"Crisis" in Stockholm Over and a Party on a Ferry

Trip Start May 23, 2007
Trip End Jun 03, 2007

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Flag of Sweden  ,
Saturday, June 2, 2007

Well, the crisis was finally over on Monday afternoon. After herding students around and rounding them up as they arrived one by one everyone including the other professor finally made it by Monday afternoon. I did give Christina a big hug when I finally saw her, though!

On Tuesday, we went to Telia Sonera, a communications company. They are known mostly for mobile phones, but also handle land lines and corporate communications. Telia was originally Swedish and Sonera was Finnish. Now the Swedes and the Finns have to get along together. Of course, as Americans we think all Scandinavians are similar. But they are really different. This guy (a Swede) told us all how they would have a meeting with the Finns and talk about doing something, then they would meet again in 2 months to see if everyone still thought it was a good idea and talk some more about it. Then at the end of that meeting the Finns would say, "Oh yeah, we already did that 2 months ago...." The Swedes are very democratic and like to talk and talk and talk and reach consensus and make sure everyone agrees. The Finns are decisive and charge ahead!

The presenter found out we were taking the ferry to Helsinki and told us, "Oh yes, it's very nice. You'll love it!"

I went to the National Museum on Tuesday evening with a few students. It's an art museum and they have a few not-very-well-known works by old masters, Reubens, Cezanne, Degas, etc. It was okay, but not exactly my cuppa.

On Wednesday morning we checked out of the hostel and everyone left their bags in my room. It was fairly full, bags all over the bed, floor, etc. We were going to pick up the bags at about 2 pm. Well, we showed up at 2:15 and they'd already piled all our bags in a tiny little closet much farther from the door. So we formed a brigade and passed them out to the street and organized them. Apparently these students have mastered teamwork!

Our Wednesday morning visit was to Absolut Vodka. It was a very interesting visit, talking about their ad campaigns, etc. Absolut really tries to be a premium vodka. They sponsor fashion and art events with no direct advertising. They don't sell any products at all. They only give a very small number of promotional items away to employees and partners.
This, of course, creates additional demand for the items. And it doesn't dilute their brand with lots of unrelated merchandise.

At the end of the visit, the presenter acted as bartender and let us all try a cocktail with their latest vodka flavor, pear. It was much better than I expected. I really did like it. But not as well as citroen.

He found out we were taking the ferry to Helsinki and said, "Oh yes, it's very nice. You'll love it!" Hmm, I've been on ferries before and they were okay....

I ate lunch at a kiosk outside the subway station near our hostel. About 8 USD for a burger, fries, and a pepsi and I had to sit on a bus bench to eat it. Darn that weak dollar!

We needed to transfer to the ferry (after retrieving our luggage) and it was really nice. So everyone told us the truth. I had my own cabin with my own bathroom and shower. The students shared, but their rooms had private bathrooms. And there were 4 or 5 restaurants. Several bars (and one served one of the best mojitos I've ever had.) Two dance floors, one with a band. Russian trapeze artists. A floor show at midnight. Duty free shopping (all the Clinique you care to buy!) We all just roamed all over the ship all night. I got a little sleep. The students mostly got very little sleep. I might some lumberjacks (well, they were in the logging business) from South Africa who were coming to Finland to study the use of information technology in logging. And it turns out the last textbook I used had had a mini case in it about the use of IT in the Finnish logging industry (it's about how to cut the logs most efficiently with the lowest waste, etc.)

As the ferry was pulling out of Stockholm, I sat outside with a drink until I got too cold. But it was really beautiful. There was a whole line of ships leaving port, one after the other. Everything was slightly foggy and we passed small, rocky, forest-covered island after island all dotted with small wooden houses. Quite atmospheric.

Now, of course, we're in Finland. I'll write about that later when I get a chance. The students are all going home tomorrow (Sunday) and I'll be leaving on Monday for St. Petersburg on the train! By the time you get up on Monday morning, I'll be in Russia!
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