Farmers – The Same the World Over

Today we had a rest day. That means we still get on our motorbikes – but rather than go from A to B, we leave from A, have an excursion and come back to A. These are the days that can be really treasured on a long journey like this. There is no compulsion, you can blob out or you can go for a ride. We’re in the Estonian countryside and am finding it gorgeous – uplifting rather than depressing as has been the lot of the peasants of North Russia we have been mixing with for the last couple of weeks,

So, in a manner reminiscent of a day we spent riding the dusty backroads of Alabama on our Backblocks America trip of 2006, today we went down the country lanes of Estonia – farming country. Roger was in his element – like a pig in shot some might say – but we had fun riding on to a couple of farms and chewing the fat with the locals. We were lucky they both spoke English.

Farming here is on the move – these EU subsidies make such a difference. While the economies of production of course pale into insignificance compared to NZ, in Estonia at least the land is still cheap so the economics work out well. So we asked about internet access to see how wired up the Estonian farmers are. We were told in no uncertain terms that internet access is a human right and I must say we have seen that here – hotel rooms might not have a phone, but wireless access is free in all the towns. After all this is the home of Skype!

Wouldn’t it be great if NZ and its monopolist telecom provider were as modern as Estonia is and ensured free broadband access to everyone, including farmers.

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