generating steam heat
I am actually in Finland, right now, as I type--specifically in the business center of my hotel, which has this weird Finnish keyboard where none of the punctuation marks are where I expect them to be. The flight was uneventful, except for my near-total inability to sleep during it (Pluto Nash was showing on the screen, and has lots of flashing light effects). We were met at the airport by Elizabeth Kendall's friend Ulrika, and whisked away to our beautiful five-star hotel, which became a Hilton fairly recently. In each of our rooms, there was a bag from the Finnish cultural-embassy people, including over 30 pamphlets about the glories of Finnish culture, a great big heavy book about the Finnish Art Deco movement, four CDs (hello, Esa-Pekka), a T-shirt, and a copy of the new issue of Helsinki This Week, which is in fact a bi-monthly magazine. Then we were whisked off to the sauna: beautiful wooden steam rooms and a heated pool with a little wall-waterfall, followed by orange soda of some kind (basically halfway between Fanta and Orangina) and a buffet of three kinds of sausage (sigh), good bread, very good sweet mustard, and a passionate explanation of the original Finnish artwork housed in the hotel itself.
Hotel rooms are pretty much the same everywhere, though mine does have a couple of nice perks I've discovered so far: a balcony, from which one can overlook the frozen river (on which some people are walking, although there are visible holes in the ice, eek) and an extra TV speaker in the bathroom (so one can listen to the Spanish-language Hi-NRG Eurodance channel during one's shower).
Our first actual event-type events are tonight; details when they've happened.