Sunday, December 14, 2008

More pictures

First, some pictures of Tivoli, the big theme park in the city. Right now is 'Jule i Tivoli' (Christmas in Tivoli), but it's more like "Tivoli goes Asian!"


Pretty paper lanterns

Pretty lamps

Trojan Reindeer

Christmas tree!

More cool lamps

Fun with color settings. Pagoda and roller coaster...and handrail

Statue outside of the Glyptotek (museum in Copenhagen) Free admission Sundays!

They get into Christmas at the Glyptotek

These were all over. Also some statues were holding Christmas Hearts

AWESOME Egyptian exhibit. With mummies and lots of gods.
Most important discovery: This 4000 year old statue HAS MY FEET.

Yes those are babies crawling all up in this lady's grill.

Found this in Norrebro, the more 'ethnic' neighborhood where a lot of students also live. I think it's awesome.

Classes are OVER

so I thought I'd share some quotations I've jotted down from my professors over the course of the semester:

Danish Class

"She looks like a royal" We were discussing the Danish royal family, and our teacher was boasting about how diverse the Danish one is (the reigning queen and both of her children have all married outKingdom), which makes them much more beautiful than other royal lines who kept marrying within the family. "Looking royal" was used as a euphemism for "looking inbred"

Gender, Body, and Sexuality

"I feel like I am slowly killing you" Professor was trying to get us to talk about readings nobody did.

Nordic Mythology

"The richer you were the less probably it was that you were a slave"
"I am particularly pleased with stuff"
"The goddess of death is called Hel, and she is a woman. (pause) That was a stupid sentence"
"Generally, babies died. You're so used to not dying you probably don't think of it"
"Women have this tendency - and we all know this - to steal"
"I have no knowledge of horses except that they taste good"
"and he realized that his opponent must have a spell on him - a kind of World of Warcraft protection type thing - (pause and giggle) sorry, but where do you think they got the idea?!"
"And, uh, she's a bit of a whining bitch 'cause, um, she will only marry a chieftain"
"fierce looking, troll like man...this is no complement"

"something I like to think about it: If the gods were alive today, what would they do for a living" This was followed by a 20 minute conversation about Thor owning a fitness empire.

Hans Christian Andersen and the Danish Golden Age

"If he [HCA] knew of the Freudian approaches, he would probably, um, rotate in his tomb" Prof in reference to how people read a lot of sex and death into HCA's stories

(referring to course evaluations) "I won't see it for quite a while, so it's not like I will be able to take revenge...I think"

"I know! ____, I think you said something about the bourgoisie...well, maybe I dreamt it"

I love my professors.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sunset + Vertical Advantage

I found myself with my friend R. at sunset (so like 3:30 ish) near the Round Tower, which neither of us had yet climbed. So we did. And it was FANTASTIC.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

missed the boat

I was wrong about year round ice cream.

The fab place near my school literally packed up and left - it was an outdoor setup operating out of a wagon.

And another one switched to freshly made dessert waffles.


New Diet Craze

So without going into too much squishy detail, I'll just say that some creature moved into my stomach and was forcefully rejecting everything I put in. I named it Mary Kate, which I suppose wasn't very nice of me.

Thanks to Mary Kate, I didn't eat a solid meal between Wednesday night and Saturday evening. I practiced with rice, a bagel sandwich, and an egg, but for three days? Blargh. SO thanks to Danish Christmas lunch #2, my first real meal consisted of:

laks (pronounced roughly like 'lox) which, I found out, is actually RAW salmon with herbs around the edge. It's eaten on bread with dill dressing as a starter, and is quite tasty.

roasted ham


'brown potato' = baking potatoes (but small) cooked normally but then set to glaze/dwell in a suger/butter/caramelly concoction that tastes wonderful, but pairs interestingly with the starchy whiteness of potatoes. I don't quite know that it was my favorite way to do potatoes, but it was really neat to see them done sweet. It was like sweet potato without the sweet potato. Also: they looked kinda like sweet and sour chicken pieces.


Risalamande - traditional Danish christmas dessert. It's a kind of rice pudding with chopped almonds - a really neat interaction of textures! You top it with tart cherry sauce. Yum!

AND I kept it all down! That, in itself, was an accomplishment. I also would bet that I've lost weight, but probably not healthfully. Although thanks to all the fluids that I was shooting through my system, I'm probably a little more flushed now than I was Tuesday. Not that I'd recommend MK as a diet or cleanser.

Pictures from London

Demon Barber, check.

This is soo much better than "Pardon our dust. We are self improving for your future enjoyment."

Muffin man, double check.

Fucking awesome.

These cranes are all over the city, and make me think of giant robot claws reaching up through the earth to devour the unsuspecting citizenry...or to claw its way out of imprisonment. Help! Captain Planet!

The hands of famous people:


Um PLEASE let this be intentional.


I don't quite know how to feel...

I think this is pretty.

The Royal Court of Justice. This is only the front door. Yikes!

Mother of pearl! It happened when I was out looking for dinner! It was enchanting AND infuriating.

Sign in the kitchen at my hostel. I couldn't get over it. There may be one in my apartment when I get home.

The original Twinings tea shop!!! Since 1706!

I really want this to be a Banksy. Which is probably isn't. And also probably negates the whole point of his work? Also shows my total ignorance of art.

UPDATE is Banksy WIN.

Freaky exhibit at the Tate Modern.

I saw this man on my first day in London. PLEASE take at least 10 minutes to zoom in and deconstruct his outfit. It's worth it, I swear.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Attend the tale

Back it up about five weeks.

Travel break - London edition!

So I was in London for about a week, split into two nights and the four nights, with a weekend in between.

London is fantastic. I say this as a homesick American traveling to a very Americanized city. One of my friends who also visited got into a debate with someone about who stole which culture from whom, and we both agree that essentially, America took global stuff and bastardized it...then London took it back and essentially let it be. So it's this interesting fusion of historical British-ness and contemporary British culture that smells strongly of Americana, which was kind of exactly what I needed at this point. Also, all the signage all over the UK (and Dublin) is, for the first time all semester, in English, which is also lovely, and the British are NOT on the metric system, so I had an easier time with distance.

My hostel was absolutely fantastic. I stayed at the Astor Hyde Park (Astor has a group of hostels distributed throughout London and potentially beyond), and it was a little pricier than other London hostels I saw online, but it was absolutely worth it (I think. being my first hostel experience I may have been fooled) - it was clean, the free breakfast was filling, there was omnipresent tea and hot chocolate, and they had free wireless internet. The staff was extremely happy and helpful, and while I was there there were two hostel sponsored events - a party and a pub crawl. I thought the first was actually pretty funny, 'cause it was a pretty loud party, and at some point during the craziness, a family of four or five checked in. Best part about the hostel was the location: a two minute walk from Queen's Gate at Hyde Park, and a five or ten minute walk from two different Underground stations. SMACK DAB in central London. I walked ALL OVER and it was soooo good.

I was alone in London (except for one day when I met up with N and his friend L, which was fantastic!!), and it was entirely new to me to get to explore a city that I didn't know without the aid of a guide or a parent. I figured that being London it was huge and expensive, and I'm one person who is also a college student, and so there was NO WAY that I'd be able to do and see everything that I wanted to. So I picked a destination and promised myself that before dark, I'd get there, and then just wandered in its general direction. I picked the Tate Modern, which was a good 5 miles away or so, and spent a fantastic time meandering through Picadilly, Soho, and the West End on my way there. Given that I was staying at the hostel I was, I made it a point to never pay more than 5 pounds (give or take 7-9 dollars, depending on the day), on a meal. Most restaurant meals cost at least 10 pounds for a sit down dinner, so it was fun finding cafes and such that let you make the most of it. I sampled a fair amount of London style fast food (but NEVER an American chain or the ubiquitous 'Pret' that is literally everywhere), but also found some really cool local worker and student centered places. 'Hot Gossip' is a nifty cafe with lovely coffee and soups that is situated near the London School of Economics.

I also stumbled, entirely by accident, upon the Freemason's Museum. This seems apropo. They had a really cool exhibit up about the history of women in Freemason organizations, as well as their permanent collection of vestments, documents, and assorted jewelry, chalices, and artwork from Freemason lodges and personal stashes on loan/gifted to the museum. The building itself, I believe, doubles as the Freemason's HQ, or at least a major administrative office for the London (UK?) lodges, and it's appropriately impressive and intimidating. I imagined men in jeweled aprons lurking about waiting for secret signals from their compatriots.

Also, St. Paul's Cathedral is, I feel, a MUST even if you've been churched out. It's stunning and spectacular and mind blowingly monumental. Every evening they perform the Evensong service. Note that services are free to the public, so if you are so minded, you can attend, be spiritual, and bask in the church all free of charge. Which is, of course, what I did. I got to sit under the big center dome and listen to the St. Paul's choir sing. It was absolutely surreal, and looking at the massive scale and intricate work done along with the music really drove home how some people are willing to put so much energy into a faith, and also helped me understand a little more of the why.

I also found both Drury Lane and Fleet Street, as well as my personal favorite, Goodge Street.

Also: if you're into tea and ever had Twinings, I went to the original Twinings tea shop, from 1706! It was really neat. Got some delicious tea, and just had fun browsing tea where people have browsed tea for 300 years.

I didn't go out as much as I would have liked due to an unfortunate mix up with airplane tickets and thus my bank account, but that just means I have to go back. It also means that I was very well rested by the time I returned, and was able to get up early to explore the city and meander.

Also saw the National Gallery and National Portait Gallery as well as Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, and another museum, the name of which escapes me. Also, the Royal Court of Justice is, for me at least, terrifying. It's probably about the size of a city block, and it's built like a palace fortress. Imagine being a guilty criminal back in the day, being escorted in by constables, knowing that you will probably be hanged (hung?). GAH. Fun story: the National Portrait Gallery had a special Annie Liebowitz exhibit, which I saw this summer in San Francisco! It made sense to go to London, given a) she's fantastic and brilliant and b) she did several photographs of the Queen, and the theme of the Portrait Gallery, at least when I was there, was 'iconic faces of Britain.'

The Tate Modern is impressive and gigantic. I probably spent a total of seven hours in there, split over two days, and I only saw the free exhibits. They had two floors I didn't go to. TWO FLOORS. They have a lot of older 'modern' art, but very little contemporary modern art. For me, who is totally unfamiliar with art in general, it was a great overview of artists, movements, and styles, but for someone more in tune with the art scene, I can imagine being disappointed to a degree. I REALLY liked some of it, and was thrilled by the room on Viennese Actionism. Thrilled in the manner of the Hungarian performance art I saw in Budapest, not necessarily thrilled in a totally pleased way.

OH OH OH exciting:
So I met up with my friend N and we walked around and enjoyed the Underground, ate omelettes with chips (fries, y'all), and he mentioned that he was staying with his friend L and invited me to go out with them. Sure! We ended up at L's flat (coincidentally not five minutes from my hostel), and hung out for a while, during which time it was explained to me how it was that we knew where to go. L had been accosted by a young British man at the Underground stop, and he told her he was a party promoter and encouraged her to go to the party he was promoting. It was apparently at a swanky lounge and we would probably get free drinks. He said the people throwing the party really wanted women to go (L is a very sweet person who looks like the kind of cool person you'd want at your party, so it makes sense that he'd pick her out of the crowd). So she got his cell number.

That evening, through extensive text messaging and phone calling, we found out that it was a HARPER'S BAZAAR party and so there was a good chance of celebrity sightings. I was thrilled. I know it's not actually real and doesn't mean anything to meet a celebrity, but I get a big kick out of being connected to famous people even if it's through four degrees of separation, like my friend dated someone who dated the sibling of a famous person. So the prospect of actually meeting famous people for realz had me pretty much drooling in my seat. I ran back (with N for moral support, and to help me get back to L's place) to change into something more appropriate (read: dressy), and we all spent a substantial amount of time making ourselves pretty for the celebrities, and around 11, went out. We arrived, and were met at the door by our contact (who turned out to be remarkably good looking and was rocking a bomber hat), who seemed pretty upset. The reason, it turned out, was that the people in charge were only admitting needless to say, N and I were not eligible, and L, understandably, didn't want to leave us/go it alone.

Our apologetic friend directed N and me to the Shadow Lounge, a gay club he said was pretty nice. L bowed out, so N and I went. I was offered illegal things for the first time when we were trying to find the place...and when we got there it quickly became apparent that British men (or at least these British men) are not perhaps the most graceful movers. Although there was one gentleman who looked astonishlingly similar to George Clooney who was WASTED and dancing around in a fedora, getting tangled up in the dangly silver streamers that sat near the DJ's station. He was great to watch. Overall it was a fun night, even though I didn't meet any fashionistas or celebrities.