26 May 2008
(Sunday, May 25 21:50) Comfy, Wishing-I-didn’t-have-to-sleep
Wishing-I-didn’t-have-to-sleep is one word, right? Ok, maybe I cheated a little, but that just means that English now needs a single word that means Wishing-I-didn’t-have-to-sleep. I’ll call id langtred. Why? No clue. For some reason languishing came into my head and I felt that I needed to come up with a word that didn’t already exist. Why do I feel this way you say? That’s a good question. And it’s actually linked to the other word. Because I’m so comfy right now, and also because I feel like I’m having a lot of fun, I really don’t want to have to leave this train for a few hours. And I know that the moment I fall asleep I’ll already be morning, time to get off and start the day.
The story leading up to the train is a little more interesting, and it climaxed in a crazy 10 minutes where I wasn’t sure that we were both going to make it onto the train. Anyways, that comes later, don’t worry. Oh, and ‘we’? My dad has joined me for the last few days of my trip; the difference in price was negligible and I thought it would be fun to travel with him before I go off to college this fall.
We started today in Svolvaer, way up in the Lofoton islands. After having two days of biking, walking and relaxing due to a mix up with the kayaks and then an accident involving broken ribs for our guide, we were ready to move on to Bodo. Unfortunately, things never go smoothly. We checked out of the hotel at 12:00, expecting to stay in the hotel until 2 or 3 before taking a cab to the airport. It was during this time that nature decided to give us rain. This rain steadily got worse until we boarded the plane and broke though for a few short minutes. And when I say ‘a few short minutes’, I mean that almost entirely literally. Our flight time was around 30 minutes in an turboprop plane. Wow, it was such a cool plane, and I have a bunch of photos on my phone camera and video camera. The Svolvaer airport was tiny, one runway, one gate, 2 people manning a single x-ray scanner, a single flight attendant and only about 11 rows of 2×2 seats on the plane itself. Landing in Bodo, we realized that this was actually a much bigger town. The 17+ airport gates prooved this. But I think that there’s only around 50,000 people in Bodo. Anyways, it was still raining when we got in.
We thought the maelstrom wasn’t going to be in effect while we were there because we had missed the high tide. So, we took our time in the airport, buying a hot dog, a salad and some pizza for reasonably good prices. Reasonable in this case means “$5 for the hot dog, $8 for the pizza slice, and $12 for the small salad and a little thing of bread”. Trust me, it was better than eating just about anywhere else. We feel that our stores (including 750g of trail mix called go’dag) will last us until at least midday tomorrow. I worked on Motion (a KDE4/C++ project involving stepcore) for an hour. Dad then went around talking to people, and we realized that the best time to visit the maelstrom happened both on tide in and tide out, which meant that we could go and see it at 19:48 today! We quickly discovered that a car could be rented for 800NOK, which was much better than the 1600NOK that we were thinking of yesterday. And even better, the National car rental guy said that we could leave the car at the train station. So, with high spirits, we dashed off in the manual transmission car.
Wow, manual transmission. It was a flex fuel ford focus (say that 10 times fast), very basic, probably $20,000 or less as new in the US. Apparently it costs $50,000 here. Yikes. After driving the 33 km on coastline roads in roughly 35 minutes, we finally got to this gigantic bridge. And don’t worry, I have lots of photos of this part. But there was no moving water, no nothing. We turned off to the left at a sign that we thought meant the sightseeing location, it was named Saltstraumen or something, I need to check on that. Anyways, that side road brought us to this funny little restaurant on the edge of a cliff. I could see the main bridge from there, but no fast moving water. It was pouring rain, and I didn’t know what to do. Finally I got out and wandered down the rocks to a guy who was fishing. That’s a whole entire blog post by itself.
He was Swedish, and spoke roughly 8 words of English. I smelled alcohol on his breath, and I was surprised that it wasn’t more prominent, considering that he was out in the pouring rain without a hat or even rain jacket. And he was fishing. Wow. He managed to partially understand the timetable I had, and finally told me that tomorrow morning at 7:00 was the only time to see it. I could see plain as day that there was something tonight as well, but oh well, it was mostly in English anyways. I thanked him and went back to the car. Turns out he wasn’t finished. He came up to us again and started yacking at us through the passenger side car window. We heard about his brother who worked for this singer, his ideas behind Manhattan, New York, and other things American (and German, for some reason. He initially thought I was German).
Once he was finished for the second time, we drove around some more for another 20 minutes. By this time it was getting very close to the 19:48 time that the maelstrom was supposed to be in full effect. As a last ditch effort we drove down as far as we could to the base of the bridge, walking the rest of the way to the rocks. And, amazingly, we saw it! It was like this river of water or lava within the river itself. On the sides were mini (and not so mini) whirlpools, and everything looked very powerful. The water in the middle was moving out to sea very very fast, and it proved for really good footage on the video camera. And I was freezing. Did I mention that it was still pouring? Yes, and I’m amazed that the camera still works.
So then we drove back, fretting a little bit about time on the way, back to the train station. Upon arriving, we once again were reminded that nothing ever goes as planned. The ticketmaster who we were supposed to give the car keys to wasn’t there. Great, now what. Somehow, I ended up outside of our sleeper room with all of the luggage while dad jumped in a cab to try and make it to the car rental office and back before our train left in 20 minutes. Of course, I made him take his phone, just in case. It turned out that he was able to make it back with nearly 10 minutes to spare, but that was just fine in my eyes. Remind me in the future to not try that again.
So now we’re on the train. and I feel comfortable and langtred. Andrew Stromme, Over and out.
P.S. – I just realized that this post took me 1/2 hour to write. It’s over 1200 words, which means I’m typing at a (long term) 40 words per minute. Not bad, not bad at all!