...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Denmark: there and back again

Crossing Öresund (the Sound strait) on the Öresund bridge, the longest rail and road bridge in Europe, which connects Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmö in Sweden. I have my camera facing Sweden.

Today I spent four hours on a high speed train down to Copenhagen, spent four very fast hours in the land of Danish pastry, and went back to Norrköping again on yet another 4-hour trip.

It's a long story. Last month, while worrying about my future prospects in the academe, I impulsively looked for jobs in English over the internet, sending my CV here and there. One "there" happened to be in Copenhagen, and it was there that I was called for an interview today at 1PM.

The Danish capital is actually just a bridge away from Sweden and a 30-minute train ride if you live in the southmost city of Malmö. But from where I live – as you can see from the duration of my ride – it literally really feels like a country away. What was I thinking? Whatever. Maybe it's good to be impulsive from time to time. At any case, it was a good excuse to go to Denmark for the first time, even though I would have preferred my first trip there to be less stressful and to have been for leisure purposes. On the bright side, the interviewers refunded half of my trip going there, so I didn't have to literally charge everything to experience.

Oh, the hours I spent just surfing last week, just to know how to get from the Copenhagen central station to their office! Of course, all the information was in Danish too (Gee thanks, just when I was starting to get the hang of Swedish!) Those little practical things really are the hassle. Say, how does one Google for bus routes or commuter traffic within Denmark when you don't even know what those words are in Danish? And by the way, not all Danish and Swedish words look similar. Some Danish look more Dutch to me, and boy do they sound much stranger! All this concretely reminded me of the little inconveniences of traveling between European counties. That's not even mentioning that neither Sweden nor Denmark use Euros, and I have to exchange my Swedish kronor to Danish ones just to be able to get on a bus there.

So, my day looked like this:

5:45: woke up, took shower, had breakfast
7:33: train left for Denmark
11:33: arrival at Copenhagen central station
1:00: interview
2:00: end of interview
2:30: Danish pastry shopping!

A wish fulfilled (see my Danish pastry entry)! Two spandauers and two chokladbolle, please! Aside from the interview, this was my only other mission in Denmark.

My day, continued:
3:00: gobbled a Big Mac at the Copenhagen central (talk about eating McDonald's when abroad!)
3:23: train home, where I ate one spandauer with tea immediately after boarding.
7:22: arrived at Norrköping, dead tired and butt aching from sitting for most of the day.

I felt that I badly needed some sugar after this stressful journey, so bought a bag of candy from the store and managed to eat half the bag from the station to our apartment. And Joy brings home the Danish pastry!

Some weird observations at the Copenhagen central:

1. Inside the station's McDonald's, pigeons walk around eating other people's leftovers, picking up whole fries and burger crumbs like huge rats with wings.

This was bird one of three.

2. At the station toilet, the toilet cleaning staff also sell thongs.

3. In a similar fashion to hanging fire extinguishers, the central station has cardiac arrest emergency kits hanging from the walls.

"Wow, I'm so tired from the trip. Let's go and grab a heartstarter!"

4. I saw a man spitting indoors, and it's not as if he missed the trash can because there was no trash can around for meters. He spat right in front of a shop, behind one of the display cabinets. Guess they do the spitting-indoors thing in more places other than Holland! But there I actually saw a man pissing indoors as well (in a hall of a shopping area), and I guess nothing can beat that.


Blogger carlo said...

Oh Joy! I'd really love to see Lego Town!

Natawa ako sa thongs for sale sa station toilet.

4:07 AM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Yeah, I want to see Lego town too! I heard that it was uber-expensive though. Pero one day... heheheh :-D

Oh yeah, so strange with the thong-selling toilet staff. It was embarrassing to take pictures of that though!

8:12 AM

Blogger Christianne said...

Pigeons = the rodents of the sky.

Were the spitter and pissser drunk?

Do you want the job or did you treat this as a test interview? :)

Ang dami kong tanong hehe

7:00 PM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

In Holland, they seemed to be drunk. In Denmark, wala lang... he just felt like spitting indoors I guess!

Well, I know it seems easy to say now that I know I didn't get the job: I applied mostly because I was curious if I had something to contribute to the "corporate world" and also (the number 1 reason) to gain some experience with job seeking here and being interviewed.

Just the thought of starting work sounds exciting and maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if I got it. But now that I think of it there would have been so many logistical hassles of working in Denmark, that I actually wished that I won't get the job. Well, I got what I wished for I guess!

6:50 AM

Anonymous Lea said...

hi joy! cool adventure ang trip mo sa denmark, hope next time you can stay longer and look around. kwento mo lang hehe

9:51 AM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Oo nga, I was so tempted to go down a bus stop near one of the canals, and walk around the big city park. At the same time I was also paranoid that I'd miss my train and everything... so, I didn't do any turista stuff.

(I had lots of time to wait in the station actually, but you never what things can go wrong in these first-time trips!)

10:07 AM


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