Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bus Ticket Day!

I looked at today as my last day in Oslo. Sure, there's still a full day tomorrow – but I'm thinking of taking it off, perhaps to watch some Dr. Who (which I've been told is quite fantastic.) If it's an overcast day, then this will probably be put into motion, however if it's a blue skied sunny day, there's no way I'll waste it inside. Just revisiting some of the same old haunts, or wandering the streets is always a treat in good conditions. You know – I'm pretty sure it's impossible to hate a city when it's nice out.

I wonder how much more I would have liked Edinburgh, had the castle ever been backed by blue, instead of white and grey? Don't believe a thing they say about “Edinburgh Sunshine.” It's just not the same.

So how did my day begin, you may be asking yourself. You may not be – you may have become so acustomed to these posts that you've become complacent in your questioning, only expecting. Well let me tell you, “The Philosopher” from Sophie's World would have problems with that.

Can I tell you that I just started to read Sophie's World – for the third time. I'll get through it this time though. I have nothing else to do! I almost got through it once, but my Oral Narrative University Professor stole it from me. I found it on his bookshelf once, with MY bookmark in it, at the page I had read to. He said – no, it was his, (why he had a crayon colored fish bookmark made at a camp I worked at, I'll never know.) But this time... Anyway, it makes sense to read it now, as it was written, and is set, in Norway. How's that for a happy coincidence? I clearly skipped over that part before.

I'm reading this book as I just finished “Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story.” It's not that bad a book – but it has problems. Many problems. Too many to list here, but is it worth a read if you've ever picked up a Lonely Planet guide book? Sure it is. You can watch as the creators themselves get caught up in personal politics, and then passive aggressively attack people they've known through the years. And boy oh boy, do they love their exclamation points. I don't think I've ever seen so many! Not all in one text, anyway! But when you're passionate about something a period won't cut it. Neither will proper word choice. All you're left with is... is... is! And exclamation point! They wake you up too.

Wait, what? Oh – right – sorry. This morning. Well this morning I went to the central station and bought myself a bus ticket out of this joint. It's half the price of a train ticket, so I figured, why not. It also seems to be direct, where I'd have to switch trains at one point. And the time is the same. So all in all, I think I made the right choice. No switching means more sleeping. I just don't want to get stabbed in the face, and then eaten. But I think that only happens in Canada, right?

So after I bought the ticket, I thought I'd take a stroll to the Opera House. I'd been told it cost half a billion dollars to make, and that's what I report in my latest – though not greatest – youtube clip. How are you liking them? Are they ridiculous? Do they work? You let me know what you want to see more of. It's no skin off of my proverbial, and quite literal, back to video more or less. Ah ha! The internet backs up my half a billion dollar claim. Good for it.

So, after walking around, and missing a step and then falling a little bit around, the roof I headed back to the water, and made my way to the ferry dock. Ahh ferries, all included in your metro pass. So, why not take a little boat trip to the five islands just off the shore?

So take a little boat trip to the five islands just off the shore, I did. And what I found there was inconceivable. One island looked like one I canoed too in Huntstville. Ravenscliff for the sticklers. Another looked like a small fishing village I saw in Newfoundland. All of the were so very different from the city. And yet this still was the city! (Sorry Tony and Maureen Wheeler – I guess some times you really do just get a feel for the right time to use this mark. I take it back. You kids are o.k. in my books.)

The fact that you can hike up in the forested hills, explore urban sprawl, and walk amongst rocky islands all in one day – on one bus ticket – I just can't say enough good things about Oslo. I could live here. I haven't had that feeling about a city outside of Canada yet – and I haven't had that feeling without adding “for a year or so.” But there it is. Oslo – I could live here.

Let me look up their winter statistics for a moment. That might make me pull a Winnipeg on this choice. Pssh – average of minus 9 Celsius. That's nothing. Although the 9am – 3pm days could make me a little wonky. Still – I'd be willing to experiment. Who says that's just for college kids?

After the islands I headed for one last stop. Aker's Bridge. This place has some of the most beautiful scenery in Oslo. I imagine that this is the place where the condo prices are through the roof, and all those people that want to impress friends, and strangers, will move here. It has to be. The buildings are all artistically designed, there's an ocean, there's people selling ice cream down by the bay. In the height of the summer this place must be full of foot traffic. Even now there were still a number of people around. But not too many. This is why I don't travel in the height of the summer.

The only downside, is that you go into 7-11 with the intended purpose of just walking through a mall, and then end up with a small container of 11 dollar pasta, because you missed the /hg sign next to the price. Well, you won't make that mistake again. And, if it was served in a restaurant, it would have warranted the price. It wasn't too bad – but 7-11... Really?

The bananas were cheaper at this one. Only 10K each! That's just 2 dollars!

And then it was back. Back to the hostel, to download some videos, and try to find a good connection for watching Doctor Who. Even though you didn't really like the old versions of it. But who are you to argue with the logic of the one person who watches more television than anyone else you know?

So that will be that, Oslo. Thank you – and good night!

Oh wait – one final point. It has come to my attention that all art is derived from the male desire to get a girl naked. “Come on, it's ok – I just want to [paint / sculpt / whatever] you.” And this seems to work. Every painting or sculpture I've seen in Oslo can back that up. Even the line, “it'll be ok – I'll give you boots, and a Carmen Sandiego hat – it'll be great!” seems to work up in this city. Good for them. Once more – I bid you adieu.


  1. I read the Lonely Planet story- it seemed like a pretty straight-forward rags to riches book, except they were hippie-ish.
    I also do not like Sophie's World enough to try to read it through all the way, although it sounds like you're going to try again- leave it for the philosophy undergrads Mike- don't do it!
    It's been accusing me from a bookshelf for years..

  2. Katie: I just don't like how he keeps repeating himself. He tells the same story in three or four different chapters - and there are three or four stories he repeats. It seems like he just slapped it together without thinking of it as a book.

    To me, it felt like a guide book. That he would expect people to read through it one chapter here, then skip to another - but that's not how most people read books.

    Also - Maureen keeps jumping in, interrupting the narrative to complain about things - and be overly whiny. AND THEN Tony starts to interrupt himself near the end of the text, which is odd.

    Also - the "we couldn't let the writers own the work, because it's our work. We thought it up." Fine - I can deal with that - but then he says "It's a shame we now have to be more cautious about photos we take, and model releases." It's like he wants everything to revolve around him. I get it - you want rights to the text your authors create. Fine - good - but then you have to understand when other people want rights to their own image.

    And he just doesn't seem to ever get it.

    Khandilee: You should go to Oslo - it's the most beautiful place I've yet to see. And people will tell you "it's not the real Norway" but that doesn't mean anything. If most of the people in the country decided to live here - it's real enough for me!

  3. I have a copy of Sophie's World next to the bed, hoping it will help me teach Western Philosophy...

  4. just keeping it by your bed wont do much. You're probably going to have to read it ;) I tell you what though - it's not so terrible, provided that you're in it to learn.


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