Rumour has it that the state controlled liquor store, Alko, will close either at 2pm or 6pm. I have been here long enough on a holiday to know that without proper planning, this could be a tragedy. The whole nation will start, might already be, drinking this afternoon. I only hope there is stuff left on the shelves. As everyone here tends to drink local beer and pear cider, I should be safe to get some of the hard alcohol, like gin and wine.
Then there are clothes to be chosen. It needs to be warm (it's overcast today) and practical, as I will be standing in the streets. But girls in past years have favoured a skirt, despite the weather, as it's easier to squat in the streets wearing one. I'll stick to jeans and always keep an eye out for a discreet tree... I could wear something bright, which normally helps you stand out in a crowd but today everyone will be wearing bright overalls, so perhaps black is a safer option.
I considered an inflatable balloon tied to me as both a conversation starter and a means of finding myself if I get lost. First there was the deliberation, do I go Finnish and sport a Moomin, or be myself, perhaps a Piglet or Tigger. The Princess balloon caught my eye and would fit with conversation starter number 2... The balloon seller knew she was onto a good thing, I looked not much different from the three year olds tugging on their mother's sleeves. But despite her impassioned sales pitch at 13 Euro for a big Piglet, I would leave the purchasing to the mothers intent on getting a quick shop done, and willing to fork out anything to get themselves and toddler to the last of the Vappu beer.
In the supermarket, chaos reigned. Little old ladies vyed for the last of the perunat for salaati. Smashed beer bottles lined the checkout floor. It was not even 10 am. Hands snatched for spring onions and rolls of slinky fish in jars. I nearly caused a riot when I forgot to weigh my cucumber before reaching the checkout.
But back to conversation point number two. Sick of answering the "love or Nokia"question that everyone asks to determine why you're in Finland, I decided to invent a different story. Returning to the persona of the Iranian princess I adopted on a visit to Tallinn, last night, with some creative embellishing from friendly strangers, I decided on a Persian princess planning an attack on Sweden.
Anyway, this Persian princess has got to get into preparation. My back pack needs loading with alcohol and I need to get out before the streets are lined with vomit...