I went to Malmö, in southern Sweden, by train last weekend. My husband had a work trip, so I decided to tag along. However, his work paid for a first class train ticket and I bought a second-class train ticket. I’m just looking out the window anyway, so why spend extra money?
It turns out that there was a problem with the train that showed up, so my train car was a first-class car instead of second, so it turns out I got to ride in a first class car anyway. The only difference was that there was more room and you could get free oranges. Again, not really worth an extra 500 SEK in my opinion. In the “real” first class, my husband also got breakfast included, but it was about the same as you would get on an airplane – yogurt and weird bread.
I took a few photos out the window on my way. We finally had snow after not having any for the past few months, so the scenery was nice.
A friend asked me if there were any more differences between my second class car and the first class. I told her the first class car got to look at tropical beaches through their windows.
This past weekend, I took a shortcut past a brand new tram stop that had not yet opened. A very confused looking woman asked me in Swedish when the next tram was coming. I explained to her, also in Swedish, that the stop would not open until the next day, as it was a new stop for the new line.
From her confused look, I deduced that I had once again messed up my Swedish grammar in some way. However, I’m fairly certain I got all the key words correct. “New station” “Opens tomorrow” I’m not THAT terrible at Swedish.
It seems the problem may have been that this woman was not familiar with Stockholm and it’s transportation system. She kept insisting that she arrived at this stop a few hours ago and was trying to go back. Figuring she most likely was not a time traveler from the future, I tried to tell her that there was a different train (not tram) stop about 400 meters up the road just behind a large building. Perhaps that was where she arrived?
But because of what I can only assume must have been bad grammar ( “Different train, you go other side of building, different station.”), she did not trust my local knowledge. In a move I’ve experienced a few times before, she stared at me for a beat, then proceeded to approach another person to ask the exact same question.
It’s so frustrating to take time to help people when they totally ignore everything you say, even if it is in a caveman-like accent. Just because I’m missing a few adjectives doesn’t mean I can’t answer your question!
I need to find out the Swedish equivalent of “But that’s what I said!” and “I told you so!” Otherwise, I might just practice a standard phrase in perfect Swedish and use that for any question from now on. Example: “You only need to wait here 5 minutes. Have a lovely day.”
This will be my response for all future questions, whether they are “How long until the next train?” or “Where can I find something to eat?”. People will trust my confident, perfectly-spoken answer and wait for something that will never come unless they dare to trust information from someone with an accent.
Cavemen have feelings too!
In Stockholm, there are laws about how close apartments can be built to a highway because of noise pollution. Buildings with apartments from before the law that are already too close are protected by special walls to help diffuse the noise from the street. Some areas in the city close off streets in the summer to reduce traffic and noise.
Then we turn to the other side of the globe, to China, where I saw this picture today. Honestly, it reminds me of when I went to Disneyworld in the late 1980s and there was a monorail that went through a hotel. I thought it was super cool. As an adult, I’d rather not have a train going through my building (the teenager upstairs with bad taste in music is enough noise for me), but I was glad to read in the article that at least there’s a stop for the train IN the building. So you get something good out of it if you live there.
Can you imagine stepping out of your apartment door, walking across the hall to open another door and getting on your train to work? Could be interesting, could be depressing. At least with the monorail in the Orlando hotel, your destination is always “the happiest place in the world” and not a cubicle with 50 other depressed workers.
More photos and article here.
Today I learned about “Snälltåget,” or “The Nice Train” in English.
I think it’s been around for a while, but I only happened to notice it because of a coupon offer to travel on it between some Swedish towns. Apparently it’s an older model train where you have little lamps at your table and they serve you food on porcelin plates. I like this idea, though I wonder if my conductor wears a suit and a funny mustache. Otherwise, it’s not so authentic.
The best thing about the ad for the Nice Train is that they specifically say that it’s better than the “dumtåget” (Stupid Train) as that one ‘jostles along in commuter traffic.’
So basically, this ad isn’t getting me on the porcelin plates, but on the fact that if I choose another train, I’m riding “The Stupid Train.” Plus, I assume the Stupid Train has plastic plates and everyone rides in darkness. I hope they also write “Dumtåget” on the side of the train like they write “Snälltåget” on the side of the Nice Ones.
I was reading an article in the paper earlier this week about activities on the subway. Five people were polled regarding what they like to do while riding the subway. All five answered “Sleep.”
Is that really what they like to do, or what happens? I started a job last month which is 30 minutes by subway to my house. Not one day has passed that I have made it home awake. I simply can’t do it. I’m fairly sure they are pumping something into the air supply of these trains. Am I the only one blacking out every day? What if it’s a conspiracy and everyone on the train falls asleep at the same time?! What are they doing to us in there?! Someone must find out what is happening!
Or, maybe I should grab a cup of coffee each day before I leave.
A little re-cap of my Wednesday morning subway ride:
7:31- Trapped in crowded subway tube next to child coughing up a lung. Apparently a side effect from all that coughing is kicking. Picked the wrong day to wear a skirt.
7:40 – Pushed forward after three stops to crowded middle area where I was coughed on once again, pushed and hit on the head by a tall person reaching for the handle.
7:48 – Finally managed to grab a seat after six stops. Woman next to me also began to cough up a lung. What an interesting mix of germs I’ve received this morning! I plan on writing soon about the horrible super flu coughing disease I develop over the weekend.