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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
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Reports

Wednesday, 19 September 2001
--> Ålesund (N) extra day

With an extra day with Taco and Cecile in Ålesund I had a splendid sleep in. I think I really needed that. See it as a battery recharger. I don’t understand it myself, but I seem to be able to sleep any time of the day. Processing things (people, stories, views) probably needs some time in my head…
Cecile showed me how I could make my breakfast (not that I don’t know it anymore, but it still is a stranger’s kitchen) and I made myself coffee.

I read the Ålesund newspaper, but it still publishes the same images as one week ago and the articles don’t contain more information than I already know from CNN.

Another strange fact. I seem to be able to understand Norwegian writings. Of course not everything, but I get the words I recognize and the frame around it and understand what it is about. But when people talk Norwegian here, I will never understand it though.

Talking about CNN. It occurred to me how CNN has changed from the main headline news transmitter to an ordinary propaganda machine for the United States.

I understand it when Americans can be offended by this conclusion, but I must also say that Americans probably won’t even notice it.

I made this conclusion when I compared the BBC World Service (based in the United Kingdom of Great Britain) with CNN.

The BBC brings world news, CNN intends to do the same but keeps coming up with overpowering messages about what is currently happening that ‘makes America more proud and powerful’. For non-Americans it is a thin sheet to see through, I guess.

But, I got distracted, back to today again…

Cecile made a phone call with the local doctor, because I am serious in the need of malaria tablets, which will hopefully prevent me against this disease if I get stung by a certain mosquito. Now I know that South Africa is not situated in any danger zone, but any preparation is better than none.

It was not possible to make an appointment with that doctor today. But if we would just come over, he would see if he could find a spot where I would fit in.

And after a ten minutes drive along the island, it took 90 minutes of waiting in a waiting room, just to get a paper prescription with a recipe.

Driving back from the doctor, Cecile picked up Taco at the fish factory. He just finished work for today and stepped into the car. I had to laugh about the smell of fish surrounding him. “What?” he asked. “That smell,” I said.
“Oh, but that isn’t fish you smell, that’s the smell of money.”

The rest of the afternoon was a easy going one. Cecile and I were looking up things in a World Atlas. She was curious about The Netherlands and I tried to look up places I from which I did not know they were on that location.

Ever knew where Trinidad and Tobago (capital city: Port-of-Spain) is located? Not even in the neighbourhood of Spain. What about Djibouti, Bhutan or Burkina Faso (with the beautiful capital city name Ouagadougou)?

It’s just fascinating to just look at these map links? People live there and we all don’t know anything about them. Who does may leave a message on the messageboard...

I am not a map freak, but it is always interesting to find out where we live and look at what is more on this planet. That’s why I do this project. I want to see the world we live in.

(By the way: Burkina Faso has about 40 web sites.)

It was around 4.30pm when we all drove to the town centre of Ålesund, from the island Ellingsøy through the 3,520 metres long tunnel. It was because of Taco, he had to go for his drivers’ lessons as his drivers’ license was recently expired.

While Taco was making the city unsafe, Cecile and I drove to Moa, the commercial suburb of Ålesund where we did some grocery shopping and where I picked up my malaria tablets at the pharmacy.

I need to take two pills once a week from now until I leave South Africa again and I need to swallow two pills per day when I arrive in South Africa and until four weeks after the trip.

We picked up Taco again after his 45 minutes of driving and decided to have dinner in town, in one of the most exclusive restaurants known all over the world and it is not the yellow M.

Did you know? Norwegian laws regarding drinking and driving are stricter than I know of in any other country. The allowable blood-alcohol content while driving is so low that even one glass of wine or beer can put a driver over the legal limit. Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable by at least 1 day in jail and a heavy fine and the loss of the driver's license.

A reporter once tested the balloon test after eating a very sour apple. He was already over the legal limit of allowable blood-alcohol content. Maybe that says enough…

I can't imagine drinking alcohol and then go driving myself...

I still am a little bit amazed by the beauty of Ålesund, however Taco thinks different. He even thinks it is an ugly city. For him it is the combination of Art Noveau architecture with mordern square buildings a pain for the eye. I think it is nice to see different perspectives of time. Time changes all the time.

We had a walk along the harbour before we drove back again.

All ready and eaten for a peaceful and relaxing evening, with me watching television and working on reports on their pc.

Tomorrow I will have a long trip to make.

Good night Ålesund!

Ramon.




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