Monthly Archives: January 2009
So my Kenyan buddy Charles recently returned home after six months in Copenhagen. He posted the following note:
The peculiar Danes (in my experience)
1. Danes are practically the fittest people on earth therefore there is no distance which is too far to bike. Consequently everything is described in bike miles as opposed to how long it takes to walk (learned this the hard way being told that Norreport and christianhavn are just a short distance trust me take the metro until you work up your fitness).
2. I don’t know who invented the term Dutch courage but I think they hadn’t met the Danes. Prior to a drink Danes tend to be very closed up almost aloof, post drink let’s just say some of them you wish you hadn’t offered the drink, their honesty lets say goes beyond the call of duty.
3. Danes are some of the most liberal people I have met from Christiania, drinking, to nudity etc they tend to approach what others would term taboo as the normal workings in life.
4. The above is however very hard to reconcile with their attitudes on rules. The Danes view rules as the gospel and the breaking of rules is frowned upon and almost seen as an insult. Very hard to reconcile number 3 and 4
5. Graduation out of high school is yet another bizarre ceremony involving biting of hats (what the hell is that about), running around town making a racket in an open top truck and loads of drinking. Lets just say it is quite strange
6. The Shift from summer to winter, simply put the whole country is on PMS over winter, therefore previously cheery people on the streets become angry morons and the cursing on the bike lane doubles. Study your bike signs for stopping and turning before winter or be prepared for some cursing.
7. Pork pork pork!! You can literally have pork for breakfast lunch tea and dinner from pork spread, to hotdogs wrapped in bacon(as if there wasn’t already enough pork in the hotdogs), pates, dried rashes of bacon for soup, steaks etc etc. No wonder the pig population is almost double the human population in Denmark
8. “There is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothes” is what I was told in induction. So regardless of rain pouring down everything goes on as normal including coffees in verandahs. In the shops there exists a vast array of rain clothes which are to be put on while biking in heavy rain.
9. Danes are generally not aware of the issue called unemployment it is almost assumed that automatically on completion of university there are jobs.
10. Sorry guys!! But honestly the Danish women wear the pants in this country I put it down to post Viking era and the guys have just decided to take a back seat and relax.
11. Danes tend to have circles of friends who hardly ever know each other or meet. They are the hometown friends i.e. if one is from arhus and living in copenhagen he has his aarhus friends circle, friends from university and friends from work or colleagues. Socialisation involves allocating times to meet these three different groups preferably or coincidentally separately.
12. Lastly even the gangsters in Denmark are well mannered, in the middle of a war between the hell angels and the immigrant groups over drug turfs there was no reported incident of innocent bystanders caught in the cross fires.
He was here 6 months. I've been here 3 years, and have surprisingly little to add. Except that you get used to the pork.
For a long while—from about the late '80s to the late-middle '90s—carrying a mobile phone seemed like a haughty affectation. But as more people got phones, they became more useful for everyone—and then one day enough people had cell phones that everyone began to assume that you did, too. Your friends stopped prearranging where they would meet up on Saturday night because it was assumed that everyone would call from wherever they were to find out what was going on. From that moment on, it became an affectation not to carry a mobile phone; they'd grown so deeply entwined with modern life that the only reason to be without one was to make a statement by abstaining. Facebook is now at that same point—whether or not you intend it, you're saying something by staying away.
Every generation has the Thing that is going to lead to the End of Social Interaction as We Know It. Sixty years ago, it was the telephone. Then it was television. Then it was video games. Then it was the internet and chat rooms (remember Prodigy?). Now it's social networking sites.
Look, humans aren't going to stop making friends or falling in love or making small talk or inflicting drama upon one another anytime soon. The way that we do it will change (I'm sure our generation will be bitching about the iTelepathy in 50 years), but the human need for companionship is not under any kind of threat.
On the contrary, tools such as Facebook and cell phones have made our lives easier and vastly expanded our ability to choose our friends upon wider criteria than their geographic location, social class or profession. Old people are just pissed off cuz they haven't figured out how to digitize their polaroids.
That, and you wrote all your Christmas thank-you notes on your relatives' Walls.