Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Idiocy 'round the World! (pt 1)

You lucky lucky readers...

My new series is recounting stupid things I have done abroad. Not only is there a WEALTH of material, I have just given you the gift that keeps on giving...!

Let me take you back to November 2008...I have been travelling through Europe for about 1 month, and I have had my run ins with delayed trains, Australians, shoes being thrown out of windows, and floor poop (srsly, it's a disturbingly recurrent theme in my life...). Then I hopped a plane, a train, some buses, and a few more trains, and I found myself in the north of Sweden.

Now, when I say "north", I mean NORTH. Not 45min-north-of-Toronto-cottage-country...like here:

I arrived on November 1st to find -10C and 10cm of snow. No trees (we're well above the tree line), and that my definition of skates was somewhat different from the definition in Northern Sweden...

I play hockey. When someone asks me (in a lovely Swedish accent) "Would you like to go skating?" I think: "Fuck yea, hockey!"

Red socks ftw!

So, naturally, I say I would love to go skating...thinking this is an opportunity to impress my super sporty Swedish relatives with my mad skillz on ice...they hand me cross country ski boots.

"Maybe this is all a part of getting out the lake?" I tell myself...

NOPE. What. The. Hell. Are. Those?!!!

What followed was possibly the least graceful skating that I have done since I was 6 years old and complaining that my ankles hurt. (THOSE WHO LEARN TO SKATE KNOW) I tripped, I wobbled, I skittered, I fell. Outfitted with bright orange ice picks in the event that I fell through the ice, my relatives snapped a picture capturing the mad skillz I professed to have...

yes...that is me in mid-wobble. Also, please take note of my keen ankle strength.

And then, a few days later we went south to Luleå...and I did it again...only this time, I needed the ice picks...

Apparently Sweden celebrates father's day in November (eh, why not?), and so, one of my relatives decided that they would spend their holiday long distance skating. Of course I wanted to go. I was going to beat those damn skates...! HA...HAHHAHAHAHAHA! STUPID HUMAN, NO YOU WON'T! (ahem).

You may notice a large area of open water...it stretched across the entire inlet. My Canadian upbringing screamed: "OPEN WATER BAD. GO HOME NOW. DOUGHNUTS, EH?!" The Swedes did not feel the same way...

Now, you may notice that at the end of that video, the guy in the yellow suit attempts to jump across the 2 foot-wide stretch of open water, bordered by broken ice...and almost fails. About 10 secs after this video was taken I followed my relative's advice of "Just hop over. It's simple, just hop over!"...

And so, I ended up shoulder-deep in the Baltic.

There is a strange slowing down of time in a moment like this. My first thoughts as the ice broke out from under me were: "Well, shit... Huh, you know, this water is actually warmer than the air...!"

...followed quickly by "holyfuckingshitmyfuckingcamera!". At no point did my brain mention "Gee, you remember those ice picks around your neck? Now would be the time to start desperately trying to claw your way out of this freezing water...!!!!" Yea, thanks survival instinct.

Luckily my relative and his friend were there to pull me out, and, more importantly, to help me get the batteries out of the camera in my pocket. At this point, I'm horribly embarrassed, thinking that I have ruined the day, but they shrugged it off with "Oh we thought this might happen, we have a change of clothes in the car!"

...So we went back to the car, I changed, stuffed my soaking feet into plastic bags, and we hit the ice again...Traversing not 1, but 3 more spots of open water, over and back for 6 more moments of potential mortification. I fell a few times, but not through the ice. Huzzah?

Note the swapping of soaked jacket for slightly soggy gothic hoodie...!

That night, after an amazing dinner full of seafood stew and cake, I went to bed after cataloging my bruises war wounds for my fiancé back in Canada (gee thanks Photobooth!)

It was, hands down, one of the best days I've ever had, and remains one of the highlights of my adventures in Sweden. Sometimes scaring the shit out of yourself and failing horribly is just fun.

Oh, and the camera survived. ^_^

Luleå, sunset at 2:30pm.

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