Monday, August 24, 2020

Sweden 2020 Day 4

January 30

I came downstairs to learn the day before I had missed an entire table of fruit, fancy cheeses, and a make your own waffle station at breakfast. This place really did rival Disney buffets!  

We crossed the street to the office building (again, woo!) in the dim and soggy morning to begin the final half day of the class.  Knowing there was no class based lunch, I indulged in a bit of second breakfast on the break.  The class ended, and we got a great deal of personal and appreciative farewells, which I gotta admit was truly awesome.

Lars scheduled a tour of his local facility above us a couple of hours after class closed down.  I downed a protein bar, since it seemed like a waste to carry them across the Atlantic and not eat any.  Then Lars pointed out we could have lunch at the restaurant we’d been directly next to for last three days.

Have I mentioned I never had any idea what time it was?

The rest of our risk team ordered lunches and I grabbed a desperately needed Coke Zero. Coffee was available everywhere, but never decaf and with no low calorie milk or sweetener options. Once again- I assume a reason for the massive use of bicycles. 

Upstairs we were treated to the layout and sections of the Solna office, their risk systems and the manufacturing site, now renowned for a MASSIVE and impressive increase in ventilator production.  Once more- highly interesting for us, much less so for travelogue blog comedy sourcing. 

At one point, however, an amazing thing happened…


It was as we passed through an elevated glass tunnel between buildings. We had to bend over and look way over to the horizon…and squint between some clouds.

Still, compared to the rest of the stay, it was practically Miami Beach.

Note: I joke a lot about the weather, but considering how beautiful the place was when it was dark and soggy, it has to be magnificent in the summer.

Once the tour ended, it returned to dark and soggy again as three of us regrouped at the hotel, and Jim went to catch his flight to his next meeting in Portugal.  Dinner with the remaining female members of the team was a flashback to the days when I used to eat lunch with mostly female coworkers.  This is opposed to now when I spend all of my lunch times writing these dopey things.  I'm not sure why that happened back then, but it was most likely because I am incapable of discussing sports for more than three sentences without:
1) Mentioning some impressive event from ancient history while having no knowledge of current events.
2) Quoting a stand up comedian or making my own joke.

Come to think about it, those two happen in most conversations I have on any topic. 

Lars pointed us to another tasty place, “The Eatery.”  Generically named, but the food was good.  I realized way after I returned that the two generic English names for restaurants might have seemed exotic in Sweden. 

Then even later, I realized they all spoke English, so probably not.  

The place was nice, but the power strip hanging off the wall was a little unnerving.

We tried an appetizer, and they brought us a different one with a salmon on it for us to try as well. That was a nifty bonus, but I think it was supposed to be over ice, which had all melted. The result was serving it on a bowl in a shallow plate full of water, turning part of our table in to a puddle.

Karin had bouillabaisse, which I would have had too if I knew what it was, outside of a reference Marcel makes in Murder byDeath. Instead I had “witch fish.”  That was the translation.

It was one kind of fish, stuffed into a tube made out of another kind of fish…or possibly a starch of some kind.  It was served on a Brillo pad made of moss, filled with rice. 

In reality, I ate it all and it was quite yummy…except the moss Brillo pad which I didn’t try.

We had a pleasant dinner, exchanging “how you met your other half” stories.  The waiter vanished for a period but finally reappeared with the check allowing us to leave.  After dinner we stopped in a small supermarket before venturing through the dark and soggy back to the hotel. 

I grabbed some Swedish chocolate there to bring home. Then I worried that my sucking at languages meant I may have chosen a brand from another country.  Kerry pointed out that the ones I purchased were named after the store we were in so I was probably safe.

I am a seasoned traveler, no?

On the way back was a building with animal reliefs on either side of the door. A couple had demonic looking red eyes that lit up, leading to an impromptu Star Trek IV quoting- 
“Did you see that? "
"No and neither did you.”
Back at the hotel we bid elevator farewells. Travelling as light as I was, packing was a matter of dropping the few non laundry items- and the penguin - into the suitcase.  Then I could settle in to my final night in Sweden of alternating on and off brain function.

Luckily, I had good timing for one of the “ons.”  There was an invitation on my phone for a critical meeting when I would be on a plane the next day.  I turned on my computer and emailed the inviter at three AM my time.  She was just as crazy, dedicated as I, and still working late in the evening her time.  We were able to hash through most of the issues before my brain shut down for its next scheduled service period.

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