Good morning, Stockholm, you look gorgeous as usual. Having said that, during my morning walk through the city centre just now I noticed something I never have before – beggars and people sleeping rough. In London it’s a common sight, but not in Sweden. It happened in the summer too, in the small town I’m originally from and whereas I’m sure there have always been homeless people in Stockholm, never once have I seen anyone in little Torsby before. The middle aged lady sitting outside the supermarket was a surreal sight, just like it really surprised me to see probably more than 20 people begging on the streets of Stockholm this morning.
I do read Swedish news, but this I don’t recall ever reading about. However, a quick Google search throws up several newspaper articles about begging and homelessness. Turns out that the majority are Romanian and the ones begging on the streets are in fact “run” by various gangs and whatever coins do get dropped into the paper mugs they reach out towards passers-by they don’t get to keep. I guess it’s the same as here in London, with Roma gangs running pickpocketing and begging on the streets and around the underground, just on a smaller scale. It shocked me, just because I’ve never witnessed this in my native country before and it did affect me even though I’m not sure I can articulate the emotions it triggers in me. Something between unease and sadness perhaps.
Last night was a complete hoot, as is usually the case with me and B – headed out when he was back from the office and found a slightly crappy bar that we only chose because it had an outdoor area with heaters. Had a good old giggle and put the world to rights, then headed back to the hotel to try out its restaurant – American Table. It’s founded by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, and after oysters and warm cornbread, we ate the best steak I’ve ever had. Not even the biefstuk at Cafe Loetje in Amsterdam could top it, and that’s pretty amazing.
What followed is too crazy to put into words (and just in case my dad ever finds his way on to this blog I won’t go graphic this once – it’d be terrible to give him a heart attack for Christmas now that we’ve got this lovely hip flask for him engraved and all), but it could be summed up with our two new catchphrases: Twerk Rage and Whipping Frenzy. I haven’t laughed that hard since this lady ended up with concussion from trying to avoid ‘danger’ by using psychic energy. That was pretty ace and a clip I find as funny now as when I saw the whole film the first time round.
Much stupidity in the world and almost on par with B’s ex-wife when someone pointed out to us she’d posted something like “good things happen to people who work hard” – that had us literally howling with laughter and I kind of hope she did it with a sense of self awareness and/or irony, given she’s trying (but failing miserably, thankfully) to take B to the cleaners.