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Explore your neighbourhood Explore your neighbourhood
by Antonio Diaz
2007-08-24 09:47:58
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Travelling is easy nowadays. New routes are open every few months and new airlines with cheap cost flights operate in countries that you would never have dreamt to reach some years ago, paying the same price for the ticket than for your breakfast in Finland (although then probably you will spend three times more money on reaching the centre of the city since the airport of arrival will be located 200 kilometres away…).

Airplanes are faster and bigger than ever; companies have a ferocious competition and offer huge discounts to their passengers. Stockman makes our lives easier with its “Crazy Days” and their huge travelling discounts. Phileas Fogg would have loved to live in the present era just to enjoy some free weeks with his lovely princess Aouda on a paradisical island, and still arriving in London at tea time to win his bet.

Finns love travelling to exotic and warm places like Italy, Spain, Thailand or the latest trendiest destinations in South America. Foreigners go to Lapland of Cape North, and everybody tries to make their closest job mates jealous telling exaggerated stories about how great their last holidays were.

I am a person who has been around. I have seen many countries and I have been in luxurious hotels as well as in a couple of “shitholes”. The other day I was in the tram listening to how another passenger talked on the phone about her upcoming holidays…and then I realized I did not know the name of the street I was.

I have lived in Helsinki for some years, and I don’t know most of the areas. It is funny how things work. I don’t really know the first name of any of my neighbours, but I remember the names of the hotel receptionists during my holidays last summer. I would not been able to tell you the names of the side streets 100 meters away from my place, but I can tell you the names of the coolest bars to have a drink in Beijing.

I don’t know where I can go to swim in Helsinki, but I can recommend you a couple of awesome places to eat in Tallinn. I do not remember the names of my cousin’s children, but I cannot forgive myself if I would forget the names of the friendly couple who walked with me all around the Big Wall of China. Is it funny or is it sad? I don’t know.

It is contemporary times, I guess. But for this summer, since I am broke, I have taken a decision: I bravely wear my shorts (if the weather allows it), my back pack, a Helsinki City Map, a couple of bottles of water, and good shoes, and I will go out to explore the streets of “Hell-sinki”.

I will fight against trams, drunkards, ONG volunteers, annoying phone calls, cyclists, seagulls, the temptation to change my route following a mini-skirt too short and my own laziness, and I promise I will try my best to fulfil my August wish: to make the city where I live a bit more mine.

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Asa2007-08-24 10:26:50
"I will fight against trams, drunkards, ONG volunteers, annoying phone calls, cyclists, seagulls, the temptation to change my route following a mini-skirt too short and my own laziness"

I'm sure the riders on the Tour de France suffer from the same things.


Paparella2007-08-24 11:42:02
Which bring me back to what I read this morning: that scientists have recreated out-of-body-experiences, without drugs. The implications are enormous: in the first place it will confuse some wise-ass scientists and their sympathizers who think that the material is primary and the spiritual secondary in reality; secondly our surgeons will be able to operate on us from anywhere on earth (which is pretty scary), thirdly, we may be able to travel virtually anywhere to any exotic place on earth; all without drugs expensive or cheap computers, or expensive or cheap airline. Eat your heart out cheap airline fare. No doubt about it. It is a brave new world we live in.


Alexandra Pereira2007-08-25 13:57:42
Beware: Antonio Attenborough is out exploring Helsinki's specimens and wildlife ;)

Now seriously, perhaps it would be interesting if you could write some chronicles on your daily discoveries around...


Antonio2007-08-26 22:26:06
Well, Finnish wildlife is fascinating Alexandra, especially on Saturday night at 3 at night in Mannerheimintie! I would be glad to share those chronicles but unfortunately BBC has already signed me ;) In any case, now I am not in Helsinki but in Estonia, and I can share with you a piece of observation: the female specimens in Estonia wear shorter mini skirts than in Finland, which I cannot deny that pleases me :)


Alexandra2007-08-28 13:27:16
0-1 Antonio Mourinho scores... (I guess Mourinho would be pleased with estonian mini skirts as well? Though it can be the only piece of new observation you can get in Estonia too...) :)


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