Thursday, January 17, 2008

An Evening In Sweden

This is one of my old write-ups. This is more than a year old (Has it been really 1 year since i wrote this? Time seems to be flying!). I had written this and mailed it to a few of my friends (to bug a few) and now it's time to post (and bug the whole wide world)!

Statutory Warning: This one's also long! So read when you have a little time to kill!

Dated:10th September 2006.

I am not sure if you can call these interesting snaps or whatever. But these are snaps which I took when I went for a stroll in areas near the hotel where I was staying. Basically it’s pretty boring to roam around alone in a new city with no one to actually guide you. You are always apprehensive about straying too far from ur hotel – or place of stay. But then you can’t stay in your hotel room all the time, right? And I just could not resist the temptation of seeing new places. :-) :-) I was careful not to take any side roads. I just kept walking for abt a couple of kms in the same straight road in which my hotel was located. Yes, I did take a few turns but they were all the ones which were parallel to the one in which I was walking and since I have a pretty decent sense of direction, I was not lost in the new city when I went around.

My objective was to buy a calling card to call up my parents and friends back home and tell them tht I was pretty ok here. So tht’s the official reason I gave myself for roaming around in the new city ;-) I was told tht I had to go to the city center to get a calling card. I thought ‘city center’ means taking a bus, travelling a long distance because I am staying in a hotel tht’s near the highways. But the city center is only abt 2 kms from the hotel and just straight ahead. Very convenient for me :-). So I started walking :-)

One thing tht struck me here is the neat roads – be it the highways or the by-lanes, they are all so clean; unlike India. But then, I would never compare India and Sweden. Both are poles apart – quite literally too :-) Since the population is so thin here, cleanliness is easy to enforce and maintain. So to take back home pictures of neat roads, I have clicked the Dolbyvagen, the road in which the hotel is situated; I mean the one which directly leads to Lund City Center. So there you see a few pictures of roads (Of all the things on earth!! ROADS!! Me and my taste!! Phew!!).


The next funny thing I found is kids actually going around in their ‘bikes’ (what we call cycles in India is called ‘bike’ here) with their parents. Also people cycle a lot here. Smaller kids/babies are actually made to sit in a seat that is specially made for them in the pillion of the cycles or rather the bikes. The snap which I’ve attached contains one such mother and her son, (son I presume :-)). The son is in his own bike. But sitting in the pillion of the mother’s bike is another of her sons (the kid’s legs alone would be seen). Wanted to click tht one, but I could not time my snap so accurately. I am not sure if I’ve seen anything like tht in movies or read abt in books.

Kids and mom in bike

Ok… so by now I had come to the city center. The city center was bustling with activity, I could actually see people and lots of people here. Anywhere else all one gets to see is just fast moving cars and fast moving bikes. There were so many typical European buildings, like the ones we see in Hollywood movies and there were all nice. So I just clicked one, sample piece ;-)

Lund City Centre

Now that I had reached the ‘city center’, I began to search for a shop to get a calling card. Enquired in a shop, the shop keeper spoke broken English and I could not exactly understand that she was telling, neither could she understand what I was saying. So I began to go to the inner roads. There I met this interesting shop keeper. I forgot to even get his name. (I am sure I would not have remembered his name even if I had asked for his name….. so why strain my brain?? ;-)) Well, when I asked for a calling card to make international call to either India or the US may be, he asked if I was from India. I said yes. The next thing he said was ‘Namaste’. Lo!! I was surprised!! Then he said something like ‘Mujhe hindi nahin aati’. Before I could comprehend what he was saying, he switched to English with a wave of his hand. When he was getting me a card, he began to talk abt his father who does yoga and kundalini. His father had been to Rishikesh, Varanasi, so tht’s y he knew ‘Namaste’ and he knew only ‘Namaste’ in Hindi. I was surprised to see some one talk abt Yoga and Kundalini in such a remote part as Lund and that too a shop keeper!! Now he gave me a calling card for 100 korners, but the terms of usage of the calling card were such that if I make the call from any mobile, then the mobile would be charged local call rates. Now tht was a problem bcause I was using a client mobile and I was not permitted to make calls on my client’s expense. And to make call from any local land line, I din’t have anyone’s contact so I can make the call. Also if I had to make a call from any telephone booth, I needed another card worth 50 kroners for that. When the shop keeper realsied the kind of fix, he had put me in, he apologized and said ‘I feel like I have cheated you. So lemme take back the calling card. I will give back your 100 kroners. I am sorry’. I was surprised! I had anyways spoken to my parents and mailed my frens so I just go back my 100 kroners and left the shop. In fact he even offered his shop’s land line to make the fone call. But I declined the offer: din’t want to trouble the poor guy any more, he was already feeling so guilty of himself!!! So I just clicked away the Mr. Nice Guy. Incase you wondering why his pic is named ‘the guy who called me unique’, he did tell me ‘you are so unique’. But I was not sure if he meant the whole of Indians or just me unique among the Indians he has seen :-? :-? So I just left it at tht!!

The Guy who called me unique

I now started my walk back to the hotel. I walked on the other side of the Dolbyvagen and I saw a nice old castle. The gates to the old castle were open and there were no boards resembling anything like ‘no trespassing’ in Swedish(Every board in Sweden is in Swedish ;-)). But I saw a Kennel and I stepped back. Din’t want to venture into old castles alone ;-). But it looked great from the outside. I am not sure if its beauty is captured nicely in the pic. Still sending it across anyways ;-)

The Castle

Then I crossed the hotel and started walking away from the city center side of the hotel towards the highways side of the hotel. Here I saw a road – sign which said ‘No pedestrains’. Interesting!! At the entry point of Dolbyvagen to the highways, no pedestrians are allowed!! I don’t even remotely remember hearing anything like tht anywhere…. Very amusing!!

Sign saying 'no' to pedestrians

Ok.. so the story comes to end here. I came to the hotel and started typing my experiences… Well I am able to hear sighs of relief now!! ;-) Bored you guys a lot. You see…..That’s the trouble of staying alone. You don’t have any one to talk to so you just type the whole damn thing in a mail and bug your frens!! ;-) ;-)

Note: Another of my long posts! Dint quite know where to give break between part I and part II. Also since it's an old one dint want to disturb it too. So people! Forgive me for taking up so much of your time.