Monday, October 16, 2006

FinnFoodFest 2006

I am back, and have had loads of other lovely food since my return, including a Camembert smuggled in from Quebec that smelled like sewage but tasted divine courtesy of Sonya and Ted, but just briefly, here is Helsinki (and the exhibition, which is the reason I was there). Apologies to those who have read this before, but here is the briefest and easiest synopsis of the trip:

Helsinki is a very small city with not a zillion obvious things to do, but the things there are to do are fun. It was not yet cold or dark -- the weather was just kind of like fall is here. The Finnish Home Depot is called Bauhaus. They get drunk very early in the night, pee in the bushes neat the post office, and then keep drinking. It is extremely safe to walk home by oneself past the train station at 4:00 a.m. Not one person was wearing flip-flops, and I also saw not one cat. The herring section of the supermarket is the size of an entire dairy section here, and the dairy section there is the size of an American produce department. Reindeer is very mild though very very dark in color, and they eat it there the way we eat beef here -- in everything. The grocery store also sells frozen birch branches for use in the home sauna, of which there is invariably one. George Michael is the background music in the grocery store, where one can buy Lordi Light Cola. The taxis are Mercedes and Volvo station wagons, and the cars are American-size, not French- or Italian-size. Everyone litters and pukes in the streets at 4:00 a.m. after leaving the bars, but then miraculously in the morning everything is sparkling clean again. People seem to love practicing their English with you, but they need no practice and speak better English than me. Strange English does occur, however. Several of us, including the Saarinen grandchildren, went to a bar called We Got Beef. And it was not a gay bar.

I ate a lot of reindeer, drank some sea buckthorn juice, consumed my weight in smoked salmon at the hotel breakfast buffet every morning, wolfed down plates of fried vendace and parsnips, and admired far more herring than I could ever eat. The Finns, they know how to display their preserved fish.

And! On the way home, the Canadian coach, Joe Soares, from Murderball was on my plane!


At 11:29 PM, Anonymous sonya said...

That is without a doubt the best loud coat I ever saw.

At 7:28 PM, Anonymous shaggy said...

OK, so I wanted to send you and Andy an email but realized that the addresses I have are cumulatively 47 years old. So send me your email would ya.

But this finally got me to read your blog which is totally, amazingly, stupefyingly. . . well words can't do it justice.

I was disappointed not to see you at the wedding, but learning that Finnish grocery stores sell frozen birch branches for the sauna was worth it. The irony inside of ridiculous postmodern irony is dizzying.


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