Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 2 of Oslo Stay: KNOW your KNORWAY

Crapdang! I forgot to add this entry where it would make here it is now

A hangover can really put a dampner on your sight seeing spirit, but after a thoroughly nice lunch and some coffee, we were in our "happy places" again and ready to get our butts in gear! I actually meant that in a literal sense, since Henrik was kind enough to let us use his card to rent some city bikes. On the serious, y'all, Norwegians might be the sweetest folks around as far as I am concerned.

The bikes sort of let us catch up on the day, getting us out to the Vigeland Park in no time flat. This is a park designed and sculpted by the same artist, Vigeland.

And it is full of nude, moderately communist figures, very raw. It felt like I had landed on a strange planet as the clouds came over the obelisk of bodies. See for yourselves :

It was great, and it felt so whimsical to be biking through a foreign and green park while those street musicians played their accordions. I'm American, I'm a girl, I'm on vacation! Our time out was cut short though, because there were preparations for the next day that needed to be done (sidenote: I seriously cannot remember the last time I ironed that weird?), and I was needing a nap.

We did manage a bit of the evening free to check out the Aker Fortress, which was green and old and noble and overlooked the fjord in a quite nice way. I will say, however, the place had one major construction flaw: there were doors and passageways and arches for no reason. Why is that a problem? It is pretty. Well it is cute, but you could essentially hide an invading army WITHIN the fortress itself.

Not the best construction, but their weapons placement does betray norway's true philosophy regarding the environment

That's right

But then it started to rain, which is fully to be expected in OSLO NORGE, so we rented two more bikes and booked it in no time, which gave us the chance to get pretty for the party that night.

The party was Jon's brother's girlfriends and so it was a pretty intimate affair with a lot of their friends, and she is very fashionable and pretty, and so were her friends. I will say, on a good day I am a bit the latter but I am almost never the former, so I was more out of my element than I am used to. To make things more surreal, it was also a eurovision party.

Eurovision- a song competition, long running, in which every European country picks a song from there to go to an american idol style vote. Abba came out of's all pop really but multinational pop, which you can kind of get behind

So we arrive and everyone is pretty, but they are also rEALLy nice. Here I was, a snarky alien in their midst, but they were speaking English with me and explaining when I did not understand why that act from Greece was popping open his shirt. Jon-bro was energetic and friendly, playing his remix of Norway's entry, a folk-fusion disco piece called "fairytale," which though cute as all heck, got VEry old very fast. I kept myself busy by schmoozing, kind of a sport, and I found some very interesting folks: an opera singer, a brain surgeon, a couple big game hunters (elks...I shit you not), and one girl who was into fashion as art with whom I talked about fashion weeks (fashions week?). I was admittedly a bit younger and less...well adjusted than most of the people there, but I had jon for support and some fabulous electric punch (or wildcat spritzer depending on who you ask), and it sure greased the social wheels.

It got more fun though when Norway won eurovision , which sure had an impact on the room. A Swedish friend told me that "there are about 9 million people in Sweden. Eurovision had 3 million viewers in Sweden. If someone told you they weren't watching, they would be lying.". Everyone watches, and I will go further and even defend eurovision to some extent, even though my indie rock friends will kill me:

My defense of eurovision
Look, the point of it is not to find the new Peter Bjorn and Jon or Jens Lenkman. It serves a certain demographic and does it well; furthermore, it is the kind of thing that everyone has an opinion on, regardless of nationality, either really for or really against. It is watercooler conversation fodder all over.

some of the party, note the passionate hooting

The winners display two characteristics in their songs: an aspect specific to their culture (language for example, or in this case the Scandinavian folk fiddle) and then the right fraction of euro pop spread on top, to make it palatable to every nation. The results are usually so dopey that you cannot be too mad at it, and in the case of the smaller countries like moldova or norway, you kind of have to cheer for them, and when little Norwegian fiddler beat the French powerhouse, Patricia Kaas, I was pretty stoked!

We did not stay too long after though, since the day after this "victory" was 17 Mai! But I feel like this was a pretty Norwegian evening and I was charmed by the whole group, they couldn't have been nicer, and I thank them.

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