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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

"Twelve months" in Estonian . . .

                                          Tallin's gorgeous Old Town

Against all the odds six boys and one girl (me) made it both to and from Estonia's beautiful icy city of Tallin. It was the annual wronk to somewhere East; a long weekend of debauched and ridiculous adventures in the Baltic. The boys are four of my best friends from a small rural village near Sherwood Forest (three pubs, a Co-Op, a couple of paedophiles, at least one fraudster and a bench), and my lovely boyfriend Sten, and whilst this wasn't exactly a cultural trip we were hoping to see some sights. And oh my, did we see some sights . . .! Rocking up at the seven-bed apartment, complete with sauna and mental Finnish neighbours at 9pm Esto time, we went a-wandering.

                           Quink ready for some sauna action in his Bowie pants

Coming from 'frozen Britain' I for one was delighted by the amount of snow - three-foot long icicles were draped from roofs, and the white stuff was three or four feet deep in places! Wowzers. First thing I did was to try and make a snowman, but to quote British transport, "it was the wrong kind of snow". So, on go the coats and snow boots - apart from Jonny who had forgotten a coat (!), and Hennerz who was in Primani plimsolls - and off we head into the dark soviet unknown. We hadn't gone very far before the snowballs started, and it soon became clear that this was going to become something of issue. Before I knew it every walk into the town became a half hour epic ice war of wrestling, treachery and ambush.

                                          A vicious ambush

The first pub we found was sufficiently unfamiliar to us, and after a drink and a round of looks and shy nods we found ourselves engaged in, well, some kind of communication with a man with a fascinating lack of teeth and a HUGE wolf hat. Which I fucking hated. He sang some songs, loved Dylan, and encouraged us to stay to listen to his accordion playing friend. We did just that for one more drink out of politeness, but then it really was time. By this time we were a tad pissed and on the look out for a nice spot of traditional sit down nosh. I came across Potato Planet, effectively a baked potato kebab shop, and was in heaven. I had the word vegetarian written down by the barman on a scrap of paper – and had been openly laughed at by Wolf Hat – but I wanted a bit of a head start so that the inevitable bread and vegetables would be sufficient.

Potato planet did it for Sten and me, but some of the boys had got carried away by the prospect of a nearby bar that would be full of Estonian girls – cue round after round after round of the charmingly renamed ‘Every Hole’s a Goal’, which was two parts of fuck knows what and a glacé cherry. The obliging barmaid was swilling the stuff down – she was also giving numerous Estonian translations of 'twelve months'. I suspect the other staff disliked her as she was by far the ugliest but had ensnared the attention of a bunch of foreign lads with her massive boobs and uber low cut top!

                                   A bottle of twigs and berries - just add vodka

                                    The teams psyching up for 'The Boat Race'

I believe that we took ourselves off to a karaoke bar at some point – and I have some memory of singing Lady Marmalade and I’m Too Sexy (yes Fred), but the night predictably disintegrated. At some point I took the initiative to round up the motley crew; Sten was making strangers cross by being stranger, Olly was being erratic and dancing unpredictably, Quink was confusedly searching for his only source of warmth and Hennerz was having an emo moment. Friel and Si were nowhere to be found.

Through the windows of the bar opposite I could see a lot of pole dancing going on, and put two and two together. The two were not there. By 9am when they eventually returned shell-shocked and bewildered it transpired that they had indeed been in a strip club, were minus 40 pounds, spent some time in a florist and returned with an empty, sequinned purse that smelt like a very cheap whore. Nice.

                                                    Theatrical wink - subtle

                                          Mischief afoot

We had the luxury of a sauna in our apartment, and much of our time was spent in the healthy pursuit of drinking in said sauna (Liz Earle’s worst nightmare) followed by running out into the Baltic conditions and rolling around in the snow. None of us came away unscathed – by the end we all had cuts and scratches courtesy of over-zealous rolling. By the fourth day this sauna time was beginning to sap us quite thoroughly – we finally began to consume water, and we looked around for an alternative drinking pursuit. It was at this time – just as we were all having post-sauna showers – that the door opened and two Finns burst into the room wearing Smurf hats (although they claimed they were some Finnish Christmas tradition). They demanded that we go upstairs to ‘make party’ with them, and were very insistent indeed. The woman – short, stocky, (oh alright, butch), with what Hennerz claimed was a tattoo of a snake raping a lion – had clearly seen a little something of what she fancied as a damp, towel-clad Hennerz made a dash from shower to bedroom; she chased him and spent twenty long minutes trying to get into his room.

                                          Sauna to snow

By this time the boys had lost interest and wandered off to make party, leaving only me to witness Hennerz’ feeble cries of ‘help, help’. I discovered her making attempts to force the lockless door, whilst Hen, naked and worried, had only his weight and patience to protect his modesty. Admittedly I was also a bit intimidated and didn’t know quite what rescue attempt to make. Luckily Si had returned to our flat for the Jagermeister, and as an ex-teacher he took swift and effective action; “Right, it’s time you left”. Simple as that. I had a bit of a fright myself when I came out of the shower in a now empty flat to discover a big, strange, wasted man in my bedroom. English to the core, I politely asked, “Can I help you” to which his reply was to point his finger skywards with the direct instruction of “party”.
 
When I finally made it upstairs, it wasn’t quite what they’d hyped it up to be; a bunch of drivers for Finland’s Olympic teams – essentially it was a taxi drivers’ Christmas convention. One friendly lady was wearing her pyjamas and the obligatory Smurf hat – she was on her fourth bottle of wine and apparently had once been the last person standing out of a two hundred strong whisky drinking competition. I was impressed. In the meantime Sten was being hit on unawares by a very enthusiastic gentlemen wearing a head torch – it’s his long curly eyelashes that do it, and the group had earmarked the one Finnish female in the room under thirty-five for potential conquest. Mikaela ended up joining us in Tallin’s famous (infamous?) club, Heaven, and by this time she and I were best friends.

                     The night predictably disintegrates: world's strangest job interview


                                                       Finnished.

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