Christmas Vacation N°5

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This is the sight of the Stockholm after arriving from the cruise ship bound from Helsinki. Since I didn’t want to fork out 130:- of lazyness, I decided to follow the blue line “leading foreign travelers into the city”. It worked out fine, and was a beautiful view of mountain things and lots of boats, except for the arab guy who kept trying to take a video of me. The cam corder kept pointing at me and I just held my head low not wanting to be seen, and then he followed me but after awhile I resigned myself to the fact that I’ll probably stalked in some country like Burkina Faso with this video. The walk into the city was longer than I expected, despite Stockholm being a very small city geography and population wise. I didn’t know where I was going, so I followed some other Swedish tourists who seemed to be looking for the train station too. I figured that if I found the train station I’d be in good condition for finding other stuff, having a tourist office and such like that.

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I found the SL center so I could get my metro pass for 3 days, and it turned out to be cheaper than I expected, so after hours of hanging out around the train station and walking around I decided to head to the hostel since it was now the afternoon and I had nowhere else to go, and it had gotten dark. So I took the metro which is really nice actually, each stop is very creative and is actually clean; I was flabbergasted. I turned out the wrong way when I was looking for the hostel, so I got to have a nice look at St:Eriksplatsen and such which really wasn’t that exciting. The region that I was in was very beautiful part of Stockholm called Kungsholmen. I saw a huge sign for a hostel, and it turned out to be right one, but I totally thought I was in the wrong place. The entrance looks like a five star hotel, and they treat you like it too. Despite being as cheap as any other hostel in Sweden it was superduper nice, and as you can see the rooms were quite nice also. So after taking a little nap from all the traveling I went in search of food at the store and came back to watch some SVT. Notice SVT on the TV right now, which made me giggle like a little kid in a candy shop. How exciting to actually see it live!

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Turned out the only other guy in the 4 room hostel, was some old guy from Örebro, so he was impossible to understand and also I didn’t bother to try to be nice since he was an asswhole and boring anyways. He left after two days, so I felt no guilt or opression. After a sound sleep I went on my journey to visit the city and see some cool stuff, since I would be there for four nights. Walking downtown is exciting as there are lots of things, so I went to the shops and joined the rest of the thousands of tourists and Stockholmers in the stores and even went to see the largest H&M, it was very exciting that I nearly cried. The combination of sunlight in the morning and blue skys for the first day made such a lovely combination that I was very happy to take pictures of things half dark and half light.

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In the old part of the city, Gamla Stan, all the streets are tiny and impossible to find what you are looking for. I’ve honestly never seen streets so small with little cobblestone walkways where cars are not allowed, or able to go! It was nice to just walk around amiously and do nothing of any particular interest. Most things close early so I didn’t bother to buy anything, which was good because everything is super-duper expensive anyways! Nightfall came and I was out like a light happily and dreaming like a little baby. I had put aside the next day to go and explore the royal palace and government buildings, and thankfully the weather forecast was looking good.

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However, before going to bed I was walking around downtown and out of the corner of my ear I heard loud yelling from a speaker or something, so I thought that I would envestigate. This is the famous square near T-Centralen where there are shops and Kulturehuset, and other cool stuff, and there were about 2’000 african-origin people in the street protesting the Ethopian invasion of Somalia (or something of that nature). So the stupid tourist that I am, I decided to go down and see what was going on, and ‘participate’ in a political rally in Stockholm. Despite being something demanding peace, people are surprisingly violent, but it was all good because I was the only white person so everyone was afraid to talk to me. Yay being a visible minority all the time! So they were yelling stuff, and I yelled stuff too and now I can say that I’ve been a part of a political rally against some sort of opression; yes I’m a dork, but I’ve done something many people can’t say they have!

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Other than TV and radio buildings what could be sexier than government buildings? The Swedish government building, Ritsdag, is pictured here and is a beautiful building just on the other side of the Royal Palace (uninhabited) which was riddled with hundreds of Russian and Japanese tourists who take pictures of everything and are impossible to avoid. The Royal Palace is quite large, and I took a nice little walk around it and down along the harbour which offers a wonderful view of private, public, and industrial boats all of different sizes and looks. Wonderful to see, and take pictures of!

Now for some fun for day three, or lack there of to be honest. I was sitting in an internet café while there was this girl who came up to me and pretended to know who I was saying ‘Do I know you from somewhere?’ as if I had any idea who she was. So she decided to sit down next to me and irritate me for the next hour or so. Her name was Elin and she kept asking me weird questions and telling me werid things about her life, like the numerous French men she dated, and how hey were all psycopaths. I really didn’t know what to say, especially when she tries to show me naked pictures of someone she met in the metro just the day before. Apparently she’s too naïve, or something about having met him and thinking he was a good guy. I just laughed at her nervously and hoped that she wasn’t hitting on me. I knew it was bad news when she kept saying that I looked innocent and pure, and with that cue I took the closest exit and ran without making it look like I was running. Sad part of the story, she stalked me at the café for the next few days until I gave her my (semi-fake) e-mail address. Sketchy!

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I was supposed to meet up with a friend that I’ve known for several years, Andreas, who I met through Gus’ cousin, of whom I don’t even remember. But anyways, I was helping him with his English and him my Swedish so it was a good pairing. He’s really not the kind of person that I would normally be friends with, as he’s goth, but he said that he’d show me around Stockholm on the third day. So we were to meet at noon at Gamla Stan metro stop, I arrived, and waited and waited and waited and of course he never came. Now I was the naïve one, who everyone thought was crazy since I was clearly waiting for someone who wasn’t coming! Boo Andreas, who never showed up and now has dissapeared, not surprisingly. So after this I embarked on a huge walking journey following someone who walked really fast. It turned out that I followed him all the way to the southern suburbs of Stockholm in the dark, and I ended up right next to Globen. Globen as in the huge Globe theater-concert venue thing, as in the same place that they have Melodifestivalen every year. I started salivating and took pictures the next day since it was dark, but sadly there were children everywhere since it was Disney on Ice the week I was there. Found food, went home, chilled and talked to the Canadian guy who stayed in my room, along with the Dutch and Argentinian guys who are traveling around. The Canadian guy, Paul, was going to Jönköping for school, and is like super-fun, but he’s a bit full of himself and from Alberta, so apparently everything is better there. I just laughed and helped him re-arrange all the shit he brought. I was more excited about meeting Daniel from Facebook the next day, the same guy that came to stay with me at the train station before Christmas. We had a meeting at 10.00 the next morning at T-Centralen so I was looking forward to it.

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Despite the rain, which didn’t sease until after I left, Daniel and I met in the train station and walked around in the rain all day. He showed me all of his schools which were all really coolly located in the downtown area, and then we went to some shopping malls which are surprisingly hidden. Of vast importance, this included Ålhéns, which is about 7 floors and we just wanted to go see the spa which is on the top floor. It was cool, but what was more cool was the fact that we decided to go find the SVT and SR buildings in the north of the city. They were even on the map so I was excited. Biggest dissapointment in the world. The SVT building didn’t even have a logo on it, which is clearly the best part of the whole building! The SR building was having a logo, but nothing interesting around it, but the huge adventure was the fact that the metro stop right next to it was closed so we had to walk and got lost trying to find it all. My trusty map helped us, but even with it we were still clueless and had no idea where we were or where we were going. I’m still trying to get over the national broadcasting building being so weak, common Sweden, for the first time ever be more like Finland and actually have a nice building!

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What is a lonely tourist with nobody around supposed to do from 19.00 until about 23.00 where everything is closed and it’s slightly cold? Ride the metro of course. I decided to be a huge dork and ride the metro to each and every single stop there was, which turns out to be a lot. I discovered that the metro goes way out from the city than I ever thought it would, for example to Kista, or nearly Södertalje, a shouthern suburb by train. So it was all really pretty except for the creepy Swedish people who stalked me outside Ålvik but it’s okay, I went to every corner of the city, and it killed hours of my life. It was very fun and lots ot see with tons of lights. Stockholm is very uninhabited, it’s weird. I like it though, despite the cold personalities of all the people.

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After the next day of sleeping in because I was tired, I went for a nice walk to see all the cool other places in the downtown that I ignored before. Aka Kungsgården which is a really nice little park with an ice ring and a bunch of gardens across from the NK where the famous Anna Lindh was assasinated recently. It’s really sad, but the building is really pretty and nice. Also there was the bank location where the Stockholm Syndrome began, that’s the one where victims start to sympothize with their captors, kinda weird but I could see how empathetic Swedes could fall in that trap.

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On the last day of my Stockholm adventure I decided to go and see the city hall that I had a little encounter briefly earlier..The encounter went something like this:

Man1: Kan du hjälpa mig?
Osky: Kanske, vad ska du ha?
Man1: Jag söker Stadshuset… vart är det?
Osky: Jag är inte så rätt, förlåt.
Man1: Men du snackar på svenska, så du kommer ifrån Stockholm, eller?
Osky: Javisst jag kan svenska, men jag bor inte här.
Man1: I anna fell du måste veta vart Stadhuset är!!
Osky: Nej, förlåt igen!
Man1: Blandet de flesk kille! Osky: Inte mig, hon söker Stadhuset.
Man2: Stadhuset är där…
Man1: Vad? Jaså, vi är i Gamla Stan?
Man2: Javisst! Tunnelbanna stänna Gamla Stan du ser!
Osky: *gäsper and sigh*
Man1: Tusen tack allihop.
Osky: *sprang*

First of all, as if some random person would come up to me and ask for directions, but he was so stupid to actually continue to ask me when I said that I didn’t know. Stupid tourists, but it was okay since I went to the Stadhuset (City Hall) the last day which was invaded by hundreds of Russians. It was nice to look at and I took a bunch of pictures, even of some naked statue of a guy and some snakes which was in the corner where nobody would go and see. It was funny that I was the only one to look at it, but oh well now. The garden on the outside has some sort of a mini harbour where there is a really old fashioned landing dock for people to escape (or something). So I aborted situation when people started speaking Russian to me, and hurried to the train staion to kill some time before my train to Göteborg.

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This photo actually has a really funny story to it which I will explain now. I arrived at the train station and went to check directions for once I got to Göteborg on train, and got my free tickets and all my stuff checked. I sat down and started to read Aftonbladet, something I did everyday of my trip (go me), and sometimes Dagens Nyheter (too). And there was this guy sitting across from me, and as you can see he has an american flag on his sweater, but it wasn’t visible the first few minutes because he was sitting beside me. I really didn’t notice him until he got up, went to the ticket vending machines, and then came back to sit across from me. He kept playing games on his mobile phone which I was doing too. And then suddenly I realized that I was somehow having someone attempt to connect to me via Bluetooth, so I was like huh. I looked around at everyone’s models of phones, and his was the only Nokia, so I figured it was him since the type of phone that was trying to connect was Nokia. I then got a message (somehow) asking how my paper was. I was freaked out a huge extent, but tried to look cool around the homeless people and lost travelers.

It took me a few minutes to realize that it was him who was playing along with me, and I realized this when I looked up and he was staring at me laughing. I was sort of paniced, and then he greeted me saying that he couldn’t help himself to try to freak me out, since he figured I was waiting for a train. How weird was this? Anyways, it turns out that his name is Joakim and he was heading to Luleå, and freaked out to know that that’s just where I had been a few days before. He had to do some studies for being a doctor or whatever, and then once he found out that I was going to Göteborg, he took another freak attack since that’s where he’s from. He seemed to take some sort of ‘traveling psykic’ connection after this. He wasn’t creepy at all, just kind of odd way to start a converstaion, so we talked for awhile and our trains left at more or less the same time, so at least I wasn’t alone. He’s really nice, but kind of rude in the sense that he was very full of himself, so when I was boarding my train he went to his and then he gave me his mobile number and told me to sms him so that I could tell him what to see in Luleå. I thought it was a bit weird, but whatever, what’s wrong with making new friends, epsepcailly ones who aren’t creeps, and are half-decent looking! It’s better to be seen with good looking people, than ugly ones, it’s just better for self image. No I’m not shallow, just picky! I couldn’t help but sneak a photo before I left, and we were playing games just to keep a memory of the creepy conversation.

On the train, off to Göteborg on the superfast X2000 trian and arrival in only 3 hours (very short time), and all train tickets paid for *mwhaha* Go team me.

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