Before Vello Vedelik began to wander the Earth, he became skilled in animal husbandry, with an area of concentration in fish breeding. He is said to know how to pair the right animals to produce a new generation of fish that is better than its predecessor generation.
Vedelik believes that Epp has strong genes. In 1999, when young men would flock to Vedelik's booth to chat up his lovely assistant Epp, Vedelik would tell her to pay them no mind on account of their average genetic potential. They were not worthy of her time. Vedelik knows fish; he seems to know humans too, as the Persian episode demonstrated.
But the last night on the island, Epp asked Vello for his expert opinion on me as a breeding specimen. Since we have two children, it's after the fact but, still, when you are in the presence of an expert who can identify a person's ancestral lineage by eye, you take advantage of your opportunities.
Vedelik pointed out that the fact that our two daughters are lighter than I am confirms his original assessment of Epp's strong genetic make-up. However, because they are incredibly cute and talented -- Anna, aged 1.5, has started saying "Hola" -- it indicates that I am no slouch myself.
"He seems intelligent and well balanced," Vedelik affirms. "He is definitely above average." I feel embarrassed and at the same time proud. There is nothing like having your genetic constitution judged by a fish breeder.
Vedelik also knows that we have been writing about him on the Internet. He does not use the Internet, but one of his accomplices has sent him telepathic messages about it. "You have been writing about me and you haven't even asked my permission," he accosted us.
"It's ok," Epp said, soothing him. 'I was just trying to find my bag, and Giustino? Well, he calls you 'Vedelik.'" "Vedelik?!" he smiles, approving of the strange moniker. "Well, you can write what you want about my theories," he said, "but, whatever you do, don't give away my trade secrets." He is afraid that other Estonians will copy him and try to capitalize on his ideas.
We left Vedelik at the bus station. We all waved to him from the bus windows as it pulled away into the night. He shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, väga meeldiv. He even smiled. I began to suspect that he might like me as a person. I saw him once more from the bus window, standing below a lamp on a street corner. A small halo hovered above his gray hair. Then he was gone.
Poor Manuel meantime had tried to link up with us on the last day, but, in true Spaniard style, did not call before hand. While we were on our bus, he and his old pal Gallo stopped by to see "Epah" one last time. He left us a present instead at the front desk. I thought it could be the bag, but it was the idola de tara -- a statue of the Canarian God who shares her name with Estonia's Taara.
At 4 am, we huddled to board our buses. The Finns were on their flight back to Vaasa. Marta hugged Jennifer, and I wished them hyvää matkaa, to which they replied jo and nii and kiitos -- all three of their favorite words. I loaded our overstuffed bag, now filled with t-shirts and bags of gofio and a little idola de tara, and helped my family on board. Our bus then slowly stole away into the early morning. Our vacation was over.