Thursday, September 4, 2008

One Night in Denmark

I had to go to Denmark last week. If you've never been, know that Denmark is famous for three things:

1) LEGO building blocks.

2) Vikings

3) The most unfriendly populace in Europe.

We (my colleague and I) landed at about 8:30 PM and caught a taxi to the hotel. It was about an hour away, so by the time we finally got into the lobby it was 9:20.

We checked in quickly, and surprisingly enough without exchanging a single word with the surly desk clerk. After dumping our stuff in our rooms, we headed to the restaurant for dinner.

It was about half full, with waiters busily carrying stuff back and forth. We waited patiently for someone to seat us, but nobody ever came. Finally, we took matters into our own hands and sought out a server.

"We'd like a table, please," I asked him.

"Hold on," he said, and promptly entered the witness protection program, never to be seen again.

So we tried another server. "Hello, may we please be seated?" asked my colleague.

"It's nine twenty," the guy said. "We stop serving dinner after nine."

We waited a moment for him to laugh, but he never did. Danish people don't laugh, you see. Apparently he was serious.

"We'll take anything," my famished colleague begged. "We don't care! An egg, some toast, whatever you have!"

"We don't have anything for you," he said. "It's after nine."

"Can we eat somewhere else in the hotel?" I asked. It was a big hotel, after all.

"You can get a sandwich in the bar," he said. Then, he turned and stormed off as a plate of Lobster came by us headed for Table 12.

"I've got an idea," I said. "Let's start a fire, and when these people evacuate we can eat their food."

Ultimately, since we didn't have anything to start a fire with, we headed over to the bar. In order to prevent this in the future I have now taken up smoking.

The bar was jam-packed with drunken Danish businessmen having some kind of party, regrettably without nubile Nordic women drinking too much and getting topless.

They had, however, gotten out a piano, which one of them could play just poorly enough that you could make out the tune that they were butchering in their horrible English. It would have been Simon Cowell's nightmare.

Finally, after fifteen minutes, the barkeep recognized our right to exist and asked us what we wanted. Another twenty minutes later, we finally received our order: two beers and two sandwiches.

Did you know that in Danish, "sandwich" means "brown bread made from cow cud and covered in goat cheese with raw fish on top, smothered in horrid sauce that makes you long for death"?

Yeah, I didn't know that either.

Finally it was off to bed, after watching about ten minutes of Danish TV, which appears to consist mainly of CSI reruns dubbed into Danish. This was playing on three channels, and the fourth was weather.

In the morning, I resolved to see if I could pull off people's heads and switch them around like my old LEGO figures.

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