Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
One thing you generally notice as soon as you come to Estonia is the amount of booze that flows around here. If you come here for a couple of weeks every few years and spend most of your time partying you might not think anything is wrong but after living here close to 2 years you really get a sense of how much alcholol affects the local society.
It's not uncommon to see 1-2 people each morning at 8:30am on the bus drinking a beer or walking past a 24hr bar no matter what time of the day and seeing people happily driking their beers. Alcohol can be purchase pretty much anywhere in Estonia and you'll often see cars stopping at gas stations to load up on booze for the upcoming trip. Talking to a number of friends they admit that there's a lot of drinking but none of them will say that it is a major problem and don't want drastic steps taken (ie, remove booze for food stores and gas stations). They claim most of the statistics that show Estonians drink a lot are not accurate because of the amount of tourist that come here, in particular Finns who tend to buy a lot of booze before heading back to Finland.
So what do you do with a problem that most locals won't admit exists? Well, the Finns who are in charge of the EU presidency right now have taken a step to increase taxes on booze throughout the EU which could help a bit. But for those who drink the most and have the least money they'll probably go back to what they did in the Soviet times and drink moonshine which can be potentially lethal.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
The weather in Estonia has been amazing this summer. It hasn't rained in over 3 weeks and it's been hot (up to 35C in some areas) which is quite uncommon for Estonian Summers. Consequently I've been spending as much time as possible outside of the city and have been going out to Saaremaa quite a bit with Liisa and her family.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Vanaisa left Eesti this past week, pictures from the second half of his trip can been seen here.
I've got only 1 week of work left, after which I have a month of time to get my things together for my move and relax a bit. I've been spending a lot of time on Saaremaa ever since I discovered the convenience of inexpensive flights to Kuresaare which get me here in 45 minutes as opposed to 4 to 5 hours by car/ferry.
I'm going to try and get some travelling in as well but things seem to move very quickly so we'll see if I actually make it somewhere.