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Archive for December, 2007

“We have a small technical problem”

Posted by weehaggis on Sunday, December 30, 2007

Looked like everything was going well on my return trip back to Oslo (again with KLM via Schipol). About 30 minutes into to the flight from Amsterdam an announcement was made. “We are currently returning to Amsterdam, because there is a small technical problem with the aircraft. Absolutely nothing to worry about……but the front right door hasn’t been closed properly.” Yikes!!!

Anyway, it all turned out ok. The technical folks who checked out the door back in AMS said that the lock on the outside hadn’t been closed properly. Apparently, there was no danger of us all being sucked out of the plane at 30,000 feet 🙂

Of course, all this meant that we were very late back to Oslo. Got in at a quarter to midnight……but still managed to catch the last flytoget.

Posted in Travel Stories | 3 Comments »

It got worse!!

Posted by weehaggis on Sunday, December 23, 2007

Continuing on from previous post. You’d think that spending the night in an airport would be the worst of it…not so.

Wandered over to the transfer desk just after 4.30am and found that there was already a fair sized queue. Well, it wasn’t really a queue, just lots of folk parked on the floor in front of the counter. So, I decided to join them and parked my own bum around where I thought the end of the queue was. Actually, on the third attempt I think I found the end of the queue as it wasn’t until then that nobody shouted at me to tell me that there was a queue 🙂

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The desk was supposed to open at 5.30 so there was almost an hour to wait.

At around 5.40 one guy turned up, but looked like he was only there to switch on the computers. About 10 minutes later a few KLM girls turned up….they looked positively intimidated by the crowd awaiting them. Over the next 3 hours ( the time I had to wait before finally getting served) service was painfully slow. The staff appeared to come and go regularly and at times there were only one or two of the counter positions actually being manned. There appeared to be no urgency whatsoever to the service. This apparent couldn’t-care-less attitude didn’t really help the frustrations and rising tempers of those waiting in line (and it was a long long line).

Anyway, I managed to get standby on the next flight to Edinburgh and just before boarding started got a seat allocation. Next, that flight got delayed and during the delay we were forced to standing in the transit bus for about half an hour with the doors open and sub-zero temperatures outside. And then, predictably, my checked baggage didn’t arrived on the same flight!!!

All in all, a great start to Christmas 🙂

Posted in Christmas, Flickr, Travel Stories | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

You thought you’d planned well….then a little fog really fucks you up :)

Posted by weehaggis on Saturday, December 22, 2007

It’s about 4 am and I’m slumming it at a fog bound Schipol Airport. My KLM flight from Oslo was delayed by just over 3 hours – fog there too – and so I missed my connection to Edinburgh. On arrival at AMS the transfer desk was about to close and they were refusing to assist any more passengers. Handed a card with 24 hour KLM help line number and told to call or come back when the desk opened again in the morning (at 5.30am). Put simply, your on your own….”its the weather you see“….”not our fault “. What you do between now and then…..we don’t care!!!

Decided to stick it out inside the airport (airside). It was 11pm and the hotel booking desk in arrivals was probably going to be queued up and any rooms left would likely be miles aways and not too cheap.

Of course, that number on the nice blue card….it was out of service due to “exceptional circumstances”.

I always thought Schipol was one of the better hub airports, a decent place to spend a few hours waiting for flight connections. Of course, a few hours during daytime is quite different from 8+ hours through the night 🙂 As you can see, looks quite different in the wee small hours and everything is shut.

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Its is bit like that really bad Stephen King TV movie, the one set in a deserted airport (The Langoliers) .

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No tannoy announcements, no footsteps, no chattering voices…..very quiet…..kinda creepy.

Posted in Christmas, Flickr, Travel Stories | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

What I did on Sunday

Posted by weehaggis on Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Got an sms from Karla on Sunday morning to join them on a visit to the Christmas markets in Oslo. Decided to try the Julemarked på Rådhusplassen – do some traditional Christmas shopping. Supposed to be one of the biggest and best. Lame….lame…..lame…..what a waste of time that was. Lots of stalls selling nothing very much….all looked quit sad actually. I visited the Christmas market in Tivoligardens, Copenhagen, a few years back. Now that was a Christmas market.

But not to worry, all was not lost. Had lunch at Hard Rock with a £17 burger and a £7 beer. Then after getting all depressed at Rådhusplassen, headed off to the Dubliner for some more beer (only £6 this time). Before getting the train home decided to try the other Christmas market at Youngstorget….. ok….Oslo isn’t quite there yet in the Christmas market league.

So, that was Sunday. Spent nearly 50 quid (including train fares) on a Christmas shopping spree. There wasn’t much shopping, but the beer did help along the “spree”side of things 🙂

Posted in Christmas, Living in Norway | Leave a Comment »

…some more reasons why I love living in Norway – part II

Posted by weehaggis on Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ok, here’s my first list post. Not done one before, but it seems to be a “blog” thing to do 🙂

Things that bug me about living in Norway

  • the cost of beer – ok, this one is obvious, and its not just the cost. The local pub doesn’t have its beer (Hansa) delivered and stored in barrels. Its delivered by what looks like a petrol tanker from where it is pumped into a huge vat in the basement. From there its piped to the bar taps. The hangover it gives is real icky – not the sort that a dose of Alka-Seltzer can cure. Its probably all the formaldehyde they put into it 🙂
  • using public transport – its expensive. Just comparing with my home town Edinburgh. A monthly pass there cost 37 UKP (about 430,-kr), and that covers the area from Edinburgh city center to the extent of the bus network (about the equivalent of a zone 5 pass here). except here a zone 5 pass costs 1315,-kr. Then what makes this worse is knowing that the public transport system is still essentially a state owned monopoly AND is subsidized. Given that one of the reasons that cars and car usage is so heavily taxed here is due to a policy of”make the polluter pay”, you’d think that that there’d be some incentive to travel public. But no, you drive a car and they beat you with a heavy,- stick….use public transport and they beat you again with the same stick. Not a carrot in sight !!
  • ….and still on the subject of public transport….boarding a bus or train during rush hour – it’s like trying to get on the last helicopter out of Saigon.
  • then there’s queues, Norwegians don’t seem to believe in them…unless there’s a machine giving out numbered tickets
  • magazines – no, not actually magazines, but how much they cost. In particular I mean foreign mags (utenlandske blader ). They can cost up to three times the original price. “Empire” has a UK stand price of UKP 3.80 (about 43,-kr), while the Narvesen price is 95,- (and just for comparison, the US stand price is $9.99 – about 55,-kr!!) . Taking out a subscription with your own personally delivered copy will cost you about half the local price…..go figure.
  • taxes, taxes and more taxes. They always seem to be trying to find out more ways to tax your hard earned cash. The funny things is, Norwegians seem to like paying it 🙂

as they say in Norway – norsk ikke sant??

One of these day I’ll do a “things I like about living here” 🙂

Posted in blah, Cost Comparisons, Living in Norway, Nippin ma heid | 5 Comments »