baltic station market

BALTI JAAMA TURG, or Baltic Station Market, is a microcosm of the changes in the capital. It used to be this sprawling, post-apocalyptic, no-man’s-land of vene (Russian) putkas (booths) selling World War II leftovers (helmets, posters, pins), and big mama sellers weighing out kilos of potatoes and onions with a scale and making calculations with an abacus and a rickety giant calculator that even a blind man could figure out. “Kakzkyen krooni, palun.” And then they just razed it and built this monster thing. I call it Scandinavian, because I feel most of Estonia’s consumer culture is Scandinavian. It reminds me very much of Copenhagen, even more than Stockholm. There is that emphasis on everything being colorful, precise, well organized, and child friendly. We are Legoland people now, leading our Legoland lives. Indeed, Balti Jaama Turg is where the newly monied families of Kalamaja come to push their higher-end baby strollers and buy Italian and Middle Eastern produce. Some of the old sellers are still there, selling mounds of gooseberries, lingonberries, and chanterelles when they are in season. Some people lament that loss of the grungy post-Soviet ghetto element, but, you know, I was there, and I pushed a baby carriage through it in a whiteout snowstorm. Good riddance.

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