Friday, July 21st, 2006:
Beaches and shy people in Helsingborg
You know, five years ago, if you'd have told me that there are beaches in Helsingborg, I would have strongly recommended that you invest in a cerebral enema. I mean, of course I could believe that there are beaches (I know that Sweden is by no means landlocked), but beaches on which people sit to tan themselves? Pull the other one. Sweden is a cold Scandinavian country.
Soon after I moved here, I learned otherwise. Summers can get quite hot here, and Helsingborg does indeed have beaches. On some days, you could even be forgiven for thinking that you're on a tropical island paradise. Full of Swedes. Hhmm...OK, perhaps not paradise, but nevermind. The point is that there are beaches and they rival many of the world's finest beaches (like that one near Newcastle in England, for example).
There's also a green area by the sound (kind of a grassy beach, if you will) called Gröningen, which roughly translates to "The Greeny" (no nasal references here). It's a place where people can sit around, have a picnic or barbecue, play football (International or Yank) , drink beer, play guitar and/or bongos, and generally have a merry old time. Boy, this is a pretty educational blog, isn't it?
Anyway, I went there with my Yank friend yesterday. I brought my guitar, and he brought beer. We just sat around for a couple of hours people-watching, chatting, drinking, and I strummed a bit. It was a nice chilled way to spend the early evening. Here's a photo of Gröningen (you can see Denmark on the horizon):
A bit later, Yank gets a call from a friend who says that he and a couple of others are having beers at Hamnkrogen ("harbour bar" - which we call "Circle Bar", because it's sort of a round pavillion-type thing). So we finished our beers and headed there.
We sat in the outside terrace bit and drank more beers with a few Swedes, one of whom looked like this:
To be fair, he did look much more relaxed after his visit to the toilet.
Here's one of me looking slightly concerned
about the amount of beer I'd consumed so far:
While we were sitting there, who should come up to us but Benny. You may remember Benny from my post on March 15th. He was present at the stabbing of the burger (but has been cleared of any involvement in this heinous act). We chatted for a few minutes about Simon's wedding, exchanged recipes, discussed the best fabric softeners on the market today, and generally had a good gossip.
Benny mentioned that a friend of his, whom I had met a few days previously, was inside, but didn't want to come out because he was afraid that I would mention him in my blog. Can you imagine? How shy is that?
Well, as tempting as it is, I can totally respect his wish for anonymity. I will not mention his name. But I couldn't resist running in and snapping a shot of him:
He's the one in the black t-shirt and the sensible haircut,
sitting next to the guy who looks like a criminal.
In summary, I think that Sweden's beaches should get more worldwide publicity. They're a virtually unheard-of national treasure. I also think that the citizens of Helsingborg must learn to be a lot less reserved and shy; they should never be afraid of appearing in harmless blogs about their fine city. It's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.