Hej då Stockholm!
September 22, 2009.
Same trip - different country.
On Tuesday morning I said goodbye to Stockholm and hello to Helsinki, Finland's gorgeous capital located by the Baltic Sea in the south of the country. The weather was blustery and the wind smelled of the sea. I spent my evening wandering through the dark streets listening to The Smiths. Soooo amazing!
Me pre-Smiths listening...
In Helsinki, the signs are mostly bilingual Finnish/Swedish, or trilingual with Russian:
Needless to say, I got a bit lost. Finnish is unlike most European languages and so I found myself relying on the little Swedish that I did know to get around - when there was any Swedish to be found!
Helsinki is beautiful. The rainy weather just gave it an added touch of mystery. Here are some of the pics I managed to snap before it got to dark and wet:
While I was walking around downtown I kept running across these gangs of brightly dressed young'uns drinking out of flasks and making a lot of noise. I was worried that they might try to force me to join in their revelry like some sort of enforced Finnification. I kept my distance but took these pictures...
September 23, 2009.
Day One: ANTI Festival
The next morning I packed up and headed to the train station. On the way I stopped in front of Helsinki's cathedral to take a picture of it in all it's sunbathed glory!
My train left at 11:00am, and me being my usual self showed up 40-minutes early. I wasn't the only one:
The trip from Helsinki to Kuopio was long and sorta boring. The Finnish landscape that we were moving through was very much like the Laurentian forest I grew up surrounded by in Rawdon, Quebec. I read most of Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club while trying to stretch my legs in preparation for my big performance. I was getting very nervous, as my performance started from the minute I got off the train.
When I arrived in Kuopio I unrolled the carpet from the train and touched ground on it's red velvet surface. I was greeted by a man with a blue, two-pronged mohawk (think the guy from Prodigy... you know?... "I am the Firestarter!"?). He introduced himself as Ville. He was to be my personal assistant for the week.
I walked the red carpet around town and then to my hotel, where I had a shower and prepared to go out for an opening party at a local gallery. Much to my delight, La Pocha Nostra were performing at this event and I got to meet the members that night at the bar. So exciting!
Night-time carpet walking.
La Pocha Nostra.
La Pocha Nostra and Ville.
Me with Guillermo-Gomez Pena of La Pocha Nostra.