The Power of Transportation: Destination Oslo, Norway

Posted on August 14th, 2011 by

I grew anxious as soon as I entered the MSP airport to see long lines, security officers, and people who budged lines because they had gold passes.  Surprisingly I made it through all the security checks quicker than I thought. My flight was scheduled for a 2 hr flight to New York then I would have to catch a shuttle to New Jersey in order to get onto the Scandinavian Airline. Yes, this is my first time traveling abroad.

On the flight to NYC I was hoping t see the Statue of Liberty but my window was probably facing the wrong direction. All I saw were run down looking houses and a ton of basketball courts. I couldn’t help but to sing the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme song even thought I was in the wrong state. As soon as my feet touched the concrete outside I felt the busy atmosphere of New York. The cars drove recklessly but at the same time they never touched the other cars.  My shuttle driver was a Jamaican guy with a strong accent. This guy was an aggressive driver who took every opportunity to cut a car.  He was also angry all the time, constantly honking at people who were driving too slow or stopping at places they weren’t suppose to. In my experience as a delivery driver, he had all the reasons to be angry.  The scariest part of the drive was that there was not a seat belt for the seat I was sitting on, so I held onto the arm of the seat for my dear life.

During the drive I noticed how different the demographics were, there were people of all shapes and colors and for the first time in my life I saw a Jewish person in their traditional clothing, please enlighten me if you know the proper name for their clothes.  I know it sounds creepy but I watched him like a hawk as he entered a Jewish school, I was just curious.  I felt like I was in a movie though, all the big building and swarms of people walking across busy intersections. I felt at any time Godzilla could come strolling through, breathing fire, stomping on people, and eating cars.  Fortunately my film fantasy did not come true.

After a series of busy street and cutting cars I could tell I was in New Jersey when a McDonald’s billboard said “New Frozen Strawberry Lemonade for $1.99, can we get a fist pump for that?”  After noticing that billboard I looked around at the other billboards and every other sign had something about fist pumping.  I secretly wanted to stay at least one night in New Jersey and hit up the clubs to see if I could find anyone from the Jersey Shore.

Hours later I’m on a flight to Oslo, I marveled at the fact that I would be across the ocean in only 6 short hours. I looked at the flight path and noticed the curved flight path as well as a dark parabolic curve that indicated the side of the earth that was facing away from the sun.  Thank goodness for geography class, I understood why everything was the way they were.  Even though I was not riding first class I felt like I was being treated like a king. There was entertainment that could last for more than the 6 hour flight. Lets just say I am now the master of Tetris. (Just Kidding)

To think that years ago Scandinavian immigrants would have had to take a boat to cross the Atlantic Ocean in order to get the US. They would not have had Tetris to keep them company or reclining seats. It probably would have taken them months to cross the ocean and I’m sure it was not always smooth sailing.  Keeping this in mind, here I am listening to people complaining about how long the 6 hour flight is going to feel.  People take technology for granted, but me on the hand I just have to say thank you technology for making traveling fast and easy, and for making headphones and Ipods to drown out the excess noise of the complainers.

The first glimpse of Norway was amazing.  The landscape was all mountains and hills, much too interesting to not look at. I could see where the glaciers scrapped away at the bedrock. I never thought that I would ever see this phenomenon in real life. I have always just looked at pictures in textbooks. Upon landing I met up with the other people doing the same program. First I met Karolina at the customs gate, then the rest of the crew when they landed a couple hours after us.  We then met up with Jeff, the program coordinator and he showed us the directions to take the high speed train which we would be taking into the city. I was so excited, all my life I have wanted to take a train and now I finally get to ride on the fastest one in Norway.  I still have to take the old fashion steam engine trains, do they even still make those?  I asked Jeff how long it would take for the train and how long it would have taken if we had taken a car. He said about 20 minutes on the train and 40 for a drive. That’s cutting time in half! Sorry father time but you seem to be growing shorter as humans grow older.

After we hopped off the train we dragged all our super heavy luggage onto another inner city train called the T-bane (pronounced Teh-bah-neh) that ran all over the city.  That’s another item checked off on my bucket list, I thought. The T-bane ran underground and everything. I swear I was back in New York and once again I felt like I was in a movie. Everybody minds their own business and looks as cool as possible without looking like they’re trying, how cool right?  I knew I would be taking the T-bane more often since it is the primary life line of Oslo, and its also interesting to see the wide variety of styles people wear.


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