It is 7:00 in the morning. Sunday morning. We have Dumaguete, Manila,Hong Kong, the skies on China and Russia behind us. Helsinki is like a ghost town. As if all its inhabitants would have suddendly left or would have all be taken away during the course of the night by a alien forces from an unknown dimension leaving behind broken glasses, empty McDonalds paper cups swept by the autumn wind on the pavement.
We walk in this desert waiting for 10 o’ clock when we will catch the train. It is a straiking contrast with Asia where life is on every day of the week, people get up at sunset and life seems never to stop.
Another difference here is that there are mo stray dogs, no cats, just few pigeons. A tram with a solitary driver and few African migrants cleaning the pavements and preparing the tables of outdoor cafes on the Esplanadi.
One of them, wearing a white t-shirt, yellow kitchen gloves and a sad expression, tells us that the place will open only in one hour, so we move on.
We walk back towards the station. We take an escalator to the underground subway passage. An R-Kioski shop is open. In front of it two Africans who seem waiting for a departure which will never take place. We enter the R-kioski. Inside some homeless and drunken sipping coffee from cheap paper cups. One drunken guy, bold, and large bolts in his earlobes walks with a bag hanging in front of him and hanging from his shoulders. I saw him putting a pack of candies in the bag a pack of candies. Our daughters break the silent of the place, they are happy to get their juice and milk. I grow tense. This is a place where a fight can start at any time. Who seems even more out of place is the young girl who stands behind the counter. She seems to be in a summer job for students. She has nice blond hairs in a short a pony tail, expressive blue eyes which seem a bit worried. While she serves a couple of clients she glances worringly to the bold guy with the bag.
But what can she do? Push an alarm button? How quickly would help be here? I stand near the counter waiting my daughters. We exchange glances with the girl behind the countet as if we would tell eachother:”yes the guy is stealing but better to leave it”. I go to pay for the juice and milk. The bold guy is in front of me, he mumble something in Finnish. She seems to have also difficulties in understanding him. I look into his bag. I see a colorfull cotton cloth wrapped around a small metal black tube. To me it looks like a gun but I must be tired and imagine things as in movies. This is Helsinki after all, the capital of the country that a recent Newsweek ranking has declared the best in the world in terms of quality of life and safety/security. Well it does not seems so down here.
We leave the shop and Its people slowly sipping their coffees. A guy stops us to ask 50 cents. When I start to look for the change in my pocket he asks 2 €. I grow tense. A coin falls from my hand to the floor. I give him 1€ and we leave. He shouts after us that I am lucky to have two girls, his mother, he says, had 15 “fucking” boys.
We get into the train and start our trip East to Karelia, leaving this hidden people behind us.
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