So the other night I went to the sauna. I didn't, like I originally thought I would, end up going with two Irish dudes. I ended up going with two Irish dudes, two Americans, a German, a pair of Russians, and the half-Finnish son of one of the Irish guys. I have to say, being nude in a roomful of people that I barely know who are also nude was somehow not nearly as awkward as I thought it would be. It was certainly less awkward than, say, one of those public restrooms where instead of urinals they have a big long trough. (Putting ice in there doesn't make it better, Wrigley Field.) For example, there were two or three lively conversations happening in the sauna at any given time whereas carrying on a conversation of any kind with the guy at the next urinal is a pretty good way to achieve weirdo status.
I was expecting it to be hot, of course, but it was next level hot. When I first walked in they had just thrown some water onto the stones and the air was so intensely hot that it was a bit painful to inhale. If you didn't drink your beer fast enough the lip of the can got so hot it was uncomfortable to drink from. It. Was. Hot. I could only take it for about 15 minutes at a time, at which point I had to take a shower to cool down. I didn't look at the thermometer but apparently it's not unusual for the sauna to be between 170 and 230 degrees. When it was over and I had a chance to cool down I definitely felt relaxed. Overall: I enjoyed the sauna very much and I at least have gained the knowledge that throwing beer on the sauna stones smells not unlike burning hair.
We also went to a really awesome hockey game featuring HIFK and Jokerit, which are both Helsinki teams so it's a big rivalry game. We were instructed by our Finnish friends to root for HIFK, which I think I probably would have done anyway because Jokerit has possibly the goofiest logo I've ever seen, a cartoony jester who is smirking and winking in a less than intimidating manner. HIFK, on the other hand, sports a dignified crest that notes that they were established in 1897 (by a 15-year-old). There were several fights, some blood, a puck that flew into the stands (which Lyndsey recovered after the game and is now sitting on our dresser), and HIFK won 3-0. Also at Finnish hockey games you can buy a cup of hot dogs. Literally, it's just a paper cup with like four hot dogs stuck in there vertically. I don't know about the rest of you, fellow Americans, but I can live with America's fall from economic, military, and diplomatic prominence. However, I am extremely surprised and depressed that another country has arrived at hot-dogs-in-a-cup before us. Some deep soul searching needs to be done, America. If we aren't leading in the way in crazy snacks, I ask you, where are we leading?
Tomorrow: Finnish brunch. I'm not typically a breakfast food fan but Cup o' Weenies (which is what I'm going to call it when I import it to the States and make my first million) makes me think the Finns will have some good ideas. I'm sure you'll see a picture of it on Lyndsey's Facebook at some point.