I unscrew the bottle cap without paying attention and the next moment the water goes “bzzzzzzztt”, I go “aaaaaaahhhhhh” and my husband is looking at me, all wet. He’s also obviously dying of laughter, everyone else on the bus is giggling their heads off and I am laughing with them as soon as I realize what has just happened. I can’t believe I have just made a whole bus full of Finns giggle like crazy. And my poor wet husband, too. All because there was too much gas in my water bottle on a really hot day in a crowded bus leaving the Vuosaari Harbour…
We take the next metro and a man with a child takes a seat near us. His ruddy cheeks suggest he’s been proving his Finnishness vigorously that day (aka. drinking) and soon, he wants to know where we’re from. Oh, Germany, he’s got relatives in Hamburg, he tells us in German. We tell him we’re tourists and planning to visit Tallinn the next day, which prompts him to show his enthusiasm for the Estonian capital. The beer is much cheaper there and the weather is much nicer and warmer than in Helsinki, he tells us. I don’t remember when was the last time I found a drunk person that nice – solely because of their behaviour and being sober myself, that is.
On a bus again the next night, tired after our trip to Tallinn. It’s past midnight and it’s Big Party Time in Helsinki. A very beautiful and very tired Finnish girl is sitting across me, she sinks into slumber from time to time and most people around are watching her closely. I guess they are doing that because they don’t want to miss the moment when her boobs will finally fall out of her top. I don’t, either. They don’t. I can actually feel how tired she must be, the way she seems unconscious most of the time. But she seems to have been listening to us two wondering in German when our bus stop would appear, because when finally getting off she tells us this is Itäkeskus, meaning we still have some bus stops to go till Rastila. Then she says “Have a nice day, you two” and strokes our heads gently. I smile back and wish her a nice day, too, saying to my hubby we seem to be young enough for such caress. The grunge guy who was sitting next to her and playing her pillow smiles at me.
“I would recommend this one.” A Finnish guy interrupts us in a friendly manner, he’s obviously a passionate beer drinker. “Where are you from? Germany? So you know all about beer. Oktoberfest.” he adds, leaving us in front of the supermarket beer fridge to choose as we wish. We choose his favourite beer and try the other ones later.
The Finns are really one of the biggest surprises we’ve witnessed during the last few summers spent in Scandinavia.They are naturally friendly and communicative in a way that’s inviting and making one feel all welcome but not scrutinized at all. Though I don’t think locals should go out of their way to be friendly to tourists and though I am convinced every single Scandinavian should be allowed to remain as reserved and taciturn as they please*, it was still nice to get to know all the friendly Finns and also to chat to them so naturally, which I did, for example in the Open-Air Museum on Seurasaari, where the nice employee in front of a wooden church and yours truly were bashing European royal families, especially the Swedish one, and agreeing at the same time Victoria was nice 😳
*Because I like people to retain and show their real personalities and because, at least in Europe, there exists an underlying level of politeness one can count on, if not too fixated on expressive friendliness and able to register polite deeds, too.