Riders on the Storm

Trip Start Sep 17, 2006
Trip End Dec 23, 2006

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

This was a good week. I did lots of stuff and saw a lot of people and had fun like I did when I first got here. I didn't go to the Nation to Nation party last Tuesday. We just stayed in that night. By staying in, I mean that we went down to Juve for a drink where we played this dice game called "Farkel" that Meg's mom brought for her. It was fun. I think that I went to bed pretty early that night, it was good.

Wednesday, I had my one and only class, then I think I came home and took a nap. It was probably wise that I napped, because we went out that night. I stayed out dancing and having fun at a club called "Cross." There is a live scorpion in a tank there. I thought it was a fake because I didn't know that they glow like that under a black light. I lost a bet with a random Australian guy and had to buy him a beer. At the club it was me, Meghan, Kristen, Jen Smith, Amelie, Victor, and Patrick. There were many adult beverages and there was lots of dancing and gossiping. Good times. I stayed out pretty late, which is ok because I don't have class on Thursday until 12:45.

I went to all my classes, and then instead of packing for my weekend in Stockholm, I stayed up late with Meghan watching movies. Good idea huh? Anyway, I got up on Friday morning at like 6 am or some ungodly hour like that. Bleh. I don't do well with mornings.

I have this family friend in Stockholm, Rasmus. Rasmus is a very busy guy, he works a full time day job and then goes to night school. He wants to be a fireman. Rasmus doesn't have a computer so he uses internet cafes, where you have to pay by the minute for interne. He doesn't check his e-mail enough. I e-mailed him our arrival dates, and the whole week before we came, I e-mailed him telling him our phone numbers and information and pictures of Kristen and I so that he would know what we looked like and all sorts of things. When he didn't reply to any of those e-mails by the time I left on Friday morning, I was thinking that he didn't want to meet with us and be our tour guide for the weekend. I was a little offended. It turns out he just doesn't check his e-mail ever, and he called us on Friday night after we were settled in our hotel.

Kristen and I got up fresh and early on Saturday for a little sight seeing and lots of walking. There was a free breakfast at our hotel, so we stole a bunch of fruit and bread which we carried around in our purses all day so that we wouldn't have to buy food while we were out. It worked pretty well for us, if you don't mind bread crumbs in your wallet. Anyway, we went out walking around, trying to get our bearings in the city before it got dark. It got dark there crazy early. It was like 3:30 or 4 pm when the sun went down. Very strange. We wandered in the direction we decided the water was in for a while when we came across the National Library which had a lovely park behind it. Kristen and I meandered through the park for a while when suddenly my phone rang! It was Rasmus, and he was ready to meet up with us for a coffee and stuff. We met him in Old Town (Gamla Stan) and got settled in a coffee shop where he gave us advice on where to go and things to see.

It seems to me that every city has a park, or an area that should be avoided at night and by yourself. Even in the day, this is the sketch area of town. I asked Rasmus about this area of town, where it might be and when I should avoid it like the plague. He looks at the map for a minute and says "Do you want to hear a story?" The answer is "Yes" I like stories. At least I liked stories... He proceeds to tell us about this woman getting raped in a park and how the rapist thought he head someone else coming and ran off, and the person that came raped the woman. Different rapist, same location, same night. How awful is that? You know where that park is? Well, its at the National Library, the place that I was talking to Rasmus in an hour before.

After coffee, we thought that something cultural was in order, and decided to go to the Medieval Museum. It was very cool, and FREE. I like free admission. After the museum, he took us to this cool lookout point. I guess, when the sun goes down, its the place that all the kids go to make out in. Great view, and very romantic for Kristen and I. (Hahaha) After the lookout point, Kristen and I went home to nap and change before Rasmus took us to his friend's birthday party. I know that sounds dorky, but when we are traveling like this, we don't often get to hang out with the people of the culture we are visiting. It was nice to meet people like the friends I have at home, doing things like I would do at home. They were really nice and we had so much fun, but everyone kept asking us why we came to Stockholm. Not in a curious way, more like "why on earth would anyone want to come here?" Also, everyone we met said "You're the Americans! I heard there were Americans here!" I felt a little like a sideshow. They were really nice and we talked to a lot of people that night. Kristen was so funny, she asked every person we met there if they knew a person named Lars, Hans, or Anders. Kristen and I are kind of spazzes when we get together, and when we are left alone together and are drinking, it gets a little embarrassing. Not for us, but for the people we are with. I am actually surprised that Rasmus called me the next day to meet up for a drink.

Kristen and I get home at like 3 am because we got on the wrong metro and had to go back like 2 stops then wait like half an hour to get the right one. We suck at directions. Anyway, that was to be our last night in our hotel, so got up early ate our breakfast, stole more bread and fruit, and checked out of that place. I knew (sort of) where the hostel was that we were staying in, and we found it alright. I left my stuff in the luggage room and off we went. We went to the Vasamuseet. Which is a museum for a sunken ship. It was really cool. First we got on the right bus headed in the wrong direction, then, when we were on the right bus in the right direction, we got off to go shopping because we saw a cute little store. Half an hour later, we were back on the bus and on our way to something CULTURAL! What we found was soooo much better than culture, sailors. They were all lined up outside the museum, waiting for Kristen and I.

On a side note, most of the museums are free in Stockholm. Vasamuseet isn't one of them, unless you were under 17. I had already been telling all the metro people that I was 19 so I could get the discount there, what was another 2 years? When I told the cashier that I was 17, he looked at me and said "Really?" I told him yes, and he grudgingly gave me my free ticket to heaven. Once inside the museum, we saw the ship, and the skeletal remains of the people who died on the ship, a video about why the Vasa sank, and a whole plethora of cool stuff. The sailors were also in the museum, and every time we turned a corner, there was a man in blue smiling at us. When we left the museum, we walked around the island we were on for a while, and then caught a bus back to old town where we shopped until sundown. By then, our room at the hostel was ready, so we went back for a nap. Silliness ensued. Kristen and I were the only girls in an eight person co-ed dorm room. I fell asleep with my earphones in and didn't hear Rasmus' first two calls, but everyone else in the room did, including the guy across the room from me, trying to sleep. Kristen finally threw a book at me and I woke up just in time to miss his call. I tried to call him back in the room, in the hall, in the kitchen, in the common room, in the stairwell, in the office, and out front. I tried to call him a hundred times, so many times in fact that my phone decided not to let me make anymore outgoing calls. That was fun.

As I freaked out about my phone not working for a half an hour, Kristen was soundly napping. I bought a phone card and pissed off the guy at the front desk. As soon as I started to use it, Rasmus called back. I guess there was nothing wrong with the receive function. Thank god. We made some plans to meet at the metro stop "Medborgarplatsen" My brain did not want to accept this as a real word, and Rasmus had to say it like 4 times before I decided just to get a pen and write it down. There are simply too many characters in that word. Anyway, we met him there are had a beer before Kristen and I went to the Mongolian All You Can Eat Buffet, where we gorged ourselves like little piggies. I stole more fruit for my breakfast the next morning. The new digs didn't have free breakfast, bummer. Kristen and I waddled home from the buffet, and went to bed. Or at least I went to bed, where I proceeded to fart loudly in my sleep in a room full of men and everyone tried not to laugh. Oh well. I will never see any of those people again, and whatever, gas happens.

We came home the next day (Monday) and crashed in our own beds. It was amazing. I ate my own hot food, I had my own pillow. I had clothes that I hadn't been wearing for the last 3 days. One of the most amazing things about travel is coming home.

Last night was Nation to Nation, and I went, and I drank, and I danced, and it was wonderful. I hung out with Taylor and Meghan and Victor most of the night. We laughed, we drank, we had fun, we went home. I love the club it was at this week, Exit. That is the goth bar that is across the street from our dorms. It makes stumbling home at 2 am really easy.
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