Why I am getting fed up with online marketplaces

I recently went on a research trip for 11 days taking with me the essentials I needed to record my experiences. These essentials included 2 cameras (in case one broke or got lost), an iPad 2, an Apple keyboard, a Kindle and several plugs and cables. The electronics weighed far more than the few clothes I managed to fit into my mini suitcase and took up a lot of space. As I was staying in low rent hostels for the most part there was nowhere safe to leave the electronics so I ended up lugging them around with me. After a couple of days I got really tired of it. By the end of the trip, I was extremely fed up and had sore shoulders. As I result I figured that I needed to reduce the amount of stuff I took and looked for a more efficient way of recording my travels.

The problem with the different pieces of equipment I own is that each one does at least one job extremely well. For instance, both cameras can take stills and video. The iPad is good for surfing the web and can double as a photo storage device as well as a word processor. The Kindle stores books.

The iPad, I discovered, is too bulky and heavy to really use as an additional camera or camcorder. Also, in the sun it was difficult to see the screen so a lot of my images are a bit hit and miss. The solution, I decided, was to find a cheap 7 inch android tablet which I could use travelling.

I discussed this with a friend whose mother is after a tablet and started doing some research on the internet to find something suitable. This is where I discovered that doing a search for a specific item on both Amazon and ebay is a pain in the butt. Let me explain why.

You launch the marketplace of your choice and type into the search bar exactly what it is you want to find e.g. Kindle Fire. The marketplace’s search engine then searches for all uses of the term in the database and throws it onto the screen. On both Amazon and ebay the search engine did not discriminate between the actual product and various accessories. I tried using old fashioned search delimiters and they did not work. Even worse, on Amazon I could not fast forward several pages but had to keep searching page after page. Eventually, I gave up. I trawled through loads of “time ending soonest” entries which mainly consisted of tablet covers and cables with the odd tablet hiding amongst the detritus.

I gave up and went back to old fashioned stores like Argos, Waterstones and Tesco. Next week I am going to go and investigate the Hudl in my local Tesco. I am expecting the process to be easier than the online marketplace.


Estonian for Beginners

The Estonian language is a hard one to learn belonging as it does to the Finnish group of languages, and seeming to have little in common with English. It does, however, have some interesting words which are easy to pick up.

My long-time favourite Estonian word is pood which roughly translates as shop or store. It can be compounded, which means that you can put another word / noun in front of it to define what kind of shop it is. Though, you can just have a pood on its own if you so wish. A shopkeeper is a poodnik, which I think is a lovely word.

On my last trip around Tallinn, I was on pood alert and tried to get photos of as many poods as I could. I clocked up a mobilipood, an alkoholipood and a telefonipood.


Pood Sign

Pood Sign

Another favourite word is turg. A turg is a market, both the indoor and outdoor kind. I like the Sadaama Turg which is a Russian outdoor market over by Balti Jaam in Kopli. At this market you can find anything from homemade pickles to washing detergent. It is a great place to pick up things which are truly representative of the country such as local drinks, sweets and glassware. I got a fantastic Christmas Tea Light a few years back and a friend a Christmas bauble. The Viru Turg is a great place to go if you want to buy handmade woollens  such as sweaters, hats, scarves and mittens. Nordic-Scandinavian sweaters are fashionable these days and this is the place to buy them. There is a more adhoc market if you go through the Viru Gate and turn right. Alongside the wall runs a series of stalls which sell handmade woollens and tourist souvenirs.

Sadaama Turg

Sadaama Turg

Now you have got to grips with turg and pood I am going to throw in jaam. This has got nothing to do with the sweet fruit stuff you put on your toast or a pile of cars blocking the road. It is more like a station or interchange.  A jaam is a transport hub. So, if you want a bus station you look for a bussijaam. The railway station in Tallinn is called Balti Jaam. A station-master is a jaamaülem and a station platform is a jaamaplatvorm. A radio station is a raadio (saate) jaam. A yardmaster is a jaamadispetšer. A stage is a jaamavahe. I am sure that there are lots more jams to be made.

And finally for this posting, the word trahter, means inn or tavern. An innkeeper is a trahteripidaja. I have noticed that inns, as opposed to pubs and bars, are indicated by a picture of a draught of beer with hops and wheat. The difference between an inn and a pub is that they are a) quieter, b) pleasanter to sit in, c) serve traditional ales and lagers and d) do not attract hen/stag parties. There are many pleasant pubs in Tallinn selling good food and beer but I like a traditional inn. The one pictured below is also a brewery, which makes it double special.


Kochi Aidad

Kochi Aidad