Monday, January 13, 2003

When the weather is cold, Swedes walk on the ice. It's like a scene out of Brueghel, sledders and skaters and skiers slipping and sliding and promenading, the steeples and towers of the city on the palisades of Lake Mälaren above and around them.

Me, I've taken a walk on the ice exactly once. And that was on a very shallow lake outside the city. I decided that I'm not so keen on any kind of exercise that requires a weird plastic necklace with detachable wooden handles that end in metal spikes that can quickly be whipped free and stabbed into the ice so one can pull oneself out of the freezing water. Swedes apparently learn how to use these things - called isdubbar - when they're in school, sort of like we had to learn lifesaving techniques in swimming class in high school. Somehow, having that thing around my neck takes away the feeling of calm that walking on the ice is supposed to give one.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, the husband arrived at his hotel only to find that someone had stolen the underwear out of his baggage while it was, uh, being handled. I wonder if the person who stole the underwear was disappointed that it was clean.

The Swedish word for the day is tjuv. It means thief.

- by Francis S.

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