It is 12.30 (p.m.) now and I am alone in the University of Helsinki’s Language Centre. I am just stopping in to write a quick mail to let everyone know I arrived safely. When I arrived in Finland last January, I was kept in line for over an hour as passport control slowly processed a whole planeful of Chinese visitors. Yesterday afternoon it was as though history was repeating itself because as I approached passport control what did I see but long lineups of visitors, each one holding a passport from the People’s Republic of China! Not another hour-long wait in line again! One customs guy was looking at all the passports and documents with a spyglass and I was bemoaning my bad luck, always getting stuck in the slowest lines. As it turned out, I only had to wait 17 minutes to get through. By that time, my luggage was already there and I was lucky to get a bus right away to the central railway station. I met my friend Arto at his place then we walked to a Chinese restaurant (!) for dinner.
Today I will go to a travel agent to book my flight to the Faroe Islands, shop for music (including Värttinä’s new album, iki) then see the band perform in concert at 7 p.m. (12 noon EST) at Aleksanterin teatteri.
It is snowing as I type this. The lake in the centre of town, Töölönlahti, is frozen over and people walk across.
I will write tomorrow when I am at Arto’s office. It will be Saturday and I can call the Faroe Islands to book accommodations. I will also have more time to write.