Tag Archives: oslo

Favorites?

Well this is awkward for the normally mild-mannered and somewhat inconspicuous Norwegians.  Norway is a huge favorite heading into Saturday night’s Eurovision Song Contest.  Norway is certainly used to playing the underdog role in almost every competition since raping, pillaging, and plundering went out of style about a thousand years ago.  But favorites?  Not so much. 

After a strong performance in Thursday’s semi-final and securing a second-half draw in the final, Norway are now Sky Bet’s odds-on favourites at 10//11 to win on Saturday. 23-year-old Alexander Rybak is the hottest favourite the competition has seen since Cliff Richard and ‘Congratulations’ and it looks like Eurovision will be heading to Oslo in 2010.

You’ll note that at 10:11, the bookies don’t quite give Rybak a 50% chance, but it’s really close. 

Around Oslo, I know several people throwing Eurovision parties this Saturday.  Unlike the usual Eurovision atmosphere which consists of enjoying some alcohol, laughing at ridiculous eastern European performances, and hoping Norway doesn’t embarrass itself, there is a marked tension in the air. 

We’ll see how Rybak handles it.  He nailed his semifinal performance:

If he can do it again, Oslo will get to have a schmalz contest huge party next May in addition to the usual festivities on the 17th.

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I can now afford bread

Or so says the Economist Intelligence Unit.

SINGAPORE (AFP) — The strong yen has made Tokyo and Osaka the world’s most expensive cities for expatriates while sharp currency declines lowered living costs in Australia and New Zealand, a survey showed.

France’s capital Paris is now the world’s third-most expensive city, down from number two in the EIU’s previous survey, followed by Copenhagen and former number one Oslo.

Chant with me, “We’re number 5!  We’re number 5!”

Headed to see My Little Pony tonight

While I don’t have a ton of disposable income, for those that do and love music, the by:Larm festival/conference is fantastic.  You get to see tons of Nordic bands over 3 days at fairly reasonable prices.  It’s a great way to hear lots of new music and support bands trying to make it.

I’ll be doing my part by attending a show by the aforementioned My Little Pony.  If their sound in the studio translates even decently well to the stage then it’ll be a great show.

Here’s a video from them:

Vinmonopolet…aka one of the worst things about Norway

I’ve resisted posting about one of my least favorite things about living in Norway for a long time.  I figured that, even if I were initially skeptical, I would give the system a chance and see if it grew on me.  It hasn’t.

The basics:

  • Vinmonopolet (“The Wine Monopoly”) is owned by the government.
  • It is a non-profit enterprise.
  • Wine and liquor can only be sold in Vinmonopolet.
  • “Strong” beer can also only be sold in Vinmonopolet. 
    • What’s a strong beer?  Anything over 4.7%.  Yes, seriously.
  • “Weak” beer is the only alcoholic beverage that can be sold in other stores.
  • There are only 239 stores in all of Norway and only 24 in Oslo.

In short, the stores are horribly inconvenient, always have a long line, close at ridiculous hours, and have a terrible selection. 

For the government’s defense, click below.

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Really short days

Short version: Not a fan.

Long version:

For those loyal readers in the Northern Hemisphere, the days have been getting shorter since late June.  In a few more days, this trend will reverse and the days will get longer.  This event, known as the winter solstice, is much more pronounced the farther north you go in the world.  After you cross the Arctic Circle, you get a period known as polar night, where the sun doesn’t come up for several days to several months depending upon how far north you go.  Even as latitudes approach the Arctic Circle, however, days get dramatically shorter.  Which of course brings me to Oslo.

The Arctic Circle passes through the middle of Norway (click on the map to the right to enlarge), meaning Oslo lies well south of it.  Compared to most of the rest of the world, though, Oslo is very far north.  In fact, the only major cities as far north as Oslo are Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, and Anchorage. 

According to wunderground.com, the sun rose at 9:18 this morning and set at 3:07 this afternoon, for a total daylight of 5 hours and 48 minutes.  In the past two weeks, I’ve noticed that we also haven’t gotten any sunlight at all.  I don’t know whether this is typical for the few weeks right around the winter solstice or if we have just happened to have had really bad weather.  I’ll try to remember to post about it next year and if any readers have an idea, post it in the comments. 

Either way, the lack of sunlight and minimal daylight is pretty terrible.  I have heard the opposite version of this during the summer is amazing though.  If you’re curious, I took a few pictures (after the jump).

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Nobel Peace Prize and Human Rights Day

December 10th.  Peace Prize day.  It’s the one day every year that the world turns its attention to Oslo.  For those of you planning on joining us in Oslo, the forecast for today is a balmy 23F/-5C. 

(I can only imagine how excited the Norwegian Tourism people must have been when they initially heard that the Peace Prize would be awarded every December 10th. 

“You mean we get one a shot a year at showing off the beauty of Norway and you guys picked #!*%ing December 10th?  It’s cold and dark and miserable!  We quit.”)

Martti Ahtisaari will receive the award later today.  If you’re interested in watching live, click here

December 10th is also known as Human Rights Day, in honor of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights being adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on December 10, 1948, marking today as the 60th anniversary.

So go out there and celebrate, wherever you are in the world.  If you can’t make it here, I’ll have a 65 kroner (~$9) beer for you. 

Troy Perkins is kind of like me…

…except he got to meet the King.  Other than that, two peas in a pod.

Both of us lived in Washington, DC.  Both of us own DC United gear.  Both of us moved to Oslo this year.  Both of us are American

Actually, that might be about it.

Troy got called in to the United States National Team and its official blog caught up with him for an interesting interview.  My favorite parts below the jump…

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