|Feeling bullish in Tallin|
Which is quite ironic. Because it is Europeans that often complain of Russian 'rudeness'. I was once in a high-end nightclub in Moscow, talking to a go-go dancer in a glittery short dress, who had just descended from her dance cage and spoke surprisingly excellent English. And she told me something that stayed with me. She said, "When you meet a Russian, they don't smile. But if they do eventually smile, you know it is real. Genuine. And once you become friends, Russians are the most loyal and true friends you will ever have."
So it was as if a weight was lifted when I finally arrived to Tallin in Estonia, one of the perfectly happy small little corners of Europe. In Russia, things can feel heavy. The machinery works but sputters. In Tallin, just a short jaunt from Russia, things suddenly felt clean and easy. Everything worked. The parks were green and pretty and full of fountains. The espresso tasted delicious and people were genuinely nice to each other. There was no crime to speak of. It felt almost Disney-esque, but without all the bullshit and plastic. Tallin was a little tiny utopia, dancing in the sunshine, a stone's throw away from a shadow.
|At day's end, everyone piles onto the fun train to go home|
I stand by my claim that borders are wormholes. The distance you cross is nothing. Yet, each side is a different universe. It is always a bit jolting crossing these boundaries. Just as I was taken aback crossing from Mongolia to Russia, I was again feeling almost out-of-body bizarre in "have-no-cares" Tallin after leaving stern mother Russia.
|Narrow old town streets|
|Proof I am definitely back into Western culture|
|Old and new|