In A Surreal Daze

I am sitting in a Chinese restaurant in Helsinki, Finland.  The choppy, somewhat Russian sounds of the Finnish conversations drifting around me inspire a surreal daze, especially over the backdrop of serene Asian flutes and strings.

Today has been a day off.  I’ve wandered and snapped photographs, went to a market or two, and searched in vain for some medicine for the sniffle I’ve picked up.  Grocery stores don’t even carry aspirin, and the pharmacies are closed for the 4 day Easter weekend.

Last night the Fins let loose at the bar across the street from the hotel.  I witnessed several loud, drunken fights.  Very different behavior than I’m used to.  For the most part I’ve found the Fins quiet, reserved, and oh so serious.  The only public displays of affection I’ve witnessed have been between women — they travel in groups of two and four, and if it’s two, more often than not they’re holding hands.

I don’t know if that signifies anything, or not.

The cold climate and perpetual frowns seem to age these people.  I’ve seen frown lines on 8 year old children.  The climate shapes the architecture as well.  Buildings are uniformly imposing, made to defend against the elements, many built with outer glass shells, windows layered upon windows, and heated roofs which melt the snow.


6 thoughts on “In A Surreal Daze

  1. Sounds a little like Chicago, in a way. Do they also have above ground and underground walkways connecting building in their downtown area(s)? Hope your sniffles go away!

  2. @trnunes – Yes, they do.  Below my hotel is a rabbit hole that leads to a seemingly endless underground full of shops, shops, shops, restaurants, shops, rail stations, bus stations, shops, shops, and even some grocery stores.  I wandered until I was afraid I wouldn’t find my way back.

  3. That sucks that you have the sniffles.  I hate feeling sniffly when I travel.  The line about frown lines on children made me laugh.  It’s funny, but kind of sad!

  4. Sniffles onabroad would be icky.  But if it meant that you were home with me, I wouldn’t care.  I miss you sweetheart.  Wish you were feeling better.

  5. aw, feel better. It is difficult to find medicine abroad and usually expensive. I always bring my own now.
    It is interesting how other countries view such things as holding hands. My observation is that it has little to do with affection – at least where I’ve been. Even men hold hands, but mostly women – makes them feel safer. I’ve never been to Finland though.

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