Monday, March 3, 2008

Finnish hospitality

Conversation 1 with receptionist:

-Please can you ask the carpenter who is hammering in the corridor just outside my room to work somewhere else for an hour or so.

-No, he has work to do.

-So do I, I have to make phone calls but I can't hear anything.

-Well you'll have to call from somewhere else

- Ok, can you give me a key to another room

- No, you have a room

-Yes, but I can't work there

-Why don't you use your mobile phone outside

- I don't have a Finnish mobile phone. I want to use your landline.

-We don't have any other rooms available.

(I went over to talk the carpenter instead who didn't mind working on another floor for an hour)

Conversation 2 with the same receptionist:

-Can you tell me how long it would take to get to Esbo by taxi

- No, I can't. It depends

- Ok, well ballpark

- I don't know, it depends

-Are we talking 30 min, 1 hour, 2 hours?

- I don't know. I can't say!

- How far is it?

- It depends on how you drive.

- The shortest route

- I can't really say.

- Can you phone the taxi company and ask

She phones the taxi and hands me the phone

- Can you tell me how long it would take to get to Esbo

- No, I can't really say. It depends.

- Are we talking 30 min, 1 hour, 2 hours.

- It depends.


-Ok, I need to be in Esbo by 12.15. So should I order a taxi now though (it was 10am).

-No, that's too early

-When do I need a taxi by?

- I don't know. It depends

- Please send me a taxi anyway.

- It's too early

- I don't care. Just send one.


Furious with all of Finland I strutted out of the hotel with my head held high...only to slip on the ice and fall flat on my back, where I stayed for a while pondering over what I might have done lately to deserve this.

It took 20 min to Esbo so I took a long penguin-style walk in a snowy park.

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