Sunday, May 19, 2013

18/19 May 2013

I am pretty sure this aeroplane is flying above tundra. For a while I thought perhaps it was water [later: also, could have been clouds], and I also thought for a period there were colossal skyscrapers all across the horizon, but not I think that was most likely dirty streaks on the window as the sun was coming up.

To call a half way round the world flight hell is to not have in any sense known hell. But there are a lot of aspects to it that hurt in little ways. I am not entirely sure but I think it is 2:30 in the morning Finland time and that I am going to be awake for most of the day, well, with any luck so I can beat jetlag effectively. But I could be beating it even more effectively if I was sleeping right now like most of the people on the plane.

All the lights went off in the plane and also the movie screens, so I wanted to finish this Ruth Rendell book I picked up at Glenroy salvos for $2, which has being keeping me going for some time, but it’s not quite light enough to see the words on the page, only that there are words on the page. [Later: I figured I could use my laptop for something constructive rather than this pallid diarizing, and read the rest of Ruth Rendell by laptop light].

Now the screens are coming back on. I was watching This is 40 and got probably about 2/3 of the way through when the screen froze. I switched to watching sitcoms and managed to grab a full but totally uncontextualised episode of The New Girl but none of the other shows would play. Ditto The Mindy Project. These were the only shows I wanted to see. I was kind of bothered by the fact that Finnair shows absolutely no Finnish programming on its inflight entertainment (I am also a little perplexed as to why all the instructions are in Chinese). Anyway I’ll cope. Looking forward to my second visit to Helsinki in 18 months.

Oh, and Singapore was pretty amazing, would love to go back sometime for more than just a few hours of exhausted meandering.

(Later then I watched four episodes of Suburgatory which has Cheryl from Curb Your Enthusiasm in it, then the pilot of The Mindy Project).*

Helsinki Sunday morning

The Hotel Anna, god bless it, let me check in at 8 am i.e. six hours before official check in time. This was probably a public service as much as anything as even fragrant me, after 30 plus hours in a range of climate conditions (inc. humid Singapore) without a shower was not the best thing for the environment. The taxi driver talked mainly about the weather, and the 2 months of end-of-year darkness, and how strange the Finns are as a result. I let my natural obsequiousness proffer a hand of friendship between two great nations and said the Finns’ reputation was of friendliness and helpfulness, which he seemed mildly surprised by. ‘Perhaps to tourist’, he said.

He had shown me a number of places along the way that would be open soon, of particular interest were a good coffee place and a market. I set out on the Brompton shortly afterwards (only a brief interlude to panic I’d left my jacket in the cab, but no, I’d left it on the windowsill just before I drew the curtains) and got magnificently lost. I am now in a café called Sis. Deli+Café in Korkeavuorenkatu. I don’t know where it is really but whatevs, allow me a little time to celebrate that, although I didn’t really want to undertake this journey, I have, and here I am in a city and country I have enormous fondness for. (To add to the wonderfulness a man has just entered the cafe with a large dog, possibly an Airedale. This is a civillised society).

** By the way, Suburgatory had been bothering me in some random adjunct aspect of my consciousness for some time because I felt that the pilot relegated all the explanation of the show (city people in very, very affluent suburbia) to the rather vague opening credits. I finally got around to looking it up on Wikipedia and now appreciate that what Finnair thought was the first four episodes of the show were actually the first four episodes of the second season. It's reasonably funny, though it is one of those shows - I suppose I don't mind them - where almost everyone's completely crazy except the main characters, and they have to be kind of crazy because they interact with the craziness of the supporting cast. So they're walking a tightrope between the real world and the crazy world. 

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