Monday, August 27, 2007

the friday scene

We get off the train at Malmö Central Station around midnight on Friday, and head straight for the Old Town.

Waves of people are walking toward us. It's the final night of Malmöfestivalen 2007 and the headline band has just finished playing the last concert on the big stage at Stortoget (Central Square).

Apparently, Sweden also does nice sunsets. This one's from the rooftop terrace of Spoletorp, the student residence that I now call home.

But for us, the evening is young - even though it started some six hours prior.

It began with the going away party for Ruth, our Tasmanian roomie (of two days), on the rooftop patio of my residence. I left early with Jess, my Canadian roommate, to attend a Swedish garden "pre-party" gathering for my international student mentor group.

"Party whore," Ruth accused.

Well, yes. I suppose she had a point.

In Malmö, it's a group of five, and an eclectic one at that. The cast of characters?

- A Swedish-speaking Finn, with stereotypically stunning blonde hair, icy blue eyes, and a stoic poise to match;
- A goth-artsy German, who wears black lace, fingerless gloves on her small hands;
- A petite, cute-as-a-button Scot, with a friendly and optimistic disposition;
- A shy, six-foot, French teenager, who speaks in broken English; and
- A Canadian who writes for a bear.

As we make our way down the busy, litter-strewn street of Södergatan, we can hear a DJ's drum 'n' bass from across the square.

"I can feel the rhythm," says Josefine, the Swedish-speaking Finn and the only one of us who can get away with saying something like that and not be uncool. She beckons toward the open-air, cobblestoned dancefloor.

Eleven years ago, when I knew more, I would have been too sure about everything to let myself have any fun. But, in my old age, where nothing seems black and white anymore, it's different this time.

These days, I tell myself this is what I do, and then I do it.

And onto the dancefloor we go, until the wee hours of the Swedish morning.

St. Anne Gatan, Lund, Sweden. (2007). Preachy starfish and waffles: the here and now is important. No matter who or what you're looking for around the cobblestoned bend, don't forget to smell the hollyhocks right in front of you.

Friday, August 24, 2007

malmö summer nights

My roommate ditched me tonight, but I guess she shouldn't be responsible for all of the blame (only, say, about 90%) since I was, well, two hours late. Or maybe two-and-a-half, but who's counting? I went to the Malmöfestivalen anyway, and brought my camera with me ... a few shots I took are posted below.

The highly-regarded Swedish indie rock band, Mando Diao, plays an electric set on the big stage at Malmöfestivalen 2007.

Malmö is Sweden's third-largest city, and it's conveniently located only 15 minutes down the train tracks from my new homebase in Lund. I was fortunate enough to arrive in Sweden during the week of the much talked about Malmöfestivalen, which is the country's biggest (and best) city festival. Featuring food, rides, and live music for all tastes, the festival annually attracts summer crowds totaling into the seven figures.

The best part? Everything (except for the food and booze) is free.

This, of course, is good news for poor students like me.

More Mando Diao in Malmö.

And yet even more.

Malmöfestivalen attracts big summer crowds ...

... and also guys who play the accordion.

Swedish folk band Tidig Tisdag on the Jeriko stage at Malmöfestivalen 2007.

Festival crowds on Södergatan in central Malmö.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

a generic swedish postcard

It took almost 30 hours to get to Lund, Sweden, and I'm just getting settled into my new digs here. It's been a very hectic and sleep-deprived first little while. For those who have been asking, here are a few (generally uninteresting) snapshots. Stay tuned - there'll be more to follow in the coming weeks and months. Me and the editor hope things are well with you, wherever you may be logging in from today.

Let's get this out of the way first - yes, there are many beautiful blondes here in Sweden.

The official reason why I'm here: graduate school, at Lund University. Established in the 17th century, LU's 45,000 students make it the largest post-secondary institution in the country.

Bicycles and cobblestones mix better in northern Europe.

Another random street scene from Lund, Sweden.

Never thought I'd be back in student housing again but here we are. Note the IKEA furniture.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

chips ahoy!

Trying to come up with new offerings for the menu at the starfish and waffles café is always a bit of challenge ... and this rings especially true for vegetarian dishes. I mean, besides your standard meatless cuisine such as tofu, salad or hot dogs, what else is there? Oh, you poor, poor veggies ... so little choice, so little selection.

Need proof of the vegetarian street cred of our scrumptious, new Vegan Sour Cream 'n' Bacon Potato Chip Sandwich? Look no further than the photo above, where the curious, carnivorous dingo (who once tried to eat my baby nephew) won't even touch it.

Well, don't fret, lettucehead, you don't have to cry over your soy milk any longer. Because beginning today, the dingobear kitchen (a.k.a. the gluttony zone) is now cooking for the iron-deficient you ... and we'd like to introduce what is quite possibly the greatest veggie development since the creation of mock chicken itself ... the Vegan Sour Cream 'n Bacon Potato Chip Sandwich!

Yes, that's right: it's yet another original recipe from the dingobear kitchen. Dare we say that the Vegan Sour Cream 'n' Bacon Potato Chip Sandwich is so good, you won't even need a gag suppressant to keep it down. Herbivores of the world, rejoice!


Vegan Sour Cream 'n' Bacon Potato Chip Sandwich
1 whole-wheat sandwich roll
1 handful of ruffled sour cream 'n' bacon flavoured potato chips
slices of green and red bell pepper to garnish

Slice the whole-wheat sandwich roll in half. Put the chips between the two slices. See? No need to make things any harder than they have to be. Mmmmm ...

The delightfully crunchy and salty potato chips work incredibly well with the soft and fluffy sandwich roll. A venerable contrast of tastes and textures, it's like there's a (vegetarian) party in your mouth and everyone's invited!

Also, for those of you who worry about the vegan credibility of using bacon chips in our exciting new sandwich, let me point out that the bacon seasoning on the chips contain positively no natural flavouring and, in fact, I don't think it's even organic. A big vegetarian "yay!"

Believe it or not, sometimes we actually develop serious original recipes from the dingobear kitchen ... check out the links on the left side of this webpage for details.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

bittersweet me

It's moving day. For me, going through old accumulation churns uneasiness. I think it's a product of being reminded one last time of events and circumstances long since forgotten, before such memories are finally lapsed for good. And with each item that's packed or tossed aside, the soul of a place - a home - fades a little, until once and for all, it disappears.

So for this stop, this is it. Thanks to those who made a difference; you'll be sorely missed. I'm sorry things didn't work out better. But maybe next time.

Like so many boxes of Caramel Apple Sugar Crisp, our stay in Edmonton proved to be for a limited time only.

Moving day. (2007). Me and the editor, looking out the window from my apartment living room one last time.