Space Shuttle To Venus: Ruma in Tempere, Finland

I woke up this morning with “space shuttle to Venus” written on my forearm, and I have no idea what it means or how it ended up there.

I write messages to myself on my forearms pretty often. I find it much more effective than writing on your palm, which tends to wash off easily. Usually it’s a reminder to do something important. The only drawback is that it looks really dumb. In this case, I don’t think I was meaning to book a space shuttle to Venus, but I can’t be entirely convinced since I woke up with about a 10-hour memory lapse from my first night in Finland and my experience at a rock bar called Ruma.

The night started with a few drinks at my new Finnish friend Marjo’s new flat. Marjo lives in a beautiful studio apartment that overlooks Lake Nasijarri. She has a beautiful smile that she uses often and her entire flat seemed to be decadently themed “white” except for her room, which was largely composed of pink. Walking in, I felt like I should have been showing off a small homemade fruitcake and a baby blue cardigan sweater. I walked into the room as a complete stranger, but quickly introduced myself when Dimmu Borgir came on the party playlist. I asked Marjo why Dimmu Borgir was playing as I looked around at the various puppy themed ornaments in the kitchen and watched her friends eat ornamental strawberries dipped in yogurt. She said in broken English, that one of the guys probably put it on, all of whom were smoking cigarettes on balcony, meaning that Marjo and the rest of the attractive, blonde Finnish girls most of whom had brought some homemade pastry or dip to the quaint party, were listening to Dimmu Borgir at their own discretion. Finnish girls – 1, Everyone else – 0.

After eating my fair share of popcorn and talking about skateboarding with everyone at the party who could speak English, we headed to a Finnish rock bar called Ruma. Now handsome reader, let me first tell you that Ruma isn’t your grandfather’s rock bar. In fact, your grandfather would imaginably be quite offended by the place. I walked up the stairs in search for some beverage service, but was interrupted immediately by an assault of visual stimulus in the form of a 40-foot table covered in pictures of the dirtiest porn that you’ve ever even heard of. Now I don’t want to delve into a commentary on what is or isn’t rock and roll. I’m sure you’ve had enough of that from the other travel blogs that you read. I must say though that when I said that Ruma wasn’t your grandfather’s rock bar, I meant that although Chuck Barry may be one of the fathers of rock and roll, he isn’t 1/10 as rock and roll as the Ruma porn table and the severed British telephone booths that lit it.

Although the larger purpose of this article is to tell you about my favorite place in Tampere Finland, I must also remind you that in writing this, I am also trying to piece together my jigsaw of a night and make sense of my forearm encryption.

I headed to the bar where I was informed that I should order a long island ice-tea. It came in a glass milk jug, which was a good deal, but considerably less rock and roll than one would expect in a place like Ruma. I innocently sipped away. While sitting at the porn table and watching my Finnish comrades drink out of a large milk glass jug, I realized the irony of the situation. Touché Ruma; I tip my cap at your clever acumen.

The obvious next step after 2 jug’s worth of Finnish Long Island IceTea-age is the dance floor. Unlike most clubs, Ruma doesn’t play with fancy lighting equipment. The dance floor was entirely lit by old Christmas lights that changed colors and fluctuated in brightness with the music, which varied from MGMT to Jimmy Eat World, to Muse, to Finnish pop music that I didn’t understand. The entire bar looked a bit like it was created out of the debris of a winter riot in London. The scene dramatically dulled my appreciation for nightclubs with green and red lasers; which is saying huge things, because I really appreciate lasers.

This is when my memories get murky. The next thing I know for certain is that I began to dance, which I imagine is probably where the shenanigans began. When I was younger, I was a very skilled Dance Dance Revolution competitor. This skill has ascended into my adulthood, but apparently only surfaces itself after no less than 2 glass milk jug of Long Island Ice tea, or the equivalent. Most people think that Dance Dance Revolution isn’t real dancing because you don’t use your arms, but I completely disagree. You use your arms to balance, which usually means they are flailing wildly, trying to catch up to your legs, which are moving at a completely unrealistic pace. I must have hit someone or knocked someone’s drink over because the next thing that I remember is retreating to the smoking area, covered in wet. At the time, the smoking box seemed like it was the universal safe zone, so I stood in a corner, and started to make attempted chit chat with the locals.

Well this was a bad idea, because all the smoking area is, is a glass box, and everyone could see me, including the bouncers, who are bigger than me. The next thing I remember is sitting on a bench outside of Hesburger/Fiesta, and feeling the urge to run off into an alleyway and speak some Norway, which is an English translation of a Finnish phrase that means barf everywhere. It’s probably my favorite English translation of a foreign colloquialism that I’ve ever heard.

Next, I remember is sitting in Hesburger talking to Marjo and her boyfriend about science.

Next, I’m back in Ruma smoking another cigarette, which is unsettling, because this could mean that I am actually remembering things completely out of order, which is a new level of weekend disorientation for me. This is also the final memory I have before it is morning and I am staring at the ceiling in a completely different outfit than I started the night in, and “Space Shuttle to Venus” largely scrolled on my arm. I really wish that I remember what it meant, because it seems like it could imply something really amazing, but this jigsaw may just be lacking far too many pieces to see the entire picture. After asking around, my friends seem to think that I wrote it on my arm completely independent to any specific detail. I think they’re covering up for a much bigger secret, but only because I know that I very well may have written it on my arm for no reason whatsoever, and I’m just a really embarrassing drunk. If nothing else, it’s a bizarre and epic phrase that was inspired by a damn awesome Finnish Bar.

By: Ben Majoy


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