Denmark has stolen children from their foreigner parents

Monday, May 19, 2008

Observations About Denmark

--Traveling to another country when your currency is at record lows is much like playing a sport: You can read about it, but until you actually undertake it for the first time you have no idea what the experience is really like. Regardless of how much or little money you have, five dollars for a bottle of soda is a lot.

--The Danes, or at least the Copenhageners, are the rudest Europeans I have yet encountered. Even my guidebook mentions it. One notorious manifestation is their unwillingness to form queues: they cut past you at the immigration line at the airport, at escalators, ticket lines, etc. Remind me again how it's we Americans who are uncouth and uncivilized?

--Copenhagen is the most pedestrian-hostile city I have ever encountered. The favoritism, however, is not toward automobiles but toward bicycles. Copenhagen is a remarkably flat city, so those who can — and that's many — bike everywhere. Everywhere.

--To make its bike lanes, which every street has (even side streets), the city cannabilized not the roads but the sidewalks, which are therefore excruciatingly narrow (and, to make matters worse, guess where all those bicyclists park all those bicycles). Meanwhile, the only people who don't bike everywhere are those who can't: the frail elderly, those pushing baby strollers, and (obviously) tourists stopping every five feet to gawk. The end result is that, to someone from a pedestrian-friendly like New York, trying to ambulate around center-city Copenhagen is closer to being in a cage than to being unleashed.

--Speaking of automobiles, the price of gasoline, currency-adjusted, is just under $9/gallon. But nobody seems to be complaining. See also, "bicycles." Just saying.

--The Scandinavian tongues are the linguistic equivalent of sadomasochism. I thought Dutch was hard to listen to; Danish is worse. (Yet I didn't feel that way about Icelandic, which is the "purest" Scandinavian language — i.e., most closely related to the original proto-language. Go figure.) Maybe it's dialectic, like the difference between High German and the intolerable Swiss dialect that even my Hessian mother can't make heads or tails of.

Source: A Stitch in Haste

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