Maybe its a myth..

..that there are only ~1 million estonians on this planeet. You get to meet them in Dubai all the time! Every now and then there is an e-mail in my inbox saying "Hi, I'm an estonian in Dubai, I would like to meet other estonians".

I've met 2 new people in the last 2-3 weeks. Yesterday again somebody wrote me. Sure, I don't mind at all. Usually when you meet a fellow estonian in a faraway place its like meeting a friend, since there's so few of us. When I was in Bahrain staying with that estonian family (hey how are you doing?), one of the family members told that meeting an estonian in the Middle East is like meeting a relative.

Hey - I seeked estonians as well when I first came here. Found one too. And then they started to find me. Piece of advice: if you want to find estonians in the country you live in (where there are not so many of them), start to blog.

Happiness is not a destination. Or is it?

The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu is the happiest place on earth, according to a new "happy planet index".

Renowned psychologist Haim Ginott once said: "Happiness is not a destination." Well, it is now, so get down the travel agents and book a one-way ticket to Vanuatu.

An englishman residing in Vanuatu one day came across a young local man who had just returned to the island after studying at Nottingham University.

"I asked him what he was going to do with his life now and he just pointed at his fishing rod and said 'this'. He could have been one of the top earners in Vanuatu if he wanted, but he was contented with his simple life and didn't want anything else."

"It was a real eye-opener for me and made me look at what life is really all about. It just sums up what the place is about."

Who says that we have to live fast-paced, stressful life in order to earn more money to buy more things? Maybe we should all go live in Vanuatu and fish.

Source article:

Dubai traffic

I have mentioned before as well that traffic in Dubai is pretty awful. Ultrafast speed, arrogant and incompetent drivers are the norm here. There's a highway inside the city where the distance between the cars is the same as in everywhere in the world in cities (meaning one after another), but instead of 50-60km/h they drive 120-150km/h.

Sometimes people try to cross these roads and they have to run through the cars as there are no other means of crossing often. This results in death almost daily.

The last seven days saw an average of 2683 speeding offences a day which makes 111 speedings per hour and 1.8 per minute. Caught drivers will have to pay over 3 million dirhams in fines.

The per capita statistics show that the UAE has one of the highest number of road fatalities in the world. In 2004 it was 17 per months, 2005 it increased t0 20 per month. This year it seems that every day somebody dies in the traffic.

Welcome to Dubai.


After being away from home for a year, I got to visit Estonia again. The whole trip was just wonderful, beautiful and emotional.

It is very hard to sum up everything that happened. Some highlights (not in any particular order):

  • Nature. On our way we (me and Sarah) had a stopover in Amsterdam and saw rabbits running around on the grass next to the airport. Thats when we fully realized we're not in Dubai anymore. After one year in the Middle East you really start to miss all aspects of nature - (real) trees, grass, flowers that smell nice, wild animals and forest mushrooms.

    Estonia is mostly covered with forest and all the cities are green also. I couldn't stop admiring the beauty of the nature. We spent 3 days in my family summer home in the forest and just listened to the wind in the treeleaves, bird sing and .. silence. We swam in cold river (pure spring water), picked wild strawberries, talked to the trees and stared at the sky that is never so blue in Dubai.

    I didn't get nearly enough.

  • Freedom. Another nice aspect of being away from Dubai was that we didn't have to worry about showing affection in public. We could hold hands, hug and kiss whenever we felt like it. At all times I felt I could do whatever I want (within reason) and shouldn't be worried about judging looks or police.

  • Cheap and good beer. This is a combination that is impossible to find in the Middle East. Enjoying a pint of beer in an outdoor cafe (yes, its wonderful to sit outside) can be a (very) rewarding experience.

  • Family and friends.
    It was so so nice to see again people dear to me. The time was not enough to have quality meetings with everybody, but it was touching anyway. At one point one of my friends told me "it feels like you've never been away". True - when we were having fun with my friends it was like the "good old times" again.

    Its interesting since I feel that I have grown a lot, experienced a lot and my world has changed in many ways, but I guess these are the things that will mostly remain in me and won't be directly visible to the others. It will mostly be that part of my personal iceberg that is under water.

  • Nice weather. We had beautiful weather every day, 25..29 degrees C. You can enjoy walking around (without sweating) and truly take the most out of being outdoors. No humidity. Summer in Estonia is just wonderful.

  • Women wear what they want. Estonia is full of beautiful women and short skirts. Refreshing. Girls don't have to worry about which clothes to wear and wether all men will stare at them and think they're prostitutes.

  • Estonian food. Pork, sour cabbage, baked potatoes, black rye bread, sprouts, herring, kohupiim to name a few... I must certainly have gained a couple of kilos. Its just so good!!

  • Old buildings. In Dubai something that is older than 20 years is almost prehistorical. Walking in a city full of medieval buildings and atmosphere is just something else. You can feel the soul of the city.
There would be much more to point out, but I don't wanna make this blog post too long. Some people asked me "so what has changed in Estonia?". Not that much had changed in 1 year in apperance, but my persperctive on some things did. Estonia seems even smaller than before. Tartu streets seemed so small, empty... it actually didn't look like a city. Although I did enjoy that it was so calm, peaceful and quiet. It was a very nice change to Dubai. Same thing applied to Tallinn - it seemed small. In Dubai I sometimes have to drive more than 50 km to reach a client or just go to some club. It can take much more than an hour inside the city to get from point A to point B.

One thing that was quite shocking was the level of customer service. In quite many times we encountered cold and even aggressive treatment (with few very positive exceptions). Having been away from home for a year I had another perspective to customer service compared to fellow countrymen who live inside this all the time and might even be used to it. I'm planning to write about it in some estonian newspapers.

Now back in Dubai. In my thoughts still at home.