Tuesday, January 31, 2006

CNY in Helsinki

UPDATED: See ZM and WL's blog (GONG XI FA CAI post) for the pictures. =)

Warning: this is an all-word entry.

Went down to Leppavarra to visit ZM and the rest on Saturday. Took the midnight train and I was a little apprehensive cos it was the first time I was taking the night train alone.

I was watching 2 movies in a row on the train. One was Kinsey and the other was a Finnish war movie I borrowed from a Finnish guy who was sitting next to me on the train. Both were great movies!

Kinsey was about this professor who wanted to study human sexual behaviour so much that he interviewed many many people about their sex lives and habits and stuff like that. Although it was hard to get people to open up to him, he finally succeeded through sheer perseverance. He was also unwavering about getting financial support for his work. Kinsey questions what are society’s expectations of human sexual behaviour, asking questions like why is homosexual behaviour abnormal? Shouldn’t sexual behaviour reflect the feelings between 2 people? Blah blah. He put forth several good arguments in the movie which I can’t remember, but it was certainly enough to make me (a staunch homophobic) see his points of argument, but yeah, I am still very much heterosexual, thank you very much.

The Finnish war movie was about the war between Finland and Russia (or USSR at that time) at the point in World War Two. The movie was not very good nor well directed, but at many points, it reflected feelings of men during war. For a film that was made in 1985, I guess it’s good enough. The ending sucks though.

Then I had a shock when I tried to alight at my stop (Pasila) to change trains to Lepaavarra. The door couldn’t open! I ran to another door but it also couldn’t open! Tried to get help from someone but the train started moving. So that was a great way to start my day. Rode the train all the way to Helsinki (luckily only 2 or 3 minutes away) and Wei Ling advised me on how to get a commuter train to Leppavarra. I thought the commuter trains were like the long distance trains I rode on, and that would have been hell cos the trains are so very irregular. Phew, luckily they run every few minutes! Apparently WL had the same experience as I did. I imagine that she must have been quite shocked too.

Anyway this entry is more about how I spent CNY at ZM’s apartment. I have no pictures, sad to say, but it was a really enjoyable 2 days I spent there. ZM can cook very well and I was quite awed by the cooking. Haha!

We went to Sello, the second biggest shopping mall in Scandinavia (according to Ivan) to shop a little, and I got myself an adidas swimming trunks for 5 euros. I also got some cooking utensils for dirt cheap prices (like 1 euro each). Why don’t have we such stores in Oulu man. =S

After that, we went back to the apartment to whip up a storm. Had suan la tang (hot and sour soup), bak kut teh soup (with spare ribs), baby abalone (yeah!), broccoli and other veggies in sauce, baked salmon, what else I can’t remember!
Great food, great company! We even had longans (which cost 18 euros per basket! Haha!) And ice cream, and Coke, and CNY cookies. So much food in such a short period of time. Feeling damn fat now, haven’t been food binging for a long time!! Been a long time since I sat with Singaporeans and had a good laugh. Haiz. Maybe it’s a good idea to come down once in a while. Might help to keep me sane for a while.

At night we went down to the recre room for table tennis, pool and cards. And all the people there weren’t smoking and drinking beer or alcohol so it was a change for once. A lot of Westerners seem to think that smoking is like eating so they are perpetual chimneys with smoke coming out of their mouths, noses and whatever. OK there are some Europeans who think these people are stupid, so I shouldn’t generalize. Weet.

I was playing bridge all night long with Jinfu, Kwang and Daniel (ZM’s housemate, a funny Spanish guy who’s very intelligent.) Daniel picked up the bridge game in a matter of a night, and he’s a great player now! Full of guile that guy.

We went down to IKEA on Sunday, but it was suljettu on sunnutai (closed on Sundays). And the IKEA catalogue showed it was supposed to be open on Sundays from 12-6pm. ARgh. So I lost my chance to get cheap carpets for covering the cold floor of my room, candles for aromatherapy and for getting rid of the cooking smell from my room and other household goods. Aiya, never mind la, I come back some other day when it’s open. It’s only a 9 hour train ride what. And another 9 hours back lo. HAHA! Siao, I think I won’t come down that often unless there’s a special occasion. Waste money waste time (on travelling; the time in the apartments was great!)

Had Chinese food the second night too. Diced chicken with chilli padi (OMG chilli padi is so so so great!) and some other food that was not so worth mentioning. Ah yes, we had chun juan (fried spring roll) too. GOOD GOOD GOOD.

Had to sleep early the second night cos I had a 6.41am train to catch the next morning, but I chatted a bit with Ivan in his room before I realized it was 1am++.

The alarm the next morning was such an ass. So it was bye bye Helsinki and back to Oulu. With a heavy heart, I left Leppavarra.

Good bye my friends, we will meet again. Soon I hope.

P.S.: Thanks to ZM and WL for picking me up at the train station at 9am on Saturday, and for cooking breakfast for me that morning too. And to the rest for being such good company! Life’s never really complete without some kinda of Singaporean company and Singlish. I am proud of Singlish now. My national language, the language that no ang mohs understand, no China Chinese nor Hongkong Chinese or any other people for that matter can understand. You won’t know how it good it feels when in Oulu, I speak something to WL and others around us (the non Singaporeans) can’t understand a single word we say even though we say some English. It’s the way we pronounce and say those words and mix it with Hokkien, Chinese, Indian, Malay, Cantonese and what not.