Whenever I travel, I want to embrace the locals. To go somewhere new and not take in the culture is a travel sin and the gods know I do enough of that already.
We arrived in Helsinki Wednesday afternoon and walked to the mall for some lunch. When we asked if we should Taxi over, the front desk clerk looked as if we just grew a head. We’re in Scandihoovia, you walk.
We ate dinner later at the hotel and again, did as the locals do. We ate Reindeer and fish.
I quickly noticed that smoking hadn’t gone out of style yet in Europe and told Bigg that I’ll probably smoke while there. Cuz it’s local. I was lucky enough to find a fellow English speaker in Laurence Shalaei’s girl, Liz. Liz is my new English BFF. Honestly, she’s quite awesome and the two of them remind me of my Bigg guy and me.
Anyways, Liz rolls her own fags and after she heard me joking about wanting to smoke, she rolled me some throughout the day and there ya go.
The only deal was that every time I smoked, she had to take a hit of my Korskenkorva. As Liz said, ‘we’ll each bring something to this.’ Heh. I smoked enough that by the end of the evening, she started rolling one up and I said, “I’ll share.” My smoking is definitely behind me. But it was very fun to be local.
My first taste of Finnish beer was in Helsinki and reminded me of a combination of Miller Light, Budweiser, and Milwaukee’s Best. In other words, yuck. But I’m in Finland, so I’ll drink it. Karhu is the most popular beer in Finland. Huh. We’ve brought home two Karhu glasses (the Bear logo is pretty cool) and I enjoyed a Black Iron in my Karhu glass. Iz goood.
The first Finnlander I met was Ilkka, one of the Champions League developers and promoters. I went to shake his hand, leaned in for a cheek kiss and started backing away when he went for the other side. Two kisses? Hokay. I thought I’d be ready for the next introduction with two kisses. Later, when I met the other half of Champions League, I went for two kisses with Marcel when HE went for THREE kisses. I was confused enough to ask about it and he told me Europeans do 3 kisses. Three kisses it is, I’ll be ready next time.