Refugees and Sexy Ladies
“Oh here it is”. We get out, tighten our jackets. Man it’s cold! My boyfriend points me to the street where we booked our apartment. AirBnB and all, it’s so easy. We pass some nice looking bars and suddenly more and more strange looking windows. Some red lights, fake flowers, candles and all. “Feels like the Red Light District” I say to my bf. “What the heart thinks, the mouth speaks” he whispers at me.
A little further down the road, the red lights and the flowers change into texts. Sexy Lady’s, live lesbian shows or a striptease. It suddenly wasn’t a secret anymore what is going on behind those wonderfully decorated windows. I looked at my boyfriend, smiling. “What your eyes don’t see, mine do”.
Our AirBnB is cosy. The heater has been fully on though. It’s way too hot for us Dutchies. We leave the place to do some groceries around the corner.
A man outside is muttering something. The alcohol can be smelled miles away. We pass him and enter the supermarkt, or better ‘freakshow’. A young fellow with a black long jacket is having difficulty deciding on his diner for the evening. His green and red hair is standing right up like a pea-cock. An older man is sniffing through the cheeses. When he looks up I see drewl on his sweater. His eyes are red and big. He is smiling like a maniac. We soon walk straight towards the bread. At the counter another werid boy is singing a song out loud without really noticing life around him. He suddenly starts to move forwards… backwards… forwards… backwards… We pay for our groceries and leave.
After diner at our friends we are taking the bus to the city centre of Helsinki. “A 15 minute ride” my friend promises us. It’s New Years Eve and the fireworks in the centre should be a spectacle everyone tells us. At 23.20h the bus still hasn’t showed up. 23.30h… 23.35h… Clock is ticking. Time is passing.
Finally the bus is coming. It’s packed, but not enough to not let us in. Everyone pushes and pulls. We get ourselves inside and within 15 minutes we arrive at the city centre. We are in a hurry. It’s almost midnight and we haven’t reached the square yet. 23.55h they closed the square, 25.000 people have entered and now it’s full. We walk, almost run to the other square. It’s 00.00h and we arrive. People cheer, the fireworks has started and champagne bottles are popping. People laugh, jump, scream and sing. No kissing though. It’s cold and the fireworks are hardly seen from our spot.
00.05h fireworks are over, our champagne bottle is empty and the people are exchanging the cold square for warm bars. There still are some people on the street thoguh. They don’t look very Finish, they don’t look very Scandinavian.
Men, dark haired men. All of the same age, talking the same language, moving the same way, wearing the same clothes. “There are 35.000 refugees in Finland” my friend tells me “Many have come to Helsinki, they actually want to leave. It’s too cold and they won’t get what they want”. Many men pass us while we drink one last glass of champagne. The atmosphere suddenly changes. Two men get into a fight over a girl. Boys run up and down showing their awesomeness to each other. A boy tries to kiss me on the cheeck, another one says hello to my boyfriend and yest another one grabs someone by the arm.
My friend tells me that some refugee centres got burned down. When she defended the refugees they told her she should be treated the same as them. She feels like a stranger in her own country.
35.0000 people have excaped to find safety in Finland. 10.000 are allowed to stay. Many young men have come, there is nothing to do but hang around, do nothing but provoke each other.
We drink another Finnish beer. Which aren’t that bad and good either. At 4AM we pass those sexy ladies again. No red lights this time. They too celebrated a new year. I lay my head down to sleep. Sexy ladies, refugees, fireworks and old friends. 2015 is behind, 2016 ahead..