We, collectively the Americans, had been led to believe that Norway was a very clean country. Perhaps the problem here is that this very small town is heavily populated with students who don't have any particular attachment to the place or keeping it clean. That certainly seemed to be the case in Madison, which had the fun Sunday morning sidewalk sport known as vomit-hopping. Some of the students have actually become attached to the place. Enough to take some heavy road material home with them. My first Saturday here I walked up the hill to my dorm with four drunken boys that decided to take one of the road blocks that prevents drivers from turning onto the pedestrian path at the bottom of the hill. Else wise, we have also happened upon a grocery cart in the stream, chip bags, and lots of discarded pant. Pant is the deposit one pays on cans, and glass and plastic bottles. Pant is usually 1 krone (2 for large bottles), so about 15 cents. We have become the hobo street collectors, gathering up pant that is not broken or flattened beyond recognition to redeem at the grocery stores and make that flatbrød and ost that much less painful to buy. Pant collection is our only source of income, as none of us have jobs over here. Wisco-guy and St Olaf have a pant sharing socialist system, as there is a pant policy being enforced by one of Wisco's dorm mates that he is protesting. Wisco collects it, St Olaf stores it, and they use it to buy their hard cider.
Taking The Walkmen to church
I didn't bring my camera with me, but rather my iPod as I walked up to the churches on a whim before norwegian class last week. The old church was built in the 1100s. The "new" church, which shares a churchyard, was built in 1875. I didn't go into either one; I did have to go to class that afternoon and I was more interested in the graves. Quite delightfully, all of the graves had some small marigold or rose planted over them. Unexpectedly, most of the gravestones read dates of interment no earlier than the 1950s. There were perhaps one or two that predated the mid century mark.
Today's field trip was for Telemark Culture class, rather than Friluftsliv. We went to the regional animal show and admired the cattle. They were whiffy. But the region's pride, the Telemark cow (I'm not such a cow cconnoisseur that I could tell the difference between the Telemark cow and the other cows other than the horns and the coats) was being celebrated. I'm not sure if the Telemark ice cream that I ate was so delicious because it was fresh or because the cows really are so miraculously wonderful. Perhaps it is also superior grass, and that these heritage bovines are raised eco-friendly. There was no vanilla in the ice cream. Pure, straight up, airy and frozen, this was nothing more than milk and sugar. In a waffle cone. Yum.
Pictures from this, the previous Gygrestolen field trip, and all future field trips can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kjerstinator/. It is not necessary to list me as a contact to see the pictures, but it would be friendly.
Doors @ 9, show @ 11.30
Even for Norwegian students living with the nationally high pay scale, getting liquored up is expensive. This is why forspill is so supremely important. The concerts are planned to account for this pre-partying. Most American concerts would list doors at say, 10, and then get started around 11 to 11.30, but Norway wants to give the opportunity to get drunk expensively while waiting for all the people getting drunk on the cheap. My problem with forspill, is that it starts at 6. I am generally happy with two pints in a night out, but with forspill I've found myself consuming two liters. Which is why I skipped the forspill last night, and got to the show before 11, when there was nearly no one there. Fortunately, being American in smalltown Norway (and where besides Oslo and maybe a handful of other locales is not smalltown Norway) has a little cache. I got to talk to two outgoing girls about cultural differences while I waited. This was also the first time that a dj played good music. How a roomful of white guys who can't dance identify with "my niggas" I have yet to comprehend, but at least I didn't start fantasizing about nail guns to the head. And it was a Norwegian hip-hop show, so you can't really ask for anything else.