Estonia notes

  • The Estonian language as compared to Finnish: 30% intelligible, 30% ingellitellitible, 40% iglishbishtish.
  • Related to that, read this at an ice cream shop: “maasika / strawberry”. Took a while to realize that was “maasika”, Estonian for strawberry (Finnish equivalent: mansikka), and not the hypothetical Finnish word “maasika”, “the earth pig”. Which, if it had been that, I would have gotten straight away, but the strawberry was good too.
  • There’s a lighthouse some ten or twenty kilometers off the coast of Tallinn (Estonian capital), on a spit of rock that’s no bigger than the outhouse-sized base of the lighthouse itself. Probably automatized; probably not built as a man-manned place before. But if it had been, oh boy. Would not want to have been a lighthouse keeper there, with a storm coming.
  • Reason why Estonia is so small and wrinkled, geographically, and Finland so bigger and with more lakes: because near every Finn leaves Estonia with a ridiculous tens-of-liters load of beer. Because it’s marginally cheaper there and that’s a culturally acceptable excuse. Now that kinda drain will show.
  • Not that I did; I’m weird enough without chemical help. Plus it’s really funny to subtly goad others into drinking more by knocking back glass after glass… of just Coca-Cola. So that I brought back two 24-can pallets of Coca-Cola means nothing except another foul plan for mornings after.
  • A really cost effective package tour: Bus passes Little Village, north of Finland, 1 pm Tuesday; boat departs Helsinki harbor 9 pm Tuesday, arrives at Tallinn harbor at midnight, releases unquietly-slept passengers 7 am Wednesday; Tallinn is visited; boat returns 6 pm to 9 pm Wednesday; bus back passing Little Village 3 am Thursday. Cost effective; side effect of driving you nuts with caffeine.
  • Also, “boat”? Not really; it’s not that uncommon to go on boats like this just for the fun of cheap alcohol, weird candy and dancing and horrible karaoke and the like. They’re a ten-story, thousand-people attraction enough on their own; also the cheap beer.
  • Bought an Estonian copy of the Game of Thrones (the book); because of the first point above, it’s really funny. Unfortunately this does not translate if you don’t know Finnish. Or does it? Let’s see.

Quote — I write (o) for “o” with a tilde over it — I can’t think of a way that wouldn’t end up being mojibake confusion when gone all the way to you. From page 309:

Robert Baratheon rüüpas suure lonksu (o)lut, viskas tühja sarve oma magamisaseme karusnahkadele, pühkis käeseljaga suud and s(o)nas ähvardavalt: “Paks? V(o)i et paks? Kas nii räägid sa oma kuningada?” Tema naerupahvatus oli äkiline nagu tormipuhang. “Oh, pagan v(o)taks, Ned, miks sul peab alati (o)igus olema?”

Now, assuming you are a Finnish-speaker, and use that to try to decipher the quote, and replace your guesses with English, the following results, guesses in bold, left wildly häiry to reflect the fact they’re not quite Finnish for a Finnish-speaker:

Robert Baratheon drünked a biggie lonksu bëër, thröwed de ëmpty horny oma magamisaseme karusnahkadele, wïped wid bäck-öf-händ his möuth änd s(o)nas ähvardavalt: “Fattie? Eeeh, fattie you säy? Kas nii räägid you youse own kingu?Thissy laughing-pahvatus was sudden-like nagu tormipuhang. “Oh, pagan v(o)taks, Ned, why you müst foreverlike righty-o to be?”

Not all that elegant, but that’s what it feels like. And, checking from another book, here’s the bit in the English original:

Robert Baratheon took a long swallow of beer, tossed the empty horn onto his sleeping furs, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and said darkly, “Fat? Fat, is it? Is that how you speak to your king?” He let go his laughter, sudden as a storm. “Ah, damn you, Ned, why are you always right?”

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