Friday, July 15, 2005

then again, so is Copenhagen

Before I left for Copenhagen this week my wife and I discussed at some length my love for Denmark and the Danes. I want her to love Denmark as much as I do. So what if I am a Control Freak. When she says words like "It's not my country" I wonder why we cannot always agree on a definition of quality. I won't go into the other points she made to bolster her argument, but she didn't score many points with me when she added that one of the main reasons I was returning to my native kingdom was to eat a pølse which is Danish for a Wiener, a Frankfurter or as North Americans know it a hot dog. This is equivalent to me saying a Dutchman runs to the nearest french fry stand at Schiphol Airport and asks for extra mayonnaise....something I would not dare say.

I had to wait an inappropriate Third Wordly long time for my suitcase yesterday at Kastrup Airport. Baggage handlers probably do not realize the impact they are making on world peace by delivering peoples stuff back to them promptly and in one piece. I had more time then I had bargained for to look around the Kastrup arrival hall. Next to Baggage Band 1 was a new fixture. By new I mean since my last visit in September. It was a real live functional Danish pølsevogn (hot dog stand) just like they used to be on the corner of most town squares in Denmark. The Danes were lining up for a pølsefix. Soon standing next to me were many happy faces chewing on Danish pork sandwiched into French baguettes. Over next to the pølsevogn was another new installation similar to those I had seen before at Schiphol Amsterdam. It was a smoking tree. Under its vacuum limbs stood several young Danes taking deep drags on their Kings, Queens and Princes, which is what the Scandinavian Tobacco Company calls its cigarettes. This morning the provincial Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten reported that the
Dansk Vejforening is recommending that smoking be forbidden in private automobiles while driving. Talking while driving on your mobile phone is already illegal.

Driving past City Hall Square in Copenhagen there was small crowd of people (we do need more surveillance cameras around town) gathered around what looked like a smaller group of Fighting Sioux ready to go on the warpath. "Those Indians are there almost every day," my host told me. "North Americans?" I asked. "Peruvians." Getting closer to home just north of the lakes on St. John's Square my eye caught the place where the pølsevogn probably stood years ago. Now the sign says Torvets Kebab. Sign of the times? How many more years before there is a shish kebab stand in the arrival hall at Kastrup? I'm sounding like a real Dane already. I still haven't eaten a pølse, maybe later today. When my wife returned from almost three weeks in Holland last fall one of the first news items she proudly told me was that she only ate French Fries once. Don't expect me to beat that record with pølser. I plan to support the Danish economy fully.

photos by Thorkild Jensen

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