Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 8 - Copenhagen

Day 8
- Quote of the day
- Driving to Malmo or Arken
- Como se dice: carne roja?
- See the quote of the day

I smoke two joints in the morning.
I smoke two joints at night.
I smoke two joints in the afternoon, it makes me feel alright
I smoke two joints in time of peace, and two in time of war
I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints,
And then I smoke two more

Visit the best bakery in Europe, this time for a large almond semi-circle croissant-like beast and a swirl with chocolate on top. It could’ve been worse, much worse. I saw 3 or 4 more things to buy, and somewhere from deep inside muster up the will to resist. Chat up the guy helping me (everything is boxed and bagged by the staff he’s helped me before) and find out they are open 6am to 7pm, every day. Am I here every day? Total: $13

Quick note on Helle and Jergen: they have been married for about 10 years, six of which they lived in Switzerland as part of Jergen’s job for a Danish shipping company. He has also lived in Angola, and been all over the world for his job including Houston and Connecticut (no connection to the Bush clan). He speaks at least 5 languages and studied Latin for four years as well. Helle worked in the unemployment office before they got married and moved to Switzerland. They have three places, a summer house about 2 hours north of here and a house in Switzerland. They are retired and move around from house to house.

Rest up, it is raining this morning, then eat top shelf for lunch: left over pizza, potatoes, carrots. Then take the car out for the first big drive, 16 miles south of here to the Arken Art Museum. It is undergoing major renovation (we didn’t know, it isn’t that old), and is meant to remind you of a large boat. With the scaffolding, a new entrance being (re)constructed, and parking lot near empty, we are worried upon arrival that it is closed!

It’s open. There are three things I really don’t like when visiting a museum:
1. The light is too dim to see the art well
2. It is hard to figure out who the artist is when looking at a piece (sometimes because of #1 or small print, or both)
3. There is more than one piece by Damien HIrst
This museum has all three conditions, with #3 being abused dramatically, they make it clear they are major collector of Hirst. They also have a large collection of recent Chinese art (only the Danes can afford to have gone deep on Chinese art and Hirst in the last few years). There are a lot of videos, as well.

As for driving, we have no problem finding the museum, we are really only faced with one turn where we are confused, and pull into a gas station to make sure. Then we are really only faced with one turn where if we screw up it is a major calamity: when we get to the freeway, there are two choices: heading southwest through Denmark, or ending up on the bridge to Malmo, Sweden. Fortunately, both times we finesse this on/off ramp cloverleaf with no problem. On other hand, we do want to go to Malmo, at some point so it wouldn’t have been too big a tragedy.

Pictures: The sign warning of the bollards that are up, then the bollards up with car waiting, then one with bollards up and the car having backed down the road because they do not have a transponder to lower the bollards! Also a picture with the bridge up (slightly), a few times a day they raise the drawbridges to allow tall boats through. Plus two bonus pics from yesterday, one showing the beach action along the canal (many people out sunbathing and a power boat tied up alongside) and the other a non-Calatrava pedestrian bridge.

Off to dinner, we decide to walk the canal near the best bakery in Europe and end up in an Argentinean parilla (pah-re-sha), for a red meat meal. Order steaks and Malbec. Maitre donaldo is from Argentina and is amazed that we’ve seen the glaciers and Iguazu Falls (big pics on the wall). After dinner we end up chatting and he has an immigration story: he was staying with a friend and decided to see if he could find work. He put in three applications on a weekend, by Tuesday he had two interviews and by the end of the week he had a job, a bike, a cell phone, and a new place to live plus all his paperwork completed (and no corruption involved a la Buenos Aires). He makes $20k and pays $6k in taxes (he wasn’t wild about that part). He was planning to stay for a few months, now in his 8th month. Oh, and our dinner total is $170, something tells me maitre donaldo is not eating out much.

And, he gets to speak Spanish on the job, the other guys working there are from Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico and Lithuania (I am not making this up...does the guy from Lithuania also speak Spanish? Guess so!). Several other parties in our room also spoke Spanish (one was made of 5 people from Peru and Bolivia, plus a baby).

We saunter back through Christiania, the hippie area that was overtaken by squatters in the early 70s and has yet to be really reclaimed by the authorities. Lots of graffiti, dope, live (free!) music, dope, beer, dope, wurst, and beads and tie-dye for sale, plus dope and beer drinking. Even a vegetarian cafĂ© hidden away. And, obviously, plenty of 15-30 year olds. We walk through the residential area – think old Mendocino - connected by bike paths, for quite a ways, then hit a street which finally takes us back to pretty much where we walked in. It’s 9:45 and the sun is starting to set, won’t really be dark for another 3 hours (if feels more like 3 months)

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