Friday, August 18, 2006

Germs on a plane

I haven't written anything for a while. I was in Stockholm with friends last weekend and I've been feeling yucky with cold since then. I catch something nearly every time I fly - I wouldn't make it as one of those Australians in London who does 'city breaks' every weekend.

Leaving Heathrow the day after the terrorist scare was an event. Our flight was 7am on a Friday morning and SAS had cancelled all its flights the on the previous day. When we arrived at 5am the check-in area was a writhing mass of queues. Thursday passengers were hoping to get on flights. Friday passengers had all turned up early.

People had been waiting for hours without any staff to direct them. It was impossible to figure out where the ends of queues were. Queue rage erupted as people who thought they were at the ends screamed at people who pushed straight into the middle of the crush.

At 5:15am a single SAS staff member turned up and started to organise the queues. Some people were incensed to find out that priority would go to people with tickets to fly that morning rather than people at the front of queues. After a long wait, we checked in for our flight and it left just a couple of hours behind schedule.

I was expecting to like Stockholm. After all, I used to work in Ikea and the first album that I bought as a ten year old was by Roxette.

It was a beatiful relaxed place. Almost so nice that it was creepy. I was reminded of the hilarious 'Sweden' song by The Divine Comedy:

"I would like to live in Sweden
When my work is done
Where the snow lies crisp and even
'Neath the midnight sun
Safe and clean and green and modern
Bright and breezy - free and easy

I am gonna live in Sweden
Please don't ask me why
For if I were to give a reason
It would be a lie
Tall and strong and blonde and blue-eyed
Pure and healthy, very wealthy"

While bordering on clinical, Stockholm also has quirkiness. As in Norway, I found some of the street signs quite wacky. I've seen this one before.

But never this!

The strangest thing about Stockholmers (and all Scandinavians?) is their predilection for heavy metal. I haven't seen so many heavy metal band t-shirts since 1990. My only theory is that it has something to do with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Stockholmers, as we found out, go for all kinds of rock music. And on Saturday nights big groups of them pack into all kinds of vehicles and turn it up as they cruise around the city. I was mesmerised as car after car went past blaring everything from Elvis to Metallica.

If you're planning to go Saturday night cruising in Stockholm then a tough car is a plus.

But even mum's people mover will do.

And obviously, it's cooler if you're sticking out of the car.

Being wholly outside the car is the ultimate.

And this is as cool as you can get.


Panda said...

Crazy Joe,
How are you ! I am Panda from Chung King Mansion. Just to tell you that i will to Australia and spend my 1st and the last working holiday there. It all happens next year summer time. Wowooo.

joe said...

Red Cat Cheung! I am so excited to see your message! I am going to email you to ask for all your news :)