Saturday, 31 July 2010

The Scandinavian Expedition 2010 - Diary Day 31

The only picture I've taken in Kuhmo.
I've just read the last sentence of my previous post, about Kuhmo: "I hope I'll enjoy the actual place as much as I enjoyed getting here". What a laugh. The "actual place" is more like an Armpit of the Butthole in the Middle of Nowhere. Kuhmo showed me what the term "sleepy hollow" really means. It's the dullest place I came across in the last month and it wouldn't be exaggerated to say I ran away from there.

I didn't actually stay in Kuhmo, but in Kalevala, a nearby Karelian-like tourist resort. It made little difference, though. The morning after my arrival I felt so tired, slow and useless as if I had a cloth replacing the brain and my muscles were made of old, dry and stiff leather. I couldn't do anything, except for zombifyingly wandering around.

Mental dampening field like from a horror movie
The first day I blamed tiredness (after all, the same thing happened in Trondheim, where I suffered an acute case of lethargy), so I decided not to do anything for a day, just sprawl on the small artificial beach by the muddy lake, read a book and sleep. And indeed that's all I did. However, the next day started in the same fashion and I couldn't blame tiredness anymore. I realised how dull the place is. Firstly, the campsite was virtually deserted. Secondly, the few staff members I met weren't exactly useful. Thirdly, the aforementioned beach was not suitable for lazying around, since the water was muddy and uninviting. On top of all these things, I felt as if some kind of dampening field surrounded the whole area, making even thinking difficult, let alone moving.

On the third day I somehow managed to pack my gear and reluctantly shuffle my feet to the 4 kilometer distant town, only to learn it was as boring as the campsite. It really felt as if something, some kind of force or dampening field, were holding me there, making me lazy, sleepy, passive and utterly lethargic.

Demented cattle behind the wheel
As soon as I got to the other edge of town and started hitchhiking, a thunderstorm broke loose. When it ended, I spent two hours trying to get a ride, only to discover how imbecilic the locals are. Half of the passing cars that didn't outright ignore me were giving me stares like mentally impaired folks give to ice cream stands: jaws dropped and stupid, blank cattle-like expressions, turning their heads as they drove by. If they didn't have to focus on the road, they'd probably start drooling. Haven't they ever seen a bloody hitchhiker? Other people would thumb up back at me, smile or just wave their hands. Not as bad as demented stares, but certainly not helping given my frame of mind.

In the end the bus saved me. Good thing I was hiking on the bus stop and the service was on time. I was getting worried about the increasing amount of drool building up in my mouth...

Back in civilization!
As soon as I was on the bus and getting away from that butthole, those dampening waves of dullness and boredom started fading away and quickly dissipated. Quite simply, that place is a shithole and I should never have trusted the Rough Guide on Scandinavia about "amazing landscapes with views into Russia". Utter shite.

I did want to do some hiking, but that dullness was so totally uninspiring that I gave up. In Kuhmo I felt like in a horror story, where the protagonist is trapped by a mysterious force he doesn't understand and it makes him behave strangely, lose attention... and then a big monster eats him.

How glad I was when I finally got to Kuopio and saw an actual city! With people and buildings and neons and buses and everything! I thought I'd never admit something like this, but I was full of joy at seeing urban life. After Shithmo, everybody would feel the same.

Even if right now, in a campsite on the city's outskirts, there are people making noise at 1am, I can't sleep and probably I'll be pissed off soon, for now I'm happy to be in a lively place again.

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