Post Moscow update, quick: Train to Tallinn, Estonia. At border were asked "How many rubles you have" by scowling Russkie and gave honest answer of about three dollars worth. Left alone.
A quick note: because of the sometimes spotty availability of good internet, updates can be infrequent. Since photo uploading demands bandwith (and thus, time at internet cafes, and thus, money we're hesitant to spend), sometimes the blog's photos are added to entries post-publishing. So scroll down and see if there is something you missed.
Tartu was the Estonian facsimile of Iowa City - pretty people, used bookstores (except books in language I didn't understand, save one book cleverly titled Internet Jokes about Stalin. I now know enough Stalin jokes that can be stellar icebreakers with Latvians. Q. Stalin, Trotsky, and Molotov are in a plane crash. Who survives? A. Russia. Hardy har har durrrrrrr).
Word. So being in the Estonian Iowa City, I got a little silly nostalgic and shit about my own Iowa City, in, you know, Iowa. Missed the coffee, the ladies, the sense of Academic superiority highfalutin blah, and talking about butts one minute and Dostevsky the next. So being in the Estonian Iowa City, we proceeded to do what one must do in the Iowa Iowa City.
Anyhow, this dude's name actually is Alex Sass:
You is a winner, breh. Sanitary Napkin, a video of Alex Sass in action. With that video we gonna get us some Guggenheim fellowship shit. TARTU WHUT.
Item number dos on list of Tartu:
2. Talk to attractive and horribly vapid women. Err, I mean "girls." Ummmm...
HI FAMILY! I KNOW UR READING THIS. DRRRRRRR.
3. Take pictures in front of statues of naked babies, of course.
4. Fill a water bottle with a liter of my own urine.
That'll teach the Estonian bus system to help a brutha out and PUT UP SOME MOTHERFUCKING BATHROOMS ON YOUR MOTHERFUCKING BUSSES. Polite Estonians pretended like they didn't notice but I know you was watching me draining at the back of your bus. Take that, good people of Saaremaa Island bottled water company.
Our wonderful host, Haiko (who we may see again tonight in Riga). Gave us a super-comfy air mattress, an extra key to his house, and the privilege to let us use his kitchen to whip some America-tastic butterific delicacies. Great host, intelligent, gave us the lowdown on Tartu, and even ate our Mac and Cheese butter death. Mac and cheese to the MAXXX. MAXXX N CH33ZE.
Anyhow, props to the amazing Haiko, pictured here:
We tried to take a day trip out to Taeveskoja, where there are apparently some sand caves and stuff. Instead, we found a psychedelic mushroom. HI MIKE!
Cute. I wish we'd taken it, only cause that would give us an excuse for being the fucking dumbasses we were and not finding any of said "sand caves." A misread map, three kilometers, and a sweep for ticks later, we found ourselves in the backseat of a car driven by two Russian dudes who we flagged down on a dirt road, lost as fuck. Here I am doing my "Christina's World" impersonation. Existential angst, unmarked trails.
We had to catch a bus back, and missed all this sand stuff. Why did we have to catch a bus? Well, because we had to go to BEAUTIFUL VALGA, ESTONIA and stay in the eight storey Stalinsky Soviet Superpalace. And super it was!
They say that if you stare into the toilet water long enough, you start to see a bread mirage.
Ended up stuck in the elevator, and were the ONLY overnight guests, not counting some 16 year olds who picked up the special three hour rates in order to knock up their girlfriends. The lobby even sold some erotic goodies: alcohol, chocolate, prophylactics, and edible underwear (Brezhnev flavored, of course). As far as valga itself, we ate at the best restaurant in town, with drinks and appetizers, for seven dollars a person. We deserved, having found ourselves in fucking VALGA. The town was all 20 year olds with two kids, and 80 year olds in shawls, drooling and walking in circles in the supermarket.
hmm, sounds like some place I've been before.
From Valga, it was a whole 8 feet into Latvia. Mike and I crossed the border on foot and were giggled at by the border guards. Just don't speak their language, show them your Belarussian visa, and it's all chortles. Belarus: Eastern Europe's Inside Joke. Hail Boda Lukashenko!