Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I can't beweave it...

Greetings from Oslo!!!

I'm safe - (read: was not bashed by vagabonds on route to accommodation, no one has done a Schapelle Corby on me in Bangkok and there were no terrorist hijacks) Actually, in the bigger scheme of things, it's all been relatively significant-event free for me. That said, my journey from Melbourne to Sogn studentby was not without a series of midsadventures that was, one may argue, nothing short of a fiasco (I exaggerate slightly)

It all started with the hair weave. It belonged to one of the air sterwardess' on Royal Thai airlines on my first flight from Melbourne --> Bangkok. She was quite pretty, but God bless her and her ridiculous weave that would've put even Whoopi Goldberg's dreadlocks to shame, marijuana and all. It was so distracting that every time she craned her neck from behind and positioned her head into my field of vision, offering me another glass of white wine, it took nothing short of a miracle not to jump out from my seat.

Then there was the constant voice in my head telling me to get up every 2 hours and walk around lest I form a Deep vein thrombosis. There was also this Thai stewardess' (another one) who mistook me for being Thai and sprayed a mouthful of unintelligible words at me, simultaneously gesticulating with Korean-animation whether or not I wanted another glass of white. Yes ma'am! I guess some languages are universally understood.

Upon arriving at Bangkok, I proceeded to buy my 1L of vodka. Here's the thing. Australian duty free refused to sell me the alcohol because apparently there's some kind of rule about Europe and alcohol restrictions or something funny like that. I didn't believe the lady so I smiled politely, walked onto the next Duty Free shop (out of sight) and tried to buy the same drinks. He refused me too. At that point I realised it was probably true. Anyway, so in Thailand the shop assistant guy comes up to me and starts muttering to me in Thai (I just took it as a compliment. Thai people generally are quite good looking). Anyway, I bought 1L of Finnish vodka (grapefruit flavoured) for just AUD19! That's crazy!!! Anyway, there I was gleefully planning all the occasions I'd get to savour this liquid gold, only to have it confiscated at Copenhagen airport! Apparently there IS some rule about bringing liquids >100mL on board. What doesn't make sense to me was why my sealed Duty Free alcohol was deemed unsafe for boarding, but passengers were allowed to buy 1L bottles in Danish duty free shops just before boarding?? Anyway, I didn't think it was worth arguing about/making a scene, so I just handed over my vodka and moved on. Besides, I ended up buying another 1L bottle at Oslo airport for 83K (~17AUD).

In between these alcohol fiascos, I somehow managed to claudicate my Right butt cheek during the flight from Bangkok to Copenhagen and witnessed 2 (yeah, 2) so called on-craft MET calls. First there was some guy who complained of dizziness and pre-syncope JUST as we're taking off, with the option of stopping and turning back looming over our shoulders. Luckily he improved and chose to go ahead with the flight. The second one occurred minutes before landing, with some lady a couple of seats in front of me complaining of SOB. I've flown a fair few times in my life and I'd never witnessed medical problems in-craft. Yesterday I had 2 in the one flight.

Interestingly, I also met a nice Norwegian guy sitting next to me on the flight from Bangkok to Copenhagen. Turned out he was also going to Oslo Central train station in the city. I'm pretty sure I have him to thank for getting us from the airport to the main central station A) on the express train, B) with minimal fumbling around (except pitstops for cigarettes) and C) on a very cheap fare (cheap here in Norway = 85K = 15AUD!) He definitely also jogged my memory with all the Norwegian I'd learnt prior to Sem 9 exams which had all but escaped me. Amazing how quickly it comes back when you're actually in the country and have a native speaker helping you out.

Then there's the whole story about my struggles to get my accommodation keys etc, but suffice to say I've managed to get it done. As I was lugging my massive luggage (no wheels, all manpower) from Kringså to Sogn, I kept thinking to myself, if the Chinese could walk that far back in the Gold Rush era, then so can I...unfortunately the skin around my fingers and palm are pretty badly chaffed now.

I'm really *really* excited to start learning Norwegian now that I'm in the country. It's amazing to be walking around the city and hear people speaking this foreign but not entirely alien language around me. Within a day I've already picked up a few words...I can't imagine what it'll be like in 6 months! I can't wait :-)


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