Friday, October 15, 2010

Power post

So it's been 2 weeks since I last wrote something. No, that's not entirely true because I actually wrote a journal every day that I was in Stockholm. But now in hindsight it doesn't seem like such a good idea to publish it all, but at least here were the titles of my daily entries:

1. Jag förstår inte svenska (I don't understand Swedish - in Swedish)

2. Who the fuck stole my köttbullar (meatballs)?

3. So this is where all the beautiful people were hiding...

4. Traveling is always beautiful in hindsight

Okay, so number 2 was pretty messed up. Someone actually stole my food at the youth hostel, but let's face it, I wasn't really that surprised. Annoyed, yes, but not astounded because I knew from the moment I walked in that the place was dodgy. First of all, it was completely packed with old Eastern European men (mainly Russian). I was like, what is this, some sort of syndicate??? Anyway, so I spent the first 2 hours of my visit in Stockholm waiting for reception to open so that I could drop my bags in the luggage room. And waiting is fine, except for the fact that the Russian receptionists were already there, and all they needed to do was pass me the key (2 secs), and I could have stowed away my luggage, returned the key (2 more secs) and gone on my merry way. But instead, they rather that I waited and listened to them BITCH about every living soul in the hostel (employer, employees, patrons, dog...) for 2 hours. Man, I didn't know it was possible to bitch so much in 2 hours. And at one point she was like: "If I were a guy, I would punch the shit out of him!" Then when it was finally 8am and I went to retrieve the keys, I ran into them making out in the laundry room, her thigh propped against his crotch. And when they saw me standing by the doorway, mouth agape, she grimaced in the way you would if you'd tasted some bad Thai curry.

Stockholm itself, however, was very beautiful, superficially and all. If Oslo is Missy Higgins, Stockholm is like J.Lo with hoop earrings. And I took lots of photos. And made a video. And I had an awesome time running through the streets of Stockholm with Katherina (also at Uppsala, a 40min train ride northwards). I also kinda met the King and Queen and Princess of Sweden. Yeah...okay maybe more like 'saw'. 'Met' sort of implies an exchange of words.

Anyway, so back to the food stealing. Like what the fuck, right? Who steals food from poor exchange students? These meatballs were my only source of red meat, which I haven't eaten since arriving in Oslo over 2 months ago. I mean, thank god I don't menstruate but still! They weren't that expensive, and if somebody really wanted a couple I would have obliged to share. But stealing is not cool. Anyway, I ate the same breakfast and dinner for 4 days in a row (except one dinner where we went out to eat at a fancy restaurant). Instant mash, meatballs and ketchup, 7 times. See below. It got messy................lack of fibre...(too far?)

All in all though, Stockholm was an amazing city. Abundant sight seeing, endless shopping, Scandinavian design stores, cheap food and cheap everything (compared to Norway at least). And all just a 7hr bus ride from Oslo. You know what else about Sweden? They spell funny. That's the other thing. It hit me last week that I have become so Norwegianized now that I even refer to Norway with the first-person possessive. I say refer to Norway and Norwegians as 'we'. For example, when speaking to a Swede about the differences in our languages (there you go again - our), I kept saying "We spell with a Ø whereas you all spell with an Ö" and "We use E's where you use A's". As if I'm already Norwegian... And I felt this strange sense of patriotism. In fact, I feel like running outside right now and buying a Norwegian flag.

Anyway, I suspect I might have to get used to this whole Swedish spelling funny business. Nobody teaches Norwegian back home in Melbourne and if I'm to continue learning once I return, the university does offer a Swedish language course. They're pretty much mutually comprehensible, especially the oral components. I suppose once I make the mental switch to Swedish, the spelling won't be too bad either. But for now, köp looks so wrong. It should be kjøp. No question. And what is with all the A's? Skole --> Skola. Hele --> Hela. Gamle --> Gamla.

So I got back from Stockholm on Tuesday evening, and the next day I was off to Bergen. Bergen, what can I say... I had a most amazing time there, pseudo-fare-evading and all. Pseudo because we bought the Bergen travel card but it didn't say that the train was included - the brochure specifically referred only to Buses. But we needed to catch the train each day, so on the first night we decided to just hop on and try our luck. Only thing was, inspectors came on board one stop before our destination. So we ran off and tried to walk the last stop home. Only it wasn't really possible, so we headed back to the station and waited for the next train. Only to find out the next morning that we weren't, after all, fare evading because the Bergen Card did include train travel. All part of the experience.

Bergen, you also have a lot of locked doors. And it sometimes seemed like your whole city is under reconstruction and repairs. But I had heaps of fun anyway, and we stayed with Felix's friend from Leipzig - Henni - who was a lovely host. Might I also add that our dinners were such a treat - Awesome leek soup, Fresh Bergen salmon with lemongrass, garlic and chilli, and Pancakes with ham, avacado, fried banana, jam. I have a lot more to say (as I always do), but I think I'll have to save it for another time.

Anyway, I'm going to stop here because I should go to sleep now. I have to wake up early tomorrow morning to go fishing with my flatmates. We're going to, fingers crossed, catch some fish for dinner tomorrow somewhere near Sognsvann. I'm not quite sure exactly where yet but German guy (Janusz) seems to know so I'll just have trust him. Although he is the same guy who offered me some wild mushrooms.

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