I ploughed on up through Finland until I finally reached the Arctic circle. As the so called home of Santa Claus, I’m sure Rovaniemi has its charms in the snow-capped months of midwinter, but in the middle of summer it has an ambience so surreal that it could have come straight out of a Ray Bradbury story.
The place was modelled on your classic Disneyland/Amusement park. The ‘village’ square was teeming with tourists of all nations and they were heading straight for the sign that promised “Santa is here.” With no desire to meet the main main, I headed to the gift shop where I chatted to a red-hatted elf behind the till.
“Do you like wearing your uniform?” I whispered, lest the fabled fellow himself be listening.
“Yes of course. I love my job,” she said, without even a sniff of sarcasm. Perhaps Saint Nick doubles as CCTV monitor in the slower months and had all ears on Fifi. Or perhaps the Finns really are the happiest nation on the planet and simply have no need for sarcasm. The lowest form of wit has served me well over the years and I’m reluctant to give it up just yet, but maybe these Finns are on to something.