Diary from my first Jaanipäev
I moved to Estonia nearly two years ago, on June 23rd, 2009. Before arriving, I made plans to spend my first few days in the country with a friend, Priit, who told me that we’d be celebrating something called Jaanipäev, the Estonian observation of the summer solstice. I recently found this diary from that day in my closet.
Arrived in Tallinn – the airport is pretty small. I took a taxi to the center. 500 EEK for the ride seems pretty reasonable!
I’m waiting for Priit at something called Viru Gate. I’m surprised to see a McDonald’s next to such historical buildings. Also, there are a lot of liquor stores and strip clubs near here.
Hopefully Priit gets here soon so we can start driving to the Jaanipäev celebration. The town we’re traveling to is called Mustla. Sounds exciting!
When Priit said he had found us a ride, apparently he meant that we’re hitchhiking. I’m standing on the side of the road with Priit. Three groups of girls have been picked up since we got here, but no one has even slowed down for us.
Finally got picked up by an old couple. Their Lada is pretty small, and apparently this is a three hour drive.
We stopped in some small town to have lunch. The only thing the restaurant serves is fish. I ate one bite and nearly puked. The old woman finished my plate.
Finally made it to Mustla. The three hour drive turned into a four hour drive because we had to stop three different times to drop off knick-knacks for relatives of the old woman.
We’re apparently not staying in Mustla but in a “village” an hour away. From what I can tell, the village is just one cabin.
The guy that owns the cabin is a friend of Priit’s. His name is also Priit, which has gotten confusing. I think several other guys here are named Priit.
The Priits got together and lit a massive bonfire. Hopefully the fire will keep some of these mosquitoes away.
People have started jumping over the fire for some reason. It doesn’t seem like such a good idea given how much beer everyone is drinking.
Priit offered me some barbeque called Šašlõkk. When I accepted he reached his hand into a giant bucket full of slimy water and pulled out some meat.
There’s a massive pile of empty cans of something called A. Le Coq next to the bonfire. It’s about half as tall as the fire.
I tried my first A. Le Coq – I guess it’s some sort of Belgian beer. Not bad, but probably not something I’d drink again.
Hopefully I can try a local Estonian beer soon!
One of the Priits told me that it’s a tradition to search for a fern flower
in the woods. I don’t know what a fern looks like, but I searched for one anyway. I ended up falling into a poison ivy bush.
The fire is not keeping the mosquitoes away. Bug spray isn’t working, either.
The mosquito bites combined with the poison ivy must be making me hallucinate – I just saw a guy riding a massive, standing swing back and forth.
I’m getting pretty tired. Hopefully the sun will set soon so that I can get some sleep.
The A. Le Coq can pile is now much, much taller than the fire.
One of the Priits got a bottle of vodka from the cabin and now people are drinking it straight from the bottle. It’s called Laua Viin and it looks pretty cheap. I’d better not drink any.
I’ll stick to this other beer someone gave me – it’s called Saku and doesn’t look like it’ll give a very bad hangover.
One of the Priits dove over the fire headfirst into the A. Le Coq can pile. Now they’re scattered everywhere.
I’m out of Saku so I guess I have no choice but to drink Laua Viin. Someone told me that the name translates to “Table Vodka”. How bad could it be?
I drank two shots of Laua Viin and I think I’m hallucinating again. It’s 1am and the sun is still up.
I passed out for a while on top of the A. Le Coq can pile. I saw a mosquito bite Priit’s arm. It drank Priit’s blood for about 3 seconds and then started puking. I guess it got drunk.
The party is still going strong, although most people are pretty drunk. I asked Priit what time Jaanipäev usually ends. He said Sunday.
I covered myself in dirt so mosquitoes couldn’t bite me and fell asleep. The party is still going. The A. Le Coq can pile is now as tall as the cabin.