thoughts of a deviant
  entry created: Sunday 17 December 2006, 4:23am (NZ time)
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Location:  Märjamaa, Estonia
Local time:  Saturday, 5:22pm

Yep, I know it's been a long time since my last entry, but I had to wait until I had something worthwhile to write.

That so-called 'dream job' I've mentioned before, as a water sports assistant to a rich Arab family, has now unfortunately been put on hold until February. As I suspected, it was too good to be true. The crew agency managing the position did say that I was 'the perfect candidate' for the role, but blah, I would have much preferred them to say "you've got the job". They're gonna keep me in mind for February, and I'm still definitely interested, but I'm currently trying to pursue other boat jobs. I've been applying for whatever comes along, but unfortunately the season in the Med has come to an end, and I really need to be in the US or Caribbean. Hence I've registered with an agency that organises crew for yacht deliveries across the Atlantic, where my chances of finding work are greatly improved. Plus sailing across is a much cheaper option than flying.

But for now I'm, a little unexpectedly, still in Estonia. In a way I feel like I've hardly been gone for long, yet it's been a year since I was here last. The place is so familiar to me now, as is the language. Although I'm far from fluent and probably never will be, the sounds are very normal to my ear, and I can pick out enough words to follow the direction of a conversation (if I can concentrate long enough). (For the first few weeks my Estonian was very rusty, and French words always wanted to come out first). Outside of Tallinn, the capital city, nothing much has outwardly changed. I still get lots of stares when I go on my run (maybe I stick out as being a Kiwi in an ex-Soviet nation, or maybe the locals are just inherently curious), but I feel quite at home here. In fact, I think that when I eventually return to New Zealand, it's going to feel more strange to me than coming this country.

I've completed the development of the (bilingual) web site for my Estonian friend's building company (Energia Mynt), the business cards, and the letterhead. And now I'm still working for them - only this time on the job site itself. They offered me a job last week, as they needed some extra hands. I figured that since I wasn't really doing much up here at the moment, then why not earn a little money. Thus for the last four days I've risen at 7am (ugh!), dressed in umpteen different layers (it ain't warm up here at this time of year - it's forecast to be -9°C on Wednesday) and gone off to work with a bunch of Estonians and Russians, very few of whom can speak some passable English. I've been putting up glasswool insulation inside a huge manufacturing plant, being built for a tractor company. It's a good thing I'm not afraid of heights, coz I spend half the day 10m (33ft) in the air on a lifting machine. Oh and I can now profess to knowing many more ways to swear in Estonian than in French. The guys at the building site are worse than sailors.

I've also been able to score a regular Friday night gig at one of Tallinn's most popular pubs, St. Patrick's. It's a chain of three in the city, and they let me play in whichever one I want to, but I choose to play at the busiest , as everybody starts the evening here drinking the 2-for-3 beers etc, before moving on to one of Tallinn's biggest dance clubs across the road. I'm paid fairly well, for Estonia, but after renting the mic, speaker and mixer from a local music store, plus transport costs to and from the city etc, I don't end up with much profit. But the free food and drinks are good, and it's a job I still get a lot of enjoyment from. Everybody is happy with it so far, and often it's hard to finish playing due to the number of requests and people harassing me to play more :o)

As seems to be the norm these days, at the moment I'm designing yet another package of business cards + web site, this time for my sister Paula, back in NZ, who's starting another business side venture. I should start a company.

Otherwise in my spare time I've been downloading movies, and topping up my ever-expanding music collection with fresh goodies (this time mostly drum & bass and lounge/chillout music). I'd really love to have my own laptop, but at the moment can't justify the expense, nor the extra luggage I'd incur. *sigh* I'm a techno-geek without a computer, or even an MP3 player. (Does my camera count?) Oh yeah, and I've also re-installed five different computers now.

Have you heard of YouTube yet? Apparently this site is now serving up 58% of all videos watched on the Internet, and a new one is added every second. I haven't spent much time on the site, but here's two of my favourites - the Free Hugs Campaign, and the Evolution of Dance, which has been viewed over 36 million times so far (needs sound). And Matrix Ping Pong is very clever.

So it looks like I'm going to spend Christmas here. My fourth Christmas away from New Zealand, and my second in Estonia (the other two being in the Caribbean). Most of my belongings are still hastily stored away in my hostel room back in Nice, and I'm getting a little sick of the three shirts and two pairs of trousers I have with me, but oh well. (It was pay day yesterday, so at least I can go and buy more clothes if I want to). I have another three days of work next week, plus the Friday gig. And then Christmas rolls around. So I'm fairly busy, and am looking forward to spending the 25th with a group of special people rather than some random strangers in Nice or somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Come the new year, I'll throw myself fully into the quest for a boat job. If I can't find a crossing position on a boat, I'll be forced to fly to the US or Caribbean. But so be it.

I don't have too many photos to share this time around. But here's a few...

Oh, and I'm interested in something... who's actually reading this travel blog of mine. Could you perhaps take the time to send me a quick email here to let me know who you are? Thanks!

At St. Patrick's pub.

The advertising. (I'm also briefly mentioned on their website)

The warehouse I'm working in at the moment. This is an early photo and there's
been many new things installed inside it (such as cranes etc), but those are the
walls I'm lining with insulation. It ain't rocket science, but it keeps me busy!

Some Estonian friends of Krista, supporting me at the pub... Ats, Krista, Siim and Marge.

The neighbourhood here seems to be overrun with dogs. The sounds of a canine's barking
will follow you everywhere you walk in this little town of Märjamaa.

The local letterboxes, grouped together at the end of the street. A remnant of soviet times.

The ghostly windows of a deserted furniture factory, 50 metres down the road.

The factory, booming during Estonia's communist Soviet era, was abandonded shortly after the country re-gained its
independence in '91. I've always wondered why it hasn't been torn down, sitting there amongst the surrounding
surburban houses. Perhaps it serves as a reminder of a past the country would rather forget.

Me and thee.

Oh and here's somebody's rather figurative take on the whole 'make love not war' saying that makes me chuckle...

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