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“Oslo is a city without a city culture. Nobody here comes from a city. Everyone comes from somewhere small.”

This was told to me while we were ordering drinks at the bar at Dr. Jekyll’s Pub. I found the idea intriguing, but also, I really had to pee.

Eventually, we got our drinks and made it back to the table with the others. When I finally got to the bathroom, I was greeted by wide-mouthed gargoyle-headed urinals, and I thought, “I’m home—jiggity-jig.”

These are the palpitating jubilations one feels before paying a bar tab in Oslo, not after.

*Absence Makes the Grinch’s Heart Grow Three Sizes Fonder*
So I haven’t updated the exploits in a while. The excuses shall be presented in alphabetical order:

-”A” is for apathy.
-I was sick with what may or may not have been the swine flu.
-Funcom quarantined me in my old apartment for a week.
-My old apartment lost it’s internet connection.
-Was then busy moving into new apartment.
-Zebras ate my homework.

We’ll get back to all those points…but I wasn’t really suffering from apathy. But then I only said that “A” is for apathy, so the statement remains correct.

*The All-Father Has a Bus Pass*
When I met the god, Odin, I was waiting for the bus and in between tracks on my iPod.

He was the only other person at the bus stop. He was dressed in a ragged, colorless coat of oily textures. Maybe homeless looking…maybe not. Greasy, tendrils of gray-white hair hung off his head and a beard to match.

One eye was alright.

One eye—the left eye—was dead.

Something awful happened to that eye. Either that, or he lost his original eye and H.R. Giger is on the Norwegian health plan for fabricating prosthetics.

I say dead eye, but not dead like a shark’s—this eye could still focus, or more accurately, point. I was looking him over because he looked like an interesting character (and you have to keep a hidden Rolodex for things like that) and he looked up with his good eye and pointed the dead eye at me.

Eyes are a favorite descriptive point for storytellers, used and overused (kind of the “Stairway to Heaven” of character description), so I hate to use a cliche involving eyes piercing me…but dammit that dead eye was very stabby—like rusty-coffin-nails-jabbing-your-skull sort of stabby.

He stared at me and I tried, but I couldn’t maintain the gaze and had to look away. Something was inexplicably disturbing about him, beyond a messed up eye. And he kept staring at me, more and more rusty coffin nails puncturing my periphery.

Then I got on the bus.

There were ravens cawing. I don’t know if they were his. Or maybe they were crows—I’ll have to look that up—corvids anyway. Here they have black heads, tails, and wings, but bodies the color of ash.

*Viking Ships Down the River Styx*
Funcom has stacks and stacks of a handy little pocket book to hand out: Oslo – A Poor Man’s Connoisseur Guide to Happy Living in One of the Most Expensive Cities in the World. The book is only slightly shorter than the title. There are a lot of nifty locations listed. I’m kind of making it a mission to visit all of them.

A few weeks back, I visited the peninsula of Bygdøy which juts into the water south of where I work. There are beaches there and other attractions. First stop…a viking ship museum!

There are three ships there, all wood, all well over a thousand years old each, all incredibly well made, and all more or less preserved because when a ship was retired, a some person of importance was buried inside of it, beneath protective layers of clay. And so the ships become interesting to both history buffs and sepulchral enthusiasts. To prepare a soul for the Afterlife journey, they are buried in a fine ship, with treasure, weapons, food, supplies, and even dogs. That’s going to the Underworld in STYLE. Some cultures only give you two coins in the eyes for the public metro.

I saw various interesting artifacts including a pieces of wood with nordic ruins meaning “unwise person” and a glass cup that was already an antique when it was buried over a thousand years ago.

*No Tan Lines?*
After the viking ships, I took the bus to the end of the line to explore some of the beaches of Bygdøy. Rolling topography and trees make it so that you really can’t see the beaches or ocean from where the bus drops you off so I just picked a random path and walked. Trees gave way, salt filled the air, and I walked right out onto…a nude beach!

What happened to puritans?

The vikings ate them, you say?

Stay tuned for the rest of my misadventures during my blogging hiatus—they involve swine flu, drama, boat trips, islands, a 12th century monastery, cemeteries by night, and an attack by a plastic bag…honest.