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Archive for the ‘Living in Norway’ Category

General stories about living as an expat in Noray

IF…

Posted by weehaggis on Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Will wonders never cease.  Just seen regular AND diet Irn-Bru in a local Meny store.  F***in’ amazing.  This is not actually the first time.  It appeared over year ago in one of the local Rimi stores.  It was only the regular stuff, and even then only a small number of bottels.  Odd thing was, they were just in a box…sitting there…..nowhere near the other soft drinks.   Probably didn’t even know what it was….thinking it was drain cleaner or the like.

There is even a Norwegian Irn-Bru web site.  Things are definitley looking up in Norway 🙂

…and if you were wondering what it is with us Scots and our Irn-Bru, checkout the latest ad…base on Kipling’s poem  “If…”.  Says it all…..sigh…..I’d better watch, or am goin’ tae start greetin’ noo 🙂

Posted in Irn Bru, Living in Norway | 1 Comment »

Signs of a nanny state??

Posted by weehaggis on Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something I learned recently.  Buying over the counter medication in this country is an exercise in futility.   I found this out when trying to buy something for a pretty severe soar throat.

In Norway you can buy Repsils, which you’d think were simply renamed Strepsils (look the same, taste the same, made by the same manufacturer) but no.  As the friendly lady in the Apotek (that’s a Chemist shop here) said, they’re nothing more than sugar candy.  Even she said that you can’t buy the “good” ones here in Norway.

Repsils, the Norwegian neutered version of Strepsils

Repsils, the Norwegian neutered version of Strepsils

As you can see, even though the “St” has been removed, the “S” logo remains intact.

Now look at the real thing, as available elsewhere.

The real Original Strepsils

The real Original Strepsils

You can see the “magic” ingredients listed on the box, which have been removed from the local variant.   Then there is the really good stuff….don’t even ask 🙂

Strepils Plus, the really good stuff.

Strepils Plus, the really good stuff.

There are Dual action Repsils available only from the Apotek, but don’t get your hopes up.  Again it’s only more sugar candy, but with a dash of menthol to help relieve a blocked nose.

And just for fun, here’s one you’d probably get locked up for even knowing about 🙂

Something to really numb the throat.

Something to really numb the throat.

It’s not just these throat lozenges which are no no’s.  Stuff such as Lemsip, Benylin, Sudafed which I used to consider as common remedies for cold, flu, coughs…, are all off limits.  Of course you can go to see the doctor, but unless your are death’s door you’ll likely by told to go grin and bear it and be charged your 300kr for the privelage.

Here, have a candy bar instead 🙂

Posted in Living in Norway, Nippin ma heid | 1 Comment »

Shock…Horror….it snowed here in Norway

Posted by weehaggis on Sunday, November 2, 2008

One morning last week woke up and there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground.  Wow, it had snowed here in Norway!!  Ok, it shouldn’t be such a surprise but given that the public transport system just ground to halt that morning you’d think it was the first time Norwegians had seen snow 🙂  And this seems to happen EVERY year.  Waking up in the morning after the first snow, Norwegains appear to behave as if they’ve never seen the stuff before – abandoned cars at the side of the road and no morning busses.  Then there were the trams in Oslo, suffering the double whammy of not only having the snow on the ground but also under the snow there were the “wrong type” of leaves on the tracks 🙂  Yes….they stopped working too.

Posted in Living in Norway | 2 Comments »

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 »

A touch or irony

Posted by weehaggis on Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The concept of health care tourism is nothing new and this story “Dental trips go overseas
in the online English Aftenposten would indicate the practice is on the increase here in Norway. I find it somewhat ironic, that on the one hand Norwegians feel that their high taxes are justified to be able to pay for their social welfare system, but on the other hand an increasing number feel the need to travel abroad to be able to get affordable heath care…..go figure.

Posted in Living in Norway | 1 Comment »

I’ve been a bad…bad boy

Posted by weehaggis on Monday, July 23, 2007

Ooooh yes, I’ve been bad. No, not that kind of bad 🙂 Go wash that dirty mind out with soap and water.

You probably noticed I haven’t said much for a while…..quite a while.

Weather’s been crap…..days of rain…….some sunny days……lots of gloomy cloudy days……more days of rain……yeah…..lots of days of crap weather!!!

Been to the pictures a few times. Seen the Transformers movie, which was good schoolboy fun. A typical Michael Bay action movie, but tempered down to schoolboy friendly levels – probably with the deft touch of Mr Spielberg….lots of people exclaiming “mother…!!”

And, just the other weekend I just had to go see Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. Not bad, but felt a bit too condensed at times. I think I’m correct in saying that this is the shortest of the movies so far. Seems to presuppose to much that you’ve read the book. That big archway….very significant in the book, looks great in the movie….but not a word said about it. And then there’s what happened to Lucius Malfoy….you’ll need to read the book for an explanation.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I was there on Saturday morning getting my copy and unless friends in Austin were in the bookshop at midnight then I got mine first….nah nah n’ na nah 🙂

BTW, if you like to visit the cinema in Norway then i would recommend signing up for Kinosonen ( I might have mentioned this before). Its a sort of prepaid cinema ticket card. You top up the card with cash and then use it to by your tickets and you get kr.10 off the ticket price – and if you book online the booking fee is kr.3 instead of kr.5 One word of caution, the card can only be used at the cinema which you sign up for (although all Oslo cinemas count as the same).

Just before I go, a few more movie recommendations. Just seen on DVD, “Kontroll“, a weird and quirky movie about the strange and downright bizzare folks that inhabit the Budapest subway system. Cool soundtrack too.

Another movie worth checking out is the recent Norwegian slasher flick Fritt Vilt (or Cold Prey). A group of snowboarders head off for some off-piste boarding, one guy falls and breaks leg, group take refuge in an old abandoned mountain ski lodge….guess what…..they’re not alone. Formulaic stuff, but plays to the genre pretty well. Looks great and makes you jump in all the right places 🙂 Check out the DVD, which thankfully also has English subtitles.

Posted in blah, Living in Norway, Movie Reviews | Leave a Comment »

It’s that time of year again.

Posted by weehaggis on Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Its late and I missed a night at the pub because I had to get my tax return in before midnight. Serves me right I suppose for leaving it until the last minute. Anyway, it was a real pain this year coz they changed some rules I and I didn’t find out until this morning. Always getting more complicated.

Instead of all the bullshit they should bring it down to its simplest form. After all…..what it all boils down to is this …. ( at least this is how it feels 🙂 )


norge-flag

Simplified Norwegian Tax Return

 

  • Step One: How much money did you make last year?

  • Step Two: Send it to us!!

Posted in Living in Norway, Nippin ma heid | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Pending travels and a new friend

Posted by weehaggis on Monday, February 12, 2007

Thought I’d better say something after such a long absence from these pages (or some other bloggers might start to beat me up – you know who you are).

Looking forward to my trip to Chicago later this week. But, yikes, looks like its going to be damn cold….even colder than here. Temperatures down to -17C. Forecast predicting cloudy and sunny. So hopefully clear skies and no fog – one thing I hate is freezing fox. Rich, Karla’s other half, has been insisting that I just have to go visit the Natural HistoryMuseum. He probably wants me to have a date with “Sue” …. that’s T-Rex “Sue“. You see, Rich is such a “Ross”like dino-guru 🙂

Been filling up my Archos vid player with movies and TV shows just incase the inflight movies aren’t up to much. Lots of CSI episodes from Season 5, which I haven’t got round to watching at home yet, and a good helping of Simpsons episodes. On the movie front, A Simple Plan (such a good movie), Cars (been sitting in the shelf and not got round to watching it yet), Hidden (Heneke’s latest – no idea about this one) and The Wedding Crashers (just heard that this one was a hoot).

Recently made another really great friend 🙂 The Cable TV company have just released a new decoder with an inbuilt Personal Video Recorder. That means the box contains a 160GB hard drive which can be used for recording TV and claims to hold up to 80 hrs. The other really cool thing is being able to pause and rewind live TV. Even more cool is that the Cable TV operator seem to have made a bit of a screw up when they sent me the box. Included was a new smart card which appeared to unlock ALL TV channels.

Being the honest person that I am (and also not wanting to have to pay for it all) I called up to ask about the new card. It turns out that some kind of mistake had been made and my subscription details hadn’t been transferred properly to the new card. Anyway, I was told that it was now fixed and should reset the box ASAP. Thought I would see how long I could keep all the channels for. That was over a week ago and I’ve filling up the hard drive with lots of premium movie content 🙂 The box will be powered off whileI’m away, which mean that I’ll probably end up back with my normal channels after I get back.

Talking of movies, recently went and say Blood Diamond and Last King of Scotland. Forest Whitaker gives a power house performance in an amazing movie, but there was one excruciatingly gruesome scene in a very Man Called Horse sort of way. Blood Diamond was also pretty damn good, but let down by a lousy feel good ending.

Those two movies tooks my kinosonen membership up to the Hovedrolle level. Fat lot of good that appears to have done. Made a concerted effeort to get the required number of points and then……..nada. Oh well, its only been a week. Maybe somebody could let me know if I should expect any goodies in the near future.

Posted in blah, Living in Norway, Rambling stuff, TV in Norway | 1 Comment »

Another flying visit back to the home country

Posted by weehaggis on Sunday, January 14, 2007

Just got back from a flying visit to Edinburgh. Quite literally it was a flying visit (out Friday and back Sunday) and it was one of those 1kr each way Ryanair cheapos. Ok, it came to a bit more than 2kr once you add in all the taxes. Don’t forget all those Ryanair extras…the wheelchair levy, credit/debit card booking fee, on-line check-in charge…. All in it came to 262kr, which is still bloody cheap, so can’t really complain 🙂

The outward flight was about 30 mins late in leaving…due to the passenger list not matching the number of passengers. The ground staff wouldn’t let the flight leave until the issue was resolved. You could see that the flight crew were getting a bit agitated as somebody from the ground staff started to go through each passenger manually checking their boarding card. If the story about cabin crew being on commission only is anything to go by, then their agitation is no surprise.

The flight back to Norway went without a hitch with the usual straight faced cabin crew. On getting off the plane when back in Torp, I wondered to myself if they would soon start to charge for a smile.

Anyway, it turned out to be a rather cheap weekend. Worked out not that much more expensive than what the Firday night out at the local would have cost, and probably ended up buying more alcohol too 🙂

Also came back with some more DVDs, which I wasn’t able to fit in my case when I was last visiting the folks. Now added WestWing Season 7, Carnivale Season 2, Frasier Season 5 and finally, Alias “Final” Season 5 to the collection. That Sidney Bristow in one mean hot kick ass babe!!

Looks like I didn’t miss much in the weather front. Landed in Prestwick to howling gales and lashing rain, and pretty much the same on arrival in Edinburgh. Didn’t let up on Saturday either. More of the same with a white knuckle ride of a landing on the return to Torp – more howling gales. On getting home, the nice fluffy snow which I’d left behind on Friday had now turned to sheet ice. Its going to be fun getting into work tomorrow 🙂

Posted in Living in Norway, ryanair, Travel Stories | 1 Comment »