Posts by: Paul

Helsinki, Finland

Before I forget then I’ll write down my dream of last night: I’m travelling with Tony Blair and we stop over in Iran to visit a school. Sitting in the classroom with Tony watching the kids lesson I ask if it would be alright if I take out my camera and take some photos. They say yes, of course, so I take some photos and no one seems too bothered. Then Tony asks me why don’t I shoot video rather than stills. Meanwhile in the waking world I met some interesting Americans the other day, and a French guy, in…

Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki, Finland

There’s a church on a hill by the port of Helsinki, a red brick building with gold balls sitting on the spires, making it look a bit Islamic but I think it’s a Russian orthodox church. I went in there today, just as a christening was starting. Tourists and people who’d just walked in were confined to an area by the door by ropes. There were prominent signs saying: “Silence Please! Divine service in progress” (in several languages) and images of cameras (still and video) and a mobile phone, all crossed out. Some people didn’t notice the signs or deliberately…

Cafe Esplanad, Helsinki, Finland

In the Roger Otip story “Executioners from the future” (which was originally titled “Ignorance is no defense” but the former title was felt by the publishers to be more marketable in Yankeeland and more likely to lead to a movie deal) the judges and the bailiffs (who carry out the arrests) and the jury are all presented as being very short grey skinned individuals with large black eyes, like the popular image of aliens. Apparently Otip was hoping that Tom Cruise would play the lead prosecutor but Cruise turned down the role because it didn’t fit with Scientologist ideology, and…

Helsinki, Finland

Sitting in the MBar internet cafe, a tendy place with free wifi, which they call WLAN here. There’s WLAN in the hostel I’m staying in as well, Erottajanpuisto, which sounds like it might be erotic, but it isn’t. It is very good though. Old fashioned and small, but friendly and comfortable, and not full of school kids like the place I was staying in in Stockholm. It makes a big difference having a decent place to stay, though coming back from a visit to a bar late last night I couldn’t find it and wandered around the misty streets of…

Helsinki, Finland

It must have been about 3 o’clock (in one time zone or the other) when I found my way down to the 2nd deck, below the car deck, and managed to get into my top bunk in the dark, I think without waking anyone. Someone’s alarm went off, then mine went off. I heard someone else getting up. I waited in bed until they’d gone. There was only enough room in the cabin for one person to not be in bed at a time. It was an interior cabin and no one had turned the light on so it was…

On a boat crossing the Baltic Sea, from Stockholm to Helsinki

Travelling alone One advantage of travelling is that when you’re travelling it is acceptable to be alone. When you arrive it can be difficult to find a restaurant to eat in or a bar to drink in where you don’t feel uncomfortable because you’re on your own. I was sitting in a bar in Bergen, tucked away in a corner, listening to the music and watching the people, when a large group sat down at the two tables next to mine. One of them spoke to me. Are you sitting here all alone? Come and join us. So I did….

On a ship crossing the Baltic Sea, from Stockholm to Helsinki

Today is Equinox Day, the on which wherever you are in the world, whether you’re in the arctic circle or on the equator, the day is as long as the night. Perhaps today should be made an international holiday in which the peoples of the world celebrate their equality in environmental brotherhood (and sisterhood). I’m on the boat going from Stockholm to Helsinki. It’s just got dark outside. The Swedish time is 18:28. Finnish time is 19:28. Since I’m travelling East, towards the rising sun, my night will actually be shorter than my day was today and will be tomorrow,…

Stockholm, Sweden

Which reminds me of the Roger Otip story “Executioners from the future”. Roger Otip is Ireland’s greatest science fiction author. He’s often called the father of Science O’Fiction. In “Executioners from the future” a group of survivors of an environmental holocaust travel back in time in order to put on trial a selection of those they deem responsible for their fate, and for the deaths of over five billion people plus the extinction of countless species of animals and plants. Rather than going for the leaders of nations or corporations they target a random selection of ordinary citizens, wanting to…

Stockholm, Sweden

I went for a walk up to the Moderna Museet, the modern art museum in Stockholm. Crossing from one island to another I saw what looked like a couple of police officers in yellow fluorescent jackets on a boat. They appeared to be fishing for bodies, looking for someone who had commit suicide the night before. That was Saturday night. It was St. Patrick’s day so I went out to one of the local Irish pubs (actually two of them) for a pint of Guinness (two pints of Guinness – I went with the intention of having one but had…

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