TREASURES BY NUMBERS
‘w ould you like to go to Lapland?’ is not a question that is oft pitched in one’s direction. ‘Isn’t it where Father Christmas lives?’ is probably the usual response to this unusual question, followed by a resounding, ‘Yes, absolutely.’
For a girl raised in the balmy climes of Johannesburg – barring one or two ridiculous cold snaps – my visual reference chart was working overtime in Kittila, Lapland, which is an hour’s flight from Helsinki in the northern part of Finland. I now have snow in all its white iterations firmly embedded in my optic cable. And on my Nokia Lumia, where I have filed away for future delight the sights and sounds of this place, in numerical order…
1 UKSI (Lapp for 1):The Lappish drum as played by the grandson of the last shaman to herd thousands of reindeer in the Lapp forests. He sang a ‘hoik’ – a plaintive dirge, in this instance composed by his grandfather, who incidentally refused to convert to Christianity, as his pagan ways seemed to be serving him very well, given the size of the herd.
3 KALOME (3):A nuzzle with a rather grumpy teenage reindeer whose horns had recently fallen off (apparently this happens once a year and causes some despair in the young reindeer soul). I also confess to eating some bits of reindeer cousins; there is a deep love for Rudolph in all his forms in Lapland.
2 KAKSI (2):An otherworldly sleigh ride helmed by 30 huskies who instantly transported me to snowqueen status.
KUSI (Lapp for 6 and doubles as the word for Christmas
tree): Many fine energetic and icy activities, including some daredevil
ice-kart racing, snowshoe walking,
a snow safari… 6