A new locale for Helsinki’s Jamaican flavours.

PIDGEONS, grey office buildings, a Lidl at the corner, a busy street swarming with busses and pedestrians. Dark windowed bars waiting to open their doors for the early birds. The location is as Kallio as you can get. Yet stepping in to Jamaican Mamas I suddenly feel far away from the notorious Helsinki district. A beach hut. A soft Bob Marley ballad. The smell of cinnamon and spices, and happy chatter coming from the corner. A green, black and yellow flag is on the wall. Am I still in Finland?

On a ferry back from Tallinn a few weeks back, I happened to sit close to a family with a youngish child – probably around eight-years old. She was playing with a robot toy that squawked a few bars of heavy metal guitar music at the push of a button. Needless to say, the button was pushed continuously.

At first it was only mildly irritating, but I noticed that after 20 minutes, passengers were starting to stare, and the child’s parents to notice. At first, they settled on “Isn’t she sweet?” smiles, which after another hour sank to, “I know… but what can you do?” grimaces.

A new restaurant brings some Mexican sunshine to the office quarter near the Central Railway Station in Helsinki. Rapidly securing its place in the hearts of food lovers, even the Ambassador of Mexico is a fan.

It is probably the most ideal time of the year to discover some Mexican sizzle in the city of Helsinki. The polar nights are upon us and as the general gloom of November sets in, every means for keeping the winter blues at bay will be needed. Well, here is one top tip: head down to Eatos.

This is a formidable place in the Asian store. Spiky fruit abide side-by-side with frozen sea life of various size, shape and colour. Packets half frosted-over offer little help – ‘Squid balls’ proclaims one, another has text mostly in foreign scribble and, helpfully, in Dutch. Asking the shopkeeper is not an option, lest risk her wrath, therefore is all hope lost? No, it is not. Here is SixDegrees’ helpful guide to perusing the freezer section.

During the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to make extensive use of Finland’s health care facilities. Not that I would have really wanted this opportunity, of course, but I must admit that I have been curious as to how good the hospitals here really are.

I have undergone a couple of different outpatient medical procedures, and such a battery of tests that I could now find my way to the Meilahti Hospital laboratory in complete darkness.