Since SXSW

I have:

  • Played mediocre tour guide for Mason in London for his first ever visit
  • Hung out with some friends I made in Austin who live in London
  • Visited Milan and Cinque Terre
  • Missed my flight in a Smart car due to an Italian traffic jam
  • Stayed an extra couple of days and saw Pisa, Florence and Rome
  • Slept in a Smart car beneath the Vatican wall
  • Contemplated living in Spain for a couple of months this summer while I write my dissertation
  • Been trying to figure out what I’ll do once I’m finished with school

    Getting Sweded

    I have settled into the hotel here in Stockholm after a very long journey. I left London at 8pm yesterday, landed in Amsterdam a little after 10pm, wandered the streets of Amsterdam all night, didn’t get stabbed, flew to Stockholm around 6am, and walked around like a zombie most of the day. I hopped on the train with Tim and a couple of his coworkers to the central station, where we walked around a street market and inside a shopping mall. I bought a trendy-ish scarf at one of the three H&Ms on one block (no exaggeration). I think I’d like to also buy a nicer scarf somewhere this week, too. Stockholm’s a very fashionable place, so I think I’d do well to shop a bit – but only a tiny bit. It’s Norway-expensive here.

    If anyone has any recommendations for places to see and things to do, please let me know. Here are a few pictures from the trip so far (click to super-size):

    Waiting at Heathrow:
    On my way to Stockholm

    I felt very welcome at the mall:
    Stockholm mall

    Balloons over Stockholm (from the hotel window):
    Stockholm balloons

    Stockholm balloons


    Sorry for the blog neglect. I’ve been busy with:

    • Family stuff, running around Southampton
    • My first British (and European) music festival, Bestival (think Eeyore’s birthday on MDMA); I also caught myself a cold there from camping in cold puddles – it didn’t stop pouring the whole weekend
    • Deciding on a school, finally – Brunel in London; though the offer from Southampton was tempting, I just didn’t find myself drawn to the nutrition focus of the course.

    And now I find myself embarking once again to the land of the Vikings – Sweden, to be precise. It turns out that Tim is there for work, and the timing worked out perfectly so that I can hang out with him for a week and be back in time for my move-in at university. Incidentally, I just tried out the new Flickr homepage, and received this strangely intuitive greeting:

    Norway update

    Pics! (Some of these are friends-only; join and be my friend, or let me know if you want me to send you a guest pass link.)

    Norway is staggeringly gorgeous. Huge cliffs abut aquamarine glacier water, giant waterfalls cascade down cliffs everywhere. Picaresque tiny villages are nestled between the mountains and fjords. The only word to describe it is idyllic.

    The wedding was in this awesome church on a hill above Oslo (which is a pretty cool city, kinda generically modern/old European). Declan O’Rourke sang a song at the wedding (he’s really good and a super nice guy to boot). The reception was in a beautiful home close by, which overlooked Oslo from a big hill. The food was so good, I can’t even describe it – very unusual combinations married together beautifully (kind of like a Norwegian and Irishman who met in Austin). The wedding band was some Irish dudes called the Gits (I think, apologies if I got that wrong), with the drummer from Belle and Sebastian – they mostly did covers, with Declan stepping in a couple of times. Iain Archer finally showed up, but I can’t remember if he played (he was supposed to do the wedding song but missed his flight). I spent some time dancing around and taking pictures. There was a lunar eclipse that night, too, and a beautiful view of the city below in the waxing and waning moonlight.

    Then we went to an after-party at the bride’s brother’s house, where there was a (thankfully heated) pool outside. i think i was probably second or third to strip off my suit and tie and jump in. So awesome. We swam around some, did a few synchronized cannon balls and relay races. A lead singer in a major label band stole my sock, and I didn’t want to wear his because it smelled bad. So I spent some time wandering around trying to find him and my sock, only to later realize he’d left. But on the plus side, there were hot dogs ready to eat, and a bunch of cool Irish dudes strumming the guitar and singing next to the pool – the highlight of which was Declan doing his song ‘Sarah‘ with a couple of the guys singing spontaneous harmony.

    I also should mention that the city of Bergen is really nice, too. It’s the one with the rainbow and sunset in the pics. But the tiny village of Flam (and getting there by train) is the real must-see in Norway.

    Oh, also, Norway is really really effing expensive.

    Don’t get on ‘the list’

    Great, now I have to watch out for scared ladies with camera phones:

    His mission was to photograph each of the nation’s 50 state capitol buildings and dispatch a postcard from each city, using postage stamps from a childhood collection. Each postcard would be mailed to the next state on his journey, where he would pick it up, continuing until he had gone full circle back to Indiana.But there was a problem. On a flight from Sacramento, Calif., to Honolulu, Mr. Fazel described his project to a fellow passenger. He later discovered that she had reported him as suspicious — perhaps to the pilot or the Transportation Security Administration — and taken a picture of him as he slept.

    Maybe it was because he was vaguely foreign looking, he reasoned, and his photographic endeavor seemed menacing in a post-9/11 landscape. He also had a three-day growth of beard, he recalled. And, although Mr. Fazel grew up mostly in the United States and is an American citizen, there was his Iranian name.

    In his view that woman’s report began a chain reaction, turning him into a person of interest for officials from local law enforcement agencies on up to the F.B.I. On a stop in Annapolis, Md., for example, he was interrogated about his activities and read his Miranda rights. Today, he said, his name lingers on what he thinks of simply as the “the list.” He doesn’t know where it originated or who controls it. He believes it has prevented him from receiving a visa to India and caused him be questioned at the border of Poland, both of which he had visited in the past. He said he has been interrogated the last four times he has entered the United States.