After having a fab time in Providence and a great last day in New York (a thousand thankyous to the wonderful Audra), I flew from JFK to Dublin and spent 5 days readjusting to jet lag and hanging out with Clair, Allie & the funky bunch. Great to see these guys again, with glorious warm weather following me from New York. I'll write a little more on my final few days in the US and subsequent adventures in Ireland later, but I have a fresh adventure laying out in front of me to talk about.
I arrived in Finland a few days ago, hung out in lovely Tampere for a couple of days with my full-on London accented Finnish host and another traveller from Colorado. It's a beautiful little town, almost made into an island by the amount of lakes surrounding it. I purchased the tastiest doughnut I've ever eaten at the lookout tower and the mini-golf fun park frustrated me more than it should of. My cousin Judith, who's been in Finland for the last 5 months on exchange, lives there but was in Sweden during the time I was in Town. I forgot to put my battery in my camera during the walk I went on with the others, but after hearing the story of the 50-something drunk woman getting her kit off in the name of summer in front of the audience at a free outdoor concert, the forgotten battery seemed like a blessing. Earlier today, Travis (The American backpacker), and I hitched a ride down to Helsinki with a Finnish trucker. We used dance and two hand made sign (Helsinki Kiitos and Euroviisut), to land our lift. Our trucker bloke told us in nicely Russia-fied English that he imports cars from overseas and sells them to Russians who come over the border to purchase an "appearance of affluence increaser": Otherwise known as a 3 year old Peugeot.
Arriving in Helsinki was an odd experience. Our tucker mate dropped us off just out of town and Travis and I caught the bus in. As we got closer to the centre, we passed by places I recognised from a year ago. Oh there's where I stayed. Oh there's that park where that free concert was. There's the train station. Oh that's right, the trams do look like they're from Melbourne. While I've always wanted to go to Eurovision, I never thought when I eventually did that it would be in a place where I have personal history. Strange.
While in Tampere, I watched the semi finals on the telly with the others, occasionally getting a translation of the Finnish subtitles. I can't believe Czech Republic, with lyrics like 'I steal coins from the fountain near your cave and put them on the railway tracks', were eliminated. I'm glad Israel is out, because their song Push the Button, was rubbish but really catchy. I was surprised Austria, with their gay aesthetics and Bon Jovi/Backstreet Boy sounding song got cut. I thought Switzerland's DJ Bobo would have appealed to more mid20s Eurotrash fans as Vampires are alive didn't make the cut either. Andorra's Blink 182 rip off got the flick as the country is too small to actually host a Eurovision if they were to win. Bulgaria = Drums. Belarus has a nice Bond theme sounding diddy with secret stair staging. Well done Georgia for getting a birth on your first go, pity your song is 3 years old. According to the Finnish version of Terry Wogan, if Montenegro win they'll have to host the competition in Romania as they don't have enough money. Moldova's lass has some smutty pant thing going on. Norway's clothing tomfollery will have you wondering if there is going to be a Janet incident. Malta has a gong. The back up dancers from Estonia's entry look like the guys from Franz Ferdinand. Belgium's soft funk band has synchronised brass instruments. Slovenia has a Gothic operatic thing going on with the singer sporting a magic light up hand.
Tomorrow I hit the local op-shop circuit, purchase a fancy 70s suit (possibly safari), pick up my photo pass from the press centre and attend the final of Eurovision 2007, where the opening act is last year's winner Lordi.
Hard Rock Hallelujah.
Keep the fondue fires burning for me back home. Full wrap up in a couple of days.