Clinton reportedly hit nightlife on first visit to Helsinki
Mar. 20, 1997
HELSINKI, Finland (AP) _ Was Bill Clinton a serious and studious type on his first visit to Helsinki, or did he have a taste for nightlife?
With thousands of journalists watching the U.S.-Russia summit, there won't be much doubt about what he does in the Finnish capital _ unlike his visit in 1969.
Two Finnish newspapers reporting on Clinton's trip as a 23-year-old student, offering different descriptions of the future president.
One version says he was shaggy-haired and scruffily dressed, but a teetotaler. The other says he was nicely groomed and smartly dressed and fond of having a few beers.
Both agree that Clinton spent three days in Helsinki during a dark, cold and wet December. The stay included Christmas Day.
Christian Moulin told the newspaper Ilta-Sanomat that he accompanied Clinton and Clinton's friend Richard Shullaw, the son of a U.S. diplomat in Helsinki, on a tour of Helsinki's nightlife.
``The evening wasn't particularly memorable. We ate some sausages and drank a few beers,'' Moulin told The Associated Press on Thursday. ``We certainly didn't drink a lot.''
It may not have been a lot, but it's more than the paper Helsingin Sanomat reported. That paper, citing Shullaw, said Clinton didn't go see any nightspots because he didn't drink alcohol.
According to Helsingin Sanomat, Clinton spent his time touring historically significant sites such as Helsinki's Lutheran cathdral and one of the city's main cemeteries.
Moulin, who said he was a student in 1969, said Shullaw was only briefly staying with his parents in the Finnish capital and called Moulin to show him and Clinton around.
``Unlike Richard, I knew Helsinki,'' Moulin said. ``We went to Kellarikrouvi, one of the most popular restaurants.''
The Helsingin Sanomat article also described Clinton as a ``long-haired hippie,'' dressed in jeans and a long overcoat.
``I don't know where they got that from,'' Moulin said. ``His hair covered his ears, just like it did with most students at that time, but he was neatly dressed and had a smart overcoat.''
The threesome discussed Finland's position, the SALT talks and the Soviet Union.
``I can't remember everything we talked about, but Clinton appeared a bit down,'' Moulin said. ``He perked up when we hit a popular night spot where there were some girls dancing.''
The night spot was Vanha Ylioppilastalo, a student's union center of radicalism, which students had occupied a year earlier.
``We had a nightcap there but it wasn't a drinking binge,'' Moulin said.
Clinton stayed at the Ursula, a cheap hotel popular with travellers, Moulin said.
Hotel reception staff could not confirm Clinton's stay at the hotel, now known as the Anton, because their records date back only five years. Helsingin Sanomat said Clinton stayed at a youth hostel.
Moulin, 49, now lives in Alexandria, Virginia, a Washington D.C., suburb, and is a sales manager for the Foster Wheeler energy company.
The Associated Press tried to reach Shullaw by telephone Thursday at his home in Vienna, Virginia _ also a Washington suburb _ but there was no answer.