September 17th, 2002 – by: kebrunn
One of only two photos I took during my five or six hours in Helsinki...
From Stockholm we boarded an overnight ferry to Helsinki
. As became tradition with nightboats, we got drunk and proceeded to play a card game I can no longer remember the name of-- something like War only not. It grew even funner the more people you had playing and/or the drunker you got. We got off the boat the next morning, took a tram from the port to the town center/train station then had a few hours to kill. I went out and walked back to take photos of a church I'd seen, then decided I'd like to try to call my mother... which leads to the meltdown part.
I suddenly realized that I had no idea what day of the week it was, nor could I remember the last time that I knew what the day was to extrapolate from there.
... and, of course, the other photo I took in Helsinki.
I didn't speak any Finnish to ask someone, couldn't pick up a news paper and look. Then I looked around the whole magnitude of everything hit me. I was in Finland. I'd been there two hours, I'd be leaving in two hours. I had been on the road for weeks, I wouldn't be home for months. I broke down and cried standing at the telephone. I never did figure out what day it was.
A couple hours later the train arrived that would take us to Saint Petersburgh. If my brain has a single image that encapsulates Soviet Russia, it is the first moment I saw this train. It looked like it had rolled straight out of CCCP 1966 and was going to take us right back to CCCP 1966. The staff all wore little militaristic uniforms complete with caps and metal pins decorations for service. We took off through the countryside of Finland-- all I remember is lots of lakes and tall grasses.