Oslo: Unexpected warmth

Why are so many houses in (rural) Norway painted red? Red paint was the cheapest to produce—it was made from a mixture of ochre (a natural earth pigment) and cod liver oil or vegetable oil.

As we neared the end of our epic European adventure, we found ourselves drudging toward Oslo—by this point, we were both tired and just overstimulated. I didn’t know what to expect from Oslo, other than what N had told me about his life there over the last few years. We’ve been friends since high school and being the awesome person that he is, offered up his apartment for our stay in Oslo for a few days. YAY FREE ACCOMMODATION.

I didn’t know that these would be some of the best days of our trip.

The Opera House
L: Like dollhouses | R: The Royal Palace of Oslo, near where N lived

We took the Flytoget train from the airport to Oslo Central station. A few minutes after arrival at the station, we spotted N: the tallest Asian within a 100-foot radius, wearing a plain dark hoodie with a coffee in his hand—exactly how I remembered him. M and I were hungry but refrained from eating at the station because “By the way Burger King’s gonna cost you like $20,” said N.

So yeah, we just ended up cooking a lot.

Over the next few days, we toured Oslo with N and met his friends. We were having drinks back at his place one night and I totally mistook the straight girl for a lesbian and the lesbians for straight girls. God my gaydar is hopeless shit.

Hipsters in Oslo—they’re just like us Vancouverites.

People say that Scandinavians aren’t friendly or warm, but that’s bullshit. N’s Norwegian friends were so open, generous, and funny. Especially when you compare them to Vancouverites.

L: Bar code buildings | R: Graffiti rivaling what you’d see in parts of Paris
I totally didn’t even notice the big gay in the middle until now…

Mostly we hung with N, J, and R (aka. the Rainbow Squad). J took us all around the city for a day. We saw the Barcode Buildings, the Opera House (architecturally daring and particularly breathtaking that day against the blue skies), and Akershus Fortress. And then we had beers on a patio. It was lovely. The sun was out and the temperature was in the mid-20s—completely unexpected. I still remember my minor freakout before we left France. (“Scandinavia? How many jackets do I need to bring?”)

We all really took Pina’s advice to heart

We visited three gay clubs: Elsker (means “love” in Norsk—but a deep, love-of-my-life kind of love), So, and London. They were all located on corners of the same intersection; I think it was called the Gay Bermuda Triangle (where it’s easy to get lost amidst rainbow sparkles and unicorns).

London was hosting drag bingo night but it was over by the time we got there. Boo.

So is a club just for girls (why don’t we have that in Vancouver?? I’M PRETTY SURE WE HAVE MORE LESBIANS) and it was pretty bumpin with a hawt crowd.

Elsker… all I remember about Elsker were the multi-level dancefloors and sweating my face off because apparently the club’s owner has never heard of ventilation. But it was fun. It was actually the most (trashy) fun M and I’d had out at the club in months. How does one say no to campy Europop? One simply does not.

This was the only country in which we didn’t eat out much (partially because N is a good cook, partially because pho was 20CAD), but we did spend a lot on drinking out. I don’t remember how much a pint of beer was — I think it was about 12CAD each? I’m pretty sure I just repressed the memory of the beer prices out of my consciousness so I don’t have to cry over it.

It’s not the end, this building was still cool

I miss Oslo a lot. I mean I miss France and Spain a lot too, but in a different way. Maybe it’s the people you meet and not the places themselves that stay with you after your travels are over. But then again, don’t the people make the place?

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