Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Night in Helsingor

Last night was my first experience going out in Helsingor, Denmark, which is a short train ride from my host home. I went with another DIS student, Geena, that lives in my town here. (See Geena, I did mention you.) We learned a lot throughout the night about how the Danes approach night life and the trends. The main thing that we learned was that nothing happens early on in the night; something we need to adjust to considering how early we wake up in the morning.

The first bar we went into was a culture shock in itself. Geena and I, plus another DIS student we met up with, were by far the youngest people in the bar by about 30 years. Not wanting to abruptly turn around and leave because we were out of our element, we ordered a beer, Svaneke Mørk Guldands all around, and picked out a booth to sit in while we watched the first half of the IHF Handball semifinal between Denmark and Croatia. Despite the bewildered looks we were attracting from the locals, it was an enjoyable experience as we tried to figure out what we would be doing with the rest of our night.

A little after 9 we headed to what seemed to be our best bet at meeting people our own age: a bar called Retro. Because Helsingor is pretty far from Copenhagen there was little chance of meeting anyone else from America so we had a good chance to meet new Danes. Unfortunately, we didn't get the memo that nothing gets going in Danish bars until past 1am. By midnight, though, more people started to file into the bar and we finally got our first real taste of interacting with locals our age. We struck up conversation with a Dane wearing an American flag sweater, a sure fire way of getting an American to talk to you.

As the night progressed, I learned a few things about being an American away from home while talking to a group of guys from Sweden. If you start talking about American music, they will order a round of drinks and offer you one. If you talk about American sports, they will order a round of drinks and offer you one. If you attempt to speak the native language and your pronunciation is intelligible, they will order a round of drinks and offer you one. Geena had some other theories like that they thought I was Jason Segel or something, but who knows? Whatever it was, I discovered that ASAP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar are popular even in Denmark.

When we decided to call it quits past two (after all we had been up since 6am to get to class that morning) we found the night bus to take us home to Fredensborg. Riding the night bus was quite entertaining in itself, with Danish teenagers singing American songs they only knew the words to, but not the meanings of the words they were saying.

As I'm writing I have the difficult task of deciding which soccer game to watch, as there are six live games on television right now. There's an FA Cup match, two Bundesliga matches, a La Liga match, a Serie A match, and an African championship group stage match. And then there's the IHF Handball Bronze Medal game. This would be unheard of back home. I went with the Man U-Fulham game.

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