"I not speak English, so we dance!".

Trip Start Feb 08, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2009

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Flag of Finland  , Lapponia,
Thursday, February 12, 2009

After our dog-sled adventure, we decided to brave the nightlife of Saariselkä again, this time to see a band playing in one of the bars.  The only Finnish band that I know is Lordi, winners of the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, so I had no idea what to expect.  It turned out to be much more traditional; fiddles and accordions playing polkas and reels, and the music of Kenny Rogers.  It definitely sounded like The Gambler.  And everyone got up to dance; men, women, old folks, and a couple of teenagers attempting some kind of street dance moves in a corner.  To Kenny Rogers, played on an accordion.

And the man in reindeer-hide pixie boots and a four-pointed jester's hat that asked me to dance.  "I not speak English, so we dance!" he announced, before we charged around the dancefloor in the wrong direction.  He and his friend joined us for a few games of pool, and between the two of them explained that they were on a tour of Finland by snowmobile. 

During the winter, snowmobile trails are marked out, often following main roads, making it possible for the guys to travel from their homes in Helsinki to the southern-most and northern-most points of the country.  And then in the far north, they decided that they had to nip up over the Norwegian border to reach the Arctic Ocean to make their expedition complete.  Although Norway does create the same snowmobile trails, apparently they are very strict about adhering to the speed limit, so to avoid 'the fun police', they waited until very early to cross the border and speed the several kilometres to the coast.  Then make the return trip racing from the blue lights, as they are hounded out of Norway with the Police shaking their fists on the border.

Our new friends assure us that the only way to deal with the cold, and the hassle of putting on layers of clothes, then stripping them off again, whenever you go from inside to outside and vice versa, is to drink vodka.  They insist is should be Finnish, preferably from Lapland, and drunk neat in shots.  Returning with a round, they hand out the glasses, then show us how to link arms, then look deep into the other person's eyes as you knock it back.  I can't help giggling as I drink.

At the end of the night we wave goodbye, and head home, finding that the Arctic air is much milder, and there isn't need for so many layers of clothes.  Hurrah for vodka!
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