Dateline: 16:20 06 Sep 1996
Location: Stockholm-Helsinki, m/s Isabella

Well, almost; this chunk is being written at the terminal, but close enough.  It's quiet, and no wonder since Friday cruises cost a a whopping 4 times more than all other days.  Why, might you ask?  The answer is that it's a nefarious and vile plot by Viking to snatch the heart and soul, not to mention wallet, of those who would go for a weekend cruise.  Bastards, eh?  At least I got half off with Interrail, which meant that leaving today would be a few kr cheaper than staying another day and leaving then; besides, I couldn't have endured the tedium of being penniless (öreless?) in Stockholm for an extra 24h.  It's a truly dull place.  Everybody speaks English, so communication is not a challenge; the food is recognizable and mostly edible; all the earthier pleasures of life (the interestingly acronymizing trio of STD) have been eradicated; so what's a poor slob like me to do?

One appreciates travel by ship in an entirely different way after 3 weeks of train travel.  No longer you have a 0.5x1.0x1.0m box to sit in, but a floating chunk the size of a department store to walk around in, complete with pool and sauna.  OK, perhaps it's a rather expensive dep't store, but a nice one just the same.

There's no beating the system: on the way to Stockholm I won 13 FIM, so on the way back I lost precisely that sum.  I would've doubled my original winnings this time had I followed my original impulse, but no, logic won the day and I lost by not marking that one ace in addition to the joker.  TANSTAAFL.  I guess this means bye-bye to the sauna/pool I was thinking of: turns out you have to pay 28 FIM (!) for the privilege.  No sirree; at least not without that royal flush in poker.

The day's budget 
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