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Michael’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

MapEntry 33 - Pre-tour Copenhagen (14th - 16th August)

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After that spiel, welcome to Scandinavia people, where the women all seem to be tanned and blonde, no one is fat, I found my first church of scientology, and it is sunlight from 4am till almost 10pm.

I met up with Clint at Heatrow airport, when I get a message "are you here yet? I'm in the 1st class lounge at gate 10, text me when you're out the front". Apparently altitude is no barrier, and Clint can talk enough shit to get himself into a first class lounge, even at 30,000 feet. He sat next to some business man from Hong Kong, who by the sounds of it spoke only broken English, and managed to get this guy to invite him in... some things never change. We killed an hour, and then jumped on the flight to Copenhagen, which was really nothing more than a short hop.

Once in Denmark, we made our way to the city, trying to avoid the whiplash effects of the women walking past, and nursing a bruised arm from Clint's excited gestures, pointing my galnce towards women. The public transport to the hostel was a bit of a mission, but everyone seemed very helpful... in future I may start playing dumb, it could be an interesting new tactic. Clint grabbed the tickets to the city centre from the airport, the we (I) found the right train line and headed out from the centre of the city towards the hostel. It's a 15 minute train ride, then a short, but indirect, bus ride (which we later found out to be a 5 minute walk). The hostel is actually in an old army barracks, which has been converted into a number of things including housing, hostelk, gymnasium/auditorium, and film studios out the back. We grabbed a couple of bikes, the most common form of transport here, and headed out to grab a heap of food from the shops, cos it is way too expensive to eat out, and we cooked up spag bog for dinner.

At this stage, only one other person had rocked up for the tour, so it was pretty quiet and Clint was jetlagged from the flight so we had a quiet evening.

Monday we got up and headed back into Copenhagen. Not really knowing what to do, and wanting to avoid doing antything that we would be doing on the tour, we decided to just wander around for a while and have a look. We started at Tivoli Gardens, some sort of amusement park that I had been told by a couple of sources that it is overpriced and not that good. AS such, we didn't go in, just wandered around it.

From there we went into the Radhouse, or Town Hall, which was interesting. We wandered around the halls for a while, and then finally came back to the front and paid to go and see a clock. We thought it was a clock in the tower, and when we got in the room, we saw a clock infront of us. Clint was pissed, but I saw that this clock had potential. By the end, even Clint was awed by the enginuity of this clock. It has over 14,500 parts, and about 10 different clock faces. The clock not only tells the local timefor Copenhagen, but has an inbuilt calendar, world clock, planetary rotation clock, sunrise and sunset clock for denmark, and a heap of other stuff. The fastest moving part makes one rotation every 10 seconds, and the slowest makes one rotation every 25,000 or so years. The calender takes six minutes to reset itself every New Years, and provides the dates, day, lunar cycle, and even the public holidays for the year, as well as taking into account leap years. There are over 570,000 combinations for the calendar, and the calendar will correctly update itself for 3000 years. It was pretty amazing.

From there we headed down the main street, saw a bum that was passed out with three unopened beer bottles infront of him. It looked almost as if someone had left them there for him... or perhaps they were just for when he woke up? We continued further into the town, walking down the road which opened repeatedly into large 'squares'. Each one appeared to have fountains, adn a whole lot of kids, most of them drinking. Thats one dangerous combination - school kids with a day off school, drinking allowed in the streets, and a legal age to by grog being 15. Some of those kids were enjoying the day!

Eventually we made it to the old canal that was cut 30 years ago to allow ships easier access to the heart of the city to drop off goods. In essence, the canal is only about 500 meters long, and probably wasn't worth the effort in my book. But it looks great now, with building on either side painted in different colors, giving a picturesque backdrop. We wandered back along the shore line, and crossed a bridge into Christianhaven. Now whilst it might sound Christian, it probably isn't. This little island, attached to Copenhagen by three short bridges, has it's own political and education systems, as well as doing many other things very differently. One of those is reportedly selling dope openly on the streets, but we didn't come across any such thing.

After wandering around there, we headed back to the centre of Copenhagen, and headed to the Church of Scientology. After laughing my ass off, and watching HEAPS of people move in and out, we filmed our video clip (should have watched the link first, cos now it wont be so funny). Once inside, I had a harder time trying to keep a straight face. I was welcomed by a lady behind the counter that looked like a Star Trek character, and had a more devloped moustache than I did. I could turn around and walk straight out, so I marched up and asked for some reading material. Apparently nothing was available in English, so I kept her guessing by asking for an address of a church in London. This gave Clint enough time to finally follow me in, and start recording more footage inside the reception of the church, as the lady looked up the address in London. I couldn't stop think about Tom Cruise and the South Park episode I say before I left. It was just way to funny.

After that we caught a train back to the hostel. Again a pretty quiet evening, a couple drinks being had after I managed to bump into the tour cook and bus driver out the back of the hostel. They came and joined us in the common room for a couple drinks and we met a handful of people coming through that were also on the tour. The first 4 people we met on the tour were all Aussies, mostly from NSW (as was the bus driver, kiwi cook). Can't gop anywhere without running into Aussies. Apparently most of the tour is Aussies.

Well, today, where do I start? I think Milo summed it up best on the 2003 tour of the USA - Deep Throat Thrombosis.... Clint woke up with a bruised calf, and eventually decided to look up the symptoms of DBT on the internet... obviously he didn't get wvery far, and eventually we found the symptoms for DVT and his calf actually had about half of the symptoms listed. Given he had just come on a flight from Melbourne to Copenhagen via Hong Kong and London (2hrs in each) it seamed reasonable that there was a chance something was worng. Well, 9 hours of sitting in a Danish hospitol and he was given the all clear... after a blood test, blood thinning injection and ultra-sound, the grand total of which cost $0. What a great health system. The never even asked for insurance, details more than a first and last name, nor for any payment. Great place to get sick I reckon, but a shit of a way to spend a day. But as they say, all's well that ends well.

We got back to the hostel at 630, after missing the intro meeting, and slowly through the night met most of the people (mostly Aussie, couple kiwis and canadian, at least one yank) on the tour. The biggest shock came with a couple that rocked up late as well. A 28 year old bloke with his 20 year old girlfriend, who both live in Mooroolbark - what the hell is with that? Come half way across the world for this? After some name dropping (she went to Holly Hill, he went to Mooroolbark Secondary) I found out that he knew Nath Urmston's sister... what a small world.

Anyway, tour starts tomorrow with the Cralsberg brewery, so that should be a great bonding session with everyone, and a nice way to start the booze rolling on the tour.

Till next entry, have fun, and I'll get back to you from Sweeden.