Finally, I can afford to eat again!!!

Trip Start Jun 21, 2008
Trip End Aug 03, 2008

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Flag of Sweden  ,
Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I grabbed breakfast at the cafe located on the main floor of the hostel's building.  I had Norwegian Kroner to burn before leaving, so I decided to splurge for a real breakfast.  I heard a strange remake of 80s power ballad "Missing You" by John Waite.  It was strange, to say the least ...

Off to the Nobel Peace museum - my strategy of delaying use of the Oslo card worked, and I got in for free!  Only the Nobel Peace prize is awarded in Norway; all others are awarded in Sweden.  A very thought-provoking temporary exhibit entitled "Places we live" was very interesting.  Some 1 billion people live in slums.  Several countries were included, and five families from each country were featured in photos, along with a soundtrack of their stories.  A photographer created this project by staying with each of the families. 

A sad sign of the slums in Caracas, Venezuela - there are credits in each display listing the people photographed, and there was an asterisk next to the name of a young man named Carlos.  It said "Shot and killed since these photographs were taken."  Carlos' story included him recounting how they lit a still-living guy on fire, chopped his head off, and passed it around.

The slums of Mumbai serve a very important purpose - they are a sort of unofficial recycling plant for the city.  Apparently, Mumbai would choke on its own refuse without assistance from the slums. 

Another exhibit, "Fever", featured Al Gore and the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  I came across a rather profound quote by Gandhi - "Be the change that you want to see in the world."  Too often we talk about changing things for the better, but do little to further its progress.  Of course, I'm not one to talk, because I'm too lazy to take up any cause!

I tagged along with an included guided tour for a short time, until I had to go to the station for my train to Stockholm.  The only cheap things in Scandinavia so far are the  internet terminals that go for  2 Euros per hour.  I used this for a bit and grabbed a  sandwich before departing Oslo.  Salami, egg, bell peppers, onion, on a dry, dense wheat bun.  Burning more Norwegian Kroner ... picked up some raspberry and also that chocolate-hazelnut yogurt for the train trip today, along with some OJ (getting sick, malnutrition in Norway!), and a brownie.  

On the train - chatting with an old Norwegian lady, I realized that I never went to see the new Oslo opera house!  How could I miss that?  It's only steps from the hostel, but I completely forgot about it.  Guess I have a reason to return!  Also found out that the older couple sitting a few seats down were from the Shuswap area and are going to  Sweden for a family reunion.  Very high-strung lady; she kept worrying about stupid little travel things going wrong. 
The snack car on board was actually quite cheap - is it the slightly better Swedish pricing?  I didn't sample any of the drinks or sweets, but the sweetest thing there was standing behind the counter, and was probably named Ingrid, or some Swedish name like that ...

Aside from the expense, my time in Oslo has been incredible.  I think I could move here!  Perhaps open up a Spanish tour company, or a hostel catering only to Spanish females.  It'd be quite the luxurious experience; they'd return to their rooms every night to find candles and rose petals scattered about the bed.  Massages would be included and administered by me of course, but only because I want to ensure that they are properly pampered after a long day of sightseeing.  I'm planning on modeling the bathroom after the Playboy Mansion's famed grotto.  Of course, I'd have to constantly be in there to ... uh ... monitor pH levels and temperature ...  Wouldn't want the delicate senoritas to bathe in harsh water, would we?

Stockholm - looks to be a nice city but in stark contrast to Norway, it was quite dreary upon arrival.  I arrived at the "Best Hostel" to find it empty.  The reception closes at 19:00, insanely early.  They really should warn guests about that when they make reservations.  They left a phone number to call in case of emergency, but of course I had no cell phone.  Luckily somebody forgot to lock the office and I was able to use their phone to dial the number. 

The owner is a really nice guy and it's a decent hostel, though there are no lockers and there aren't that many bathrooms or showers.  The free internet was a plus; I'll be banging out a few travel blogs while I'm staying here.  It's also got a big, modern kitchen and comfy couches in the TV/internet room. 

I checked in and went to my room to find it full with a family from Hong Kong.  Do they like to keep our kind together???  Turns out that they had sent me to the wrong room.  The stomach was starting to growl so I wolfed down a kebab.  Pricing is better here and the exchange rate helps, also.  I no longer feel so guilty about eating!

I ran into the Mexican couple from the fjord tour, the one with the cute baby girl.  I keep finding ways to practice my Spanish outside of Spain!  Turns out they are staying at Stockholm's famous boat hostel and also ran into Solange and her mom there.  Hopefully this is the start of a trend, and I run into those three senoritas from the Oslo hostel ... maybe I can run my Spanish senorita hostel idea by them ... perhaps I can even offer a free demo ... only to see if my idea is a viable business, of course!

I grabbed a litre of crappy juice - thirsty and getting sick, it was a necessity.  Back to the hostel for some free internet and off to bed.
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