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Pole to Pole

Day 24: Helsinki to Tallinn

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleNext door to the hotel is a small cosy-looking bar, but as we push open the door a trio of bouncers appear, and for the second time today I feel I'm expected to explain myself.

'We just want a beer . . . '

Heads are shaken unhelpfully.

'Only vodka or champagne.' Meaning, of course, only hard currency.

In the evening I visit a cabaret at one of the tourist hotels. The tourists are mainly Russian, some of them in family groups despite the fact that the floor-show features a full frontal striptease and a sinuous and erotic dance sequence spoilt only by the man dropping the woman at one point.

We end up in the Skybar Disco of the Palace Hotel. MTV videos pump out images of America, the lights circle and flash, but at least you can have a beer. And probably a Russian girl if you'd wanted.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 24
  • Country/sea: USSR
  • Place: Tallinn
  • Book page no: 52

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