Kuva Vaasan satamasta suunnilleen oikeaan aikaan kirjasta Finland in the Nineteenth Century: by Finnish authors. Illustrated by Finnish artists. Digitointi British Library, jakelu Flickr Commons.
Vaasassa Raen mukaan alkoholi oli näkyvämpää kuin pohjoisessa. Niin kaupungissa kuin satamassa:
The houses are really large and imposing, but everything is exceedingly new: new streets, new trees, new gardens, new pavements, and a new church, fearful and dreadful in form. Each fourth house — I don't think I am exaggerating much — was a vodka establishment, and red-eyed swollen vodka drinkers staggered along in every street. This was our first interview with vice since we had come abroad. [...]
It is the fashion in all these Finland ports, for the inhabitants to come down and stroll on the quay on the evening when the mail steamer is in, and to drink vodka or soda-water upon deck. Half-a-dozen of them would dine on board — merely for variety's sake we were told — and to cross-examine unfortunate strangers too, we thought. We know of no people so immoderately inquisitive as the Finlanders—Est natura Finnorum novitatis avida. "Tis the nature of Finlanders to be greedy of news— indeed their conversation depends upon it. Reader, have you no acquaintances, from whose conversation, if you were to withdraw topics resting upon their neighbours' concerns, very little would remain?Paikallisten tapa kysellä matkalaisten asioita otti kirjoittajaa totisesti päähän, erityisesti Vaasassa:
...were unobtrusively leaving the shop, when the bokhandler pounced upon us Hvarifrån komma herrarna? Whence come the gentlemen? From Torneå. Are they Englander? Are
they travelling upon busi-- We closed the door and left.
We went into an Apothek's, who was unjustly said to have photographs of Wasa. Have you any views of Wasa? Hvarifrån komma herrarna? Have you any photographs of Wasa? Are the gentlemen Engl-- We retired in haste without closing the door, and escaped to a house where was the sign Fotograf. We strayed into a room by accident on the ground floor, and asked, was this the photographer's? The words were not out of our mouths before we heard the exasperating question, or part of it, Are the gentlemen——Mihin tämä small talk -osaaminen sittemmin on haihtunut?
Nämä Vaasassa pysähtyneet Edward Rae ja ystävänsä tohtori Henry Pilkington Brandreth purjehtivat kesällä 1879 Skotlannista Vienanmerelle. Tästä matkasta Raen kirjoittaman kirjan The White Sea peninsula: a journey in Russian Lapland and Karelia (1881) on Kansalliskirjastomme digitoinut.