In the Groove

grey In the GrooveDenmark, where the sun always shines above a sapphire sky. Children play in parks with under fairy floss clouds with gumdrop smiles, Elderly people hand out sweets while nearby adults stand watching and discussing issues, glowing with health. The adults don’t have many issues to talk about as the government presides over after its people without corruption or prejudice. Students excitedly ride in the sun to school, eager to learn about the world and happily chatting as they pedal.

Ok, so I may be getting a little carried away, but I have found a really nice groove in this agreeable country.  It has been ten days since my train pulled in Aarhus and, with squealing brakes, launched me upon this city. Jette leaves for work early after we have breakfast together, I am having no problem waking as my body still thinks that 8am is actually 4pm. When Jette leaves for work I make the first of many coffees before sitting at my new Ikea desk. Looking out at commanding views over the red brick buildings I happily write the day away undisturbed. I am working on a book about my travels and ‘past life’ in Devonport. This has proven to be surprisingly tiring, to put so much effort into a document with no guarantees of being read demands a certain kind of faith. Despite this lack of assurances I am thriving on the challenge as I am both learning how to write more good (yeah, sorry!) and I reckon that the worst case scenario is I will finish with a first class diary of my recent adventures.

Jumping back to my last blog, one extra difference that I noticed about Aarhus is that the rubbish bins are different. We live in a very dense residential area which, considering the very few tiny rubbish bins outside each building, is incredibly clean. Yesterday when I was outside stretching my back I heard a rubbish truck pull up. The driver jumped out and attached a hook to the big metal loop on the top of the tiny bin. He raised the crane, lifted the smaller bin to reveal a huge rubbish skip attached at the bottom which lives buried under the pavement. This is how the streets are so tidy despite such small bins. This ingenuity impressed me more than I would like to admit, I will try to catch a photo next Thursday when the truck visits next.

Almost every night since I arrived Jette returns from work (writing non-disclosure statements and other tricky agreements for Vestas) and we go out. We don’t go out to drink or eat rich foods, no, we have become exercise nerds. Both of us are highly motivated for different reasons, Jette wants to get fitter to maybe climb Mount Kinabalu in Borneo with me this August, I need to loose the beer tumour so as not to die in Nepal. We either go across the street to the big public pool, with naked change room men, or two blocks away to run through the birch forest. grey In the Groove

On Wednesday night I also added another type of exercise to my regimen, rock climbing. Aarhus has an extremely well set up rock climbing centre located in an empty dive pool. The local council could not justify the expensive of fixing a recurring leak so they handed a free lease to a bloke called Dieter. Dieter is a grey bearded Aussie, quietly spoken he defies his age by racing up the walls with all the energy of someone half his age. The night I signed up for the club Dieter had to test my belaying skills, that is where you stand on the ground and hold the rope for a climber to break a fall. I have not done much belaying, only once in Thailand for a very experienced climber with no risk of falling and once in Huaraz, Peru under similar circumstances. Unsure exactly how to belay safely I studied a few youtube videos and practiced the motions. When Dieter asked if was experienced with belaying I just said; “Yeah I have done it a few times” not exactly a lie!

Dieter found a climber for me to belay and I nervously watched her quickly gain height. Copying the motions from youtube I drew in rope as she ascended then slowly lowered her down once she reached the top. Dieter was suitably impressed and reverently placed a small red sticker on my membership card allowing me access to the roped area. Next it was time for Dieter to check my climbing form. I had just swum over a kilometer in the pool and, thinking he only needed to check my belaying, was wearing jeans. I grabbed a pair of sticky ballet shoes from the rack, tied in to the rope and looked up.

The hugely daunting wall stared back at me with its tiny hold holds mocking. Taking a deep breath I climbed. The holds were quite easy to grab and despite being tired from swimming I was soon three quarters of the way up, and stuck. I spotted a good hold to my right and just about lunged for it but looked down first. The woman responsible for my survival of a fall was casually talking to Dieter and not watching me, the rope was loosely held in her hand. I waited for a few moments before she looked up, took in some slack, I lunged. Mine was a very uncommitted lunge my arms flopped against the wall with all the grace of a thrown rag doll. I slipped and fell back onto the rope. I was lowered, sweating and a little shaky but addicted.

Jette and I returned to the penthouse to prepare dinner. Even feeding yourself is easy in Denmark, where Jette works there is a service where the kitchen provides terribly healthy meals much more cheaply than they can be prepared at home. This means that all we have to do at dinner time is to prick the seal, pop whatever tasty treat is on the menu and leave it in the oven for 20 minutes. It really could not get any easier, after all that training I doubt we could be bothered cooking anyway.

So, pretty much, I spend my days talking to my computer and feeling disgustingly healthy, my university texts look at my while I write away. Someday, soon I am going to have to take the plunge and tackle my unit readings. The title “The Rhetoric of Empire; Colonial Discourse in Journalism and Travel writing” fails to inspire me. No, that is a lie, it does inspire me, it inspires me to make another coffee and continue working on my book, keeping my fingers crossed that some silly bugger somewhere will want to convert my ramblings from a word document into print…

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