No More the Ugly American/1958

30 Jun 2013 – Now the Ugly Chinese/2013

Chinese-Tourists-Bad-Behaviour

http://scandasia.com/norway-disappoints-chinese-tourists/

Tkx Richard for the link. My comments – the culture & lifestyle here in Norway are very different to anywhere else in this world. Just as well, as it suits me fine to be far far away from the maddening crowd. People and tourists should read or do some research about the places they plan to travel before going there and to those who are unhappy about the difference should stay home. Norway with nice people, clean air, sparsely populated etc is one of my favourite countries to visit. The pop here is 5,063,709 with an area of 385,186sq km/148,720sq mi. SIN pop is 5,312,400 with an area of 7,315 sq km/18,943 sq mi according to en.wikipedia.org!

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Appreciations to Lisa&Adriane for sharing their wonderful culinary pix for his 30th Bday and description from Vintage Cave/HI USA. The presentation looks exquisite and would certainly like to try this place when in HI. 1.Kombu yuzu flavoured gelatin. 2.Kona abalone sweet corn relish nori, with abalone from a farm in the Kona area on HI (big island). The dark circle is the nori sauce, a seaweed and the crispy green ogo, a type of HI seaweed. 3. Foie gras mousse, white pineapple, ‘aired’ honeycomb, coconut macadamia drizzle and golden honey.

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Sat: rainy day, a good indoors day. Took Olai to Leo’s Lekeland/playland where he seems to enjoy the facilities. Great for kids and many parents had the same idea on this rainy day but kids do not mind crowds! First time to see so many slushy machines and in so many colours and flavours!! Cost for kids under 2yrs NOK75 S$16, 2-16yrs NOK155 S$32 and accompanying parents or grown-ups do not have to pay.

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home – James Michener

Melbystølen

28 Jun 2013 – Happy Bday Jeff

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A wonderful week in the mountains thanks to Kirsten & Geir. Fresh clean air and simple basic living is all one need to realize that too much of the material values create complications and problems! App 4hrs drive NW of OSL is Melbyfjell/Melby Mountain (1,127m 3,700ft) and the cabins Melbystølen are located on the slopes of this mountain. Delicious trouts are there in the lakes, but of course you need to fish. Common nettles grow wild and freely and a pair of gloves is a must while picking them. This weed is really yummy and simple to prepare.

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The wild flowers, including orchids, Flekkmarihånd/Heath Spotted Orchid are so delicate and a pleasure to see how these plants adapt to the nature and harsh surroundings to survive. The fun part is to be able to identify the flowers and being with Kirsten and Inger was walking with a flower book. After the orchid Forglemmegei/Forget-me-not, Tettegress/Common Butterwort (insect trapper), Mogop/Spring Pasque Flower (the only one found in bloom as it is late for them), Smørblomst/Buttercups, Fjellsmelle/Moss Campion. The only one they had to look up is the Musøre/Dwarf Willow, the last flower pix and they are so tiny that one has to be careful not to step on them.

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A walk up these slopes and one gets to the top of Melbyfjell where a good view of Bitihorn (1,607m 5,272ft)) southernmost of Jotunheimen, Peer Gynt’s country! Even found a patch of snow to sit by for lunch and time for a snow-ball fight. Norwegians are a strange bunch, after complaining about their cold long winter, they will go in search of more snow to get the last moments of skiing before summer!! Appreciations to Kirsten for the 3 above pix.

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Collected enough bushes, twigs, dead branches, tress etc to have a bonfire for midsummer’s night with Kirsten’s family. Thank you for good company and for crossing this path at life’s journey, Inger, Kjell, Thomas, Sara, Ingeborg and Erik. Kirsten & I sent our RIP message to those departed, especially to our ancestors who have provided us with this blessed life. Sunset pix credit to Kirsten.

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K&G drove to Beitostølen where we did some shopping and had lunch. The bus back to civilisation NOK340 S$71, a pleasant 4+hrs ride was slightly delayed arriving into OSL due to loading a bunch to kids getting on after Fagernes either from or to some music summer camp. A full bus from there all the way back to OSL. This is the route where the road bypass Utøya, the island of tragedy with the 2011 massacre of the young people.

What joy to see Olai’s smiling face of recognition. Life is good…

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity… – John Muir

No Power or Internet Access

21 June 2013 – Running away from civilisation for a few days

Wed: to Mette, a safe and wonderful trip to Spain and until next summer. Tkx for coming by for lunch. Great to catch up with you this summer.

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Thu: surprised Eivind who is now one of the primary care physicians in the St Hans Haugen and centre. Hope to catch up with him before leaving Norway. The last time our paths crossed was nearly 40yrs ago!

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Thank you Kari for wonderful company on this beautiful afternoon at Onda Sea Resturant – Aker Brygge*** Managed to capture an interesting shot of the Opera House looking like winter but actually a glorious summer day!

The haze in SIN made it on the news here in Norway. Feeling for my fellow SIN with the haze and at its worst since 1997. How does one breath with  PSI of 300+, not just for one day but a few days? What about all the construction outdoor workers??

Larry recommends on the article.
Perhaps the Indonesian Minister for People’s WELFARE should change his job title instead of acting like a “child” himself. After all, it is only your lungs and brain that are permanently impacted.
“…..In separate remarks to reporters, Indonesian Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono criticized Singapore’s reaction to the haze, accusing the city-state of acting like a ‘child.’

http://www.voanews.com/content/singapore-pm-haze-from-indonesia-could-blanket-city-for-weeks/1685851.htm

Am feeling for my fellow SIN and real concerns for family & friends, especially the younger ones. To the Indonesians, please stop this. Running away where news or internet is not accessible!

PSI reading is 401 as of 12pm. Marking another high point of the haze level if just by one point. The air quality is of Hazardous Level currently.

Fri: need to runaway for a few days. Thank you to Kirsten & Geir for the invitation to their mountain cabin in the Beitostølen and Jotunheimen area. App 4hrs drive north of OSL. Looking forward to this and will blog about it when back to civilisation!

The most difficult thing about this trip is that Olai’s sweet good morning and good night smiling hugs will be greatly missed. Better get used to it as my flight is now booked and confirmed to leave Norway mid July 🙁

…A hug is an amazing thing

It’s just the perfect way
To show the love we’re feeling
But can’t find the words to say….
~Johnny Ray Ryder, Jr., “A Simple Hug”

Issues of Face!

19 Jun 2013 – Cultural Differences

This is a good one to share, funny but so true…

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An American, a Japanese and a Chinese went for a hike one day. It was very hot. They were sweating and exhausted.

When they came upon a small lake, they took off all their clothes and jumped into the water, since it was fairly secluded. Feeling refreshed, the trio decided to pick a few berries while enjoying their ‘ freedom.’

As they were crossing an open area, suddenly a group of ladies from town appeared.

Unable to get to their clothes in time, the American and the Japanese quickly used their hands to cover their privates.

But the Chinese covered his face while they ran for cover. After the ladies had left and the men got their clothes back on. The American and the Japanese asked the Chinese why he covered his face rather than his private part.

The Chinese replied, ‘I don’t know about you, but in my country, it’s the face that people recognize.’ 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Two cars seen in the area, the vintage car is for marketing Norway’s oldest bakery (1861), Baker Hansen, across the road from me.  The other was just parked for a few minutes on the street when I live and this must be the way to get people to look and take pix of your car! The colour is for REAL and the only one of such I have seen so far, probably hazardous in the traffic distracting other drivers!!

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Mon: tkx Ingrid for meeting up at the downstairs coffee joint, Lille Valkyrien Kaffee og Tehus which serves good coffee and fresh croissant. Last year I counted and there were 7 places serving coffee within 1-7mins walk, this year counted 9 so far!

7 Bakeries within 1 to 5 Minutes Walk

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Edited 20 Jun: just got news that PSI in SIN is 300+ not good! To fellow SIN, plx stay indoors with good air filters and take care. Certainly would not want to be outdoors there! To the neighbours, shame on you for burning down precious forests! 2 haze pix uploaded from various sites.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22947709

We may have different religions, languages, colour skin, but we belong to one human race – Kofi Annan

Norwegian Wood & Moss

16 Jun 2013 – Happy Father’s Day to all fathers

Thu: May took a day off this wet rainy day so that we could do some errands. DimSum lunch at Beijing Palace*** which was quite good, to be in OSL, but of course expensive NOK650 S$143 for 2 person but had to doggy-bag a plate of noodles! At least one can find decent dim sum here. Picking up Olai was the high point 🙂

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Fri: sunny and breezy day walking with May & Olai to Frognerparken & Frognerbadet where Norwegian Wood, an annual music festival is happening over the weekend. Did not pay to go into the crowd and noise which was loud enough just walking in the park. The sound was actually better from the soccer field by Frognerbadet. Olai enjoyed chasing the sea-gulls and was quite speechless at the sight of the police on horseback and a polar bear campaigning to protect the Arctic regions where the signature was added with hopes of slowing down global abuse!

Sat: in fond memories of my father LAM TinYue, who would have been 102yrs and L&M’s paternal grandfather, John K HALD III who would have been 90yrs.

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App 65km, driving thru’ 9 tunnels and 1hr drive south of OSL where Moss is located. Olai’s 1st boat ride and to his paternal grandparents’ island. Was fortunate to be there a year ago on Ospeholmen, an idyllic island and glad that Olai will have the opportunity to spend time there now that he is older and enjoys the water. Appreciations to John (his camera in the pix!), Bjørn’s father for having us over to their cabin, and the luxury of being the only cabin on this island! Evidence that Gjedde/Pike are found in these waters… 🙂 🙂

Imagine Being Here Now!

I once had a girl Or should I say she once had me She showed me her room Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?
She asked me to stay And she told me to sit anywhere So I looked around And I noticed there wasn’t a chair
I sat on the rug biding my time Drinking her wine We talked until two and then she said ‘It’s time for bed’
She told me she worked In the morning and started to laugh I told her I didn’t And crawled off to sleep in the bath
And when I awoke I was alone This bird had flown So I lit a fire Isn’t it good Norwegian wood? – Beatles

A Fallen Sign!

13 Jun 2013 – Fornebu

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Sun: fun times at playground with Olai watching people enjoying the weather with their children and kites.

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Mon: a beautiful day walking on the bicycle and pedestrian path (runs parallel to the highway and the shore-line) to meet Magnus for a serene evening walk from Lysaker to Fornebu.

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Magnus, thank you for charming company and for drinks at OSL Sjøflyhavn Kro. Lovely view and ambience on the roof top. Nice of Toril who moved to this area last year to pop by and drove us to the old airport tower (now a cafe) and to the train station. The last time at Fornebu was in the mid 1980s when it was still an airport and there were many major issues in life’s journey then!

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Fornebu was the main airport serving OSL and Eastern Norway from 1939 to 1998. It was then replaced by Gardemoen and the area has since been redeveloped. Today it is like another silicon valley with the big names like Telenor, Statoil and others. Am told that Statoil building is inspired by the ‘pick-up-sticks’ game, does take some getting to.

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Tue: took the FOC bus from Vigelands Park to Sandvika where Mette could pick me up. Tkx Mette for a yummy chicken salad at Pigsoppgrenda. Called Toril at Fornebu and glad to be able to catch up with old friends. Brought delicious local shrimps for supper and appreciations to Toril for having us and showing her beautiful apt on such short notice.

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Wed: May made a delicious salmon dinner and my contribution was a sherry trifle. Quite amazing that Cathrine’s (L&M’s auntie) eldest daughter, Tora is 20yrs and has just completed her 1st year in med school. Good to see them, especially Ellen.

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This sign fell next to my seat on the subway Tue night, nearly have me a heart attach! Thank goodness was on the aisle seat and not the window seat. Translation: some believe that privileges are for the selected! Since I am so privileged that this sign did not hit me, someone please tell me what ad is this???

Edited 14 Jun: Ad for OBOS, an association one can join. As member, benefits like properties, The Norwegian Opera & Ballet performances, car rental, hotels, holidays, etc etc are offered to members at discounted price. Is that a sign for me to join to believe that selected privileges are for me… 🙂

Farmers & Flea Markets

9 Jun 2013 – Happy 4th Bday Sophie, #4 Grandchild!

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Fri: glorious day at the National Museum again to see a few of Munch’s painting,

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and a painting of Tideman and Krogh. Unfortunately the timing was not on my side for the talks in the auditorium.

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UiO in Aulean, University of OSL (only the law faculty and administration are located on the main drag of town and is still under covers), but open to the public for the Munch’s paintings.

UiO Under Covers!

This year is the 150th anniversary celebrations of Munch’s birth. The Munch museum is where most of his works are displayed. Been there not long ago but not comfortable in that area on my own. Might go another day with a few other people.

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Met with ChiewLeng for lunch at Cafe Skansen***and sharing just a simple lunch cost NOK200 S$43 pp, with no wine! Welcome back to Norway’s high cost of living!! CL is from SIN but lives in Norway with her Norwegian husband with their 2 children. We crossed paths in SIN over 10yrs ago when I was looking into venues for the annual OSSEA (Orchid Society) dinner and CL was with NParks at Fort Canning then. We met again by chance last year when KK & PP were visiting OSL. Good to see her and best of luck to her life here…

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/07/business/worlds-priciest-city-to-be-expatriate/index.html?hpt=hp_c5

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A stroll by the National Theatre and Karl Johan gt is a must on such day. Somebody dressed the statue with a pair of boxer shorts! and no soap bubbles or colour dye in the fountain today 🙂

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Continuing the stroll meeting May and to pick Olai from his day care. Oh, what a perfect and wonderful way to start a weekend with the sweetest acknowledgement smile from the youngest grandson 🙂 🙂

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Sat: with the weather on our side, decided on a short visit to a book shop where Olai found a book to show Teddy 🙂 🙂 🙂

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and the local farmers (1min walk across the road) and flea markets (5mins walk).

Today is the opening of the DNB Majorstuen branch (where all my banking needs are!) 1 min walk from the apartment. Popped in to renew a credit card and was offered a free 3months trial for travel insurance. Another coincident? as I was thinking about getting one due to my solo UKc2c hike. Yet another perfect day gone by in the blink of an eye!

In the blink of an eye, something happens by chance – when you least expect it – sets you on a course that you never planned, into a future you never imagined ― Nicholas Sparks

All Kinds of Weather…

6 Jun 2013 – Happy Bdays Harry, Dika & Jackie and In Memories to Those on D-Day

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Harry who will be celebrating his big 60th and wedding anniversary at Tai Long West & Ham Tin Beach/HKG hiking and swimming. Safe hikes and swim to him and his group. This greeting is specially for him, young at heart 🙂

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Wed: what started to be a grey day turned to be mainly sunshine with light clouds and some passing showers. Walked to meet with Kirsten and Mette at Vestre gravlund, a cemetery in the Frogner borough of Oslo, Norway, located next to the Borgen metro station. At 243 acres, it is the largest cemetery in Norway and was inaugurated in Sep 1902, also contains a crematorium. While they paid their respects to their parents, I to L&M’s paternal grandfather John and great-grand mother Emma.

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Took a walk thru’ Frogner Park, had a soft ice-cream but by-pass the expensive cafe to get to the Vigeland Museum, NOK30 S$6.50 for seniors.

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Its history began in 1919 when noted sculptor Gustav Vigeland made an offer to Oslo Municipality to donate his works sometime in the future.

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Lunched in the courtyard with our own food on this beautiful afternoon. A lovely stroll back to Majorstuen and a glass of wine at BillaBong, NOK55 S$12. What great way to spend an afternoon.

Cemeteries are full of unfulfilled dreams… countless echoes of ‘could have’ and ‘should have’… countless books unwritten… countless songs unsung… I want to live my life in such a way that when my body is laid to rest, it will be a well needed rest from a life well lived, a song well sung, a book well written, opportunities well explored, and a love well expressed – Steve Maraboli

A Tribute to Johannes Rivertz

3 Jun 2013 – Nesøya‘s Blissful Surroundings

Nesøya

An Affluent Island

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Sat: this idyllic island where I once lived is over blogged (postings from 2011 and 2012 and other postings)! What a beautiful day to visit with Ellen (L&M’s paternal grandmother) and a chance to see Annemor, daughter of Johannes (Ellen’s brother-in-law) and Berit (Ellen’s sister) Rivertz. Must have been 30+yrs ago we last met. She drove from Øya (3hrs north of OSL) delivering a puppy to Ingvild (L&M’s cousin) from Tromsø to pick up the puppy who would not stay still for a pix!

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Johannes Midelfart Rivertz (1908-1988), a talented man who was a lawyer and composer, father to Annemor and grand-uncle to L&M. Met him in the 1970s and had the privilege to receive some of his signed compositions. Appreciations to Ellen who is thoughtful to remember my interest in music and presented this CD of his compositions played by famous Norwegian pianist Rune Alvar. Thank you Ellen.

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Olai really enjoys the playhouse built by L&M’s uncle Torgrim. Was glad to meet up with Annemor, her 2 grandchildren, Ingvild (L&M cousin), Kari (Ingvild’s daughter) and John/L&M’s half-brother. Another family as complicated and large as the LAM but will be L&M’s job to record their paternal side, ie if they are interested…

IKEA is only 5mins drive from Nesøya, took the opportunity to do some shopping as M&B wanted to look for a new bed. Had dinner there but chicken wings were not on the menu here, my usual order when in SIN IKEA!

945623_10151420523841771_753687530_nSun: crazy weather, rain storms causing a flash flood on Karl Johan, the main street in Oslo! Bjørn was hiking in the woods in Drammen (1+hrs drive south of Oslo) and was perfectly dry. May & I commented that it was like the tropical storms in SIN. Even Olai was pointing to the heavy rains. A good napping day!

The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit.  No two people – no mere father and mother – as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child.  He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born – Pearl S. Buck

A Decision

1 Jun 2013 – Happy Bday Morten

More or less in sync with the time and weather here in Norway after a few days of rest.

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Such a joy to be with Olai who is growing fast and running about. Last year, it was a breeze carrying him to greet the flowers and birds good morning on the balcony. Now he is getting too heavy and need to place him on the table to hear and see the birds in the backyard.

img_0533242765_4348597915040_769336634_o-1After discussing with May & Bjorn, will go ahead with the UKc2c hike on my own. Unfortunately Glenda TRIPLETT will not be able to hike with me as planned. This hike is to a speedy recovery after her accident.

And also to Gilbert CHAN who has been recently diagnosed of stage-4 cancer of the lung, meaning that it has already spread to his bones and brain.

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Thu: celebrated HansK Bday with the Hustads. Thank you Ingrid for including me and for her delicious duck from Beijing and almond cake. Her cooking never fail to impress me. Jenny, Martin and the bday boy enjoyed their first summer swim! Even with this lovely warm temperature, not a fan of swimming in the cold waters here, prefer to hike in the Norwegian mountains when the weather and the temperatures are with me!

Fri: great to catch up with Mette & Kristen who came by for a visit. Will be seeing them again next week and hopefully a nice day for a walk where pix will be taken.

Sat: looking forward to seeing Ingvild and Kari who will be on Nesøya to fetch a puppy. Pix in next posting…

1 Jun – Happy Bday Morten HALD

2 Jun – Happy Bday Kenson KWOK & Richard LEE

4 Jun – Happy Bday Erik KORKOWSKI

6 Jun – Happy Bdays Dika LAM & Harry CHAN

9 Jun – Happy Bday Sophie HALL

15 Jun – Happy Bdays to my father LAM Tin Yue and my children’s grandfather John HALD Sr (both not with us any longer but the two men I have most respect and admiration for).

Happy Bday Amy JENSEN

16 Jun – Happy Father’s Day

25 Jun – Happy Bdays John LAM, Clement LAM & HUANG

28 Jun – Happy Bdays Jeff HALL, John WILSON & Adriane HENSON

30 Jun – Happy Bdays LAM JenMun &  Annie KOH-LAM

Happiness is a warm puppy.  ~Charles M. Schulz