On several occasions, locals have come up to me and started speaking Finnish. All have been quite friendly. But, I can only return a stupid gaze. Why? I don’t speak Finnish. Some guy just walked by with a big smile and said something. It probably pertained to working outside in this beautiful weather, the great cigar I’m smoking or my truly snazzy hat. He didn’t slow down for my “Francais, English” routine. So, he walked off probably thinking, “What an asshole.”
My first day here, I was sitting and writing in a nearby park. Nice place. Two local hotties walked up and said something, whihc I assumed was a request to share the bench with me. This seemed odd, as there was a perfectly good (and empty) bench right next to it. Maybe they are familiar wiht my reputation as a ghostwriter (which would be akin to claiming one of the “unknown soldiers” as a relative). Maybe they wanted to pick me up. Or, more likely, maybe the sun was shining on my particular bench while the other was in the shade. They saw my blond hair and assumed that I’m Finnish. They were wrong. Also, they spoke neither French nor English. I figured out what they wanted (to sit down and eat lunch) and invited them to join me. Then, I finished the pitch letter I was writing and left.
On the boat to Suommenlinna, I was greeted (and ostensibly asked for my ticket) in Finnish as well. Fortunately, they spoke English.