Last weekend I was again in Helsinki, but now, I had time to stay longer in city centre and have a walk around there (at least, I wasn’t alone). It was good, it was interesting. Especially when I spent some time waiting at Helsingin tuomiokirkko, downstairs with kickbike “stabled” in snow (it stands alone) and waiting. It was interesting, just observe all those tourists. Of course, staircase and those big piles of snow were perfect for local kids and they played there. That is very interesting observation, for a person like me, because it is necessary to know, what people are doing in public spaces (if I don’t know it, I can’t plan it properly).
It was like being in Zoo. People were taking selfies (oh, damn it, I think I am on their selfie photos…), going around, looking, watching, searching each other… Mostly tourist from Asia (I can’t say more precise, so many different people) were very interesting. Not just taking photos or wandering around, but also taking photo of me (I have no idea why, but it was obvious), taking pictures of surrounding (that is completely normal) and pictures of their friends (also normal). But after some time, bigger group of people put the candles on the ground and they started to sing. Normally, loud singing. It sounded good, but I have no idea why they did this. It was weird, interesting and nice at the same moment.
Also, there was a guy with two cameras (one with telephoto lens) and he was making photos of one girl and cathedral. It looks very funny. He was just “running” mostly downstairs and all the time saying something. Lot of it was in English (more than 50%). I have never realized, how photographer can look weird (ok, I will give here photo, how I am trying to make a macrophotography in very vet autumn – friends are very kind, when they are taking photos where you look stupid).
I think, I should do that more often. Just go to some heavily visited place and observe how different groups of people behave there. It truly might be useful. In Finland, it is much better than in Czech R., because I am not afraid, that stranger will come to me and will want to talk. Usually those “small talks”. Just why? I can get it, when elder people do that (they are usually lonely), but still I dislike it.
What was amazing when I was visiting Helsinki this time? For first time in my life, I saw frozen sea. Not actually sea, but gulf and only little, but I count it. How does it look like? Different than frozen lake or river. It is truly nice. That deep dark water with ice cover and somewhere even with snow. With all those cracks and white spots. It is not smooth. I bet, that frozen sea (like truly frozen sea) might be breath-taking experience. I would like to see it. I absolutely want to see it. The sea here looks different than in Southern Europe (here it looks much better). It is nice, it is different. Just look somewhere to that dark, where you can see nothing, only few isles. It is somehow scary but impressive at that same moment.
And all those lights when it is dark. You see nothing more, than just black, dark calm water and few lights in far. Few flickering lights in far. Building with their reflections in water, all bright on one side when you look to the city, and dark on the other side, when you look to that scary dark sea. That amazing feeling, that you simply must stop and just look, how everything around looks. Just all those reflections and small lights in far. One bridge is enough, to have this ambivalent scenery.
Even in a daylight, there is amazing view, but is not so impressive show. You can see colours easier and it takes so much from that landscape. This landscape looks gorgeous especially when colours fade out and it is just light play. Just perfect scenery almost without colours, when you can concentrate on shapes. Just in a same way, how I love using ferns in garden architecture. Those plants are not flowering, so you need to focus on their shape, changes during the year and different shades of green.
I would like to say “Fifty shades of green”, but it seems little bit like bad psychiatric disorder in this context. For people who loves colour is maybe the “graphic” architect the worst architect ever, if that person should make their garden.
I have met my Czech friends there (next day). I just want to meet then, because despite we are now living in a same city (in CZ), we see each other usually just once a year, exceptionally more often. That was one of the reasons, why I wanted to meet them. Second was little bit mean. I knew, that one of them will be very upset about this country and I just wanted to see him when he is angry (he looks gorgeous, cute and funny in that moment). They were amazing. We were talking about our observations here (one friend is studying in pedagogic field) and it was great. In some points, we had same opinion.
Like I don’t want to some things here, because I know, that most of Finns will have “that bad look”. If I will meet someone with that look in Czech R. it is something like “Oh c’mon! Don’t look that stupid!” (and just ignoring that look), but because I know, what that kind of look means, I usually feel bad…for a few seconds. But my friends don’t care about this kind of look even here. It simply doesn’t work for most Czechs. And I “enjoyed” one very very bad deep look straight into my eyes with frowning man, because I took my kickbike inside waiting hall. Yes, I tried to put every snow away, but it simply doesn’t work and snow started to melt… After some time, under my kicbike was very big and visible puddle moving to the centre of room. That man was working there; I don’t know on which position. He didn’t say anything, just that straight and very bad look.
Another observation we discussed was like everything is expensive here and everything is far. Yes, that is true. It doesn’t bother me that much. I just got used to it. I think, for a person, who spent last three years in middle of nowhere, where closest not expensive shop is ten kilometres far, it is not that bad here.
Next observations just made me to think I am on the right place and they were quite funny. “It is fu*king cold here! And everywhere is snow. And everyone is riding a bike!” Well… actually… No. It wasn’t cold that day, in fact, it was unbearable warm (-1 to +1°C – about 10°C more than day before). For me, cold starts about -10°C and below. After that, it starts to be very cold and it is uncomfortable. Still, nothing very bad – bad is, when you have temperatures above 25°C.
Snow? Yes. I love snow. I haven’t seen it for about five years (less than 10 cm is nothing and I don’t count it). And it was here for so short time! During this week, we had only about 2 cm, at Monday, we still had about 10 cm. Snow is my sunlight, because it is so bright; I don’t need to see sun, when I have snow. That is very useful, when days are short and weather is cloudy. Because the snow reflects all light which is around and diffuse it to surroundings. It has great effect on my brain.
Last complain was about biking. That friend hates biking. I can say, that not everybody here rides a bike. In fact, only few people ride bike here. Almost everybody is using a car – it is more practical. But for short distances is bike great. In snow is bike probably much better than a kickbike.
They got the right point. The beer here sucks. That is just true, it tastes like water and people (around me) don’t care about the taste, only to be drunk. That Czech friend told me, he tried to be drunk after this beer, but it simply doesn’t work. He metabolised all that alcohol quicker than he could start to be drunk. And maybe he is true. When I drunk can of Kozel, I felt it (I start to feel it in half of bottle) but when I drink local beer, it is like nothing (I absolutely don’t feel it). And because of that taste, I usually don’t want more, than one small can (0,3 l).
We must go
I think I must mention one thing. I like Finnish language. I truly do. For me, it sounds a lot like Czech with completely different words. And we agreed, that accent is almost same. But after that it was like. “How you can like it? It sounds same as when you put rocks into a wood shredder!” It sounded funny. Despite I am using here usually only three words (anteeksi, kiitos and moi), I like to learn it. In fact, now I am much better and sometimes I can understand very simple sentences even without a dictionary. When people are talking about something, I sometimes know little bit more, than just topic (I must mention that rasvamehu – little experiment in the bottle).
They need to go to one street and showed me its name. After some trying it was: “You CAN READ it?!” Of course, I was glad that nobody heard me. It was without glasses, name of the street was tiny and I was reading like a child (and for first with mistakes, I just haven’t seen all those letters). I answered: “Yes, of course. Not everything, but I can.” That look was precious. After that, I began to talk. I said only few veeeeeeery simple sentences (and probably with so many mistakes) but that look after was worth it. When I said, I started to learn this language (at least little bit), I thought he will faint.
More and more I was talking with them, more I was sure, I don’t want to return to Czech Republic. Simply, I think, here is the world somehow right. Of course, I’ve noticed few specialties which I simply didn’t get. Mostly in leading people in school and some opinions, but it is probably because Czech culture have it extremely different. And I think, here it is just first extreme and in Czech it is second extreme. Something between…
As my friend mentioned, you just can’t have that bad look at kid and expect, it will get it and behave like it. In fact, most children just ignore it. And maybe it is just because our history. How we could survive as nation, when big parts or our history, we were part of someone’s country/kingdom etc., but we survived as a nation. Even when widely used language was German (it was for VERY long time), we continued speaking Czech and that language survived (not only language).
Maybe we are not just a bunch of alcoholics, who are complaining about everything in a pub, but do anything for that. Maybe I just want to thank to all those older Finnish people, who started to talk about how Czechs are strong and brave (I don’t think we are). It made me think about us for a moment. Mostly just thank to that people we’ve met in Lapland.
P.S.: Please, I want snow back! (I have mudcatcher.)