Tuesday, May 23, 2006

41 HRS IN STOCKHOLM


Everyone in Stockholm is a tall thin gorgeous blond supermodel. It was sort of fun, being the only little blond midget whisking through crowds of Amazonian Swedish gods and goddesses. I was like a Junior Swede! And when they’d look down at me (physically, not condescendingly), I would just smile and speak to them in plain English, as everyone in Scandinavia speaks better English than many Brits and Americans do.

While I don’t typically prefer blonds (I must not be a gentleman?), I have no qualms about stating that Stockholm made me curse monogamy. Tall. Thin/Skinny. Pretty face. Arresting eyes with long lashes that catch rain. That is my type nowadays. That’s what Awesome looks like, only with a yummy dash of Ricanness. In my early-20s, my type was bad boys. In my mid-20s, my type was indie rock star types (Awesome’s former and current look). Now, my type is rich. The weekend before I flew to Scandinavia, my flatmate and I were walking down Holborn, and one of his former colleagues drove by in a convertible. The guy climbed out of his car, smoothed back his expensive hair, pricey clothing, and flashed his costly smile. You could tell that he had just come from playing tennis at the country club, or from investing three billion pounds with his stockbroker; either one of these is fine for my fantasy. He may not have even been attractive to anyone else. But to me, hot damn. I thought I was going to shoot a wad clear out the top of my forehead. Oh. Excuse me. So, this is why I was cursing monogamy while in Stockholm. Swedes are so clean and yummy and sophisticated looking. They all look like The Sound of Music children who grew up and became barristers, politicians, and just…wealthy.


By the time I arrived in Stockholm, my back-ass pain (please refer to yesterday’s entry) was at such an ultimate high that I had resorted to sprinkling Hydrocodeine powder into my beers. I mean, look, I couldn't even take level photographs. I was giving myself roofies. If you are a policeman, attorney, tax collector, potential or current employer, student, or my mom, I am exaggerating. Otherwise, you can believe me.

My leetle beety hotel was in Old Town, which I thought was the most charming part of Stockholm. I really, really liked Stockholm. It’s one of my favorite European cities I’ve traveled – it’s clean and sophisticated and friendly, not overrun by fucking tourists, and all just so charming in an adult (not pornographic, just not childish or tacky) storybook sort of way.

On my first night, I stood in pain at 90-degree angle on a street corner near my hotel, pondering whether to cross one street and go into the Irish pub showing the football match, or cross the other street and go into the crowded pretentious homo bar. Not wanting to watch football or discuss hair products, I was so thankful when a little bar on a third corner caught my eye. I walked inside and there were only three patrons, so I fell onto a barstool in pain and ordered the most expensive beer on the menu. Pulling myself up onto a barstool must’ve looked like a difficult Olympic gymnastics event, for which I definitely got last place. Erik, the gorgeous tall blond supermodel bartender, struck up a conversation with me, and ten minutes later, another bartender arrived to take over Erik’s shift.

Then, to my fantastic surprise, Erik decided to stay and drink with me all night long. He was fucking hysterical. The two of us sat in the corner of the bar, downing Swedish beer after Swedish beer, laughing our asses off, and talking about damn near everything. I now have a heterosekshul Swedish boyfriend in addition to my American and British ones. I do not know why heterosekshul men latch onto me so quickly – perhaps because I am a generally non-threatening, non-queeny homosekshul…happily ‘just’ a gay dude… - but I’m certainly not complaining. Me thinks it is also because I laugh non-stop. Yes, that is my duty in life. To unite hetero- and homo- dudes together in happiness and shatter all the gay vs. straight stereotypes with lots of beer and laughter. I can do it.

Erik is a born-and-bred Stockholmian Old Towner, so we made an all-day date for Thursday, as he knows everything about everything. Plus, since he just quit his high-powered, high-paying job to go travel the world for a year, thereby living out his 30-year-old-life-crisis, he is also rich. Thus, I had no choice but to bask in his wealthly looks and attitude all afternoon, for reasons I mentioned above. The only reason he quit his job before the summer is so he can work in a non-crowded bar and watch every World Cup game while drinking with strangers like me.


Thursday morning, after consuming my Hydrocodeine cappuccino, we wandered along the canal forever until we had crossed yet another bridge and reached Djurgarden. We walked aimlessly through the gardens, etc., until we found a random gate that was only 1/4th of the way open, and decided to be brave and crouch through to see where it would lead us. We talked all afternoon, and he informed me that most Swedes would not go to Helsinki if you paid them to do so, and also that Copenhagen residents are like hick versions of Stockholmians. I got the lowdown.

After a while Erik had deciphered that were in Stockholm’s Open Air Museum, which is a really cool collection of old, architecturally disparate buildings scattered throughout lots of well-preserved land. The buildings ranged from old windmills to old-time country homes that were open to the public, among others. After a while, we found ourselves wandering through flocks of large birds and other little animals that nipped at our trainers.


When I saw a bear cub standing just a few yards in front of me, I screamed like an excited fat lady at a pizza buffet and cowered behind Erik’s tall frame. I could tell that he was a bit unnerved at first, too, but then he informed me that we had accidentally wandered into the back entrance of the Stockholm Zoo, which is apparently connected to the Open Air Museum. I was especially embarrassed when the five-year-old boy a few feet away from me (but on the correct, pedestrian side of the fence) was not half as terrified as me. When we saw more bears approaching us, we quickly climbed back into the normal part of the zoo where paying customers walk through. Erik and I played with the bears, seals, and some other animals that have been cruelly taken out of their natural habitats and have been trained to do tricks for tourists. When we reached the entrance, we realized that we had snuck into the grounds of the Open Air Museum and forgone the 80SK, which really wasn’t a problem.

Then, after some more Hydrocodeine (I shared!), we drank for free all night. I really would have preferred a massage from Erik, but I think that asking for this would’ve been a wee bit forward, not to mention the guilt I'd feel when I would have had to tell Awesome that I’d gotten an erotic back-ass massage from a hot Swede. See, sometimes, like once a month, I have a conscience.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:
The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see. - G.K. Chesterton