If you are stranded in Finland, say because of the Icelandic volcano unpleasantness, don’t worry. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the language; Finns aren’t big talkers anyway.
Now, if you want to get home without flying, if Helsinki-Vantaa is shut down and you’re in a hurry, there are several ways to go:
- Take a train east to St. Petersburg, then across the Baltic countries to Poland, where you will be waylaid by opportunistic ruffians and locked into the Poznan slave mines. By the time the police free you, the unpleasantness should be over, and you can fly home, without money, clothes or dignity, but flying. (Rail service through Sweden has been inoperative since the 1994-5 Fenno-Swedish war.)
- Take a ferry from Helsinki or Turku across the Baltic sea to Germany. This is actually a very pleasant and affordable way to travel, and there are hardly any pirates on the Baltic Sea. Those few that there are, are violent Polish ruffians however, and should not be resisted. After they lock you in the Gdansk Water Tread Mill, you just wait a week or seven for a police raid, and then fly home.
- You can take a bus, too. Or a taxi. Just remember than if they ask you to use a seatbelt, they’re trying to trap you. If you click the seatbelt shut, it won’t open. And if you’re foolish enough to fall for the “safety helmet with a gag for extra safety” ploy, well, then you’re truly in trouble. The good news is only 7% of those “taxied” get sold to Siberia. The rest go to the Polish slave market, which is raided by the police so regularly you’re looking at no more than a few months, tops, building the Szczecin Lagoon Bridge, and this in pleasantly warm North Polish climate, with liquid water and all, too.
- Oh, and the real buses and taxis. They can be slow, especially since it’s the moose wandering time right now. If you run into a sizable pack there’s nothing to do but to hoist the bus/taxi up between a few thick trees and wait until the last stragglers tire of snapping and glaring up at you. (Could be worse — this could happen during the September bear migrations. Seeing the dustcloud of a thousand carnivores, each a ton or more, each looking for a heavy snack before mass hibernation, is no fun for anyone except for the bears who can be pretty playful in their fatal cruelty. It’s not unheard of that they should attack a village, devour the inhabitants, and then curl up, one in every cellar, for the winter. That’s why the buses don’t stop if a village seems too quiet.)
- You could try walking. Those are not wolves, by the way. They’re dogs. Big dogs that want to, er, to be friends with you. And those bears are almost tame… look, that’s the Tourist Bureau’s position and I’m paid to stick to it. All I’m saying is if you stop for lunch don’t spill any sauce on yourself.
- I hear the Hot-Cool Physics Research Group over at the University of Helsinki has a prototype of a matter transfer device. The receiver’s in Rome, so you could get there anyways. There’s a slight problem in the fact that the machine more like scans you and constructs a copy of you in Rome; the “original” version of you is then atomized. Or because there were no funds for that, I gather they use bludgeons and an oven, so you might not want to use this method if being mauled to death is not your thing.
- You could rent a car, if you can use one with a stick shift, a snowplow and arctic slit windows. (Then again, those will come handy when driving through Poland.) The problem is, car engines available in Finland are optimized for Finnish conditions, which means they overheat and tend to explode if the temperature gets over zero degrees Celsius, i.e. 32 degrees Fahrenheit. And if that happens in Poland, it’s the Warsaw Horse Replacement Agency for you! Until you fly home.
- Or, and this may be you best chance, you could petition for temporary admission into a Finnish nose-clan. If admitted, you would be fed, sheltered from the elements, the occasional Polish pirate attacks and the maraudering bear clans, and, if you should decide to stay, married to a nondescript, quiet and in other ways nice clansapling. It’s not so bad living in a Finnish nose-clan, you know: you get used to the communal sauna-baths and the drinking of each others’ blood, and raw chickens’ livers are an easily acquired taste. Plus you really don’t have to take part in the Swede-baiting if you don’t want. We understand that some outsiders think our ways are violent and horrible; that’s why we don’t tell anyone about the sewing of the sac. (Which is a part of joining a nose-clan, but more about that after you decide to join.)
- Whatever you do, don’t agree to join one of the bear clans. They occasionally have recruiters hanging around the airports, shaven and stuffed in suits to look like men, but if you follow one into the woods, it’s carnivore time for you. Plus they probably sell your bones to the Polish pirates for rattles or something. They are barbarians that don’t bleach the bones of their prey.
- The moose clans are not dangerous like the bear clans, but they’re really clueless. Unless you like starving and the flux, don’t go there. Plus they have like real moose as members and there’s the very real possibility you may get united in the sweet bliss of a shotgun marriage to one after you innocently rub it behind the ears. (They’re touchy folks with weird standards of modesty and propriety, but what’re you going to do when they have a majority in the Eduskunta, that is, the tribal council. At least the Governor-General is smart enough to not listen to all of their weird lunar worship crap.)
- Well, at least you don’t need to worry about the wolf clans; the last was finally disbanded in 1998. Though some remnants survive in “the outback”, you should be fine if you stay in the cities, don’t go outside the perimeter fence, and always ask to see the clan registration and tattoo of anyone that makes you suspicious. (Oh, and if you see a tree with a bear skull nailed to it about yea high (a yea is around 9.5 feet), take off your hat and don’t say a thing. It’s religion, you see, and some of the Karhu zealots can be a tad hasty with their bludgeons. (If this worries you, remember that it’s legal to carry a bludgeon of no more than 2 meters in length or 50 kiloes in weight, with no more than two spikes. Your den-hotel can probably rent you one.))