Wednesday, June 06, 2007

from Oslo: white nights

I’m sitting on a flight next to a sea captain. Tugboats – he has sailed tugboats around the world for more than thirty years.

I hardly spent any time at home (in Rotterdam). I am used to it.

I tell him that a friend has wanted to take me sailing but I balk each time. I get seasick on choppy waters.

You are healthy then. The healthy response is to feel the disturbance in your balance and to react negatively to it.

I smell nicotine on him all the way to Amsterdam. He talks politics and has a running commentary on the ways and habits of Americans. He becomes more and more forthright as the free wine flows into his plastic cup.

You can make a lot of money in America. In Holland, you can become rich only if you are born into money. The rest of us don’t have to try, because we’ll never get there! It’s very liberating – we have a good life instead.

We change planes in Holland, arrive in Oslo late and eat perhaps the most expensive quick meal ever. Yes, Norway is even more pricey than England. How about that!

But what stands out, hugely, is the light. It is near 11 in the evening. We sit outside with our plates of salmon bits and burger patties and sip wine from a jug and watch the light. The never fading June light.


In the morning, work causes us to go our separate ways for three days. I'm on my own now, heading northwest into fjord country.