What have I done?

by Ave

I’ve been a bad friend lately. I was told yesterday that for the past x times I’ve always replied that I’m abroad or ill when invited out for a catchup and/or drink. That has been true indeed. October decided to go past so-so-so-so fast and literally all over the place. But while being unavailable, away, really tired from travelling, nursing a cold, I have been to some pretty epic places (in a rather short period of time), and worked like a maniac. In a good way.

So what have I done? This is a chapter in the life of a self-confessed workaholic.

Wakey

The ‘early fucking wakey’ really doesn’t get much easier when you do it a few times a week. But as humans are quite adapting creatures, you do get used to it a bit, as well as the poor hours of sleep. The early wakeys do have some perks – you get a lot of stuff done, in general. You also get to places at decent hours to get lots of stuff done. Like in the next photo – I think they landed us at the cargo part in Copenhagen airport, but nevertheless it was as empty as it gets. It was rather silly early o’clock in the morning. Quite a cool sight nevertheless.

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So we went to Milan Expo. The coolest gallery there was obviously the Estonian one. And the cosiest one. We know how to do cosy (if you don’t believe me, google ‘Tallinn airport cosy’, et voilà).

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I may or may not have tried to hustle myself that [drool] poster of Rasmus Mägi on the wall of our Expo gallery. Katrin Kuldma, whose creations the [godsend] athlete is wearing in that photo, said that the poster had been quite popular and I wasn’t the first genius who tried to talk her way into having it. #definitelynotcreepy

Clouds

But let’s get back to more earthly topics. When one goes a lot from place A to B, one takes a lot of cloud photos from airplane windows. Clouds, how u so fluffy?

When I was little, I used to think that clouds are possibly the cosiest thing to sleep on. I had to rethink that one when I started jumping out of airplanes. No, not cosy at all.

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Then we did London. Met with Cameron, went well. It was actually his birthday that day. Met with our veterans, was sweet. Estonia-England football game happened to be on that day as well, and we went to check it out at the end of the productive day. Not going deeper into that apart from stating that we lost like little bitches. At least I got to see Wembley, which has been a bit of a landmark in my previous life. All the places where I lived in London, had a view or almost-view of the Wembley arch from some window in the house. Wembley also affected my home journeys on quite a few occasions, because  when a match was on, it was indeed impossible to physically fit on the tube.

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And because London is London, I couldn’t have gone without checking out some of my beloved ones. Greg also happened to have a gig one night. Was amazing. You will want to listen to all of their stuff. They’re also on Spotify. You can thank me later.

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Always happy to see my catsicle when stopping by at home. The catsicle seems to think I’m a new piece of furniture. I don’t mind.

Then there were Dubai and Oman. Both went well, both really different. Dubai is grandiose, flashy, bigger-and-better-than-yours – a true spectacle. Oman is like an Arabian tale. The one thing those two places had in common was the supremely lovely and hospitable people. They truly know how to make you feel welcome.

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Above you can find the view from the Government Office of Dubai. I love my workplace and we do have some amazing views going on, but I have to sourly admit that this one made me slightly jealous. Not bad for an office view, not bad at all.

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Selfies are normally best taken with a cameraphone. In this one, I somehow managed to get a decent shot with the big camera. Big buildings need big cameras. Burj Khalifa.

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If you look closely, you can see some weird-looking structures in the pool. Those things turn the pool (not actually sure that you can swim there – rather not) into a grandiose and a half fountain. I’ve seen the amazing waterworks at The Bellagio in Las Vegas, but those were built to be better, higher, and more spectacular. Can’t argue with that.

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Then there was Oman (above a fragment from the ceiling of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat). With Dubai I had some sort of an image or expectation in mind, and the reality didn’t miss it by much. It was a lot warmer than I thought it would be. But Oman – a different planet, I could say. Everything is absolutely stunning, even the new buildings follow the authentic national style. And yes, the temperature… Rather hot. How locals solve the problem is air conditioning. And their AC is so top notch that if you’re sitting at a long dinner table, everyone will feel that “I think I was sitting right underneath the AC”. The food and company were top notch, though. So all in all, still amazing.

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Above is an image from the Royal Opera House in Muscat. If you look closely, you can see screens at the back of seats – that’s where they have the translation. There are only two opera houses in Arab countries, one in Cairo and the other in Muscat. A third one is being built into Dubai – and it will be the largest one. No surprise there. Back to the mosque for one selfie. The Grand Mosque was the only place during Dubai-Oman trip where the ladies of the delegation wore scarves. I haven’t done my research on the common conceptions of the two places, but in my own book a little positive surprise was noted down for a lot more open and liberal attitude than expected.

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It was my beloved Lilly who at one point noted in a worried voice that I haven’t posted any photos of my kittycat lately. So here’s an obligatory cat photo from when I returned home. Cat-on-bag morning situation. Not sure what she had in mind, but she definitely gave close to zero fucks about me having to go to work.

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Add a few days on the ground, another round of terrible sniffles, and off we go again.

Here’s what I mean about the airplane photos. Earth, u so pretty!

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The photo above was taken on the way to Iceland. Iceland has been one of my absolute dream travel destinations. The thing with work travelling is that.. well, you’re working. And it doesn’t mean that you’ll have time to do any sightseeing. But luck was on my side, because probably due to the fact that the Northern Future Forum (which is the reason we went there) was happening, plane tickets were sparse. So I had to fly in alone a few hours earlier than the rest of the delegation. This means I got to land when it was still bright outside. And I was also greeted by a sleet storm. But Iceland is one of those places where terrible weather is basically a given, so you’re not really allowed to moan about it. And it was still pretty out of this world, to be honest. Here’s the Iceland land that greeted me when landing (another airplane window shot). Volcanic land with bits of snow/sleet.

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Our ambassador squeezed in a high speed crash course sightseeing in Reykavik at the end of the day. It wasn’t much, but I was completely head over heels in love with the place by then anyway. I even got as far as googling courses at University of Iceland. Obligatory half-head selfie with a landmark.

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I also started planning my next proper trip to Iceland. Will probably rent a 4×4 and drive through the whole island. Oh, and one more cool thing in Reykjavik – Harpa. It’s a concert hall that was built during the recession. Basically the only (and by no means cheap) construction happening at Reykjavik during the tough times. People thought it to be a fairly crazy and unreasonable project, but now it’s turned out to be worth its while. It hosts concerts, and conferences, and shows etc, and just generally looks pretty damn amazing. My taxi driver (the best ever source for information) told me that the house is actually a speaker itself when there is a concert on. The exterior has cool lights on it, and the interior looks suave. What lovely shapes and structures.

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So here’s what I’ve done. I’m sure I will feel a bit lost for the next couple of weeks, because I will spend them in one country. I should (probably will) think of some quick weekend trip to go for. Although the crazy running around gets quite tiring at times, and your skin gets awful from all the recycled and airconditioned air, when you get off the wheel, you might experience a bit of a hole in your life. At all fairness, it is all as exciting as it is demanding. And! I have the most amazing colleagues as travel buddies.

But there is more to life than work, so I will use this time to nurture myself back to health, find my friends who hopefully haven’t disowned me completely, and enjoy the lovely darkness of November. And when the travelling hangover kicks in and the darkness amplifies it, I can always find solace in the fact that there is something quintessentially Northern and almost romantic about the self-loathing that latches on then daylight dies.

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