This article is part of the The Great American Reach Around series.
Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland
Finland is a remote European country, often erroneously referred to as an Eastern European country although it really is a Nordic one. It's a northern country of coldness and rapidly aging population. The Northern-most part of Finland is Lapland/Northern-Finland and it's a province of coldness and rapidly aging population. Do you see what I did there?
The soil of Lapland is cold, grey and barren with occassional swamps and fells. Its greatest city is Rovaniemi. The world's northern-most McDonald's is in Rovaniemi. Lapland is also the home for one of the only indigenous peoples in Europe; the Sami people. Their main source of income is herding reindeers and mysterious magic. Lapland is popular with tourists, mainly German and Japanese (old axis-pals). They come to see Santa Claus who lives in Lapland (not in the North Pole, you!). During summer the sun never sets in the North and winter nights are lit by the Northern lights, or the "devil's disco" like we call it.
Finland was under Swedish Kingdom until 18th century when Russia conquered us. Finally Finland got its independence from Russian communists in 1917. The glorious independent years were started with the civil war. Working class Reds versus conservative Whites. It started all nice but at the end it was basically German-backed Whites sending Red troops to concentration camps and executing their families. C.G.E. Mannerheim led Whites and recently he was voted the Greatest Finn Of All Times, beating scum such as Risto Ryti (signed the peace treaty after Continuation War of 1944) and Tarja Halonen (first female president of Finland, gay rights advocate).
Then came the Second World War and the Soviet Union attacked us. One of the many funny incidents during it includes the execution of Arndt Pekurinen, pacifist and conscientous objector. He was ordered to be shot by Captain Pentti Valkonen when he refused to wear a uniform and carry guns. Needless to say, Pentti Valkonen was awarded with the Mannerheim Cross Of Liberty.
During the Second World War, Finland was allied with the Nazis because the Soviet Union attacked Finland and we couldn't defend our fatherland alone. Hitler praised our race as pure and Nordic when in reality we are short and dark, at least compared to Swedes. As Finland signed a peace treaty with USSR in 1944, Nazi troops were still in Lapland and mayhem ensued. Much of Lapland was simply burned down.
But 'twas not peace yet. 1992 AD the Dark War raged between Norway and Finland as Black Metal bands from both countries fought to the last man. Wussy death metal bands from Sweden were not spared during the war.
Finland has a major identity crisis, clinging to every word mentioned about it abroad. Spring 2006 was a long orgasm for Finland as Conan O'Brien did a show in Finland and we won Eurovision for the first time. The winning band's singer is actually from Rovaniemi and the city square was renamed after him. I'm not joking, it's going to be fun in ten years explaining why the center of the city is named after a then forgotten Monster Rock band.
Most of the Finns think of the USA as "stupid yankees" but still the airwaves are filled with American TV-shows and even the most introverted nationalist secretly DOES care what the USA thinks of them. Finns are also huge fans of stereotyping people outside of Finland and within Finland. It's all good.
I hope you have enjoyed this installment of the Great American Reach Around. Next time we'll pay a visit to the South's most schizophrenic state and also find out how much Louisiana likes FEMA. Plus foreign countries!
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
Cons: causes bad nightmares. I used to have to eat beef until I passed out to have these kind of terrors, but this machine does it for me every time I fall asleep inside it.
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