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Alborg: Til Skagen Med S

June 28th, 2009 admin 2 comments

Reading time: 18 – 29 minutes


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og mig startet.. Ahem… sorry..S and me had went on a trip to Skagen last year- so this will be post on that day trip with photos. We usually try to plan complex trips (Norway Fjord Cruise to Oslo, Hurtigruten, Geiranger Fjord etc etc) and finally let them go since things almost gets out of schedule and stuff + the inherent lazyness. Since Skagen appeared to be almost zero plan place except for the train timings and weather , we decided to give it a try. I think we planned for a weekend and the weather was bad . It was raining all over Nordjylland, the next week was just fine and we packed up.

Skagen – just like Hirtshals- is not reachable direct from Alborg. You need to go to another town called Frederiskshavn and from there catch the blue regional train to Skagen. To keep the costs min for the ticket, decided to go for the Klippekort. One of S’s Dansk friends had recommended a restaurant for us to try as well ;).

6:26,8:26,10:26 .. what are these numbers ..huh.? . Well they are the train timings from Alborg to Frederiskshavn – i liked the :26 in that, instead of a 30 or 00 . We decided on the 10:26 and agreed to meet at Alborg station at 10.

10AM . i reach the station and S is there with a Klippekort he got at the counter. We wait for the train and one train comes in on the platform. There was a little confusion , nobody is sure that it is THE train to F’havn. We rush to the kilippekort machine a further off and try to punch..i remember that initially the machine went on a strike (HARTHAL…) and then later started to work magically. :) .. oops! timing!

Boarding the train and finding seats – thats not a big issue at all in Danmark . We take some photos – outside the window, the train insides and … eachother ( S just loves taking self portraits :)).

After a few stations, the train reaches Hjørring , where we see the NordjyskeJernbaner train which connects Hjørring to Hirtshals. We will be taking similar train from F’havn to Skagen. We were not aware of that when we saw that at Hjørring though.:). We discussed on a Dansk movie poster put up on the railway station. “Dig og Mig” (Dai og Mai) – You and Me . Some Romantic movie!. Den Danske Sprog is pretty limited in expressing emotions. Dig og Mig !!- i dont find anything super Romatisk about that (to the ear, that is). Well , there lies _THE_ cultural difference and the acquired tastes. On a side note there is a hindi film “HumTum” which has kinda the same meaning and a romantic movie too (ohh the hindi films ..)

A few stations more and we reach Frederikshavn. F’havn is a terminus for DSB. From there you can catch ferries to Oslo and Goteborg. The blue NordjyskeJernbaner tog was waiting for us on the other platform and we jump straight in. We found a lot of people bringing their own bycycle along. DSB takes a nominal fee – you got to take a “cykel billet” -cycle ticket for that.

The blue train moves too fast. A lot of small small stations , but the train doesn’t stop at every station. If you want to get down at some station , press the stop button – ofcourse before the station is reached- and the train will stop and open the door for you. It is the same priciple as in the NT busses in Alborg city. Quick quick stops and we are in Skagen , which is another terminus. It was a sunday so the station office is closed.

We get out of the station and roam a bit. The weather is excellent (sunny and bright) so lot of people have come down to Skagen. Skagen town is pretty far away from the coast where we are bound to. The town is just another Den Danske By. With a centrum, shopping (walking) streets , coffee shops, cloth stores which advertise TILBUD etc. The shopping area was very active. Well ..all the people were wearing some kinda of summer dress , may be except me. I was wearing a grey t-shirt and black jeans + black snow shoes!!. Ohh my. Well .. somebody should show off the den indiske taste of dressing up .. So here am I.

To get to the coast there are many ways.

1. Walk
2. Hire a cab
3. Rent a bicycle.

Walk is out of question (just check the map), Hire a cab!! – you must be crazy .

There is a cycle renting station. Skagen Cykel Udlejning which rents bicycles for some DKKS. The Dkk was not very nominal! but a major part of it is a deposit which you get back when returning. The cycle station is some kinda self service. You choose the cycle and bring it to the counter. The person there will ask for the details , collect the fee from you and give the key.

We get bicycles for ourself and start a little practice round. It is very long since i did some serious cycling after the Pre-degree days when i was on a cycle all the time :). I had done some cycling when i went to Hven in June . It was very difficult to go long distance then – Hven is pretty up and down landcape. Skagen is pretty flat so things appeared fine.

Cycle along the marked trail .. on and on.. We leave the city and follow the straight road. The cycles are geared , 3 speed , very similar to the Hven bicycles. Gears do have some effect on the cycling effort if used properly. The European cycles have some differences, the rear brakes are not on the handle bar. To apply rear brakes you move the pedals backward and the cycle brakes itself slowly. Kind of requires some practice.

We cycled on an on and reached the Welcome area, from where you have to walk all the way to the tip of Danmark which is called Grenen. There is a car parking area and a cycle zone. Just lock the cycles and have a good look where you have parked it. It is a pretty large cycle zone and very easy to forget where your cycle is. The keys and the cycles have number so it is not that difficult to spot – but just in case .

There is a tourist counter there where you can buy eatables, maps and other memorablia ( we had a look at the memorablia store later when getting back from Grenen). We were very thirsty after the cycle ralley! so bought 2 Coke to go and started the walk to the end. It is sand everwhere and a few sand dunes. Natural ones. The place kind of reminded me of Rameswaram/ Danushkodi which is also a tip – but the southern tip of my own country – INDIA.

We walked and walked and reached the beach. There are semicircular bathing areas on the beach ( You can see that if you zoom in to the map). They are semi natural formations. What they have done is put rocks at fixed distance on the beach, the natural attack of the sea creates the semi circles where the depth is pretty shallow – so very safe.


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Well the real walk starts at the beach. You got to walk along the long long tail of Denmark , until you reach the tip where the 2 seas meet. Technically , walking is optional. The Skagen tourist dept has some Sand vehicles – the Sandorsmen- which will take you to Grenen, But walking is more fun , more challenging and enjoyable. :). The beach is along and highly PEBBLED. I am not sure if the pebbles have been put artificially or not, but it is a remarkable sight to see lots and lots of pebbles. We found some curious artworks – possibly made by kids- using pebbles. on the beach.
Atlast we reache the tip – only to find a big crowd!. It is very calm at the tip. There is a little current flowing – but remarkably gentle i’d say. We took some photos and moved on. We should never have brought shoes! :). Anyway we took some photos and returned back to the beach to find a spot were we can get in to the water.
All the Semi-circles were occupied except for one.! . We doubted whether there is anything wrong with the place. Like a Shark attack!! . Anyway we rested on the rocks for a moment. I jumped down to the rock and tried to climb down the rock to get a good view of the water .:) well i shouldn’t have with the shoes on. I fell down rather dangerously and couldn’t get up for some time since the rocks were too slippery. I then took out the shoes and threw it to the shore and slowly got up. Very dangerous !! I could have fallen in the water or atleast my phone ( few days old and couple of thousands of DKK ) would have just slipped in to the water. Well .. nothing happened. Thats good luck!
It was too hot and the water was too inviting.!! We threw the clothes off and jumped straight in to the water.! . It was really really good . perfect time , perfect water and perfect Sun. No wonder the Europeans are too crazy about summer and the beach!. S went a little too far from the shore since he can swim. No swimming for me .. So i stayed near the shore. You can float on your back on the water with a little practice.
We were in the water for a long time and later got out to dry our clothes and towels. Could have stayed there for ever but , decided to get back since we might lose the train back to Alborg in time. We walked back and found some WW2 era concreate bunkers in the beach. S climbed over it and i took some photos .. including a cool photo of him jumping down the bunker and in Mid-air.
Back at the parking area!. We were too hungry and decided to try the food counter there. There is n’t much vareity and decided on Burgers. Later we went to the Memorablia store to check the stuff. There are many interesting stuff . Normal things like cards,shot glasses and the like. I found polished pebbles to be another unique attaction. But deadly expensive!
We got the bikes and started cycling back. On the way we saw a peculiar -very large-construction made of wood and decide to cycle there. Looked to be some kind of pump or something . Check the photos. That diversion proved to be good, we cycled through another way back to Skagen town. Another road parallel to the one we cycled onward and at the end we reached the junction infront the Skagen station. We didn’t have Maps but it was almost easy to navigate albeit with a little uncertainity).
Skagen cycle Udlejning again. We gave the bikes back and had a little chat with the couter person on the weather. Said Hej Hej and got out. Now, the train timings were a little odd. Some long time to wait. So we went to the shopping street to see what is there, Normal summer crowd, I found a kids play area, kind a a big inflated bed were kids jump around.
We got in to a coffee shop and ordered a Latte. The idea was to spend as much time as possible untill the train comes in. We fooled around some time and later went back to the station. I dont recollect the exact events, May be the train was already there or we waited for long. Anyway we got in to the train and bought ticket from the Automat inside. We were a little confused with the Automat and backed off first for other passengers who were waiting for us to finish. I remember telling S telling “Vaersgo” to the waiting lady. :). Which is a pretty common term is DK which roughly means “Help Yourself”. The literal meaning is “Be so Nice”.
Anyway ,In to time we were back in F’havn and later in Alborg.
A succesful trip Accomplished.!! SKAGEN

Well the real walk starts at the beach. You got to walk along the long long tail of Denmark , until you reach the tip where the 2 seas meet. Technically , walking is optional. The Skagen tourist dept has some Sand vehicles – the Sandorsmen- which will take you to Grenen, But walking is more fun , more challenging and enjoyable. :). The beach is along and highly PEBBLED. I am not sure if the pebbles have been put artificially or not, but it is a remarkable sight to see lots and lots of pebbles. We found some curious artworks – possibly made by kids- using pebbles. on the beach.

Atlast we reache the tip – only to find a big crowd!. It is very calm at the tip. There is a little current flowing – but remarkably gentle i’d say. We took some photos and moved on. We should never have brought shoes! :). Anyway we took some photos and returned back to the beach to find a spot were we can get in to the water.

All the Semi-circles were occupied except for one.! . We doubted whether there is anything wrong with the place. Like a Shark attack!! . Anyway we rested on the rocks for a moment. I jumped down to the rock and tried to climb down the rock to get a good view of the water .:) well i shouldn’t have with the shoes on. I fell down rather dangerously and couldn’t get up for some time since the rocks were too slippery. I then took out the shoes and threw it to the shore and slowly got up. Very dangerous !! I could have fallen in the water or atleast my phone ( few days old and couple of thousands of DKK ) would have just slipped in to the water. Well .. nothing happened. Thats good luck!

It was too hot and the water was too inviting.!! We threw the clothes off and jumped straight in to the water.! . It was really really good . perfect time , perfect water and perfect Sun. No wonder the Europeans are too crazy about summer and the beach!. S went a little too far from the shore since he can swim. No swimming for me .. So i stayed near the shore. You can float on your back on the water with a little practice.

We were in the water for a long time and later got out to dry our clothes and towels. Could have stayed there for ever but , decided to get back since we might lose the train back to Alborg in time. We walked back and found some WW2 era concreate bunkers in the beach. S climbed over it and i took some photos .. including a cool photo of him jumping down the bunker and in Mid-air.

Back at the parking area!. We were too hungry and decided to try the food counter there. There is n’t much vareity and decided on Burgers. Later we went to the Memorablia store to check the stuff. There are many interesting stuff . Normal things like cards,shot glasses and the like. I found polished pebbles to be another unique attaction. But deadly expensive!

We got the bikes and started cycling back. On the way we saw a peculiar -very large-construction made of wood and decide to cycle there. Looked to be some kind of pump or something . Check the photos. That diversion proved to be good, we cycled through another way back to Skagen town. Another road parallel to the one we cycled onward and at the end we reached the junction infront the Skagen station. We didn’t have Maps but it was almost easy to navigate (albeit with a little uncertainity).

Skagen cycle Udlejning again. We gave the bikes back and had a little chat with the couter person on the weather. Said Hej Hej and got out. Now, the train timings were a little odd. Some long time to wait. So we went to the shopping street to see what is there, Normal summer crowd, I found a kids play area, kind a a big inflated bed were kids jump around.

We got in to a coffee shop and ordered a Latte. The idea was to spend as much time as possible untill the train comes in. We fooled around some time and later went back to the station. I dont recollect the exact events, May be the train was already there or we waited for long. Anyway we got in to the train and bought ticket from the Automat inside. We were a little confused with the Automat and backed off first for other passengers who were waiting for us to finish. I remember S telling “Vaersgo” to a waiting Den Danske Kvinde (Danish lady). :). Vaersgo is a pretty common term is DK which roughly means “Help Yourself”. The literal meaning is “Be so Nice”.

Anyway ,In no time we were back in F’havn and later in Alborg.

A succesful trip Accomplished.!! SKAGEN

Finishing off with a few photographs from the S perspective. Check the “Dig og Mai”  and the “Sandormen” vehicles etc

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Göteborg: Hare Krishna! Tack! for Swedish Prasadam, :)

October 31st, 2008 admin No comments

Reading time: 9 – 14 minutes

 Having hearty conversations with total strangers is one of the best experiences that you can have while traveling. Sometimes you feel that the whole world is trying hard to cross the two lives together for a short while. So this is about a chance meeting that I had in Göteborg and it will be a continuation of my return from Oslo (Remember the öxenerred , and the Gypsy?).

So I left  the NSB bus at Nils Ericsson Terminalen wondering how the gypsy that I saw in the train/bus is going to survive ( He might be some where in Europe, but I wonder how is he going to spend the winter? , The story of Soapy -O Henry’s Cop and the Anthem- comes to my mind :) )

 

Anyway , it was night and I badly needed sleep . I had taken rooms in STF hostel Wendelsberg at Mölnlycke which is a little away from the city (Typical for all those STF hostels). There are 2 ways to reach Mölnlycke 1. take the Pendlertåg ( the commuter train) to Borås 2. Take the GrönEXPRESS (The green line) Västtrafik bus to Mölnlycke .

I had taken a Göteborg++ pass which can go in both the train and bus. But I usually took the train since it appeared to be more comfortable. But then I had a problem when I checked the timing displays at the Terminalen , the next train to Borås is rather late. So I might have to wait a long time . Huh … thats bad . So I decided to try the GrönEXPRESS for the first time.

 

 

 I find a GrönEXPRESS ready for departure immediately .. huh .. that is a little Strange …Anyway I get in and show the Göteborg++ pass to the rather uninterested driver who nodded me in without even looking at the pass  . The bus starts on time and moves along Göteborg city . The bus was pretty free when it left the terminalen but later a lot of people got in at different stops . There was a big crowd near Liseberg since I think that was some special day . Perhaps people enjoying the last summer month  .

 

Suddenly the bus become a little crowded and I notice a lady with a shopping carrier ( I find those kind of carriers amusing , but I find it everywhere , especially carried by old people ). Hmm… may be such carriers are not that feasible in India. First you got to make the side walk even  .

 

Anway when the rush increased ( lot of people were standing . Again totally strange phenomena !! ) she moved in a sat beside me. I smiled with a little Hej (Hmm …yea .. I had started that habit long back)and continued my observations with in the bus. After a while , my co – passenger asks ( with a little hesitation I guess).

 

She: Are you from India ?

( I couldn’ t place her accent, but rather different from swedish)

Me: Yeah , Iam …

 

Now … she Is very much interested … She is an Iskcon devotee and is just coming back from a Pooja at the Iskcon temple in Göteborg . Since It is the avatara dina of Balarama (Krishna’s Big brother ) . It is a little strange ( and a little proud) when I find people talking about the indian religious stories at totally unexpected places! .

 

Once I had been to Iskcon temple in Copenhagen .That is another story … Don’t know , but I found it to be too depressing to live in Aalborg after the winter. So to get a some solace (and perhaps to find something indian) I caught the night train to CPH from Alborg . The temple ( as advertised by their website ) is in a suburb of CPH called Vanløse .I went there with AJ ( who is my colleague working at Malmoe) . We reached Vanløse and with some elderly help (an old lady showed the way ) found the temple which turned out to be a house. One random guy was sitting infront of it perched on a garden stool . We thought he is sleeping , but later we found that he was reciting the Mahamantra (Allegedly since he had the Japamala on his hand) . He later went on to tell the whole story of Krishna to Us  . which was definitely good to hear. But he told us as if we dont know  . I seriously found some lack of depth in the belief . He sounded to be seeking refuge in the faith and the belief sounded too axiomatic. Anway we got in to the temple ( which is a room in the house) . And found all typical iskcon stuff . What I took good notice is the BOSE sound systems .. hmm .. they are rich!

 

So on an average , I guess I am agnostic about religion etc . I believe ISKCON is ran in good faith, but I seriously never found  interest in the activity except the Vanløse ISKCON seemed to be the only hindu temple nearest to the place where I lived . So thats about it.

 

Now , the bus lady kept talking about the wonderful hindu philosophy etc . I agreed , anyway I told her that iam a hindu since iam raised a hindu . Nothing more than that . And as such I am ok with the religion that I am in and I am not too much in to philosophy etc. We talk other general things . She is a german married to a Swede … She lived in Mölnlycke and taught German at the local school there. And … she lived in Mölnlycke  that too very near to STF Wendelsberg !!

 

We continue talking and I mention that I have no idea where to get down since it is the first time I am travelling to Mölnlycke by bus. She takes charge and tells me that “Just get down where I get down, and I will accompany you “  . If you are traveling to Wendelsberg by bus from Göteborg , you got to get down at the stop Kyrkvägen (the church way) and then it is walkable from there.

 

I had lost the sense of direction and I decide to follow my unknown ISKCON guide. !! . We get down at Kyrkvägen . Then the difficult scenario arises.

 

She wants me to give something!!! … She opens the shopping carrier and starts searching … “I should give you something” .I say having met you is more than enough .. I cannot accept anything at all .. Finally she settles for the ISKCON prasad , Swedish cake (veg, eggless cake) and a bottle of Dal , and a box of Pasta ( totally vegetarian she said) . She puts the entire stuff in a Hemköp plastic bag and hands it over to me.  … Now ..that is strange … At a moment I thought that all this meeting is fate bringing together 2 lives at some point of time . It is the first time I am taking Grönlinje .. in all possibility I would have taken the train and walked to Wendelsberg . Something wonderful has just happened.

 

I walked together with her until we reached a crossing where I had to go straight to Wendelsberg and she had to turn to her apartment. We wished good bye -I remember It was a little freezing then -and I walked towards the Hostel.

 

I had the “Svensk Prasad” for dinner that night. That is the first time I tasted the pre-prepared Pasta . I have seen them at Alborg supermarkets but I never bothered to buy it . This veg pasta had Olive and some other veggies . I mixed it with Dal  Indisk style! .. Cake was a little different , but I loved it.

 

~D

ps: pics will be put after a break :)

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Tomb Raider and a hell lot of Nostalgia

October 17th, 2008 admin No comments

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

Cleaning (??) up the old stuff from the college days brings a lot of nostalgia. The feeling is good. I just raided my old stuff to dig out my old books and CDs . Out comes an old PCQ CD from early 2000 . I check that out in my new XYZ gen laptop. Hmm old stuff, old utilities that I tried and chucked out using my old P3 600Mhz,win98, 30G BIG box of noise ( for which I guess my parents spent the same amount of $$ as this laptop from which iam blogging from).

The interesting section is the games : I find Tomb Raider the Last Revelation .. of course the Demo which plays just one level. I have spent a lot of Time running behind and controlling Ms Croft ( Much before she started to resemble Mrs P ).
That brings a lot of memories. It is the fourth version of TR .
I have just played the demo which is set in Egyptian settings. And .. you got to fight of Skeletons which emerge from now where and attack with swords. You can shoot them off with the shot gun but they simple regenerate from the bag of bones! . And the only way to ward them off is to shoot them at the head . Then the headless skeleton will run around and fall in to a pit! Being headless spells the end to the skeleton. But shooting is tricky. You got to use a pistol with a laser sight to shoot at the head. And by the time you take a good aim the skeleton would have come and killed Lara already.

The TR movements and the responsiveness is really good . Although the movements are a little too athletic. Esp the jump sideways in which Lara will do a somersault mid air . it is fun to watch and control . No .. I never got RSI by trying to keep L in “compromising positions “

I tried to install the game on my gen XYZ laptop running Vista (!!! ) . No .. No way the technology of the yesteryear is obsolete . It simply crashes . Vista has a win98 compatibility mode . Hmm .. No way .. Nothing happens. I cant blame them for not providing forward compatibility . :) . But by common logic it should have been playable! .

Now .. that is distressing . I decide to download the latest TR demo from the site. I am welcomes by a full “flashed” website. And at last I reach the download page. The Demo is 500 + MB in a Zip file . Huh . the tr4 that I got in PCQ was just 11 MB . There is definitely improvement by an order of magnitude.

I decide to give a go and click download . Firefox tells me its gonna take 3 days! . No .. so that is not a safe bet to download using ff. So I get a download manager , the “Free download manager” which can resume broken download. More nostalgia there. The old days of Netants, GoZilla!, Audiogalaxy and KaZzaa!!.

Anyway … 500 MB starts to trickle through the narrow band which is advertised as broadband .( but it is dirt cheap!).. And one fine morning I have “Tomb Raider : The Legend Demo” ready to try out!

I fire up the installer and it is ready. Btw it takes 700 MB of my disk space. TR4 just took 14 MB! .. I am pretty confident . Mine is a dual core Pentium, with 1.5 G RAM and ATI graphics card . it should be able to handle what ever graphics. But NOOOO .. Lara is very sluggish and doesn’t do the sideways somersault any more! . I disable one after another all the detailed graphics option to make the stuff playable!

Anyway I loved one aspect. They never made Ms Lara look like Mrs P . Perhaps saved on royalties by that decision . But there are instances were animated characters are made to look like a living person . An incidental example is Mother of Grindel in Beowulf the Movie. The animated character just looks like Angelina Jolie.

Ha . I think these games are never made to be played in Laptops . Normally on the cover it will be written (in small font ) the laptop versions of graphics chips are not supported .What iam expected is to buy and PS3 , XBOX 360 or a Ninetendo . That is a big conspiracy!

No wonder there is an economic depression! Everything is inflated. Where is the value and what determines the price?

Cheers,

~D

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Män som hatar kvinnor

October 17th, 2008 admin No comments

Reading time: 12 – 19 minutes

In a RW mode since the last few days! . RW = Read/Write . I can’t help without the tech junk lingo . Hmm .  wanna be in RWX mode soon .

STIEG LARSSON , that is a name that was everywhere wherever  I went last year.  Take the Danish papers in the bus . Top of the book list, it has to be some book by Stieg Larsson! .  I go to Paris and I find Stieg Larsson books.  Once on the way to Copenhagen I walked end to end along the train . I guess I could count no less than 10 Stieg Larssons   in different hands ( with different ages).

The Novel that I saw first has a catchy name “Luftkastellet Der Blev Sprængt”  .. it is a Danish translation . means “The air castle that blew up “ !! .. pretty long name for a novel . the original Swedish name is Luftslottet som sprängdes

Män som hatar kvinnor seems to be the most popular among the books .  Another long name  and it means “Men who Hate Women” .  but for some reason (perhaps to appease feminists! ) to English name is “ The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.

. I wanted to read the books but I had no way (better i was not aware of ) to get the English version from Denmark. And buying from Amazon was not very economical .So I let go the idea.

But yesterday on a visit to Cosmo Books , Thrissur I found  a book with “Larsson” among the many American books. I got it out and it is indeed Stieg Larsson.

I see Stieg Larsson in DK, I see in Paris and Now I see in Kerala . Excellent .   In Amazon the minimum price is 10 USD. I got it for 299 INR .  that is 6 USD .. Not a bad bargain .!!

I am in the 45th page now . No .. i’ am not a speed reader. Apparently it is just another  crime novel  with good characterization. What I found more  attractive is that the setting is in Sweden. And it does refer to places where I have been to  and the things I know  on my last visit to Stockholm. I feel to be in a different position of imagination. Perhaps there is no need to imagine this time :) .That is a feeling that I never had while reading the other English novels before.

[Update]

Finished reading in a day . 500 + pages.. Have I become a speed reader or what?. :-P.  A crime thriller … Did it thrill the hell out of me?? …

Again having been in Stockholm made the read a lille amusing. Characters who buy Fruit cake from  Åhléns, people who live in Sundbyberg(  which is announced Sundbeebeeey in the tunnelbana :) ), An apartment overlooking Gamla Stan , references to the tunnel bana. Everything brings back the memories.

One of the main characters is a “punk” girl who lives under ‘social guardianship’  since the welfare society considers her to be ‘non compos mentis’  and she comes from a dysfunctional family.

I have seen many of  such “punks” during my trips . Once on a train from Goteborg to Kållered I observed a group of girls . They were showing of their tattoos/piercings  to each other. “Did you see my new one “ that was the question. I particularly noticed one girl ( who didn’t look European, a little east asian look. Can be inuit or Saami origin) , she had made permanent stripe marks (tiger like) on her skin – I just observed her arms and neck- by burning / scraping the skin off :-O .  She looked a little too self important and was the leader.  All of them had different piercings, black eye makeup/lipstick :) and were busy “txting” all the time.

I don’t know if there were under ‘social guardianship’. Seeing the life and culture in a novel is interesting.

The thrill level. Not much .. but the pace is good .  it wont surprise you for sure. A hint will be “Gothika” . The climax is not that sharp . lacking power I’d say .

Its been made in to a movie set to release in 2009. Might be good as I feel it is a natural fit to be made in to a movie. But there is no suspense then.

There are some allusions to ‘Hacking’ which might be a little over the edge esp to people who are used to tech. But it Is amusing

Nowadays I take everything with a critical mind .  So perhaps my expectations were a little high. Anyway it is a good read.
Cheers,~D

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On Social Leeches

October 17th, 2008 admin No comments

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

There are only 10 kind of people in the world. “People who use and people who get used

Brushing off people is a skill that everybody should be trained to have… Alas I don’t have much of it.  That is one of the reasons that I tend to keep aloof from the whole social networking thing and concentrate on a job that doesn’t demand much of it.

In any social network you find people who socialize for something more than just friendship.. In other words use people for their own selfish motives. You find them everywhere. In the real social network and the virtual one   incidentally all of them are pretty good at brushing people of if the scenario tosses (if the reverse osmosis happens :) and at the slightest hint of it). Lets call them “Social Leeches”. In the p2p lingo a “Leecher” is one who keeps on getting stuff from the network never sharing/giving anything back to it.So this is a description of different kinds of “SL”s from experience.

The *way SLs
Pyramid schemes, reverse pyramids ,money chains Total4us and what not.
Lots of people around who want to throw you down the pyramid
Nothing to write about, this Akkarakazhchakal video will be a Déjà vu  to many

Sorry the vid is in malayalam

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsZhYUDaHwY

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN0UC1d2Pjw

Finance SLs
Recently I went to  bank to open an account. It is a nationalized bank
(the biggest bank in india)… so naturally the procedure is not too
smooth.  My father was with me and  in the mean time an SL catches us
.  SL used to be an old colleague but now a insurance agent.
SL : Hello son, where are you now a days
Me: err ..uhh .. I was in X for a year
SL : okay what about hearing about our new great product. SIP/ULIP/ETF ..etc etc
Me: !!
SL hands over his card and gets the phone number and address
SL: I’ll come and explain the whole thing
Me: yeah.OK
The next day SL calls, and fixes up a time
SL: ohh you were in X. so when are you going back?
Me: !! .. hmm ..sigh ..  Nothing is confirmed!
SL: my cousins friends sisters husband is  in Y. Mr X . know them?
Me: Hmm ..!!
SL: I had a chance to go to Y  for  a conference. But then Mr X got a transfer and they moved
Me: How sad
SL: ULIP blah blah. You are already a millionaire
SL: so when should I come with the papers
Me: Let me think a bit
SL:Ok .. but I’ am short of X INR to reach the MDRT* .so i need it fast. And there is a
great competition going on between X branch and Y branch all India to
see who brings the most amount of cash. So you are lucky to be
investing at this stage and be part of the whole affair.
Me : sigh!

Moral: They are required SLs

Real estate SLs
One fine day I get an ISD call from India. Its an old friend.
S L:   How are you. How do you do … btw did you manage to get laid finally!!?
Me: blah..blah …. Sadly No
SL: :-0 …you got to work on it
S L: Boss you know that real estate is booming in K. I have put some investment in it. What about you
Me:  No .. I don’t know about this whole stuff.
S L: Btw i have a shortage of X (Big amount) in the investment. Can you help
Me: you want to make me a partner legally?
S L: err ..No .. there is not enough time for all that stuff . uhh .. you got to trust me
Me: Sigh..gulp.. .

Moral: don’t cross the path again

The drink SLs
The location is a pub in a rather remote tourist place.  I order a
cranberry juice (A ‘la Departed) when one Ms SL  comes at sits beside
me.
Ms SL: Howdy?
Me: OK…
Ms SL: Blah blah
Me:  More blah blah
Ms SL: Why don’t you buy me a drink?
Me: why?
Ms SL: For the company (A smile there)
Me: OK… What do you want?
I notice a gleam in the bartenders eyes
What SL wants is costly champagne. So I understand the gleam
Me: sorry Ms SL , I’ am a student. You see that I’ am drinking the
cheapest of all stuff in here. So I don’t think it is a good idea to
buy you what you want.

Ms SL : (Thinking…)What a cheapo . Perhaps  i should work more  on my victim filter

The next day I see Ms SL hanging around in the town with somebody
.So I hope she managed to get the champagne and perhaps something more.

Moral: Flirt practice. Watch the bouncer before hand

Street SL

Location: A  Paris metro station

Girl: Did you get the ticket
Me : Yes ( perhaps she needs some help in operating the machine , I thought)
Girl : Will you buy a ticket for me?
Me : NO ( A little puzzled , what the heck is happening.. why on earth should I buy a ticket for her??)
Girl : Ohhh .. How sad
Me :  !!!

I didn’t see her again since i was on my way to Airport to catch the flight back to AAL

Moral: Easy to brush off . A learning opportunity

Pure FB SLs

Now go to face book
You are hanging around in Facebook and suddenly you get a chat from a
rather unseen somebody from the the rather dusty area of your friend list
Ms X: Will you do me a favor?
Me: Depends on “the favor”
Ms X : My sis/mom/aunt/gran Is competing for Ms/Mrs Facebook Y. Would you like to vote?
Me : Why not.

Now I  should install an facebook app  which threatens me to access
all  my personal data and  use it  for their own evil purposes. I say
yes and install.
Ms X: Click on .click click click .. Now do you see a photo and 1-2-3-4-5
Me : Sigh .. NO
Ms X :  clickety click .. Now do you see
Now  i see a photo and 1-2-3-4-5
Me: I give a 5
Ms X: ohh .. How sweet that’s the max thanks.
Ms X : How are you yada yada ..
Me : iam blah blah ..
Ms X : iam too busy …bye bye

Moral: Harmless. But shoo them off the 2nd time.

There is one more variety which is a “Hybrid SL” which is a more virulent version, extremely deadly. but to write about that will be another post.

cheers,

~D

* Million Dollar Round Table

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Ferie!!!

October 15th, 2008 admin No comments

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

This will a little continuation to the travel memoirs when I got back to AAL.  The flight from Paris to Alborg was full.

It is Ferie.

Means,

Ferie prop nom holiday ; recess ; vacation ; a holiday

ferie n holiday

ferie tage på holiday go on

ferie på holiday on

ferie i holiday for

ferie {(for, holde, tilbringe)} [S->P] holiday

ferie vacation ; recess

ferie holde a holiday take

Ferie is something like the “Harthal” Or “Bandh” that we Indians (or rather keralites) “celebrate” with much enthusiasm. But not exactly . People are going on a mass vacation during the times when there is enough sun shining and all the stuff comes to a standstill! .There is another concept of Ferie Fredag . means if you have worked over time / worked in the weekends you can take the Friday off (Ferie Friday)

So I landed back in AAL in one of the Ferie times. But I wasn’t very aware of the  this concept ( And the relationship with our own Harthals)

The morning , I got in to the bus and as usual searched for the Danish News papers . Where is the green MetroXpress, the Red Urban and the blue 24 timer ??? . No where to be seen . Usually they put the papers in a holder very near to the entry door. That holder is empty today! . I ask the driver. He says “Ferie”

I get to office. A little later I need to have a meeting with one of the co-workers (Dansk one), I check his calendar . The days are marked “Ferie”, “Ferie” …  for 3 weeks ..sigh..
I have to go to the landlord to talk about the apartment advance  settlement. It is a company and not a person ( in typical bangalore scenario a person who lives on top of you!! :) .. No the situation is not like that). So the next day I got to their office  which is pretty near my house (with out an appointment .. My mistake) .  Hmm .. No body is to be seen . I get in and knock . A lady comes out . Can I meet VM (she is the accountant lady whom I used to interact) .  … Ohh she is on “Ferie” . !! the replacement lady tells me . When is she gonna be back ? I ask . First week of Aug. Okay .. I get out.

Later . I make a plan to give a party to  my co-mallus in Alborg.  There is a Chinese in Vingårdsgade  “Peking House” . I go there one fine morning to reserve a seat ( I walk over since it  is also pretty near to where I live, and perhaps save a phone call) . I see the following written on the door

“Vi Holder Ferie Lukket Fra dato x/y/2008 til  a/b/2008

Tak

Peking House”

Means,

We are closed due to vacation from x/y/2008 to   a/b/2008
Thanks

Peking House

Perhaps I now understand (in a rather different view) what this “Forrest Gump” Dialog means,

Principal: Is there a Mr. Gump, Miz Gump?
Mrs. Gump: He’s on vacation.

Young Forrest Gump: Mama. What’s vacation?
Mrs. Gump: Vacation’s when you go somewhere… and you never come back.

Ferie is the Harthal of EU .
Cheers,

~D

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Travel Memoirs: Hej again Ålborg – I’am home!

October 12th, 2008 admin No comments

Reading time: 11 – 18 minutes

Ålborg is just 1:45 hours direct flight from Paris. NB812 was fully packed. It is the vacation time!. I think I heard a little Danish even at Hotel D.

Nothing much interesting in the flight . As usual they served Juice and coffee. I read the Sterling Magazine (That is in English) . Yeah , interesting stuff in there ..A rather furious report by a Danish reporter on IKEA.  IKEA names its products on the cities of Scandinavia. So for all the living room stuff they named based on Swedish cities, All the Bedroom stuff on Norsk cities, Dining stuff on Finnish cities. And .. when it came to the Bathroom . Doormat etc they choose Danish city/town names!!!. Roskilde,Koebenhavn etc . The reporter has gone a long way explaining  on  how unfair it is etc .

There seems to a be a little India/Pakistan style enemity between Denmark and Sweden! . Not that severe of course. 

Touchdown at Alborg. The timing is excellent . I am greeted by the chill . Paris was rather warm.

I just missed the last bus 2 to Alborg centrum (where my house is)  so took a taxi . hmm .. Interesting to note that it was the same taxi guy who came to pick me up when I first came to Alborg. Ålborg Taxa 98 10 10 10 :) Alborg is a rather small population , you re-see ppl very often.

A little winding ride from Vadum, through  Norresundby over the Limsfjord Broen , I ask him to stop at Vesterbro – Near the Bull

 

 

Its midnight , I walk along Bispensgade, it is Sunday and nobody on the streets – the last few steps of the 15000 + kilometers .  Train, walk, flight,auto, bus , taxi . many many ..  it was good. Made me an improved version! With many fixes.

Back at 2,2.tv Bispensgade. My Post Boks is full of letters! . Quite a handful!

A nice shower and Sleep . Have to reach office in 6 hrs! and read Quite an Inbox full of emails!

 

So that is the end of “Travel Memoirs”! series…   :)

 

~D

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Travel Memoirs:Back at CDG gare and the HL Déjà vu

October 12th, 2008 admin No comments

Reading time: 11 – 18 minutes

 

The RER was rather empty. No ticket checks since its been already done at the Gare gates.  No interesting specimens in the RER and I find myself at the CDG gare after a few minutes . I go up to the terminal level. I’am too early so the flight details  are not yet updated in the display system.

I have some spare euro coins. so I call up home and talk to mom. But the machine eats the euros too fast J. So I have to stop in between.

Last chance to buy Criossants from Paris!!. So I get in to one Bistro and get  2. Long time … I went down and waited at the train ticket counter level periodically checking the display. There ain’t enough seats for ppl to wait at the terminal level. CDG is a very busy airport.

Finally!, the flight is up in the display. But it is from terminal 3. To reach terminal 3 you got to get in to an automated shuttle service called CDGVAL which goes up and down between the terminals. Automated in the sense there is no driver.

Abroad the CDGVAL I had a little Déjà vu.  The feeling is same as the opening sequence of “Half Life” – Freeman travelling to Black Mesa.  D travelling to CDG T3.!!!

Reach terminal 3. That is a little confusing. CDGVAL stops at a place were there are lots of shops a train station  (!!) and a bus station.

So that is _NOT_ terminal 3. I walk along the signs (that is confusing, but since I had enough time I felt a little adventurous). To reach terminal 3 you got to walk along a rather long corridor and cross a BUSY motor way!. There is a policeman posted there who will do the required traffic control.

Enter Terminal 3.. Pretty crowded. I just barge in and look around for the Sterling Counter.  For some reason I can’t seem to find it!! ..  I circle along the T3 and at last my eyes lock on a rather long line with people who look Danish!..  Hmm … Sterling. It was the very  first queue on getting in .

Another long wait at the checking queue and I get the boarding pass  written Swissport on it . I run to the security.  Huh … I should not have put the hiking shoes . the security asks me to remove it and put in the X-ray !! . I get to the other side and  I see all the ppl with Hiking shoes hopping on one leg .!

There are direct flights from Paris to even Rejkavik! . (Keflavik Airport)

The final long wait for the flight to announce. Flight NB812 to Alborg

 

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Travel Memoirs: Back to La Chappale … the last Bon Jour and the ticket not bought

October 12th, 2008 admin No comments

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

Sunday! . I checked out of hotel D paying the balance amount. The flight is in the evening – rather night 8 PM. So I decided to roam around Paris keeping my luggage (the laptop and the backpack) at the hotel after checking out.

No destinations . Just got in to the metro and got down some where near printemps. Then it was walk all along. The shops were closed but there were ample choice for window shopping. I think I just clicked the windows and the name boards all the time.

I reached back the hotel , took the luggage and started for CDG around 4PM . Now I have to retrace the same path . From Place De Clichy to La Chappale on the metro coming from Porte Dauphine. Get down at La Chappale and take the tunnel to Gare Du Nord . Then take the RER B to CDG terminal 2 .

I reached La Chappale. Now got to take the ticket to CDG which costs 8.4 euros. Hmm .. No change for 8.4 so cant use the machine. I went to the counter and a little conversation with the counter guy who looked like Thierry Henry

Me: Hi,A ticket to Aeroport

Henry look alike: Bon jour

Me : Ticket to Aeroport

Henry Look alike: Bon jour ( a little wild)

Me : ( puzzled Silence)

Henri look alike : Boooooooooooon Joooooooooooour (as if yelling from top of a mountain)

Me : Bon Jour, ticket to Aeroport

Henri Look alike : 8.4 euros

I give 10 euros and he gives me back the change and the ticket ofcourse!

Hmm .. I should have said Bon Jour first .My mistake. But iam more used to Hej and not-so-wild counter people! . Anyway he represents the the real French!

Now another incident after the last Bon Jour. Iam standing just next to the counter and looking at the ticket when a girl (who looked east asian , Korean, Chinese,Japanese) comes to me and asks in English

Girl: Did you get the ticket

Me : Yes ( perhaps she needs some help in operating the machine , I thought)

Girl : Will you buy a ticket for me?

Me : NO ( A little puzzled , what the heck is happening.. why on earth should I buy a ticket for her??)

Girl : Ohhh .. How sad

That represents another group of Paris dwellers. Spoiled females who think that every man is usable!

Now that is too much .. I get on the stairs to the Gare du Nord tunnel and reach the gates . Swipe the ticket and iam in . A little wait there and RER B to CDG comes along and iam in .

Bye Paris

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Travel Memoirs: To Musée du Louvre

October 12th, 2008 admin No comments

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

Enough with the walks!, I covered the rest of Paris on the Metro. It is 1.6 euros for a single entry to the metro system . I think I changed two trains from Place De Clichy to reach Palais Royal Musée du Louvre station .

You just have to look at the map and the Metro route map inside the train to figure that out. Get in to the crowd and disappear.

The metro exits are themed some times. Most of them look standard eg: Place De Clichy. Louvre one was special and colorful. I clicked a pic there.

Louvre is inside a big palace. The entrance to the museum Is via the pyramid. The construction is enormously big and the work in the limestone is unbelievably intricate. That does tell about how enormously rich France became as a result of colonization. Even the thought of making such a construction requires a significant money reserve. Perhaps that is true about any big historical monument in any part of the world. It’s all slave labor and looted riches!

Louvre is a pretty good shopping area. There is a long row of shops just in front. Les Arcades Du Louvre. And… that’s going to be pretty crowded all the time. I went there twice, early morning when the shops were just opening and again once more on the same day after noon . It is a nice place for walking around.

Many curious things on sale there. Esp the 100% Chinese made Pashmina shawls!. I did buy one which seemed to be more authentic. A green embroidered one which said 100% wool. No … not from that lot shown in the pic (Although i loved the black one!). I got it from inside the shop and from the shelves.

I think spent a long a time there walking around and clicking the windows! . too hungry. i took the next metro back to the hotel

…contd

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