Monday, August 8, 2011
Bikes, Braids and Bratwursts
After the literary and physical stimulation I locked up my new prize in the bike room of my building just as the fat drops started to hit the pavement. A thunderstorm brewed. Up in my room, my housemates helped me create what I like to call "The Danish 'Do"- two braids on either side of the head with the ends gathered and pinned at the top. I could be mistaken for a Dane yet! (Either that or Princess Leia- there certainly are enough "Hans'" here- or even Zuzu from It's a Wonderful Life -compare for yourself below)
Lastly, I went to Stella Polaris yesterday afternoon. Stella Polaris is a free outdoor electronic music festival that is considered the "Chillest" Danish festival.
In the queen's park just off one of the main Metro stop a good 2000 people were lounging on bean bag cushions set up around the park, eating their picnics, drinking beer and listening to DJs. The headliner was "Moby" an electronic producer/ artist. He opted for a more relaxed line up for the out door setting but still put on a pretty good show.
At the concert with puffy white clouds. Who'd think those sweet little clouds will turn black and shoot lightening by the next afternoon?
Time for noting a Danish cultural phenomenon: Public Drinking.
In America this means bad news. Always. But that seems to be one of the strange things about Denmark- things just tend to "work out"
There is a level of trust that comes from the government when dealing with the people. They'll let you drink in public if you're smart about it. And they are. The entire day I didn't run into one drunken mess (although the wine and beer was plentiful) because people didn't see the need.
This same principle manifests in many other ways. People play by the rules here, whereas in America, it feels like we are always trying to get away with something. For example, the other day I was at a coffee shop and I went to put sugar and creamer in the drink. I saw they had my favorite creamer and (being a cheap American and a college student) I went "Score!" and went to grab five more to put in my purse. Then I stopped. No one else does that here. Suddenly I had a moral dilemma. Do I deplete this coffee shop's creamer supply or grow a pair and go buy my own? This had never been a question before in Santa Cruz, where some bum is trying to make hot chocolate out of his free hot water and chocolate spice next to you. He's mooching so why can't I?
The same goes for almost everything. Danes don't cut in line. They don't jay-walk. Ever. If someone is jay-walking they are a foreigner. Even in a deserted street, you wait for the green walking man. It's that serious.
My friend and I were talking about the differences in government policies here, and we discovered this golden rule
"In Denmark it's all about maximum pleasure, in American, it's minimum pain"
The Danes are provided with everything to be comfortable but very few things to rise above to the top. Where as in America, they only help you to minimize you're discomfort- meaning you have to be in pain to begin with. Which is better?
Anyways, drinking in public is legal.
Therefore I thought it only fitting to experience Stella Polaris the way that the locals do, with a piping hot Bratwurst and a mojito. It was a great Sunday.
Posted by Casey Coughlin at 1:29 PM