Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

OsloRant: Speaking of Norway...

Note - from June 24th 2009, this blog has migrated from Blogger to a self-hosted version. Click here to go straight there.

As I mentioned in the post below, we spent a few days in OPEC's Viking Headquarters last week. Actually I don't think that Norway is a member of OPEC (at least it wasn't a couple of years ago).

I was somewhat taken aback by the SIZE of the Norwegian in the street... your average Kjell, Gunnar or Haaken is a big unit, let me tell you. Usually I can wander the streets safe in the knowledge that I am half a head taller than the average bloke (in France I am usually a full head taller), and usually I am also the most cube-shaped bloke on the block.

Not so in Oslo; I was mid-pack at best (and I flatter myself); obviously gulping down buckets-ful of pickled herring must put meat on the bones.

And, being big units, they are immune to many of the normal insecurities of Homo Sapiens; I saw very few SUVs in Norway (as you know, it is my view that nobody should be allowed to buy an SUV unless they can see over the top of it while standing next to it). And polite; I've never seen anything like it.

Someone explained to me that the reason folks are polite to me in Paris, is that I'm half as big again as most Frenchmen (I don't believe that's the reason, frankly - I think that the famed Parisian rudeness is like French culinary supremacy and American military supremacy - i.e., they are all myths).

Anyhow - the Nords don't have that justification: these enormous units were also very polite, in a way that projected an easy self-confidence. No 'Have a nice day" rubbish in Oslo, I can assure you.

I also like the fact that the semi-formal form of "Hello" in Norwegian is pronounced "Hi-hi", and with their musical tilt to the end of phrases, it sounds very melodic. I was watching an ad in Norwegian featuring a middle-aged bloke who looked like he had been dragged backwards through a hedge (or he hadn't slept or bathed for a few days). He kept gabbling these vaguely sing-soing phrases (Hoo-de-haar-de-hoo-de-hoo... like the Chef on the Muppets), and you just got the feeling that he was abvout to start giggling. Sure enough, he did.

And my new Norwegian mate Inge was cackling like a banshee when he was teaching me swear-words. Being an immature kind of guy, I promptly transmitted these to Thierry (the Chairman of the European Energy Laywers Group, and Sarah's boss), telling him that they were polite expressions. He tried one on the waiter. The waiter - cool as ice - nodded and said "Very good... who told you that you should say that?" At this point Inge was just about wetting himself.

For the record, I told Thierry that "Takk vor firfaen' was "Thank you very much". Actually it's something like "Thanks for arsehole" - which as you rightly observe doesn't mean anything that makes sense (I added the 'Takk vor' bit myself, because Thierry already knew that 'Takk' was thankyou).

Still, it was all in good sport; Thierry loves a blag (in French, "blague" is a joke).

The SPI has done just what we thought - and there is considerably more downside to come, however the thing is trying very hard to hold 5250.

Still, it has not even come CLOSE to testing the trailing stop that SPISpyers trading 3 or more units are aware of... of which, more later...

I know, the bit above about French culinary supremacy being a myth sounds like heresy, but frankly it's true. French cooking is bland as buggery. You can tell by the way that all the Asian cuisines are 'de-fanged' for the French market (i.e., all the spice is taken out). Plus, they don't 'do' bacon and eggs on toast (unlike my new-found Norwegian chums - we had B'n'E every morning while we were in Oslo).>

To add pain to shame, yesterday I had a crack at the French version of a sausage roll. BIG mistake. I recall the sosso's that Otto's wife heated up for us one night after a night 'on the gas' - I would pay €50 for a pack of five Jumbo sosso's right now. And PIES... what have the French got against a bloody nice meat pie? It doesn't have to be a Four'n'Twenty, it just has to be a bloody PIE. You can get four hundred types of cheese, all of which smell like a Frenchman's feet; where is the equivalent of Nimbin extra tasty or Cobram Tasty? No wonder they've been hopeless in war. If you're in a country where the food is only 'fair' but he wine is EXCELLENT and cheap, you spend most of your time half-scheisen... (there's a hint there as to why the tone of this missive is somewhat rambling and only semi-coherent)...