Wednesday 11 February 2009

Oslo, Tag 6

Some surprising facts about Oslo:
  • There are like seven different kinds of slippery - which would all require their own names, but I have to do with descriptions. There is the sluggish melted snow kind, the newly fallen snow on ice kind, the plain ice kind, the looks like the snow has been removed but really, there is still a bit left kind, and my favourite: we decided to protect you from falling by gritting the road, but then, after the fifth consecutive day of snowing, we realized it was pointless. All of these could be summed up in one description: The "why didn't I buy new shoes before leaving" kind. As I said today: "They have grip in Vienna. They don't have here."
  • You will start to figure out how to wear your trousers after the first time you make the mistake of not either putting huge wool socks around your legs or wearing the kind of shoes that go around them, instead of under. Shudder.
  • Floor-heating is the answer to so many problems.
  • There is pretty cheap coffee that is absolutely OK to drink at some places, served by friendly, very un-Viennese (that was not meant as an insult, but if you've been to one of the more traditional Viennese cafés, you know what I mean) waiters. In QBA, you get free internet access, a refill for half the price (first cup 18 Krona, second 9) and a good atmosphere.
  • Tronsmo-bookstore was described by Neil Gaiman and Allen Ginsberg very favourably. They have leftwing political stuff, a focus on gay and lesbian literature and tons of comics in the basement. I'll try to check it out at some point in the coming week, since I finished the only book I brought, "1876" by Gore Vidal (which was probably the weakest in the "Narrative of Empire" series I've read so far...).
  • If you want to purchase any alcoholic beverage apart from beer, you'll have to visit a Vinmonopolet. Everybody entering the store (not just purchasing - it's not sufficient if the person buying has a valid ID) needs to be able to prove they are older than 18 or 21. As far as I can tell this or high prices doesn't exactly keep the Norwegian youth away from drinking.
  • You go into a small club. You expect to be absolutely justified to use the adjective "smoky". As it turns out, you are not. The one thing that seems to be oddly off, that you can't quite grasp, is, as you eventually come to realize, the lack of cigarette smoke (I say they'll never get there in Austria, ever.)
  • Three days ago it snowed like 15 centimetres in a couple of hours and the public transport system was running perfectly on time anyway - including tramways and buses. No "Oh my god, there is snow! in winter! we are going to have to stop the trains and all the other stuff will run late and despite the fact that this happens EVERY winter, we are still completely flabbergasted (hah, for years I have waited to put this into a sentence) and surprised". I love it.
  • Old people. Heave. The machinery supposed to help them walk. Over huge piles of snows. Same happens with baby carriages. These people are so incredibly tough.

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