Sunday, June 14, 2015

Norway Day 2: Arrival and etc.

This post comes to you from the lobby of my hotel in Bergen at a few minutes to 2PM local time.  I have apparently selected a very popular hotel, and when I arrived at noon was told the room would not be available until 3 PM.  So I went out and killed a little time as I will recount, but then decided to come back to the hotel and kvetch using the lobby internet.

The flight(s) was (were) relatively uneventful.  As I relayed yesterday, the plane was a 2-4-2 configuration and I had the starboard, outboard aisle.  I got on the plane without ceremony and took my seat (20H), awaiting the arrival of the tiny person with a gigantic bladder who would hopefully occupy the seat next to me.  Just then, a surly fellow arrived, and he was very, very disappointed to see that he had the window seat.  "Do you want to switch with me?" he asked.  I thanked him for the kind offer, but declined.  He then said, "well, my profile says aisle seat.  I don't know how this happened.  I'm just tellin' you, I'm gonna get up a lot during this flight."  I smiled wanly and nodded.

A bit later, a fetching young woman arrived to take the aisle seat across from me.  This may be sexist, but my experience is that women tend to like window seats.  Could be wrong, but that's my finding.  And so I leaned in and asked if she would like to switch with the gent next to me, and she readily agreed.  I put the offer to him, he was happy, and I dispatched with the prospect of having that unsavory fellow sitting next to me for 7.5 hrs, replacing him instead with what turned out to be a PhD candidate in Applied Math and NASA employee semi-hottie.  Adding to the upgrade, she was chatty and made no bones about it.  And she was from South Jersey originally, so we had that in common.

Conversation with her and dinner took up three hours, and then I put the mask on and earplugs in, and headed off to la-la land for what amounted to the balance of the flight.  Arriving in Amsterdam, I fortified myself with a number of coffees before heading to the gate for my 90 minute flight to Bergen.  I had interceded in the ticketing process Friday morning and paid twenty bucks or so to get an extended economy seat--one of which selling points was the marketing ploy that told me that I was "closer to the front of the plane and would board first".  Except that the latter part wasn't true, as our entire departure lounge hopped on an airport bus (green, solar powered, natch) to take us out to the outlying part of the airport where our plane was--and so then the cattle all had to get off the bus and then up the staircase, and seating rows went out the window.

We arrived on time at Bergen where I was met by a half-Jamaican half-Norwegian sailor whose job it was to whisk me to the hotel.  This fellow had been born in Canada, and had moved to Norway when he was four.  Still sounded Canadian in his English.  He dropped me at my hotel where I was informed that I had a few hours to wait.  Still in my travel rig, I tucked in my shirt, stored my bag, and went out to tackle this issue of meal #1 of the day.  This involved a meandering stroll up and down the streets of this fair city, in a steady wind, with ever-darkening clouds.  To my dismay, most of the establishments where I would be able to find something to eat did not open until 1300, but I finally found a little spot where I was able to get an a cheese omelet and bacon.

On the walk back to the hotel, it began to freezing rain, and so I ducked into the Museum of the Hanseatic League and poked my snoot around a bit as a tailgater in an English language tour group of two dozen Minnesotans.  Thus enlivened with a bit of culture for the day, I then headed back here to the hotel where I now sit among a growing number of other people in the same boat as I, which probably means a line a little later.  There is some kind of interesting event going on here, as there is a non-stop stream of middle aged women coming through the door, all of whom seem to know each other.  Perhaps I've stumbled upon the Norwegian version of MaryKay?

As soon as I get into the room, I'll change into proper gym wear so that I can hit the elliptical and make some caloric room for my trip to The Big Horn Steakhouse down the street for dinner, before I collapse for ten or so solid hours of sleep.

My driver tells me it will stay light tonight until nearly 2300.  I'm tempted to stay awake to see what that is like.  But not tonight.

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