because its hair was short and its nails trimmed. Thank goodness for me its nails were trimmed! When this cat rolled on to its back, it apparently had the intention of attaching itself to my hand as soon as I pet its belly (four de-clawed paws and a mouthful of teeth). Cute, yes. It was super playful and KP and I just adored it!

We got to meet Merika's other son while we were there, and his name is Alar. He had even smoked a ton of fish for us to eat! They were super tasty... more tasty than the Flounder we had at Kasmu even! He told us that there were actually three types of fish he had smoked for us that day! One was flounder; the big flat one that we had tasted earlier. Another one I can't remember the name of but it was a long small one that had very soft meat (I thought it was yummy!). The last one was a fish similar to the Flounder but not quite, and it was supposedly less fattening than the Flounder. I had three smoked fish and nibbled on a bit of KP's, too... and of course afterwards there was cake and tea!!

It was really nice visiting Merika and Alar. Alar was super interesting, too, because he spoke fluent English and told us all about Afghanistan. Being as he is a Platoon Commander, he was responsible for a lot of people. So kudos to him! And he had some pretty interesting stories. I asked him if he ever saw a Camel Spider, and apparently he had. Creeeeeepy!

That night, we went to the Peppersack for our feast. Being as we had stuffed ourselves with Alar's smoked fish, and we were now about to chow down on some salmon, someone made a joke about 'Fish Day'. Apparently in the old days, Thursday was called 'Fish Day' because it was the day that the fishermen would come back and in order to eat the haul while it was fresh, everyone would have fish. Of course, coincidentally, this was a Thursday. It was a great dinner with multiple courses, and we had some fine conversation, too. Alar got KP and I interested in vertically running down walls, and Uncle D gave a speech to the family.

The big surprise of the night was when a bellydancer came by and casually danced around the tables for about 4 minutes, then sauntered away. Maybe she had the wrong room!

Of course a dinner wouldn't be complete in Estonia without cake and alcohol. So, after dessert, we all went to our hotel and popped open a bottle of wine: one white, one red. It was a great opportunity to take a large family photo, too... so I took care of that. I'm pretty sure that by the end of the night people were tired of me with the camera in my face, pointing at their face... but they seemed to handle it fairly well regardless. It's not my fault I like the sound the shutter makes when it closes!

When everyone left for the night, Urmas came back upstairs and warned us not to go out alone (it wasn't safe). And just when we thought the night's festivities were over, we got a call to go out on the town with our cousin Markus! I have to clarify this point though, because I have three cousins named Markus. This particular Markus was Urmas' son, the same one who had picked us up from the airport and brought us to Kasmu. The other Markus in Estonia is the one I refer to as M&M (Markus and Merilin), and is Iira and Olev's son. The third Markus lives in Canada and is as tall as a totem pole. And, now that we have all that straightened out, back to the story.

So because we were still dressed up and ready to go, we went down to the Bar with No Name together. KP and I had some drinks... tasty ones, at that! And priced right, too. They had specials on for ladies, two drinks for 55 crowns! That's like $4.00 Canadian. Alcohol is cheap everywhere except Canada, apparently. Unfortunately for Markus he's not a girl, so he didn't get any drink deals -- but we did manage to buy him one beer! Then it was dance time. Of course, dance time always means creepers doing the 'nudge'. The 'nudge' of course is where you put your arms up and wiggle your way in to a girl's dancing bubble... why? Why do guys do this? And why are they always the creepiest dudes ever? KP and I both played our parts in saving each other that night. Good job KP.

Unfortunately there was no fear factor at the bar this night (apparently it happens sometimes). It was a bit disappointing but no biggie. For one, if there was a Fear Factor I probably would've wanted to participate... and that could've ended very badly for me! Still, it was a fun time.

KP and I were exceptionally tired from our full day, and had to bail out at around 1:00AM or so.

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