If I was asked which are the 50 places I would like to visit before I die, at my age even 20 is not fair, I would have never included Finland. You can only propose but disposal is by someone else.
It is cold, -X degrees , no sun or when it is there, it is there for 24 hours, some such rubbishes were my impressions of Finland. The name would freeze me.
Well, right now I am writing this from Joensuu, Finland. We get off the flight at Helsinki with our luggage holding their breadth, to weigh within the limits. From there it is a 5 hour train journey to my Pappu’s (soninlaw) place. We reach the central station and I am looking at the board to know the platform number. Somebody near me asks, where do you want to go ? uhh.. I am…going to….! I kept shaking my head and smiling and made a hard search for the place’s name in my head. Some names never come on board straight. Of course , it is different for different people.
I remember in India when I asked the tourist where he intends to go from Bangalore he was in the same predicament that I was in to tell me where he was going. He kept hinting about films studios and then he said sounds motherly, earlier the name had something to do with some blast and the name changed, like working on crossword puzzle. Ah.. mombai. he said finally. The name was Mumbai, which was earlier Bomb ay. I thought what a lousy tourist, cannot remember Mumbai!.
Coming back to me, I had kept a hint in my mind for the name, some joe wanted to piddle. Oh ya, joensuu, though J is pronounced Y. I said Joensuu, after lot of head shakes and smiles. He looked around , may be for a policeman, to check me out. He said platform 11. I was impressed with him for not telling me what he thought of me.
A lovely journey by train to ..to…oh ya..Joe, was on, smoother than the flight from Delhi, which had to encounter air pockets and bumps for a six and half hour trip.
Within half an hour it became dark and the snow desert we were travelling through faded away.
At last, Joe….!
Pappu right in front of the bogey, grabbed two boxes and me the rest, hurried to a waiting taxi, before we could freeze and become a statue. Right near the taxi, I found myself on my butt, slipped on the snow. Next second I found my wife next to me on the ground. While I was landing, my leg hit her and she was along side me. The taxi driver was not bothered, since he has seen many romances like this, before. Pappu gave a hand and pulled me up straight after two pull ups. Getting back on your feet on a slippery ground is tougher than falling.
Lesson one, please wear shoes that has a grippy sole and be aware of your steps. Walking with awareness is a form of meditation.
I am not sure of my foot prints but I have left my butt print at Joensuu, serves me right for forgetting the name of Joe…joensuu.
Another lesson, Joensuu means mouth of the river.
Aurora borealis – A natural light display in the sky caused by collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. A picture by Balu Chandra in the skies of Joensuu
5 thoughts on “I am Finnished”
This reminds me of my adventure in Rhode Island in US. I had landed during Jan 2001, right in he middle of severe storm. I had to de-board the connecting flight to Providence from Boston, though my luggage were promptly transferred into that aircraft.
I landed in Providence next day only to be told that my luggage were yet to arrive. I was frustrated and filled in all the necessary forms in the airlines office located in the terminal. With a dejected feelings, I turned to go and hold-on, I saw my luggage right in the corner of that office. It had landed there much before I came into the city!!!!
Next day I was told the railway station was just 100 mtrs from my apartment and I figured out that I might take 5 minutes and add another 5 minutes to reach the station. Believe me I took 23 minutes and and I also made my famous ‘butt-print’ after every 10 meters!! And I had 2 Jr. female colleagues to take care!!
Very interesting experience . enjoy the snow. I was reminded of my first experience in
Virginia , U S wayback in eighties ,snow freezing on tree branches . ;oh, yes, walking gingerly on slippery roads.to avoid hitting the sleet .
Good to read!
Reminded me about my own trip to Finland in 1995 on an official trip.
We stayed just 5 days in Helsinki in May and I remember how cold it was even then.
Didn’t see much of the city.
Someone from Outokumpu drove us around the city after all official meetings were over and the only thing I can remember was the stadium which had hosted the Olympics and a tower nearby where the top level platform had been barricaded. I was told it had become a suicide point before they barricaded it. This Finnish friend told us about the dubious record set by Finland. It had the highest suicide rate per thousand of population. Seeing the dark and depressing atmosphere, even in the so called Summer season, I could quite understand it.
I also remember a sporting event that had caused the entire city to shut down. It was the final match in an important ice hockey tournament between traditional rivals Finland and Sweden. I was told it had as much significance as a one day international between India and Pakistan.
Did you see logs of wood floating downstream on the river?
It was great way to cheaply transport tons of wood, long distances.
Wood was all over the place and their choice as material of construction.
For a steel walla like me, it was a point worth noting.
Am in California now, staying with my daughter and son in law.
Have recently become a grandfather.
Will be back in Bangalore on April 2
Do stay in touch.
(your old colleague G Vishwanath of structural section), Mecon)
Thanks Vishwanath for the insight into Finland. Today is the second day, I may be here for a month and half.
Yes, it takes some time to get used to the ice and wlking on it. Even at the age of 23 I had many falls in Moscow. I think Finland is the most livable country in the world today with its great potable water, excellent cleanliness and nice people. Enjoy the stay and the IPS.