Hello, everybody! We are in Järvenpää, Finland!
Mayor Bill Bogaard, his field representative Judy Kent and I arrived at LAX on Sunday about three and a half hours in advance of our 4:45 p.m. Lufthansa flight, and the entire time we stood in lines. Lines on top of lines in front of lines after lines and then more lines! When we finally made it to the X-ray machine, our flight was almost ready to take off -- in another part of the terminal, of course, which seemed like it was 27 miles away. Judy went through X-ray first, put her shoes back on and headed toward the gate; Mayor Bogaard went through next and put his shoes back on; and I was the last of our little trio to go through. By the time I gathered my stuff out of the tray, a security person hollered, "You don't have time to put your shoes back on -- run!"
Mayor Bogaard grabbed my bag and his bag, and we scurried to the gate. Have you ever run along one of those moving sidewalks with bare feet? Probably not! They're made of something like corrugated metal, and each little slat is sharp. I ran along about four of them! I kept telling myself it was all mind over matter, kind of like walking over hot coals.
But we made it -- the last three people on the plane, then off we went. LAX to Frankfurt, then Frankfurt to Helsinki.
We arrived here in Järvenpää, checked into the hotel, changed clothes and dashed downstairs to meet the rest of the Pasadena delegation as well as our gracious Finnish hosts for dinner.
Here's a photo of our Pasadena Sister Cities group and our hosts in the restaurant after dinner, taken by a waitress. That's Jean Sibelius, the iconic Finnish composer, in the photo on the wall.
The weather here is beautiful -- about 70 degrees Farenheit at 10:45 p.m. By the way, we're in the Land of the Midnight Sun -- it's daylight outside!
Tomorrow: Tour of Helsinki, which is just about the same distance from Järvenpää as L.A. is to Pasadena.
I don't know about you, but I can't sleep on a plane. So now I'm leaving this quick post, bleary-eyed and ready to hit the sack after 29 hours without sleep.
I'll explain more about our delegation, our hosts and other info tomorrow. For now, I'm sending best wishes to everyone in Pasadena!
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