We're just back from New York, and the Flickr set is now up. Thanks to my old camera crapping out on me I'm now the proud owner of a Sony 200. So the first few photos are when the I could get the CCD in the old Canon point-and-shoot to work.
Our trip was full of great sights, shopping, food and drink - much downtime was spent at the Campbell Apartment sipping Manhattans and my new fave, Sazeracs. We also happened to be there at the same time as Marc and Eva, so we had fun hanging out with them, including a dinner with Pere and Isabel in Williamsburg. Foodwise, we gorged ourselves on everything from a cool little Phillipino cafe (Bayan), and a very nice Korean/Japanese place (Busan) that had just opened around the corner from our hotel (Apparently it's so new that they don't even have a web listing anywhere! How can I promote them if they don't have a web address?).
While waiting to catch a bus downtown from my folks place in North Vancouver yesterday, a bus passed going the other way with a billboard ad on the side reading something like, "Etälä Suomen Lääni". It took a few moments for me to remember that I was actually no longer in Finland, so seeing Finnish text on the side of a bus should be rather unusual, to say the least. Marjo helped me track a version of the ad down, which is part of Diesel's rather questionable 'global warming' campaign. While Diesel's online content seems to show them wanting to promote awareness about global climate change, the underlying message in the ads seems to be "instead of trying to stop global warming, just go with it because the future will be hotter and sexier." This seems to be exactly the critique of Climate Change Denial, where we found this image. Then while on my way downtown, I noticed that a woman in front of me had a tattoo across the back of her neck in Inuktitut syllabics. Is this the successor trend to the cultural appropriations of tribal, Celtic, and the omnipresent Chinese characters by people with zero connection or actual awareness of the original cultures and contexts? In the wake of the near universalization of the Inukshuk in Canada, such as in the Vancouver 2010 logo Inuit culture seems to be wide-open for appropriation (no doubt going back to soap stone carvings and beyond). While it is possible that this woman was actually a pale Inuit, somehow I doubt it. It looks like "jiasika" to me. Any of my Inuktitut speaking friends care to translate for me?
I know I'm awful for barely blogging about my current whereabouts, let alone all the variety of interesting things happening in the world. Well, trust me, there's just not that much interesting been going on. As a matter of alleviating some guilt, here is what I'm doing currently. I flew to Toronto on Sunday (Canada Day!) and spent some quality time hanging out with my cousin and my friend Paul. Then "home" to Vancouver on Tuesday, to spent some time relaxing with the family here (you can check out the photo left of the 'big dig' that is their new backyard, complete with babbling brook and pond). Added bonus to coming home at this time was the FIFA U-20 World Cup. My dad and I caught a double header of Uruguay-Jordan and Spain-Zambia. It's great that Canada is hosting an event of this magnitude, and cool that I got to see players like Gerard Pique live at Swangard Stadium, where I saw most of my first soccer/football matches. And extremely cool added bonus is that we just got tickets to the legendary reggae producer and artist Lee "Scratch" Perry next Saturday at the fabulous Commodore.
Just came from the Nordic International Studies Association conference in Odense, presenting my "bucket" paper and now hanging out for the weekend in Copenhagen. The city is just as nice as I remember, and always lots of things going on (including a Caribbean carnival parade today). I missed out on Korean Palace two nights in a row, but just had a great dinner of roe and filet mignon at Restuarant Zeleste. One of the best meals in a long time. So until next week...
Only a few pics this time from the 'middle' trip to Akureyri, although it was actually the longest. I was invited to teach in the University of Akureyri's social sciences faculty, and gave lectures on community based research, Q method, socio-economic development in the North, and circumpolar international relations. I also gave a public lecture using an overview of some of the definitional issues around indigenous peoples in international relations and international law, based on my PhD research. Quite fun, although I had a nasty cold for most of the time. Hope I get to go back again soon.
After a seemingly interminable period of travel (Inari, Barcelona, Akureyri, Murmansk) with only scant days in between to wash underwear and repack, I'm finally getting around to putting some of the photos online (and updating the blog, of course). So first up are the photos from the only non-work trip of the bunch, the winter escape to Barcelona and various places Catalan. The BarÃ§a-Liverpool Champions League match was all the excuse I needed to go visit Marc and Eva in their newly renovated flat. While the end result of the match wasn't that great, the rest of the trip was. We even got out of the big city for side-trips up to the beautiful coastal town of Cadaques and down to TarÃ©s for a spring calgots (spring onion) party at Dani's. Enjoy all the photos in Photospace.
I spent my remaining vacation week visiting Jussi in Berlin. Perfect break before the academic year starts. Besides doing lots of shopping in cool arty clothes stores and second hand shops in Prenzlauer Berg and beyond, we had some great meals, and a couple memorable chess matches at Yes. I also got to finally meet Jussi's girlfriend Jing, her lovely friend Sindy, and Jussi's friends Cameron and Amanda from San Francisco. Saturday was the perfect culmination of the trip, with a tourist boatride on the Spree, and Lang Nacht der Museen (Long Night of Museums). All the main museums in the centre are open until 2am and there is a single entrance fee. We even climbed up to the top of the Dom at midnight for some nice views of the city. I've uploaded a few photos onto Flickr.
The keen-eyed may have spotted my pics from last night's Depeche Mode gig at Helsinki's Hartwall Arena in the Flickr photo badge. Pretty great show from my all-time favourite band. There was a great omen when I looked at my ticket and discovered I was sitting in seat 101 of section 101! How cool is that? They started with many of the tracks from the new album, Playing the Angel, before getting into the real classic crowd pleasers. A personal treat was the first encore, a kinda 'acoustic' version of Shake the Disease with just Martin and a piano-tuned synth. Pity the finnish crowd wasn't really into the whole crowd participation thing. Hope the band understand cultural differences. Hard to believe it was almost 20 years ago when I saw them for the first time.
Back 'home' in Finland now after a relaxing but busy time 'home' in Vancouver over the holidays. Didn't get a chance to blog at all, although there was lots of activities that were blog-worthy. Just goes to show, sometimes you should just enjoy life instead of documenting it. But to make up for the silence, here's a brief recap of recent events. I kicked off the trip in style with the opening game of the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championships, between the country of my birth and my adopted home (Canada-Finland, for those who haven't been paying attention). True to my conflicted feelings, I wore my Canada jersey and Suomi pipo (photo to follow).
Nice family Christmas with the folks and my brother Greg. Some good loot from Santa, including much needed outdoor gear (both for the upcoming ski trip, and normal life here in Rovaniemi). Blackberry pie for dessert. Yum, my favourite (thanks mom!)
A quick visit over to Victoria with Greg to visit our cousins Kirk and Todd, and uncle Kim, and their families. Keeping the great month of sport going, my bro took me to a Canucks game with his BMW corporate seats-- Row 2! Thanks, Greg!
The fun and chaos really began when Marjo arrived from Prince George (via Victoria), and Marc, Eva, Pere and Isabel arrived from Barcelona (via Calgary). We enjoyed our favourite all-you-can it sushi experience, before leaving for New Years frivolity in Whistler. After meeting my brother and Stacey, we spent New Years Eve at Tommy Africa's, which was actually a lot of fun, and played great 80s music.
After a needed day of recovery (and shopping) we hit the slopes and enjoyed some great sun and powder.
Capping things off the way they started, Marjo and I managed to score some tickets to the bronze medal game of the Junior Championships between Finland and the USA. Centre ice, row 7 no less! Finland comes from behind to surprise the tournament favourite 4-2. No conflict here, HyvÃ¤ Suomi!
After the others left there was barely enough time to visit Kristyn and Christer before packing up for home. Next time hopefully things will be a bit more relaxed and I'll have some more time to visit friends in Vancouver. I can't believe how quickly the time passed, and sorry that I didn't get to see more long lost friends.
More photos from the trip in PhotoSpace.
I fly back to Vancouver on Tuesday, so I'm getting myself ready to go this weekend. Lifehacker has a bunch of great travel tips that I'll try to put to use this time to smooth things along. Packing used to mean remembering things like rain gear and comfortable walking shoes, but with our ultra-modern lifestyles, trip preparation increasingly means making sure your media is travelling with you as well. Since I haven't broken down and bought a portable video player yet, I'll be putting a few tv shows and movies on my laptop and a bunch of tunes, podcasts and Teach Yourself Catalan on my mp3 player. One of the reader tips on Lifehacker was to use Slogger to store some web articles offline to read. While this is a a great application and idea, I think I'll save my laptop battery for video enjoyment and do my reading in traditional book and magazine form. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about copying any more media for the trip than what I'll need in transit, since I can now use either FTP or Orb to access my whole collection online.
As for all that 'traditional' packing, I'm using the Universal Packing List to make sure I don't forget rain gear or comfortable walking shoes because I was too distracted with gadgets and media. Not only does it create a great custom packing list, it includes loads of other practical tips like:
- Wash the dishes
- Make a lunch
- Empty all trash cans
- Confirm airline tickets
- Memorize PIN codes to credit cards
Now I have to stop blogging and start packing!
I just returned from a short but very memorable trip to Barcelona, vistiing Marc and my beloved BarÃ§a. A nice selection of photos are now up on my Flickr account.
I caught an early flight on Tuesday morning, just in time to do some shopping before going to my first ever Champions League game. BarÃ§a demolished Werder Bremen 3-1, fielding Larsson in place of Eto'o. Marc actually didn't get back from Calgary until Thursday, so I went to the match with his good friend Pere Grau (gracies, Pere!).
Wednesday and Thursday I mostly spent money I don't have, including selling my soul for BarÃ§a gear at the Camp Nou megastore botiga.
After Marc returned, he braved jetlag to drive us up into the mountains for a great day hiking about in the forest and a country lunch (mmmm... rabbit). The delicacies continued to flow back in BCN as we met friends for a Kashmiri meal and then drinks in the Raval district.
Saturday was back to the countryside, staying at Marc's grandparents place in Sant Hilari Salcam. Great little town, and would be an ideal place to get away when I'm finishing off my thesis in a couple years. We spent the night there, and stopped for lunch at his uncle's in Besalu before returning for the match against Racing Santander. Another commanding performance from Ronaldinho and company. Eto'o scored an impossible opener, walking through four defenders, and it was off to the races! Yet again, only a penalty saved the opposition from being kept off the scoresheet entirely. 4-1 final.
Visca el BarÃ§a, i visca Catalunya lliure! Moltes gracies, Marc!
I've been playing around a bit with Google Maps and decided to mark up some points of interests on the Kola Peninsula for my students to explore before our excursion there in October. You can make out the piers of the naval bases of the Northern Fleet, and environmental damage from the nickel smelters in Nikel and Monchegorsk. Probably the coolest site are the secret early warning radar station and the huge surface-to-air missile base on the way to Lovozero. You can see my marked-up Google Map either here at NorthSpace, or the "official" version at the Arctic Centre. Let me know if you find any mistakes, or new interesting features.
While I was talking to my friend Jussi last night on Skype, I decided to go visit him in Berlin... tomorrow. I booked my flight using points and received my e-ticket via SMS while I was still talking to Jussi. Technology is my friend. Back in a week. Laters all!
I hope Jay still thinks this is as cool as I do. I spent last week on a tour of the Kola Peninsula, leading a group of international students. While we were in Murmansk we somehow managed to get access to the very-off-limits Atomflot base to take a tour of a nuclear icebreaker. As we arrived at the base, I suddenly saw the Admiral Kuznyetsov, Russia's only remaining aircraft carrier loom into view. I snapped a quick photo from the bus, but we were strictly forbidden from taking photos inside the base where we were barely 50 meters from the behemoth.
Nevertheless, I took a spyshot out the window of the window of the icebreaker towards the Lotta, a floating base for spent nuclear fuel from submarines and icebreakers, and the surrounding storage area. You can check out all the photos from the trip in PhotoSpace.
Not exactly northspace, but it seems to make everyone I talk to in Finland raving jealous. Yes, I'm in Hawaii. On Waikiki Beach. For work. I'm here attending the 2005 International Studies Association Annual Conference in at the Hawaiian Village Hilton. When I left Rovaniemi is was windy and -10. I just heard it was -25 today. I just went swimming in the ocean, but the water was a bit to warm. Already getting a pretty good tan. Some interesting panels in the conference, but also lots of time for leisure activities, shall we say. Absolutely brilliant. My punishment is that I'll be in the Kola Peninsula next week. :( At least it will be cheaper there.
I returned this week from an excursion to the Kola Peninsula with the Northern Resources masters program. I was the excursion's "academic coordinator," which basically amounted to me giving short background information on the various environmental disasters they would be seeing each day. And believe me, the Kola region has plenty to offer in that area. Nevermind the 200+ nuclear reactors, most of which are in out of service submarines, some in various states of being decommissioned. Or the Pechenganikel and Severonikel smelting operations that collectively pump something like 450,000 tons of SO2 plus assorted heavy metals annually into the air, resulting in massive forest devastation in the surrounding areas. Or the Kola Nuclear Power Plant, for which Bellona claims a 25% chance of meltdown on the two oldest reactors over their 23-year lifespan (these reactors are now 30 years old, and we heard had just been licenced for a further 5 years). Despite all this, I saw many signs of improvement in Murmansk and the rest of the Kola region, at least socially and economically. Living standards have visibly improved, (at least in Murmansk) and much of the Soviet-era service style has been replaced with western-style shops and restaurants. I'm not saying Russia's entry into the world of globalized western capitalism is inherently a good thing, but it is a demonstration of improvements in some areas. There are still huge economic disparities, and I know the Columbia Sportswear and MEXX shops in downtown Murmansk are beyond the budgets of most of its citizens, but they were but the top end of a general trend throughout the city that indicates a growing middle-class. This situation, however, was tempered by towns like Lovozero and Umba where there is literally no main industry (save for Lovozero's Swedish-owned reindeer slaughter house, which operates less than half the year) and most people survive by basic subsistence.
Frankfurt, after coming straight from breakfast at First Beach and a walk around Lost Lagoon (Vancouver for the geographically challenged), I emerge at the same time of day in Frankfurt, albeit a day later. With no sleep, I'm experiencing just that kind of lost in time feeling that only happens in airports, which was captured quite well in Fight Club. 'Could I wake up as a different person?' Still two more flights and ten more hours before I'm home. Luckily I have a good haul of media consumables and duty free to keep me company when I get there.
I'm starting to feel like more and more of a tourist each time I come back here. Vancouver has changed a lot. Some nice, but mostly I notice the bigger gaps between the trendoids with their Hummers and Verace, and the junkies and panhandlers. Still, there's no better city for natural setting, but I wonder if that's enough. We'll see how Rovaniemi compares tomorrow. See ya'll!
Hi all, I've been hanging out in western North America for the past couple weeks (Fairbanks, AK and Vancouver, BC to be precise), which may explain my brief absence that none of you have noticed. Wrapped up my last UArctic meeting in Fairbanks, and began my new research "career" at ICASS V: the International Arctic Social Science Association's 5th triennial congress. All good fun, and my paper seemed to be well received. Nice to see some old familiar faces, and meet some new ones as well. Plus I managed to survive my first post-911 experience in the US ok. Spent my birthday week seeing some friends and family in Vancouver and catching up on some shopping. Nice. I also checked out my brother's new pad in trendy Yaletown. Heading back North to Lapland on Tuesday, and back to what I call "normal".