The long road to Oslo

This is the first Rational/Contemporary post from outside North America. Unfortunately, it may be brief because my voltage converter doesn’t work with my laptop and I’ve only got so much battery. Hopefully I can buy an adapter soon. Also unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to share since I’ve spent most the previous 22 hours in airports and airplanes and apparently they have a thing about taking pictures in airports these days.

Which is too bad, because I really wanted to take a picture of the underground walkway/tunnel in the Frankfort airport. It had this great 2001 aesthetic with curved white walls backlit with color-changing lights, and for some reason it played spooky retro-futuristic sound effects (to complete the Disneyland Space Mountain effect?).

Anyhow, I’m glad I successfully navigated 4 flights and two trains without a hitch. Although two of those planes required sprinting through the terminal with all my stuff, hardcore1. So I’ve got several layers of dried sweat in addition to the usual baggage.

Although I spent some time studying the phrasebooks, my first attempt to say anything in Norwegian utterly failed. I think it’s pretty hard to know how it sounds without hearing it. The hardest part about traveling for me is the constant reminder of what a linguistic retard I am. I feel ceaselessly awful about coming to other countries and expecting them to speak my language.

On a brighter note2, I’ve been riveted by Jonathan Saffran Foer’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”, and that had kept my going through many traveling hours, as I’m sure it will continue to do on the 6 hour bus ride tomorrow.

Norway is beautiful, from what I have seen so far, which admittedly isn’t much but I have to put in at least one observation here. More when I have them.

  1. Mostly not my fault: the bus to the Pittsburgh airport was a half an hour late. Then the flight got delayed on the runway so I was already late for the connection when we pulled up. []
  2. Sort of, it’s actually an extraordinarily sad book. []
  1. #1 written by Moira June 15th, 2006 at 21:32

    So glad you like the book. I’m getting that great vicarious-joy feeling knowing someone else is discovering Foer. Are you going to be able to abandon it in a train station when finished? I wasn’t able to leave White Teeth; it was worth so much more than its weight in my backpack.

    RE Q
  2. #2 written by Cortney June 16th, 2006 at 16:09

    I’m so glad to hear you are reading Foer as well … and I’m sure you have many books to read, but you might also check out The History of Love by Foer’s novelist wife, Nicole Krauss. Ignore the title and jump into a really well crafted book that is just as engaging and equally (more?) well written. I read it before I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and it colored the latter book for me a bit. Rather than being about Sept 11 and the hole left by a missing family member, it’s about loneliness and the connections between two very different people. Also, one of the protagonists is a young woman that I found much more likeable that the little boy in Extremely Loud and Incredibly close, and more so than the boy in DeWitt’s Last Samurai.

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