Thursday, June 30, 2011

Suomenlinna Blues

Today I went to Suomenlinna, an island a 20 minute ferry ride from downtown Helsinki that is known for its fortress and also its soft serve vanilla icecream. I went there with my friend Sonia, who, despite being born of an American dad and Finnish mom and speaking both languages perfectly, is actually Italian. Well, she was raised in Italy. To make matters more strange, she now makes her living as a French teacher.

Anyway, Sonia is currently in Helsinki so she decided to show me Suomenlinna. We walked around the south end of the island, checked out the cannons, and then I swam briefly in the Baltic Sea, my first time ever doing the breaststroke in this body of water. Afterward I went to look for the Russian Embassy, which basically looked like a grey version of the white house, flanked by gates on all sides and adorned with a hammer and sickle (I have no idea how to spell that) on top. But it was closed. On the door a sign said to go to a different address about a half hour walk away to the third floor of a building on a side street that looked difficult to find. Once I did get there I finally got in after waiting until some people in the building came out, and then knocked on the door which was opened by three Russian girls.

These were stereotypical Russian girls. They were wearing high heels. I have no idea why. I spoked to the first one and when she heard me speaking English she sent for another one, apparently the only English speaker in the group, and we discussed visa options. She said I needed to fill out an application online and go to a travel agency. She seemed very excited to be speaking English.

Afterward I got a beer and roamed the streets, just because it is legal here in Finland. The beer tasted like Stella Artois, which means it basically tasted like chemicals, which basically means I'll get into a fight in the next 15 minutes. I still have not received my bag from Icelandair (I haven't mentioned yet that it got lost) which means I still haven't used deodorant. I smell.

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