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Tuesday, June 25, 2002

I'm in Denmark!

The Center of Copenhagen

Sorry this typeface is so small, but I can't change it if I want the special
characters to show.

I arrived in western Denmark after a night crossing ferry
ride. Before it started raining, it was artistically interesting
activity to stand in the upper decks and look at the people walking by
from above. It was more like having a cruise-ship ride. The best part was
coming into the harbor of Esbjerg - someone had made four monolithic
statues to greet me.

While I was on my way to "Danmark," as the Danes spell it, I met a musician
carrying lots of instruments. Turned out that he had been an ex-lover of a
friend of mine in Bolinas - Hawk. This is the second time someone I have met
has known someone from home! That always gives me the impression that I must
be in the right place at the right time.

Fairytale Swan

My first SERVAS visit with a "stranger" was in Vejle {"Vai-lay"} Mike had
a very Danish voice that went up and down with expression. The cat who
owned Mike had a purr that I couldn't begin to describe - louder than any
cat I have ever heard by a factor of five!

Mike was originally from the UK, but had been in Denmark for 30 years,
spending the last part of that teaching Danish to foreigners. So I had
some interesting Danish lessons along with a wonderful talk about
languages in general. The word I like
best is pronounced, as in huge, Hu-ga-leig. It means being happily
secure, neat & comfy, relaxed.

Mike was quite a historian of the local area and had endless things
to say about whatever I was curious about. Near his house, which was
in the downtown area, we could walk up a paved over pedestrian street.
An artist had put a light sculpture inside the pavement that was
little buttons of sequenced light, especially nice
in the rain.

On this same walkway, people had been walking since the 1200s. A part
of the street had been excavated and glassed over, as if you were
looking through a hole in the street at it. Through this "window" level
with the street you could see the original paving stones as the road
had been in 1300. Runic letters had been carved into the stones. Mike
explained that the level of the street had rise every time the buildings
were burnt down by the next invasion, so that's why the older sections
are so much lower.

He took me on a walking tour with almost unendingly facinating details,
ending by the new docks - which of course were much larger and farther
out than the original Viking docks. I learned curious social customs
and other details; on someone's birthday people put littl€ flags near
the party.

What really proves I'm in Denmark nøw is the keyboærd I'´m using...
where else would I hæve symbøls like these? ¤¤¤¤ §§§§ åååå ÅÅÅ
€€€€€€€€ !

Well, got to pack to meet my SERVAS contact for dinner at the Vege
restaurant in Odense - said "Ooh-den-say". I'll be able to write of
more of the time that I spent in the UK later on - Odense has a
free library computer for a whole hour!