Saturday Night in Helsinki

Tomorrow morning, I have to go pick up the wife at the airport, so I went for a walk to find the place. It was 10.45pm when I left but it was still light out and there were a few people on the streets. The ferries were plying. The one in the photo was just coming in.

I found the place to get the bus at the city center. There were lots of young people milling around, drinking, smoking, laughing. Rock music was leaking out of a roof-top bar. The place looked like it was hopping, so I decided to hang around.

You know how Americans are supposed to be obese and Europeans ever so fit? If this Saturday night scene in Helsinki is any indication, European college-age kids are just a pudgy as their American cousins. Or maybe it's the fat people who go out.

There was a street food vendor making hashbrowns and sausage. It should be safe to eat street food in Europe, right? The piping hot plate on a rainy day was wonderful. It cost 4 euros ($6, with the weak dollar), and maybe in order to justify the price, it was way too much. No wonder all these kids are fat.

As I was struggling with the last few pieces, a rather drunk fellow came up to me and said something in Finnish about what I was eating. I think he was saying something about how when you see someone eat a French fry, you are tempted to grab one off the plate (at least, I'm tempted to do that). So, I proffered him my fork. He ignored the fork and went for a piece with his fingers. He looked up at me. I smiled at him to go on. And so the stranger finished up the plate for me. Later, telling the story to friends who live here, in Helsinki, I learn that both the drunkenness and the grabbing of food are common occurrences.

By this time, it was after midnight. It had just gotten dark. The lines to enter the popular bars snaked around for nearly a block. I reluctantly went back to my hotel and to bed.

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