Monday, January 01, 2007

Further random thoughts about Finland




  • The picture to the right is a sign above a toilet. I guess they don't want you throwing wine bottles, medicine jars, chili peppers, or black circles in the toilet.
  • Because of all the walking I've been doing, my shoes have been taking a beating---so I've been looking into buying new black dress shoes. I am generally picky about my shoes, so this isn't easy in America, let alone in Helsinki. Every shoe store I've been in has been massively understaffed. I think I finally understood what's going on. Shoe stores in Finland (and Stockholm) put out one of each of their shoes in each of the sizes they have available on display. Thus, if shoe X is in stock, you can find half a dozen different types of the same shoe X on display. You try the one shoe on yourself, then the salesperson will go and get the matching shoe from the back. When I've been unable to find what I wanted in several shops here in Helsinki, friends suggested that I try the bigger city Stockholm (since I was going to be there anyway for New Years Eve). My shoe size is 9.5 American, which is just about average. In the first shoe store I walked into in Stockholm, they had four shoe styles I thought had potential. Unfortunately, they didn't have anything larger than 7.5 or smaller than 11 in three of them. The fourth wasn't even comfortable. How can you have a shoe store in a major city and not stock common sizes?
  • Prices for things in Helsinki is about the same in euro as it is in dollars in America. So, things cost about 20% more here. One thing that is different is cola, which is about twice as much. Another thing is underwear. If you want to buy a pair of underwear, they sell them separately, not in multipacks like in the US, and they cost 10-20 euro a piece. I don't understand such highly priced male underwear.
  • I read the Richard Thompson mailing list quasi regularly. (Richard Thompson is one of the finest musicians you've probably never heard of.) Two times this week, I have run into Finns on the list. One, who writes for Swedish music publications, invited me to his family's house for New Years, which was a very nice offer, but I already had plans (see next post!). The other Finn turned me onto the topic of the next bullet.
  • J. Karjalainen sings, "The songs of Lännen-Jukka, a unique fusion of mountain folk songs from the southern United States, Mississippi blues and old Finnish sleigh songs." Click on the link GRAMOFONI to hear this wonderful music.

1 Comments:

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