Sunday, May 31, 2009

Put-put and plenty of bubbly

Yesterday I decided to wholly embrace my inner Finn (because am normally poster-girl for decorum and moderation). I was called up by a good friend and we decided that we needed to get out some. Get out and mingle with actual Finnish people, and find out how really happening this city of Tampere can be. Needless to say neither of us have lived here for quite some time. We took the hubby along for the ride, as well as to ensure that no purses, sunglasses, or cranial chunks would be left behind in the night.

Since it was only 1PM when we headed out, we decided to do the sophisticated thing.

You guessed it.


I learned something
  1. Even if you can put on an actual green with a decent rate of success it will not stop you from sucking at mini golf by hitting that same (and very wrong) spot over and over again with much too much force making the ball roll back to where you started, if not further away, every single time.
  2. Finnish kiosks are not licensed to sell wine. Not even if you cry.
After completely failing at mini golf we proceeded to laugh maniacally at the guy in the speedos tanning himself a little ways off from the course. Really, there should be some sort of regulation about the ratio of white skin in relation to the size of your speedo you are allowed to display. In May. In Finland. In the vicinity of unsuspecting mini-golfers. Snow blindness. I might have grounds for a lawsuit.

(I would insert a picture here if not for the danger of permanent cornea-damage. That's how much I like my readers.)

After the (luckily only) temporary blindness had subsided we headed out to dinner. To our amazement (I personally think it was a sign from Zeus or possibly Odin himself) the restaurant was running a special - two bottles of sparkling wine for the price of one. You all can guess what we did. One does not pass up on an offer like this. Not accepting this 'gift' would be like spitting in Karma's face, and I would hate to piss her off any more. Also, the sun was shining, we were seated right next to the big bosses from the green party who would also like to see MJ legalized (another sign?), and the bubbly was cold and dry. Who could ask for more?

This is actually hubby and friend in the park breaking out the third bottle of bubbly.  

Yes, since yesterday was one of the big party-nights in Finland - the end of the school year - we decided to join the fun and go mingle with the proud youth of this here proud nation. It turns out that the rumors are true: the nation and the youth like to party drink.

These hats mean that you just graduated from high school and are ready for life university. The dresses mean that since everyone has freakishly white legs, they are sort of socially accepted in May.

This hat means something completely different. Possibly that your backpack is filled with beer cans, and at some point in the night this hat will be the only thing you'll be wearing.

This is where the young people like to congregate. The water has a calming effect and pee runs downhill.

And when I say congregate, I mean CONGREGATE.

Apart from drinking pussikalja (only Finns would have a specific word to denote beers bought at the grocery store for the purpose of finding a green patch on which to drink them), watching the water flow by and the occasional burst of spontaneous 'entertainment', there really isn't much to do.

Although it looks like this guy is anticipating a dip in the stream. He has probably heard all about the unfortunately quite common way of accidentally dying during the summertime in Finland - standing up on a rowboat in order to pee, and being too drunk to keep the balance. There are no row boats in sight, but at least he is taking some sort of precautions.

On the subject of pee: Guess what he's doing?

The police officers are keeping a close eye on the illegal public drinking. Or was that closing their eyes?

Well, I don't really know what the police was doing. I was too busy taking pictures of feet, and discussing my work as an anthropologist-journalist-photographer with a bunch of 20 year old guys. Yes, I was that intoxicated.

I love Funland.


julochka said...

those hats the studenter wear kinda crack me up. the danes do it too. the norwegians seem to wear some cool overalls made from norwegian flags (and i'd like a pair of those, whereas i wouldn't like one of those hats).

you cannot go minigolfing unless you're drinking. heavily. so it's practically criminal if the kiosks don't sell wine.

i love that finnish has a very specific word for fun in the sun beer...that's so cool. there must be others, perhaps that's what you can teach us at blog camp.

like beers consumed together with herring & snaps--those must have a name. and football game beers. and summer beers where you sit in the garden (as opposed to random green spot). start making a list.

and get an iPhone, wouldya? we need tweets about this stuff.

rxBambi said...

Thats so funny about the hats, I never thought of it. How long do they wear them? Just a day? Interesting...
Also, about the legs: I guess tanning salons are not in fashion there? Which, in my medical opinion would be a good thing as you can get skin cancer from those too and people don't realize it. But I'll get off my soap box now (my kids hear it all the time)

Two for one bubbly? Should have bought a case!

I would love to visit Finland, send more photos!

wv: rafere, I think of reefer, a tribute to your MJ comment. Although I'm going to have to oppose, but that's just the mom in me maybe, or the medical professional... sorry.

B said...

I think every language should have a word for "beers bought at the grocery store for the purpose of finding a green patch on which to drink them". Brilliant! In fact I'm quite surprised that there isn't one in British English...

kristine said...

I am a lurker on your blog - i love it always, but this post is brilliant. I am a Norwegian, and fully appreciate the concept of beer for outside purposes - we have "utepils", which is not exactly the same, but denotes more of less the same shennanigans (sp??).

M.J. said...

I am terrible at mini-golf...

European countries seem so much less up-tight than the US--I can't see this country getting on-board with legalizing mj, despite all the perfectly valid arguments for doing so. All in the name of so-called "morality."

marathoner81 said...

I have freakishly white legs, that my son referred to as "pure white." I'm adding Finland in May to my list of things to do before I die. I want to know what it's like to fit in, just once.

Polly said...

pussikalja sounds like a perfect balderdash to me, to be honest, are you sure it's not made up?

we used to congregate by the water in Krakow when I was a student... good times...

Extranjera said...

julochka - I have one of those hats (and an overall from uni). You are supposed to wear the hat (and the overall) every year on 1st May, but when I graduated I had a slight mishap with some beer and fire, and my is half burnt, so i don't break it out often. As for the overall, it might today be able to accommodate one of my boobs.

There is also 'saunakalja' which is the beer that you drink right after having been to the sauna. I'll think of others and then sell them to google to use as VW words.

rxBambi - Tan legs would just make you stand out too much, and most Finns prefer to blend in, really blend in. Finns are also very conscious about tanning - which is totally understandable, what with a whole three two and a half months in a year of t-shirt weather.

Legalizing MJ is the only way to stop innocent Mexicans dying en masse. Very sad.

B - We Finns know what is really needed for in a language. We also boast the highest number of swear words in any language in the world. Something to be proud of.

Kristine - Lurk away! I like the sound of 'utepils' better than ours. Sounds less like a sound you make when you want the bathroom (like ours) and more like the clink on the glass from a toastmaster. Cool.

M.J. - Still, I have high hopes for Obama! Maybe if I keep saying it it'll come true...

Marathoner/ Optimistic Pessimist - If only we could harness the power of whiter than white legs. We could power all of Finland.

Polly - I will now attempt to sell this word to google. I don't think it has been trademarked (or patented or whatever...)

Cyndy said...

"Funland," indeed! And you didn't think your life was exotic? You even have fun words to distinguish all the pleasures! Thank you for sharing the images and commentary. It is the only vacation I will get this month!

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

Speedos should be outlawed. Forever. One should never have to see anyone in one. Especially not a little girl seeing her Dad in one every Sunday when they went swimming at the local pool. I think it was at this precise moment that the universe struck her (me) blind. Only favour universe has ever done for me.

I sincerely hope (for his and you-as-photographer sakes) that the guy standing at gate on pier was not pissing INTO the wind.

Fidgeting Gidget said...

You + a white hat + beer + fire = a great mental image that entertains me immensely.

Just for that, I've bestowed an award on you over at my blog. :)

Extranjera said...

Cyndy - Of course Funland can be seen as exotic, although some might just say weird. However, most importantly, us Finns love it here, and feel that everything is pretty normal. For us. As fits the definition of exotic. ;o)

VEG - Outlawing RWP and Speedos could very well be combined on our ticket to be voted world ruler excellence. I'm (one of the other Exts) modifying the campaign posters as I write.

Fidgeting Gidget - Thanks. I still have hair though, so them hats are pretty sturdy.

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

World ruler (domination, ruler, same thing right?) would be AWESOME. I think I could be good at that job. And then could put time into developing lasers to shoot at annoying people (boss)