Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Fighting Basil

The chap, who used to live in the apartment where I am currently residing, left a garden of basil behind. Nine plants planted in cut milk cartons. All different varieties. Too bad, they do not do too well in my care. I don't know whether I water them too much or too little. They also had a banana fly colony living in them, which was bugging me mad. So, after two weeks in Helsinki, I cycled to Helsinki Recycling Centre, bought clay pots at 20 cents a piece, got some soil, replanted and paid farewell to flies. The pots look good now, but there is no difference in plants. My nerves are cracking again. The flies are back.

Monday, 27 May 2013


After a busy weekend, I am taking it easy at home. Looking around, seeing details. Coasters, fruits and old glass items on the shelf.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Memory Lane - Bangkok, Thailand, Vol 1

There was a time when I lived in Bangkok. I loved it. I called it home. 

Tonight I am off to see the Great Gatsby here in Helsinki. The city I call home now.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Stranded in Tampere

On Monday I made a little day trip to Jyväskylä. It was for work and there was no time to stroll around or sit down for a cuppa there. Thus there is no picture from Jyväskylä this time. However, I got stranded at Tampere Railway Station on the way back for a half of an hour. Guess what? I took  pictures.

It was not the weird statue, but the yellow tulips that triggered this shoot.

Last ten minutes on the platform were slow. I pictured myself. And no, I am not wearing white socks with ballerina pumps. That is my Finnish winter skin. Shocking. 

There was a shop opposite the Railway Station. I went in just to browse around and came out with a new note book and a set of moustaches. Moustaches?! Seriously?! Moral of the story - avoid getting stranded in Tampere.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Hanami - Cherry Blossom Celebration

The cherry blossom celebration Hanami is organised every May in Roihuvuori in Eastern Helsinki. Yes, there are lots of cherry trees around there and this year they blossomed just at the right time.

People had placed their pick nick blankets under the cherry trees and everybody seemed relaxed and happy.

There were stalls exhibiting Japan related hobbies, businesses and some selling food. The queues to the food stalls were long and therefore I did not get to taste any Japanese specialties. I guess it was a healthy balance to Saturday's Restaurant Day.

There was a stage, which was inhabited by jumping children whenever there was no programme such as Koto music being played, drumming, Kendo or Tando shows, Buto dance or what not.

The white washed ladies are from a dance troupe Buto Hutera. 
There was also a best dress competition. Audience had been asked to dress up anything Japan related. I did not stay long enough to see who won, but if it had been me who chose the winner, she would have won.

I missed all Geisha chocolate offerings and it was my only complaint about the event. Otherwise it was just purrrrfect.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Restaurant Saturday

Saturday was about food. Freshly brewed coffee with ham, cheese and tomato on whole grain bread  at 7 am.

It was the spring restaurant day. Restaurant Day is a bi-yearly food carnival, when anybody can open a restaurant for a day. I started the restaurant stroll from Sinebrykoff's Park.

First stop was Bánh Mì Sandwiches. I got two. One for a friend and another for myself, but ended up eating both alone. My friend is on medication due to a knee operation and has lost her appetite. I certainly do not suffer from anything like that and ate my Bánh Mìs happily and faithfully to my style - dropping chili sauce to my chest. As always.

My journey continued to 'Big Robert's Street', where I met four other friends, two adults and their two kids. I had a cup of ice coffee from a table, where mango lassi and healthy herbal smoothies were on offer. No need to mention, that I did not even consider anything healthy.

Five of us then walked to Old Church Park. The park is better known by name Plague Park, as plague victims of 1710 were buried there. Today Plague Park is one of the most popular pick nick destinations of Helsinkians. In there, we had chicken skewers and mezes in Mediterranean style.

My favourite Plague Park restaurant was the coffee, cold milk and cinnamon roll shop run by smiley people. Cinnamon roll and cold milk is a combination, which can bring tears to my eyes. It is a representative of all good childhood memories.

Next the children wanted rice, but would only accept white rice, what was not on offer. So we walked to Stockmann's, sat down on Central Street side and ordered coffee, rosé and sparkling water. The kiddos got their rice and chicken and claimed that it was rooster not chicken on the plate. The label said Coq au Vin. Throughout the meal the adults tried to convince the kids, that the meat was chicken, but all arguments on market laws and conceits were dismissed on the basis that once they were served rooster at school, they had photographed the meal and the rooster on the plate then and now were identical in colour and texture. Eventually the adults gave up. Coq is rooster. One cannot deny that.

Late in the evening, when I was cycling back home alone, I stopped in Esplanadi Park. There I had a mix plate of African deep fries. I only recognised plantain, but loved every piece.

Too bad, I forgot to picture my portions. Instead I photographed the newly planted flower beds in front of the Ateneum art museum. Tulips and violets. Very early summer flowers.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Helsinki Living

Indeed Oulu is behind me for the time being. The last picture in my camera was on the lilies I bought two weeks before my departure. To my amazement they lasted until my departure.

I arrived to Helsinki on the same day with Justin Bieber, who performed in town the same night. I arrived with a friend and her teenage daughter. You guess where she spent the evening and most of the day too. After we dropped her off to the concert hall, me and the friend went for a long walk and when it started to rain we sought shelter from Wanha Cafe and refreshed old memories.

After my friends returned back to Oulu, I settled down.  One of the first things I did was a long bicycle ride to explore my surroundings. I was pleasantly surprised. I had a feeling that I had moved to the country side, although I can see the dome of the Senate Church from my window.

All pictures are from three weeks ago when I just arrived. I have been dead busy with my work, which I love, by the way. Too bad it ends too soon. The down side of consulting.
Blue anemones are rare and protected. They do not grow in Oulu.
In one point I could see the city between the trees.
Now everything is green already. Time to do the same ride again to take totally different looking pictures.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Memory Lane - Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California, US 10, Vol 1

I walked in the footsteps of Marilyn Monroe. I remembered the kidnap. I was enchanted by the flowers and amazed by the statues. I saw the hills of California in mist and got a pair of amber earings from a friend as a memory. I enjoyed every minute.