Oh dear, Holger is wearing socks and sandals again. ‘It is German stylish,’ he says. The socks are dark socks, however, which he has equated to being more British.
‘I am even drinking tea now,’ he boasts. Ah, a veritable step in the right direction. Sidling up to me on the ferry to Finland, he has some pressing – nay, momentous – information to impart.
In Finland – though sadly I don’t think this applies to Helsinki – women approach men. And in a deliciously direct manner, too. There are more women than men up here, perhaps explaining this unusual phenomenon. Holger, though happily married, is smiling as he recounts this social anomaly. And I notice that he’s dribbling slightly, too.
‘I think it is better in the north, but I was in Kuopio,’ he says, ‘and I was chatting to this girl. After half an hour she asked if I wanted to fuck with her.’ Of course he turned her down, but for single men, Finland may have just edged up the priority list for holidays.
We come to Finland by sea, from a little Swedish port called Kappelskar. We’ll edit out the tiring drive east from Oslo, I think; it’s enough to say that Namibian and I drove through yet another romantic sunrise, which just isn’t the same as sharing a bottle of red as night falls. And, quite honestly, he’s the wrong sex for these endeavours. And from there we’ve boarded MS Finnfellow for the eight-hour slap across the Baltic.
Vouchers for a free drink are issued, and dinner and breakfast are included. How are we supposed to get two huge meals and eight-and-a-half hours sleep in, then? Hardly recuperative, is it?
Still, unlike the boat from Stockholm, at least there is no disco onboard in which to drink ourselves stupid.
Hello, hello. What’s this picture of a black truck getting off the boat? Ah, the Metallica trucks are coming the other way – from Helsinki to Oslo. Our colleagues (another twenty or so trucks) spin round and come and say hello; Transam Trucking have a lot of trucks crossing the Baltic today. And so does the ferry company.
As we embark, we are so closely parked – hemmed in like sardines – that I fear Namibian will be marooned, unable to get out of either door. There is no way he could exit through a truck window as a last resort, either. His door opens a little, and he just squeezes through the gap.