Sunday, September 05, 2010

Heading Home – Day 16

Well folks, another vacation comes to a merciful end.  I’m currently sitting on the airplane, somewhere over the… well, I’m not sure exactly where.  This plane doesn’t have a mappy map showing us where we are.  But we’re about 4.5 hours out of Seattle, so probably coming off of some polar trajectory over Canada at this point would be my best guess. 

Where did I leave things off last?  Oh yes, Friday was about as uneventful as I really expected it to be.  Continued to get some work done, but really just wrapping things up in preparation to go home.  Oh, and my Swedish coworkers gave me a present to take home with me… a bona-fide Swedish-made cold.  Actually, it’s very mild at this point, just a bit of congestion and hopefully that’s all it will remain at.  I’m sure my coworkers in Seattle will appreciate me not sharing this particular gift with them. 

As a result of said cold, I decided to take it easy and not push myself too much on Saturday.  Though even at that, I headed out and strolled Gothenburg for the better part of the afternoon.  It started out as a cruise ship pulled into port along the river. 

Cruise Ship pulling into harbor.

Being a Saturday, the locals were out in full force doing one thing I’ve noticed they really love to do… go shopping.  One of the more interesting places I stumbled upon was the local market, where obviously all of the locals picked up a lot of their groceries.  Honestly, in all of my travels the past two weeks, I hadn’t even considered the lack of the modern American convenience… the supermarket.  Then again, I was also constantly in the city, and if you ever try to find a supermarket in downtown Seattle, that wouldn’t happen either.  But regardless, the Gothenburg market was a sight to behold.  Though definitely smaller than, say, Pike Place in Seattle, there was definitely a certain charm to behold.  And if there’s one thing avid blog readers should have learned from these past two weeks of blogs:  I’m all about the charm. 

So let me take you on a little photo tour of the Saluhallen market in Gothenburg.  Friends, right here we have a veritable smorgasbord of the finest olives North of the Mediterranean. 

Saluhallen Market - We've got Olives...

Olives not to your liking?  Not a problem, how about some find bread from the local bakery?  Who doesn’t like bread?  Well, maybe those with a gluten aversion, but I’m sure we can find something to suit you. 

And breads, lots of breads...

What goes well with bread?  Did someone say “Variety Meats?”  Oh, wait, that was me.  We’ve got quite a selection of tasty meat products for you to feast on.  And look at the fine gentleman behind the counter just waiting to serve you. 

Come get your processed meats...

Wait wait, don’t run away yet!  I’ve still got more to show you!  What’s meat without cheese?!  How do you like it?  Mild or smelly?  Bleu or white?  Soft and runny or hard and robust?  That’s right, friends, we’ve got it all here at the cheese market. 

Cheese?  Yes please!

For my lactose-intolerant friends, I’ve got a solution for you… SAUSAGE!  And remember the golden rule of sausage… don’t ask what’s inside, just enjoy! :) 

Sausages, my oh my.

Neat some snackage?  How baout some dried fruits and nuts.  Make your own trail mix.  Or just munch.  It’s up to you. 

Fruits and nuts, make your own trail mix.

Not enough meat yet for you?  Well, fear not.  We haven’t even touched salami yet… the food so good it gets its own counter!  But first you do need to know what kind of salami you want, please consult our handy-dandy salami chart:  

Please refer to our salami quick reference poster

And on to the salami selection: 

Salami is yumi.

Looks good, no?  Couldn’t say it better myself.  Hmmm, someone needs some fiber.  Time to take a stop by the produce stand. 

Something healthy?  Yes, we've got fruit too!

Delicious and nutritious!  But I would be neglect if I didn’t stop by and pick up some delicious fresh pastas for dinner.  Those tortellini look good enough to eat! 

How about some fresh pasta to go with that?

Well, we’ve almost come to the end of our tour of the market, but what am I missing?  Oh yes, MORE MEAT! 

You want meat?  We've got meat!

Them’s some mighty tasty looking steaks!  Nobody makes cows like they do in Sweden.  [Editors note:  I don’t really know if that’s actually true, and if so whether it’s a good thing or not…]

Well, this has been an eventful journey.  It’s now 11am Pacific Daylight Time, which means just 4 more hours on this plane before I can return home, keep myself awake until a reasonable end of the day, and then enjoy a nice long night’s sleep into a happy Labor Day holiday.  Seriously, someone needs to invent a faster means of transportation between continents. 

On the bright side, the flight is once again quite pleasant.  The seating configuration on this Boeing 767-300ER aircraft is 2-3-2, and I’m in one of the aisle seats of the 3, but through careful planning [not really], basically the only empty seat on the plane is right next to me.  So I have the luxury of two tray tables, and all the extra space I want. 

No personal TVs on this plane, but we’ve just completed the third in-flight movie of the trip.  First we had The A-Team, which was really nothing more than a typical action-thriller, I guess loosely based on the back-story from the TV show of the same name.  Whatever, it was OK.  Netflix it when it comes out on DVD. 

Second movie was The Joneses.  I actually watched the first half of this movie on the way over, before my in-fight video screen broke and I never saw the end.  This was a fascinating movie about what is termed “stealth marketing”.  People planted in a affluent community, but with the sole secret purpose of showing off all of their fancy stuff in hopes their neighbors will go out and buy them.  The premise is actually quite brilliant, though the plot is actually pretty predictable, but worth seeing just to watch the pieces of the real story fall into place over the course of the movie.  This would be a great group movie night movie, because the group reactions would be priceless. 

Excuse me while I interrupt this review to comment on the gentlemen across the aisle and a row in front of me, who has had what I conservatively estimate is his 8th glass of chardonnay.  I really wouldn’t have noticed, except that every time he finishes a glass, he’s the type that will ring his call button to get the flight attendant to bring him another glass.  He’s minding his own business, I’m just intrigued to see how this one plays out. 

The third movie on the list this afternoon was the Steve Carrell and Tina Fey rom-com Date Night.  As much as I think I would have enjoyed the movie, it was an appropriate time in the flight for a brief nap.  So I’ll leave that on the watch list for another time. 

Final movie on the docket just started.  We’re now at the point in the flight where everyone’s sick of movies and/or sleeping, so we get older movies.  Today it’s The Blind Side.  I am sticking with the iPod on this one.  Though rather disappointed, because if we were flying TO Europe, the mystery older movie would be Quantum of Solace, which would have been fantastic.  C’est la vie.

Maybe if I keep writing throughout the rest of this flight, this blog entry could go on for about 10,000 words or so.  Fortunately for you, you all probably stopped reading after my tour of the market [I know I would have], so I’ll just wrap it up here. 

I now return you to my regularly scheduled intermittent blogging. :) 

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Working in Göteborg – Day 10-13

As expected, once the work week started up here, things got a bit busy.  When I haven’t been working, I’ve been out and about the town, and then I get back to the hotel and sleep is the highest priority.  But some interesting happenings. 

Out the window

The view from my hotel room on the 9th floor is actually quite tolerable.  This was the view on the first night, when the rains were still passing through.  Fortunately, after the work week started the weather cleared up and has been cool, but sunny and mostly pleasant the whole week. 

Out the hotel window at sunset.

Göteborg seems to have a little of everything.  Part old shipping town, part college town, and now part tech town.  I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with the folks in our office here.  They all are great people and like to have a fun time at work.  Almost reminds me of the office back home in Seattle. :) 

Canal in Goteborg

Among the more interesting things that happened, the other day I went out to lunch with some folks from work, and went to this Swedish bistro.  I took the opportunity to enjoy a food I have never had before.  Can you guess what it is?

a)  Alligator
b)  Reindeer
c)  Piranha
d)  Rattlesnake

Answer after the picture…

Goteborg streets

The correct answer is:  (b) Reindeer.  Though as it was prepared the dish looked almost identical to a traditional American Thanksgiving day meal.  It consisted of reindeer (with bacon) and mashed potatoes, all covered in gravy, with some lingonberries on the side.  Really, if you replaced the reindeer with turkey, and the lingonberries with cranberries, you would have Thanksgiving all over again.  Though it was quite delicious, actually.  I can now check reindeer off of my mystery meat checklist. :) 

Some various pictures around the office are on the Picasa album

Tomorrow is the last day of the work week, then I have a leisurely Saturday before the long flight home on Sunday morning.  Final vacation updates probably on the way home.