Norway – Day Four

It’s hard to believe it is already Wednesday evening! Today was the first day I finally felt human again. Jet lag is as much of a pain as they say it is. I didn’t feel tired today and my cold has subsided. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate with my mood. Before the trip, I had read that Bodø was a very windy place. Today I learned that firsthand. It was -4, but the winds gusted from 30-50 km per hour. Of course this was the day that I decided to stroll around the downtown area and take some pictures.

The day did not begin well. I used a friend’s straightening iron on my hair this morning. I plugged the iron through a travel converter, as I figured the iron wouldn’t be able to handle the voltage of the plug by itself. Everything was fine until I heard a POP and smelled smoke. I quickly pulled the travel converter out of the outlet and saw it smoking. And I had no more power in my room. Brilliant. I had no idea what to do with the converter, and feared that the smell and smoke would cause the fire alarm to go off. So, instead of just opening my window and throwing the converter out of it, I put on my slippers and trudged to the front of the hostel and put the converter on the steps. It’s still sitting there. Nobody saw me, thank goodness.

When I came home today, I fully expected to still be in the dark. And I was. I haven’t seen any management around or an office, so I had no idea who to call. I was going to go and see one of the guys upstairs, who acts as an RA of sorts, after supper, but shortly after I got home, I heard talking in the halfway and then – the lights came on! The breaker I blew must have been connected to my neighbor’s room. I’m just glad everything’s okay and I didn’t have to pay some sort of damage fee. Or be the cause of a 7:30 am fire alarm.

Today’s lectures were okay; the afternoon’s was better than the morning’s. This morning we talked about regime theory (yawn) and examined the theory using the Arctic Council and the Barents Euro-Arctic Region as case studies. I was hoping to hear more information on the workings of these two groups and the policies they’ve created, but I didn’t get a lot of that info. The lecturer wasn’t bad; it was the material. However, the lecturer neglected to mention that the chairmanship of the Arctic Council rotates between members every two years, and what impact that has on the direction of the Council. Yeah, I pointed that out. But very nicely.

After lunch, I bought some postcards, filled them out and mailed them. Jeff and Michelle – your postcards are going to Mom and Dad because I had no idea what your addresses were. Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa, yours are in the mail as well! As for the rest of you, send me 15 NOK and you can have one too (that’s $3 CDN – divide by five). There was also some sort of (job?) fair in the main corridor, so I snagged four free pens, a lanyard and some chocolate. I do love freebies!

The afternoon’s lecture was about the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and fishing. It was originally just about UNCLOS, but the lecturer, professor Bjørn Sagdahl (who has co-orindated this entire trip for us!) digressed to fishing issues. I had honestly never cared about fishing before, but the way he approached it interested me. I was actually sad when we were finished! I didn’t realize that it was fishing rights that began the push for allocation of specific resource zones. I guess I could have figured it out.

After class, I wandered around town with one of the other girls and took some pictures. I found an old church and the town library, as well as a museum. I don’t know if you’ll find the pictures interesting, particularly the one of the phone booth, but it’s all of the cultural peculiarities that fascinate me the most.

For instance, there is English everywhere. Everyone speaks basic English. If I ask a question, I’m always understood. As one of the Norwegian professors said after I commented on the abundance of English, “We are a small country. No one needs to know Norwegian!” I guess he’s right.

All American TV shows are shown in English on TV. They are given Norwegian subtitles, but they are never ‘dubbed.’ Same goes for movies.

You can’t find ‘authentic’ Norwegian food. Why? One of the Norwegian professors said that because Norway has to import everything, the culture is saturated with international flavour. It’s true. I’ve seen more pizzerias here than real restaurants. The only ‘authentic’ Norwegian food I’ve seen is waffles with brown goat cheese. Apparently it tastes like cheese and caramel. I haven’t screwed up the courage to try it yet. But I will be week’s end.

Well, it is far past my bedtime. If I ever went to sleep this early at home, I’d wonder if something was wrong with me. I guess I did miss two nights of sleep, which explains my desire for sleep, sleep and more sleep.

Tomorrow we learn about natural resources and how those issues tie into indigenous rights. I’m not really that excited to learn about the migrating patterns of moose in Norway, but then I never thought I’d care about fishing.

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