Thursday, February 19, 2009

Busy more than ever....and sick too !

Achhoooo !!!!

That was the first thing I said on my first day to office in Finland. God !! its cold. The temperature stays between -10 and -3 all the time. Have to get into layers and layers of woollen clothes here. And I thought I would be on vacation here. And the work , its piling up faster than the snow here.

I have made lots of progress on the new integration I am working on. Think Ill put it up as a separate post in here.

Meantime, looks like fever has caught me. Serves me right to wander in that snow all the time.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Final destination : Helsinki

Two months ago, i said yes to a chance to go to Finland, to work at client location for a second time. Today I landed my long flight from Chennai to Helsinki, and landed at my final destination : Helsinki. Thought i would write down a few words about my trip here. Maybe, just maybe, some one might be reading.
Feb 7th, 6 pm: Flight is at 1:20 in the morning. But got to be there at least 3 hours in advance.So i start preparing and packing. Only 4 of my initially 8 room mates remain. We had enjoyed a nice dinner the evening before, so today its just goodbye.
8 pm: Im at the airport. The so called Chennai International Airport. Well, its improved since the last time i saw it. Traffic (read people) inside the ariport is better controlled. The mumbai incident has caused security to be beefed up once more. Visitors are not allowed to come in like before. Its fun to be there at the departure section. People waving near and dear ones goodbye, some are actually crying, some are joking around. But I am informed that the check in for my flight will open only at 10 pm. Great !! Now I have to waste out two hours even before check in. And then another three hours after it. Talk of productivity. Anyway, I head for the waiting corner and take out my phone. Lets call up some people.
9:40 pm : Not bad, I am improving my time wasting skills. I spent the last 1 hour 40 mins entirely on the phone. Called up family at home, friends spread here and there. Prasanth had broken into another one of his long sentimental speeches. Tomci is much more cheered up, because he has his own reasons too. Brother getting married soon, he tells me. Well, now I make it to the check in.
10:30 pm, i cant believe it took me this much time to walk from ground floor to the one on top. Lots of seats there, but none to lie on. I must say the whole section is cleaner and better than before. Looooots of foreigners, mostly Chinese and Korean, with a few Americans thrown in. Theres a bakery kind of stall there, called port lounge. But everything is so expensive, the cheapest item is that battata vada kind of stuff, the thing we get on the street chat vendor for 2rupees, and here its priced a two digit number. Three german (i think) business men in suits and holding laptops go up there, and return holding three batata vadaas. Poor things are obviously wonder struck at the international prices.
The plane is late, and i was half expecting it. Happens all the time. Boarding commences at 1:30 in the morning, and it can take off only after 2:30 at least. I get an aisle seat, a welcome change from the window seat i always get. All this time i wonder if I will be able to do all those techical things i am being sent there to do.
3:30 am: AAh, dinner time. Excellent meal, it was chicken, but i dont know how it was cooked.But tasted excellent. Lufthansa has an excellent entertainment system, lots of movies, songs and documentaries. But its difficult to stay awake at 3 in the morning to go through them.
4 am : zzzzZZZzzzZZZZzzzZZZzzzZZZ

I am awaken for breakfast by an airhostess. I forget to note down the time, so i gobble up the omellete in front of me and go back to sleep.
Plane lands in Frankfurt at 8 am local time. The delay in the beginning is still there, should have landed at 7 am. The airport is familiar to me, so I navigate myself through the complex corridors and escalator system. Up the escalator at the far end, through immigrations, down the stairs, stuck in the long queue at security screening, down, then a right and the elusive left to the long corridor to terminal 2. Not bad. Last time I had got lost and actually went through immigration twice !
9:15 am local time: Here is where I catch my next connecting flight to Helsinki. This time, there are more indians per row than europeans. I can make out at least 4 others from my same company, but in different projects. Its getting cold in here.
1 am, Helsiki time: We are about to land in Helsinki Vantaa airport. The sight is 100% new to me : Snow !! The entire ground is colored in white, the runways cut through them like black cuts. The trees are barren, and no vegetation at all. When I descend the plane, its obvoius that the heaters are on everywhere in the airport. After I collect my checked in luggage. by the way, its still in one piece, and walk through the doors, a blast of ice chilling wind greats me. My coat is not doing a good job here. There is lesser light for 2pm of the day, but the ice all around the place reflects all of it. The roads now have to be cleared of snow everyday, or no vehicle can pass through.

My friend Anto meets me at his door, and tells me that snow looks nice at first sight, but the more you go through it, the more you will hate it.

Let's see. I plan to make a snowman near me house, where I am sure it will be fully covered in snow. People like me dont get this chance everyday, or every year.

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