Early evening. I persuade a friendly Estonian officer who owns a kebab house to make me a fishburger. This being Estonia, there will always be a hunk of salmon lying around somewhere. This man has served in Afghanistan and in Africa, and will again. He takes me through his numbers: he has risked everything on this Kebab place, over a hundred km from his home.
The economy of Estonia is not great. So risking his life to earn some money, then risking that money on a remote venture, is the only way he sees of escape. His restaurant is on the corner of this street. I like him, and would not want to live in his shoes.
I pass an old cemetery marked by crumbling stone crosses covered in lichen. But there are also many rusting metal crosses carrying no names. I guess something bad happened here once. And if you read the history of Estonia, and the long oppression of its people, there is no shortage of candidates.
Before bed I drop in and ask the landlady about my planned next stop: Vohma. I say I will walk there tomorrow. She looks at me and talks slowly and carefully:
“Vohma small place, only have cows… & pigs.
She has come to the conclusion that I am not very bright.
Next morning a transparent half-moon in a cold blue sky. Pine trees. Old women walking bicycles, sweeping steps. Early morning is a time for old women.
(events 2 May 2013)