Drinking Like an Estonian

Trip Start Aug 31, 2007
Trip End Apr 19, 2008

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Flag of Estonia  ,
Sunday, September 9, 2007

Today, I found myself in Riga. It had not been my intention to get there until Wednesday or Thursday, but when a Russian mob-looking Lithuanian businessman offers you a free ride to the Latvian capital in his mafia-mobile, you don't say no. And so it was that at 7:30 this morning, I was whizzing through the Estonian countryside at 140 clicks, listening to Baltic pop, including "Pretty Woman" and "I Need You Baby"...in Lithuanian, of course.

For the roots of this story, though, we must go back to last night, when my gracious host invited me to join him and some friends for an authentic Estonian sauna in the basement of his house. How could I say no? The party started in the living room adjoining the sauna, where much beer, wine, and whiskey was drunk. Conversation was in Estonian, Russian (for the Lithuanian present, who would wind up driving me to Riga today), English (for me), and French (just because we could). Eventually, it came time to sauna. The two other women opted out, leaving me and three middle aged men. What do you wear in a genuine Estonian sauna? You might ask...Nothing...but that wasn't quite going to work for me, so I stayed wrapped in a towel. The sauna thermometer read 65 degrees and it was HOT. We stayed in for 10-15 minutes, sweating out all the badness in us, before taking cold showers. You're supposed to jump in snow, but it's a little lacking this time of year. Alcohol flowed after the showers, followed by another stint in the sauna, and more liquor. I tried to stop, but the conversations went something like this, "What do you want to drink?" "Oh, I'm fine." "Yes, I know you're fine, but what are you drinking?" Though traditional, I'm not really at all sure alcohol and saunas are a good combination. Needless to say, I feel into bed rather schnokered around 2 am.
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dbrinkmeyer on

And what did the sauna party have to do with the Russian looking Lithuanian mafia buisness man giving you a ride to Riga? What kind of car was it?

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