Sunday, April 01, 2007

Day of Fools

Best gag yet is Delfi's newscast, featuring items like the Bronze Soldier being repositioned in Tallinn Bay where the statue of Kalevipoeg was supposed to be; a glass sarcophagus will be erected in its place, housing the giant chocolate bear that Laima, the Latvian chocolate factory, will present to the people of Ruhnu island. (Trust me, if you follow the local news, these make a lot more sense.) The anchor is Liis Lass, the Estonian equivalent of a Paris Hilton, taking her clothes off throughout the show. Hell, it's a way to boost viewer numbers!

Meanwhile I've been in Tallinn for two days now, and still have three days to go before I leave for Iceland. It's been over a month since I was last in the capital, and I am starting to feel once again that this is no longer my home town. It's also a very different city to drive around. Tallinn is only four times as populous as Tartu, but feels far larger. In Tartu, navigating involves figuring out where your destination is; in Tallinn, it involves figuring out how to get there. Tallinn traffic is a lot more intense (although nowhere near as bad as Riga), but most parts of the city are connected by thoroughfares with a minimum of traffic lights. Any trip by car is based around the arteries. The consequence of this is that you stop thinking of it as a single area, and start considering it as a set of plains, separate locals between which you can only travel on a main road. It is akin to the feeling people get in London when travelling by Tube: the physical proximity of objects is less relevant than the links between them on the Underground map.

Saturday afternoon, I found myself in an industrial back yard, phoning my friend the postal delivery driver, asking how to get from the Kristiine shopping mall to the Mööblimaja furniture emporium. I knew that they were very close and I vaguely knew which sidestreet I needed to take, but I got lost in the jumble of old houses and one-way streets in Haabersti - even though I regularly navigate similar terrain in Tartu.

The reason why I was going to the furniture shop is that my new apartment is ready ahead of schedule; I'm due to move in at the end of April, which means I'll have a massive rush right after I get back from my holiday. I need to figure out how to fit all the requisite stuff into a 36-square-meter apartment; or rather, I need to figure out a way to pack the maximum functionality into the minimum amount of furniture, where the furniture must still look good to my rather critical taste. This is compounded by the fact that I have only once been in a display apartment of the same floorplan - done up in a truly mind-boggling neon green, something between a magic marker and a high-visibility jacket - and I have no idea how the conservative-but-unorthodox color scheme that Nerva came up with for me is actually going to look. The concept was to do everything that can't easily be replaced in grayscale, and then add color with the furniture and art. The walls alone are three different shades of gray - and if Nerva had negotiated more than three different colors with the builders, it would have been more - plus the kitchenette furniture in its own variation. I still think it's going to be very nice, and an asset whenever I sell the apartment, but the sort of capability I want of the apartment is not easy to fit into the floorspace of a bachelor's semi-studio.

Still, I am starting to get a general idea of how to get it done. My birthday is coming up in early May, and I intend to have a great big party to celebrate it along with my housewarming. AnTyx readers are all invited. :)


Giustino said...

What are you doing in Iceland? I need to interview you for a story I am working on ...

antyx said...

Package holiday. Just seemed like an intrinsically cool place to visit. :)

You should have my phone number, I think...


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