I’m SO embarrassed. How could I have forgotten, in the excitement that was Berny’s, the clock on the wall, the piece de résistance, which ran backwards? Ah well… I’ll fix it in post. Maybe. Anyway… after the exciting events that were The Bridge, what else was there to do but eat dinner? We went to a little Italian place called Rosso. It was a fun place and while the service
wasn’t great, there was some nice eye candy for Jussi and I (we think one of the girls may have been Berny’s other daughter, who escaped to the mainland and was starting her own business). There was also a great conversation between Jussi and the waiter about the cost of ice in a drink – which sounds funny but in some of the places I visited, it could be absolutely real! As it was, there was a lot of laughter and in the end, Jussi wasn’t charged for the ice.
The next day Tiina and I again headed to the mall, did a little bit of shopping, had a chocolate dipped…something… which didn’t deserve the adjective chocolate dipped then met up with Antti.
He was tired so he went home for a nap while Tiina and I took the car and took in more of the sites of Vaasa (like the university library) then went home to prepare for the evening’s guests. See Tiina and Antti have some friends who were working with a group of foreign students who were on an exchange program to study Finnish. The idea was for three of these students to come over and speak Finnish for an evening to kinda get the conversational thing going. This was all well and good, but for the fact that Finns don’t really talk. Remember when I told you about me in the elevator? Yeah, it’s like that.
So the students show up and Finnish starts being flung. I am as useless as a Prague train station attendant in this conversation so I politely head up stairs to write. After I do a little blogging, I go back downstairs amidst huge lulls in the conversation and, being me, I fill them. So after an hour of speaking Finnish, we all spent the next two hours speaking English and talking American politics (and I extolled the virtues of a day trip to The Bridge).
Wednesday, though, Wednesday was the day for Powerland!
Powerland is an independently owned amusement park, located in the middle of nowhere, built because the guy who owns it wanted his own park. It’s the largest park in the area and is a mix of the parks we’d been to already. So again, Antti had to work so it was me and Tiina going for rides and adventures. Antti would join us later. Of course, since we had to drive Antti to work so we could have the car, this meant we were WAY early for the park. So we went for breakfast to this little golf resort where everyone thought we were on our honeymoon (since, evidently, that’s the only reason a young couple would be in a place like this) then, since we still had some time, we went and visited Tiina’s parents.
They were just delightful and didn’t speak a word of English (okay, not exactly true, they could follow along slightly but not a whole lot). And, being a mom, Tiina’s had to make us breakfast. Remember, we’d just come from a buffet where we ate our fill, and now we were being plied with ice cream and fresh strawberries and coffee… I was so stuffed I nearly rolled out of the place.
And then, finally, we got to the park. Inside, there were different sections, like an Old West area (and let me tell you, there is nothing more bizarre than seeing a statue of a John Wayne style cowboy speaking Finnish in an obviously John Wayne accent.) and a modern army area and…well…it wasn’t really that defined. I say army but that’s just because in the middle of a stretch of
walkway there was a military vehicle for no apparent reason. It seems the guy who built this place just does stuff because he wants to. And why not, it’s his money, he can do as he pleases, right?
Tiina is a roller coaster girl so we immediately head off to big, scary looking contraption called Cobra or something like that. It’s one of those that pulls you back into a completely vertical position, lets you go, send you through loops and boomerangs and stuff and you end up again in a completely vertical position, only this time, facing the wrong way – so you have to do the whole thing again backwards! Sweet! Of course, as we sat down in the car, the safety restraint didn’t want to lock in right away so I was looking quite panicky, much to the amusement of the people waiting behind us in line.
Needless to say, I survived – and had a good time. Remember that phrase, though, because there are times fast approaching when that was not the case. From there we went to a great Wooden coaster which again, had no really discernible theme and yet,
for some inexplicable reason, amidst the wood and old-tyme look, had a big red, white and blue banner proclaiming Las Vegas! Your guess is as good as mine. This was one of the best wooden coasters I’d been on in a long time! It had some really nice curves, a couple of moments of airtime
and drop which Ghost Rider at Knott’s Berry Farm couldn’t touch (You hear me Bailey? This is one you would have loved! If we’re ever in Finland, I’m bringing you here).
So now, two big coasters down, we’re deciding what to do next. I’ve already explained I don’t do the spinny rides since I get sick. Not scared, mind you, but physically ill. My stomach just can’t handle it (although according to Mythbusters ginger helps, so next time I go to an amusement park, I get ginger pills first!). I suggest the really lovely Ferris Wheel, thinking that might be a fun way to see the park and have a
bit of a relaxing break. Tiina, on the other hand, thinks the Booster is the way to go. Let me explain
the Booster: hell on a spindle arm! The idea here is that you have two sets of freely spinning seats on either end of a rotating arm. As the arm turns around a central access, the seats describe a circle and rotate around their own access, so as they are coming over the top of the big arc, they might still be somewhere near the bottom of their own arc. Does that make sense? Watch the video if you don’t get it. I am SO not 100% about this one, but Tiina assures me it’s not as bad as the spinny ones, so, reluctantly, I agree. We get on and get to the top and the big arm starts to spin. It’s not that bad.
Then it gets faster. And the seats can’t keep up with the larger rotation so all of a sudden, there are counter-rotations at work. I close my eyes and start to breathe through my mouth. This is not going well. I don’t mind the heading straight for the ground part, like I said, fear is not a concern, but my tummy is topsy-turvey. Even writing this I can feel myself start to sweat. On the ride,
I could feel disaster brewing. I knew I had about three more rotations in me before I gave up the ghost (and that lovely breakfast).
One rotation down and I had cold sweats. But it was breaking. Slowing. By the time of the second rotation of my countdown, we came to a stop at the top of the arc, swinging lightly in the breeze. I felt whiter than a Laplander at the beach but Tiina…Tiina was
giggling like a school girl, ready to go again. I sat there (I couldn’t go anywhere else) and just tried to catch my breath. By the time we got down, we had to go and pick up Antti. He needed the car for a client errand. We got him, he dropped us back at the park and then made plans to meet us a bit later.
Food was in order now, whatever energy I’d saved from breakfast had been expended by the Booster so we tried to find a place to eat. This was the longest line in the park. No matter where we went, it was an hour wait for bad amusement park food. In the end, we had expensive burgers and were pretty tired of being there.
Before we left, though, we went over to the go kart track for a look-see. These are not your father’s go-karts. These are
quasi-professional deals, with some serious speed and helmets required. Unfortunately, they were not included in our park pass ticket so we just stood on the sidelines and watched. Then Antti had a surprise for us: Tickets to a Girls Finnish Baseball game!
Finnish Baseball is completely and utterly unlike American Baseball in almost every respect except for the fact you hit a ball with a bat and you run to a base. I can’t even attempt to explain it. The pitcher stands to the side of the batter and throws the ball straight up. The batter hits it and then runs to a base, but the bases are set in a zig zag pattern and not in a diamond and everyone bats and you’re not out if a fly ball is caught and…and…and…and we only stayed two innings. I tried to get into the spirit of things, rooting for our team, but I only ended up pissing off a guy in front of us who moved after a few minutes of my raucous applause. Oh well.
Afterwards, on the way home, we stopped by Antti’s parents summer place where I met them and turned myself into an American
delicacy for the mosquitoes. Then it was back to the apartment for a quick sauna (only the three of us and yes, the boys were nekkid) some laundry and packing for Turku the next day.