Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Travelogue: Scandinavian Tour 2009

Sunday, May 10
Sunday evening my wife dropped me off at the Charlotte airport for my flight to Chicago. From Chicago I would then be flying over the Atlantic Ocean and ending up in Copenhagen, Denmark. The O'Hare airport in Chicago is one of the most confusing if you're trying to fly international. There are no signs that tell you where the international terminal is. My ticket read Terminal M15, so when I stepped off the plane from Charlotte and looked up at the signs all I saw was ABCD. I ended asking about 5 different people where it was. It turned out that I had to go up an elevator to the sky bridge, then over the bridge to a tram that would take me 5 stops to the IT. Well, I found it and boarded the plane.

The flight to Copenhagen was only 7h and 45m long! Now some of you might say that that's a long flight, but not when you're accustomed to overseas flights sometimes taking 10 or 14. I sat next to this free-spirited, long haired, bearded bicycle mechanic from Capitola, CA (Santa Cruz). As we were lifting off the ground I asked him if he'd ever been to Copenhagen before. From that point on he talked almost the entire flight (sorry Victor, but you did). I found out Victor's entire life story it seemed. He was actually on his way to Latvia to meet his girlfriend. I found out the history of Latvia, stories about his past adventures in Latvia, his inherited house in Capitola with his crazy friends living their with all their dogs, his vegetable garden, old relationships with girlfriends, current relationships, his music, massage therapy. There was a moment that I actually started to fall asleep during one of his stories. The great thing was that I actually slept for about 3 hours. I never do that. Usually I fall asleep for about a half hour and am awake the rest of the flight.

I woke up and Victor started in again until we landed in Copenhagen. Victor was funny and hope to see him again someday. He made the flight go by pretty fast.

Monday, May 11
I took a train from the CPH airport and then walked about 5 blocks to my friend Peder Nande's house. He wasn't there and I didn't have a cell phone and I didn't want walk another few blocks to the nearest payphone. I stepped into a deli next door owned by a Polish woman and asked to use the phone. She was more than happy to oblige. So to return the favor I bought some food there. The deli serves this snack that looks like a big appetizer. On a small piece of rye bread, they layer on shrimp, sliced eggs or fish with small slices of cucumbers or tomatoes all topped with Hollandaise sauce. I chose one that looked like it had a nice fillet of fish on it, but turned out that it was actually a slice of compacted fish eggs.

I spent the evening catching up with Peder and his wife Lene. I rearranged my suitcase for the trip to Norway, checked some email and fell asleep.

Tuesday, May 12
I jumped into a cab left for the airport around 5:30 am. the next morning. We have shows in Norway so I would be first, flying to Oslo and then to a town called Haugesund where I would be meeting up with my partner Nathan James and our Norwegian host Andy (his real names is Arnst Ove, but he says "Andy" is easier to say). I waited in the Copenhagen airport for about and hour and a half before leaving for Oslo--a 50 minute flight. I waited in the Oslo for about two and a half hours for the flight to Haugesund--a 35 minute flight. I waited in the Haugesund airport for Nathan and Andy another two and a half hours.

The flight to Haugesund, Norway from Oslo

Andy's house is a fairly large house nestled in the countryside about a half mile off the main road. It's surrounded on one side by pastures full of grazing sheep and on the other side by an inlet from the North Sea. We unpacked our suitcases and took a little walk while Andy cooked us this amazing dinner of local trout covered in pesto, small gold potatoes, cauliflower, salad all topped with herbs cut from his own little herb garden. We had a small shot of a Norwegian liquor to warm our insides up a little.

Dinner at Andy's house

The view from Andy's living room window

Then Andy told us that if we were feeling up to it, he had a friend that worked at the local performing arts theater in town. She could get us in free to see Bobby McFerrin in concert. Bobby McFerrin?!!! Hell yes!

I really didn't know what to expect. Of course, I really only knew that he did "Don't Worry, Be Happy", but didn't know much else. Let me just say that Bobby McFerrin is an amazing singer and vocalist. I was completely blown away by his performance. When we saw the stage we noticed that there was only one chair in the center. No band. He sat on the stage and made enough music with just his voice and taps on his chest and with his feet that it sounded like a whole orchestra and kept me entertained the entire time. He eventually invited up a choir from Haugesund to accompany him on a couple of songs and he invited the audience to participate a few others, but the rest was all him. That was a concert that I won't soon forget.

Bobby McFerrin

We all got home, fixed a little coffee and talked about the show. Later, we a little bit of aged Scotch from Andy's cabinet and finished the night out by watching a DVD of an old concert of Dr. Hook live on a television show in Germany back in the 70's. It was insane!

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