Today in Helsinki it was sweater and jacket weather. We docked near an outdoor market that sold food and homemade crafts, all sorts of wooden carvings and sculptures by local artisans, and even Reindeer antlers.
I sat down at an outdoor stall, within sight of where the ship was docked, that sold freshly cooked salmon, herring and calamari, but what I wanted was local whitefish. There were only two small pieces on the grill, so I said, I’ll take ’em! It was “perch”, from the ocean. They seemed pleased that I had chosen that, unlike the usual tourists’ choices.
While eating, one of the cooks, who turned out to be the owner, asked me how long I’m in Helsinki, so I told her I was working as a magician on that cruise ship, and was here just for the day.
A magician?! Oh, can you show us some magic? came the immediate response, the one I had hoped for, I must admit 🙂 but with more enthusiasm than I had anticipated!
Of course, I said, and proceeded. Her daughter of 11, Sarah, here at moms’ work for the first time, and speaking flawless English, came right over as well, and all four watched intently, and within 5 minutes, it was “oh how great, the food is free!” Such nice people, so I had to do more magic…
And so did she, first giving me homemade salmon soup with potatoes, which was not on the menu and was amazing, then more fish, then chocolate cake! I told her how much i liked the soup, and next thing I knew she had wrapped a big bowl of it to go, for me to take. And wouldn’t let me pay a dime for any of it! And all of that with a simple deck of cards, no rising card, no wallet, no cube, no invisible deck, just 52 assistants…
She and the other two cooks, a guy and her sister, all watched. At one point, I asked her daughter to “show your card to the ladies”, forgetting about the guy for a moment, and from then on the very bright little girl, and then me, kept referring to him as a lady, which got quite a laugh from everyone, several times! It became a running gag, helped along when I “noticed” his full length cooking apron looked like a dress.
A great time was had by all, and I left full, happy and warmed from the inside, more from their joy and gratitude than the delicious meal!