It‘s two weeks since I moved a bit more to the north, to Scandinavia. I took up a temporary (but never say never) residence in Stavanger, southwest Norway, the so called „oil capital“. The city itself has a population of over 100 000 people, with the metropolitan area inhabited by almost 300 000 (in case someone is too lazy to google it). Right, I became an oil market analyst for a certain Norwegian company.
Here is a couple of my first minor observations:
- I live in an apartment on the fifth floor, with a view of the local shopping centre. I was happy to discover the local supermarket is open until 10pm, but after leaving work at 5pm, this now seems less important.
- After moving into the apartment, I counted over 50 plates, 40 cups and a similar amount of glasses in a kitchen cupboard. I can throw a party!
- You can pay with a credit card everywhere – even in a taxi, or on a bus. I must confess, I have not really seen Norwegian krona yet, I just know that the coins have a hole in the middle. However, I am bit afraid to check my current account balance.
- So far, I have not met anyone who could not speak English.
- After spending ten or more hours in a windowless office in Paris, my dose of vitamin D significantly increased. From my open space office I can see a window and sometimes I even manage to leave the work when sun is setting down. I am an optimist; the days get shorter, so in a few weeks time I will manage to arrive home in a broad daylight. I should start carrying sunscreen protection just in case I catch a window seat in a bus. Hope I will not complain about insomnia in six months or so.
- It rains, or snows, or freezes (with or without the sun), or all at once. But no, it is not as cold as in Siberia … yet. Icy pavements are worth a try – like a mirror.
- Norwegian drivers are nice, they stop and let you cross the road and they try not to splash water and snow on you. In return, pedestrians wear reflecting lights and / or bracelets.
- Public transport functions, so far no strike. Buses arrive on time when there is no traffic jam. By accident, there is always a traffic jam, when I go to/from work.
- Adrenalin junkies do not use public transport and ride bicycles instead. An icy road does not stop them.
- Norwegians love barbeque in the nature, on the beach. Even freezing weather does not stop them.
- There is really a butter shortage in this country – butter is sold out everywhere. Only in one shop I managed to find some – packed in the blocks of 1 kg, not smaller.