Saturday, August 13, 2005

IAAF World Athletics Championships in Helsinki


This was one of the events responsible for a lot of personal misery to me (and my colleagues) unfortunately. No, I am not a sports fanatic at all. But it's strange to note, how such external factors do affect us still. I had to arrange for an apartment for myself within the first 3 weeks of arriving in Finland. We had been told it's not really difficult. But when we started searching, we were just not able to get *any* apartment available in the time period that we wanted. Even though the time period was supposedly the best, since in summers, a lot of apartments get vacant as the majority of the population goes off to a summer cottage, we faced major problems in finalising an apartment. Whatever little was available was at greatly hiked prices. I remember one chap was renting out his place only for the week in which the IAAF World Championships had to take place in Helsinki and he expected 2000€ for it! Outrageous by any real estate standards! Well the woes can make up a long post in themselves maybe later.

For now, the world championships are taking place out here. Helsinki is all geared up for the event. As can be expected, there is much fanfare, tourist friendly schemes, escalation in real estate and a good business opportunity for people. Suddenly there is a major influx of 'foreigners' in the local transport and on the streets. It feels good to be not the only ones, who do not understand Finnish/Swedish. Initially we thought that India isn't taking part in these events as there was just no information anywhere in the Indian media (on the net). Finally on visiting the venue, we managed to spot the Indian flag and later we learnt that Anju Bobby George was taking part in the long jump event (She had won the bronze in the same games held in Paris in 2003). She stood 5th in the event this year inspite of the bad weather. The weather conditions were *really* bad for the past few days and literally dampened our plans to watch this event. So far, I have not been able to watch the event. But will surely try to, in the 2 more days that the event is on. Even if India wasn't participating we all would have loved to use this opportunity to make a first, as far as watching a sports event in a stadium is concerned.

There are a lot of other activities which go on outside the stadium, for eg. marathons, fun games for free in which one can win prizes ranging from small badges and caps to passes of a cruise! I tried my hand at these games and collected a lot of small stuff (badges, pens, caps) but no cruises passes unfortunately. I also got my face painted with the Indian tri-colour! For once I won't face a problem of my nationality being mistaken.

13 Comments:

At 9:31 PM, August 13, 2005, Blogger Patrix said...

it must be a great experience being part of an international sporting event...although its not the Olympics but yet.

 
At 11:21 PM, August 13, 2005, Blogger Finnpundit said...

I'm glad you're enjoying your stay in Finland, but I must remind you that most of your observations tend to be rather cosmetic. Finland is a beautiful country, and there are great social services... yet the things that bother Finns tend to be the things they don't talk about: namely, the price people have to pay - in terms of taxation - for such a society.

Add to this the growing awareness that the welfare state economy is sustained by exports to non-welfare state consumers (US consumers), and you have a recipe for some unease (and one of the fundamental causes for ingrained anti-American bigotry).

Are Finns exploiters? Freeriders? Or have they truly devised a better way?

Those are the issues that pre-occupy the Finns.

 
At 1:22 AM, August 14, 2005, Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Yeah Patrix, it sure is great! Every day we have some new and interesting thing to watch..especially due to such a mega scale event.. and more so due to the chance of seeing such an event in India being near nil currently..BTW this event is supposed to be just second to Olympics in grandeur.

Hi Finnpundit, thanks for visiting!
I guess you've been in Finland for long, compared to my (not even) 2 months..well, as you observed correctly, my blog consists of mainly "cosmetic" things .. and that is the way it is intended to be consciously because it is a 'travelogue' and is entirely from a tourist POV.. I am really not into 'analysing' anything be it the state of minds of the Finns or whether they are free riding at all..at least not at this point of time, when I am still just absorbing in every experience ..
BTW since you mentioned taxation, I bear the brunt of it too..and at a higher rate if I'm here for less than 6 months and I don't take to it kindly either :(

 
At 9:58 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger johnny boy said...

Hey...
I am a travel freak, and I jus lovvvve knowing places around the world... So, i'll be depending on u, to see Finland, thru ur eyes :-)
Too bad that your search for accom has clashed with the sports event. All the best n hope u find a good one. I read in the newspapers that its carnival time in finland, no wonder you are having quite a lotta fun!
Keep the 'finnish' posts coming!

 
At 11:49 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Sure Johnny boy..that's one reason why I try to give err..detailed accounts :)..
and I did make some arrangement soon enough for accomodation though I had to change 2 because of that!

 
At 6:28 AM, August 16, 2005, Blogger AmitL said...

Wow...u must be really enjoying urself,Twilight...and,what an experience..to be right near these iinternational games...would luv to visit there,someday.:)

 
At 2:10 PM, August 16, 2005, Blogger johnny boy said...

:-) Any plans of participating in some events, at the sports meet? :-) Maybe u can give a shot at High jump, or pole vault... :-) what say? Get a surprise gold medal for India ;))))

 
At 8:54 PM, August 18, 2005, Blogger Life_Freedom_Masti said...

TF,

Once you have travelled enough, is there anything that really excites you anymore OR something you feel is a completely different experience? I write this as I begin to plan my weekend on a lazy thursday afternoon :), so pls. forgive the solemn tone!

Open invitation to you and anyone else, If you parcel me a "aloo ka paratha", I will send you riches beyond your wildest imaginations!

Happy Thursday to all!
LFM

 
At 2:59 AM, August 19, 2005, Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Ya AmitL, it sure was exciting :)

johnny boy, I wish I could, I wouldn't have won anything, but at least I wouldnt have doped like Neelam Jaswant Singh.

Life Freedom Masti, you are more of a traveller than I am :). And about the Aaloo ka parantha, didnt I teach you how to make one? :)

 
At 9:20 PM, August 19, 2005, Blogger Life_Freedom_Masti said...

Don't talk badly of Neelam Jaswant Singh. Doping is pretty good fun ... you should try it sometime! It's not at all harmful to the body (or addictive) - I would even go to the extent of saying that your "aloo ka parathas" loaded with indian ghee (!!) are more harmful to the body!

On that note, have you guys ever wondered, why all the best tasting foods are also the heaviest on calories! Why can't we have good food that is low on calories?

One wonders ...

 
At 3:52 PM, August 22, 2005, Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Life Freedom Masti..there *are* several such things which are low on calories and good in taste..you just need to know which ones :)

 
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