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01 July 2005

in my mind's wasteland

my second day in copenhagen. a few steps out the hostel door, the zaps in my toes told me that they'd like some attention. i briefly considered ignoring their requests before turning around and heading back inside. hmm, interesting blister pattern. nothing serious, nothing that would stop me, nothing could. nothing. blister kit, equipped and unstoppable. never used one of these before: tape, moisture pads, friction absorbers. tape tape, boots on, zaps gone. _out_

i needed to formalize some plans. my first night at the hostel had impressed me to head north, away from it. just away. that feeling had faded somewhat, but quickly remembered, the intensity then, and i thought better than to question it. north, to oslo then. i located the internet cafe [no wifi or laptop access, blah] and tried to book a bus to oslo for the next day, but the site indicated that online tickets could only be purchased three days in advance. i'd need to go to the bus station to purchase the ticket in person. transportation and accomodation arrangements must fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. usually best to investigate prices and availability for both before committing. sometimes the pieces don't always fit together perfectly. i committed internally to the trip north. three nights, two days in oslo. booked a train to bergen on the west coast. hostels fell into place nicely. three nights in bergen. north, where now the sun never sets. i investigated prices for the hurtigruten, a fleet of boats which travel the coast of norway from bergen to the far north. prices seemed prohibitive, but i resolved to investigate transportation options further while in bergen. internet plans in place. over to the bus station to buy my ticket, hopefully there was still room. done. pretty girl. 298 kroners.

slight digression on the money. i know one euro is a little more than a dollar. but kroner? the exchange rate is something like seven kroner per dollar. this makes it a bit more difficult to make the calculations back to dollar. money here in denmark has become more about a meaningless number. 298 kroners? okay, sure, what does that mean? this way of thinking is good but mostly bad.

i wanted to fit in another walking tour to the christianhavn area and also take a canal ride. first, the walk, but on the way to the start point, i passed a boat soon departing on an hour long tour of the canals. thirty kroners. the sign indicated there were tours in danish, english, german, and french. wondered if this boat was the english version... maybe a different language every hour? 'is this tour in english?' 'yes.' interesting the way tone can give additional meaning to a word. i inferred 'yes, now give me your thirty kroner and take a seat you one in a million touristas i see every day. i'm bored of this job and have better things to do.' the travel planning had eaten up a good portion of the day, into the afternoon. there were several other canal tour companies, but the timing was right here and the sand was running, so i decided to take the tour. the boat departed and the yes man [joy, he was the tour guide] began speaking in danish. [in my mind's wasteland the wind picked up and i raised a fist in the air defiantly and screamed 'nooo!', formulating plans to throw the man overboard and take back my thiry kroners.] then the man repeated himself in english. and then in french. no germans on board. perfect. of course each version is going to be slightly different; i wondered what i'd be missing. the boat moved smoothly through the water, barely fitting beneath the arches of the bridges, the best part. i'd seen most of the sites from land. my first impression of the guide held true; several times he forgot the english translation as if he couldn't be bothered. the hour went by quickly, but i was only slightly more informed at the end of it all.

continuing to christianhavn, i saw this guy retrorocking the dual cassette deck boom box on his bike. the spiraling tower. onward to christiana, copenhagen's free area independant state (as declared by a bunch of random freethinkers [hippies] in 1971). i got a slice of pizza and ate in a christiana square [?]. one building had large circle/slash 'no cameras' signs. if i lived in this area, i'd paint the same signs on my house, damned touristas. i concealed my guidebook and tried to remember the walking tour route. a nice path, but soon there was no one else around and i became slightly nervous. empty city streets and residential areas aren't usually the best idea, so my instinct tells me. walk a bit faster, past houses and horses and piles of things. at the end of the path i break out onto a less than main street but more main than the path and i see people. turn around to look at the path. hmm. probably shouldn't have been there alone. back to the main part of town. walk past a police van where approximately eight officers are returning. in 2004, the police engaged christiana in a major drug raid. operations apparently continue.

back to the hostel for some more writing. i met francisco originally from puerto rico, a teacher in madison, wisconsin, currently living and studying in rome. thirty-two. we talked about european perceptions of americans. he'll be in rome until 10 august and invited me to stay with him. thank you francisco! not sure if i'll make it down there before you leave.

nick would be leaving for a long bike trip to sweden early the next morning. i got his email address before i fell asleep on the top of the three tiers.

posted by paul on Fri 01 Jul 2005 at 00:00:01 est (-05:00)

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