Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007:
Travel (to) Sweden:
the Unofficial Guide
to Helsingborg, Sweden -
with yellow coats

What I think:

Helsingborg is a beautiful city. So beautiful, in fact, that it's a great place to get away from once in a while - just to enjoy its splendour anew - all over again. Except in the winter. During the winter, doing the laundry is more fun than Helsingborg. Try doing your laundry in Helsingborg in the winter.

Before you start thinking that I've started working for the Swedish Tourist Bored - I mean Board, I'm trying a little experiment, loosely based on an experiment by some Irish guy in Denmark. He's asked all his blogged-linked mates to link to him with "Irish in Denmark".

I don't know what he hoped to achieve, but if you find that you're linked to here through some weird random links, please link back to me somehow, using the term: "Travel (to) Sweden with invisible Zimbabwean banana-flavoured underpants".

My experiment is about trying to get the top Google search for "Zimbabwean banana-flavoured underpants" because we all know how common that is. So please, link now. This particular African nation's future may depend on it. Zimbabwe's may as well.

In the spirit of this post, I'd like to say a few words about my recent trip across the seven C's (which are not appropriate words to mention in a family blog) to Helsingör in Denmark.

Here's a photo of me at the threshold of my voyage - to Denmark:
Don't I look like I'm in the perfect advert? It's brilliant! The sign says, "Welcome to Europe's (something to do with) turtle-ish (I think) ferry line! We segregate(?) misspelled baby swan runts!" Or something.

Wait. I've just been told that it actually means that they're frequent and that they sail all night. No turtles or cygnets involved, apparently. Boring.

Here's a photo of Helsingborg's coast on the way back (because I screwed up and uploaded the photos in the wrong order, and couldn't be bothered to fix it, because I haven't figured out an easy way to do it):The photo above was taken through a dirty window on the ferry. Adds character, don't you think?

While waiting for the ferry, we saw someone with funky leopard-skin-patterned shoes, so we decided to make this a spot-the-funky-footwear trip:

Then we saw them again:We didn't really see anything else that could be described as "funky", so we decide that a funky footwear trip was not gonna happen.

So we had something to eat, got back on the ferry, and went back to Helsingborg. You've already seen the photo of the coast on the way back, so I guess that's the end of that story.

Yellow-coated people in Helsingborg:

This should really be a different post. Oh well...

I noticed some people in yellow jackets walking around town a while ago, I think it was in the summer, or maybe a year ago, or perhaps longer ago (in Sweden, time is more abstract than it is elsewhere), and I've wondered what they were about ever since. Time to investigate.

I snuck up behind a couple of them recently, and took this photo: It says "Tryggehetsvärd" on their backs. This translates to "Security (or "Safety) Hosts". I couldn't work out what these people are about, so I thought I'd ask a few people.

I found out that it depends on who you ask.

According to some people, the people in the yellow jackets provide a valued service, looking out for the young people of Helsingborg, and ensuring that they're safe on these mean streets.

Others say that they're ex-criminals who can't get any other work.

Other others say that they're the Swedish government's way of trying to reduce unemployment figures.

I just don't know. There's this guy at the Charles Dickens pub who says that they're a waste of space, that they meddle in people's business, that the police hate them, and that they may not use the toilet unless they buy something. He doesn't like them very much.

The people of Sweden have a right to know who these yellow-jacketed people are, and how much they're costing. We need to be told, and it's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.

Here are some more yellowcoats, across the road from Dickens: And another shot of them, with a more sensitive and artistic view:


Blogger Da Duck said...

I was just in Helsingborg a few weeks ago with friends. Naturally it took a while for me to get there.

7:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Mark,

You've got yourself a link. Let me know how your experiment works out.


9:15 am  
Blogger Shark99 said...

Wait, Swedish taxpayers are actually paying for these guys? I thought it was just a community service kind of thing. What's the point of having these guys out if they don't even have police radios? I know Securitas have security guards, but they actually have to do training and get certified. What's the point of these guys, other than keeping them out of the unemployment line?

6:25 pm  
Blogger Mark Base said...

Duck: Hope you're stay was as eventful as the journey.
Jose: Thanks for the link.
Shark: I'm onto the Swedish government about this.

9:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the linking experiment! Now I just have to think of a clever way to work "Zimbabwean banana-flavoured underpants" into an entry!

And when you become Google's top search result for this topic, I think you should be guest on my radio show to share your remarkable achievement!

10:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No problem Mark.

Why don't you go undercover and enlist as a yellow coat?

11:14 pm  
Blogger Shark99 said...

Who makes their coats? I prefer Columbia Sportsware, or North Face, but I'll settle for LL Bean if I have to.

6:00 am  
Blogger Cooth said...

Aww, you think I'm FUNKY! That's my best Valentine this year!!

Fun Post - I gotta take some time and check out all the links.

I can't believe it is warmer there right now than it is here...Your pixie says 3C (37F), mine says minus 29F (minus 34C). Just have to wonder why my great grandparents left Sweden for here?!?

3:18 pm  
Blogger Mark Base said...

Shazzer: You're on!
I'd love to be a guest on your radio show in Lund.
Shark: I'd rather have a Mr Bean jacket than what these guys wear.
Cooth: Yep, you got the "funky" link, and yes - the weather's weird here. It's like spring today.

3:47 pm  
Blogger Tug said...

Consider yourself linked. Couldn't think of a better post to do it with than VD & Masturbation. ;-)

4:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Linked :) Bananas indeed!

4:56 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

You've got your link :-) I love the sentence you have chosen.

The yellow coated people are intriguing, let me know if you ever discover their real purpose.

10:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could try asking those yellow jacketed individuals who they are and who pays their wages.

4:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok...so I am well over a year late to comment on this blog...but I just tried it, and you are number 1 google hit!
Thanks for all the useful (and not so useful) information on here, it has been a great help!

6:30 pm  
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8:36 am  

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