Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Helsinki in 6 hours...

So after Estonia, my flight back to the US and A was from Helsinki.


Sounds far away, but is only a 2-3 hour ferry (heeey-ayyy!) ride from

Tallinn. So I took a bus from Parnu to Tallinn, walked to the ferry

port, jumped on the giant cruise ship of a ferry and headed accross

the Gulf of Finland to Helsinki. Arriving at 5:30pm, I had basically

6 hours to enjoy the city.


And I did... Helsinki is more western than the other places I went.

Almost everyone speaks English, most signs are in Finnish, English and

other languages. There are actually people who aren't white there,

which wasn't the case in Russia or really even Estonia. It was very

diverse and felt a lot like the US and A for that matter.


I wandered to the waterfront and hopped a ferry (heeey-ayyy!) to the

island fortress of Salmenella... or something like that. Ate some

tasty fish and DRANK WATER FROM THE TAP!!!! Then I ran all around

these old russian gun emplacements. There were these awesome cannons

and beneath them tunnels and bunkers to explore. The sun had set and

it was magic hour, so I had to use my camera to see inside, but

naturally went into everyone of them. Then ran along the rocks by the

water and circled the fortress wall on the outside, hanging onto the

sides of the wall by the water. All as it was getting darker and

darker. Very cool and very exciting...


... and I made it back to the ferry (heeey-ayy!) on time. And as we

headed to helsinki in the dark I thought "I'm so lucky. What a great

trip and fabulous places I've seen. Who knew all this great stuff

existed, and I was able to go there." I would recommend all of these

places to everyone. Bring your sense of humor and willingness to

explore and you'll have a blast.


And now for the very bizarre twist at the end...


As the ferry pulled into the dock, all these emergency vehicles raced

up next to us. Ambulence, cops, fire trucks, this big crane.

Naturally we all went over to look at it. Clearly they were looking

for someone in the water. People thought a car might have gone in.

Turns out there was no car, but after about 15 minutes they did find

the person... They struggled to put him on the stretcher than hung

from the crane and lifted him out of the water. He was face down and

not moving. They lowered him on the dock and there was very little

hustle and bustle as it was clear the guy had died. Very bizarre, as

I realized all these amazing things I've seen and now I've seen my

first dead body. I've seen people in coffins before, but not like

this. Yeah, weird. I wondered who he was and how he'd ended up

there. He was wearing a swimsuit. I haven't been able to find out

anything about it either...


Didn't see that one coming, did you? Neither did I...


From there I headed to the airport to sleep a few hours before hopping

on the plane for my 14 hours of flying and 2 hours of layover to

return to LA. I was exhausted, and very confused with jetlag, but

made it back in one piece (and my bag made it with me).


I lucked out with this trip... no neck blow out (see Southeast Asia

2005) or Montezuma's revenge (see Guatemala/Belize 2006). And even

got to go with some great friends this time too. (Tom, Olga, Essylt

and Ben... go team Nails!).


In one of the airports I flew through...I saw an add that said

"We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we

stop playing."


I agree with that 100%, and feel that trips like this, and just

enjoying the good friends and places in life help with that. I know I

often times will get a little to wrapped up in the bullshit of life

and have to stop myself and remember that there's no need to get so

stressed out about things. Life is way to short to waste worrying

about it.


Get out there, see the world. It's waiting for you.


This is Craig Ouellette,

last surviving member of the Nostromo... signing off.

Oops... forgot the Audio File of Tarzan boy!!!!

Enjoy the audio/video brilliance!



CraigO


TARZAN BOY LIVES!!!!

Yes team,


I know you were concerned about the legendary hit song "Tarzan Boy",

that our noble boss Kevin Cloutier has tried to bring back for years.

And those who read last years adventures will no doubt remember that I

heard it echoing over a small Guatemalan village at 2:30 in the

morning (along with Eye of the Tiger, and Ghostbusters)...


well...



He Lives on in Estonia!!!!


Tarzan Boy... the one and only. As I was sitting in the calm, warm,

beautiful Baltic Sea, in the resort town of Parnu, i heard a

distinctive yodeling sound coming over the water. And I said to Olga

"Is that... is that Tarzan Boy?" And it was.


So naturally, after a wonderful day swimming in the sea, playing in

the "Curative" muddy sand near the shore and just enjoying the sites

and sounds. Which included a group of four estonian guys singing

"beautiful girls" with thick accents to all of the ladies that walked

past... and yes, we saw those same four hours later sitting at a

restraunt with some of those girls, so it worked. (It reminded me of

something Josh Wetmore would do back in the day! Yep, that's a props

to Josh Wetmore from Estonia! Congratulations, by the way, on your

fantastic baby girl!)


Anyway....


After a day of awesomeness, we went out to a not very crowded dance

club called MIRAGE. They were playing the usual fun trance with some

pop thrown in (like "umbrella" for the umpteenth time). So we

thought, let's ask for "sandstorm" and "tarzan boy". Thinking the

likelyhood of a dj at a club taking requests being slim. Well... he

rocked out sandstorm right away. And then went into some Michael

Jackson and other stuff... all with the one and only intention of

playing...


TARZAN BOY!!!!!


At a fricking dance club!!!!!! So aparently Kevin, it has only to hit

here in the states!!!!


(enjoy the song with bad sing along in the attached .wav file!)


But enough of that...


Onto ESTONIA... more castles, more craters, more medieval madness! It

was a fantastic country. As I said before, Old Town is something you

must see in your life. It really was like stepping back in time. On

top of that, on the island of Saaramaa there is one of the best

preserved castles in north or eastern europe. You could explore the

passages and staircases. There is even a "lions pit" where they would

throw prisoners to the lions and when you stepped onto the bridge over

it a lion would growl from below. Pretty cool.


I was with Olga (from Los Angeles, not to be confused with Olga from

Moscow) for this part of the trip, and we had a blast. We rented

bikes on the island, and I rode out to a very well preserved meteor

crater. Nothing like in Arizona, but this one had the remnants of a

fort built around it.


There was a lot of go go go... but indeed well worth it.


That's all for estonia... one more email to come of Finland Fun!


Rock on

Craigo

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Estonia is a medival paradise!

As I near the end of my trip, I've got to let you know how awesome Estonia is. Who knew? The capital city of Tallinn has this old town section that is a twisting set of medival streets, narrrow, cobblestoned, and surrounded by towers and walls that you can explore. Its' 600 years old and is like you are walking into the past. Sure there are souvenier shops and such, but the place is AWESOME! I've never been anywhere like it in the world. Its' the kind of thing disneyland tries to recreate, the difference is that it's all real here. The buildings, the streets. It's very very cool.


On top of that on the island of Saaramaa there is a castle, the best preserved in all of northern europe, that you can explore. Including the dungeon where they would drop guilty parties down on the waiting lions. When you step out on the platform they have a lion roaring sound that's pretty startling.


Airconditioning... what's that? that's what they say on the stuffy busses in all of this part of the world. In my 10 bus rides I"ve had two that weren''t sweat inducingly hot. One because of blessed AC, and the other cause i could open the window. I guess they enjoy it after all the cold.


I only have a couple days left. Not a ton of emails from this trip. It's been pretty fast and furious, as they usually are with me. Going to relax today in the beach town of Parnu. After we take care of a few Helsinki arrangements it's off to the beach, with a fun dinner someplace by the water, and dancing agian tonight. This is some sort of resort town, but isn't too crazy.


A few other estonian notes: Most television is subtitled. Because nothing is shot in Estonia. So right now a bad episode of that show LOST, you may have heard of it. I think it's a US show or something, is on. >)


The trip has been a little short, and just the right length. This isn't a cheap place to travel, but has been worth it for sure. Still, ready to make some more www.TrespassingOnTheLot.com shorts and keep active making things. That boulder is rolling and It's not going to stop. Also have to get more people to buy The Closer She Gets, I spent so much time on it and am so glad it's on DVD, but am looking for ways to get the word out. so if you have any suggestions, please let me know!


that's waht I've got for now. Gotta catch some waves!


rock on

craigo

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Goodbye Russia... Hello ESTONIA!!!!!

Just got here last nite. Into oldtown TAllinn, Estonia. And if you haven├Ąt been here (which is probably the case ) You MUST COME HERE!!!! It's like... well, not like, because it IS... and OLD MEDIEVAL TOWN! It's the kind of thing thye fake at disneyland or a massive renaissance fair... except its real! twisting streets, cobble stones, castles, towers... it is fantastic!


getting out of russia was crazy. there were issues with sold out buses, subway trains that reversed direction and headed the wrong way... and more. we made it at the lsat minute and were off to estonia. they enver once checked our registrations that we had to pay 60 bucks for over the travels... they just want extra dough.


its nice to be somewhere where the alphabet is the same, even if the words are differet. BUSIJAAMM... as in Bus station!


gotta go, lots to see.


rock on

craigo

Sunday, August 5, 2007

THE SUN Don'T SET TILL MIDNITE!!!!

Okay... that's not exactly true. it sets around now... which is 10:30pm, but it isnt' dark until after midnite here in St. Petersburg.


Yep, we made it. After some interesting adventures in Moscow, we took the overnite train (hogwarts express anyone?) and arrive the next morninig only to have a complete fiasco in trying to find our apartment we had rented. Sure, one might think having an address would get you to where you need to go. Not here, no way. We are staying at 1 Mariskanaya (or something like that). So you think it would be on the corner, before you hit 3 Mariskanaya.... um... well.... it's actually 1/2 way down the block, through a dark, piss smelling tunnel, into a courtyard, turn right, goto the unmarked door on the 4 story building, use your key, go up three flights of stairs with no lights that look a bit run down and walk to the apartement labeled...


you guessed it...




36.



What? WHAT?????



Yep, 36....



inside the apt is fantastic. but it isn't where it said it is. And so we had to try to call the people, goto their office (which is also, not at all where it says it is on the map either....) and the guy couldn't figure out why it took us 3 hours to finally locate them.


Still, worked out and we headed out to see...

NINE INCH NAILS!!!!!


That's right, concert number 2.


Was SUPER AWESOME!!!!! Moscow was good, but this was one of the best. great crowd, great set list, and totally out of control cool. And my camera didn't fall out onto the floor and nearly get destroyed at this one!


Otherwise we've been seeing the sites. The Hermitage (one of the worlds greatest museums... and it is), Peter And Pauls Fortress, St. Isaacs cathedral at sunset. We got to the top of the 275 steps to get to the Collenade as fireworks were shot off right next to it. pretty cool. August 2nd and August 4 are holidays of some sort here in Russia. We haven't found out what. But there was live music everywhere, fireworks, bands playing in Red Square as well as outside the Hermitage, and at 12:30am last night we took a canal cruise, that went out the dancing fountains on the river (which put the Ballagio in Vegas to shame) and saw the draw bridges go up. And there were no less than 100 boats on the river. it was a traffic jam of boats. Awesome!


And for all of you who were worried.... the women in St. Petersburg.... are even MORE GORGEOUS than the ones in Moscow. It's a bit rediculous and seems like a supermodel convention. That being said, the dudes here.... well, they seem more like they got their stuff together. Far fewer Mullets. And though there are lots of smokers, it's nothing like Moscow where 1 in ever 1 person smokes.


That's what I got. 3 more days of Russia, and then off to Estonia (which will be good for the wallet!). Russia rocks though, and I recommend it to anyone.


However, there is this to note.... It is an Advanced Travel country.


I've come up with this rating system (based on English speakers admittedly, but you can apply it to your own language).


0. Traveling in your own country

1. EASY - Traveling in a country with the same language (for USA, such as England, Australia etc) where they have a good tourist services.

2. MODERATE - Traveling in a country with a different language, but good tourist services (see Thailand, or perhaps France)

3. ADVANCED - Traveling in country with a very different laungauge, and not good tourist services (See Russia, or Peru if you didn't know spansih)

4. EXPERT - A country with different language, little to no tourest services, where you have to get local transport, perhaps bribe officals and such. By guess I would say certain African nations like Libya or Nigeria perhaps.

5. INSANE = Going to a war zone like Iraq or Somalia. Enough said.


There you go, all I've got for now. I have to see if Catherines palace is open Monday or we're going to miss it.


Take care,

Hope all is well.

Watch Trespassing On The Lot (www.trespassingonthelot.com) for all sorts of fun shorts.

Buy THE CLOSER SHE GETS (www.theclosershegets.com)

(I have to advertise too, its the new world. How do you think this all works? I couldn't get a Coca=Cola sponsorship!!! :)

Rock on

Craigo