A Monday in Helsinki

Twelve hours of work ended up creating a twelve page report. Megan, Minna and I met up this morning en-route to meet a 2nd year student at the University of Helsinki for a day of watching his world. It’s actually quite cool that we got to see the college experience while here; most of the time I’m in a foreign land I’m never been exposed to that. We met some of his college friends and walked around as he gave a tour to new students of the university. I ended up seeing the undergrad library, the central office, a printer’s shop and their ‘club house’ (which serves the same purpose as the student organization offices at student unions in the US). We had a great lunch at a little cafe next to the esplanade in the city centre (of course I had a mozzarella and tomato sandwich). Dinner was at a traditional Finnish ravintolia (Finnish for restaurant) that’d been open since 1934 named Seahorse. I had the cabbage rolls, a mixture of cabbage, lakta style potato cakes and something else. Tomorrow we’re heading to a family’s house at 9AM, which means I’ve got to wake up at 7! Pictures of today are here.

Also to ramble on about is my experience thus far with cell phones. Cell phones are amazing here. I placed a call to California and to Paris with equal ease this evening. To get the phone, I went in to the first mobile store I saw (Sonera) in the morning and asked for the cheapest phone that would work here and in both Paris and London. I bought the phone on the spot and the store clerk referred me to the convenience store across the street to get a SIM card. So, across the street I bought a SIM package called Sonera Easy (that’s the first SIM I saw, I could have picked from any of the brands; there’s no association between retailer and service provider, at least in the method I’m using mobiles), popped the card in, typed in the PIN number, and that’s it, I’ve got a phone number in Helsinki. So easy, so straightforward and so hassle free. I can’t stop raving about European mobiles. Actually, I’m going to stop right now and pass out.