Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Boatloads of Snow

The car won't even make it up our hill... I've been busing it.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Feeling a little to big for your britches? This puts it all into perspective.

Creeping Towards Commuting

I am not the most patient person in the world. I had trouble with my bike constantly throwing the chain, which I first believed was caused by a bent chain ring. It was actually a bent spider arm. How on earth did I manage to do that? The trouble was, I knew the threads of the crank were stripped- I purchased the bike this way for use as a beater/commuter. Now I HAD to remove the crank. Last weekend I tried riding around with its bolt removed until it fell out, but to no avail. Aluminum on a steel spindle is akin to being welded on. The threads that were stripped were the threads that a crank puller needs to work. I was in a spot.

My neighbor and bicycle guru Sjur had read my blog and called me to plant the idea in my brain that I could attempt to cut off the crank. I can't remember if he suggested it overtly, or subliminally implanted the idea, but I decided to give it a try. I jerry-rigged a voltage convertor (a large, heavy box that can handle anything) and a series of what remained of our US extension cords to reach outdoors. I spent well over an hour polluting the neighborhood with the sound of exaggerated dental work being performed as I broke cutting disc after cutting disc. The discs were so small that I ended up having to cut an arm off to gain better access. I then progressively cut more and more of the crank away until I was too cold and it was too dark to continue (as our fluorescent outdoor light gradually devolved into a strobe light).

Today I attacked the problem rather early- certainly to the enjoyment of my quiet neighbors. It was man versus machine- the classic thematic struggle. I had better luck not breaking as many discs. I discovered that the discs only created sparks when contacting steel, which let me know when I hit the spindle (or BB cap) as I worked closer and closer, until I could finally loosen the crank. Soon it was free. I felt almost as great as I did yesterday, having completely my trifecta of achieving a permanent job, my photo Visa, and a driver's license. I bounded indoors and announced to my wife and our guest that we would reprise last night's celebration as I waved the liberated crank around like a lunatic. After much eye-rolling on their part, I returned outdoors to reassemble and test ride the bike.

I headed further uphill, as up usually precipitated my chain throwing problems. I decided that if I had any problems, I would replace my chain, leaving me with any entirely new drivetrain. As I rode I discovered a horse farm, followed by some weird sign prohibiting the breeding of animals- I think. It was written in Norwegian, of course. Next was a surreal sheep pen filled with creatures resembling mythical beasts- with horns twisted in all directions, and thick, droopy fur. I may have to return for photos for my upcoming Norwegian Oddities photo essay. Yesterday I took several photos at my favorite grocery store of such items as Black Boy spices and some Rape brand of chewing tobacco. I need to Bluetooth them into my laptop so I can post them. But I digress. The bike appears to work fine. Tuesday I should be able to commute, since I finally found my locker. I need to wait for my key card to be activated so I can enter the super secret locker area.

Today we took our guest on a mystery hike. On my way to Dale, I noticed a tursti heading up a huge hill. I had no idea where it led, other than up. We drove over to the other side of the fjord and started our walk, unsure where it led. A path marked by red Ts painted and rocks and trees guided us up. I could feel my heartrate climbing as we climbed. Suddenly I was overdressed. Eventually we were at the top of the hill. The trail ultimately went down the other side, then wound up atop another hill with the elevation of 300+ meters. Of course we started at sea level. We didn't have time to take the full route, so we headed back down the steep path of mossy boulders. We then drove around, and found snowy patches as we wound between all sorts of hills, or mountains, or whatever they are called, until we reached the end of the road at a ferry crossing. It was a fun little day trip. It is amazing that we have so many geographically diverse elements so close to home- beaches, mountains, ocean, fjords, lakes, even a few rivers. We have so much exploring to do.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Three for Three

I received a memo that there was pizza for lunch. I already knew they had pizza on the menu at the cantina. NO- they ordered pizza for lunch. I asked a coworker what the occasion was and he acted like I should know. I was perplexed. They had a little lunch party to celebrate that I had a permanent job. I was completely surprised. I was cornered into giving a little speech, which I devoted to a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been so cool in making job go so smoothly- especially considering the circumstances. I later found out that several other trial employees in the past never made the cut.

Lunch put me a little behind schedule to making it to the bank. I was to pick up a new Visa Gold card, which is an official form of ID. Our Norwegian bank would not give us one when we tried to add me to Lise's account, so I have a simple cash card. This is a huge problem, since I cannot use it for parking, as an airport ID, or for traveling abroad. I didn't have any trouble getting the ID. They took my photo and will send it in the mail.

I had to hurry to the driving school, which was also downtown. My instructor was ready to go when I arrived. As we drove to the government driving office, I asked him if he ever lived abroad, citing he spoke perfect English (with a very British accent). He told my he attended university at Cambridge. He went on to describe how he was also a psychologist who did HMS consulting for oil companies (stands for health, environment, and safety, in Norwegian). He also teaches bus driving and semi driving. Anyway, we went over the oral portion of the test- the mechanical questions. It was a little tricky getting around the language, but we sorted it all out.

I went inside, and we cut in line, as instructors can do. I took care of paying off the extortion, then we waited in the staging area, where a bunch of 18 year old girls were waiting to take their tests. When I saw my tester, it was a bit freaky, since he was in a full fancy uniform. He hopped in the passenger seat and asked me an arcane question about how do you test the master cylinder of the brakes to see if it works. I answered that if you pump up the brakes before you start the car, then start the engine, you can feel it in the pedal if it is working. It was a good enough answer. Then we had the scripted ride. By scripted, I mean he had one of twenty routes, and I needed to follow that and exactly that route. If I missed a turn, I would not be penalized, but would have to turn around and get back on track.

I drove as I normally would, one hand on the wheel. My signalling was minimal through the roundabouts, as that seems to be acceptable. I didn't see him write anything down the entire ride. We stayed on roads that were familiar to me, which was nice given the yield to the right rule- which is pure insanity- since you need to just sort of know what roads the rule applies to. Eventually I could feel that we worked our way back to the testing station. He asked how I thought I did- in a very scripted manner. I told him I probably could have shifted more smoothly. I should mention this was a 6-speed Mercedes with a very strange gear ratio- very different than our BMW that I have adjusted to. Anyway, he had marked nothing off and I passed. I didn't have any major concerns, but the way some people build these things up, you never know what to expect. This is compounded by being a foreigner in a foreign country. We took photos, and I will have a lifetime license within a week.

We drove back to the driving school, and I could return the calls from my cell phone that kept ringing through the test. I swung by to pick Lise up at work, then we drove to the airport to pick up a friend who will be staying with us for a week. This has been a great week. Tonight we need to find a way to celebrate. I'm guess it won't be too difficult. I also don't think my license will receive much use tonight.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Fast Job

OK, so it is a bit of a play on words (for those that know the language), but today is a great day. I haven't really broadcast the fact that I technically have not been employed permanently. I was under a 3 month contract. Employees have so many rights in Norway, that employers often are cautious about new hires. My boss is a smart guy. He knew that I had nothing to lose in accepting a three month contract- since I was unemployed when he hired me. If I already had a great permanent job, he probably would not be able to hire me on a trial basis, since most people would not give up a secure job for something less secure, unless they were really hating life. Of course I accepted the temporary contract. I knew they would hire me permanently, but of course it wasn't a given. Yesterday he told me he was offering me permanent status, and today I received my signed contract. I can breath a little easier. Also, my performance bonus is tied to the company's performance- not my own. I cannot complain about that- especially as we are in the performance management business.

It is pretty cool to receive this before two months have gone by. I knew this was going to happen, but it was a little unnerving entering into financial commitments without a permanent job- like buying a car. Tomorrow I should receive both a Visa card- which I was denied earlier, and my driver's license. If I hit three for three, we will definitely celebrate.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Front Seat Driver

I survived my driving lesson, although I an 2380nok poorer- and it doesn't end there. I'll need to pay another 1400 for Friday's test- so this will be a very expensive license. As one coworker put it, "In Norway we don't need to save up for our children's college education-- we need to save for their driver's license."

Anyway, according to the instructor, who had a perfect British accent, the mechanics of my driving is fine. I learned there is no proper way to signal in roundabouts- that I could probably get by without signaling at all (which seems to be the mob rule). What annoyed me is his critique that I coast to much with the clutch. I won't pretend to be taught any sort of "proper way" to drive a manual, as my parents' last stick shift was an old Beetle that is barely a shadow of a memory. In fact, all I actually remember is how frightening that car was compared to the plush 60s era Caprice Classic they also drove at the time. Learning to clutch from being a passenger in a school bus won't cut it either- nor will riding in a big truck.

I did a mental inventory, and my wife drives in a similar manner to me. My friends all drive in a similar manner. I don't downshift before approaching every stop, and I don't always hit the brake before the clutch. I have never worn out a clutch, and I have made it this far, so I fail to see what the issue is. None of this should affect my test of Friday-- I hope. But the test has some really stupid questions, like at least how many millimeters of tread should summer tires have? Stay tuned for the answer. Bonus question: what about winter tires?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Driving School

It sounds like the name of a horrible 80s comedy: "Driving School- starring Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Timothy Busfield, and Ted McGinley." But no- tomorrow the government of Norway has seen fit that yours truly, who has driving for the past 23 years must take class(es?) to the tune of almost $100/hour. Cash only. This outfit sounds more like an impound lot than a school of driving.

On one hand, I really don't care. In another life, I started driving in Iowa, where I received my original license at 16 without taking a state-run "practical test." In fact, behind the wheel tests were run like the Vietnam draft. If your birthday fell on either of two dates selected, you took the test. Those were the days. I later had a job that required me to take a behind the wheel test for a commerical driver's license, and I passed with no problem.

The trouble is, these days, I cannot imagine driving with my hands at ten and two. I seriously don't know how I will manage. I can handle all the mechanics of driving, but to drive "properly?" You have got to be kidding! We will see what happens. My actual test is Friday. I wonder if they tear up my paper license if I fail? Wish me luck.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

What Happened?

I decided to ride to work to see how long it would take. I put the "new wheel"- an old fixed wheel that I unfixed. Of course, I forgot that I still needed to redish and respace it, since it was now 8-speed. I somehow managed to do that without all my tools. While I was at it I replaced the front brakes (that lasted approximately 2 months in this weather). I had a smooth ride to work- all 15 minutes of it- almost all downhill from home. When the road turned up a little, I kept dropping the chain- this time up front. I no longer have the cog with missing teeth in the rear- but I still couldn't keep my chain on. It fell off at least a dozen times on the way home. At this point, I noticed I had a bent chainring. I have no idea how I could have managed to mangle a 42t ring. It looks like I will have a project this afternoon.

A Little Strange If You Ask Me

I did a recon mission about the locker room situation and showers at work so I can begin biking. I checked things out in the basement, and found a shower room, but there was no sign on the door, so I didn't know if this was the men's or woman's room. I also picked up a key to a locker. I asked a coworker about the locker room and he told me the men's room was on the left. I apparently was at the wrong room earlier. I went back down to check and to find my locker. In the men's locker room, there was nothing but lockers- unmarked lockers. So I have no idea which is mine, despite my key being numbered. I then noticed there were no showers in the men's locker room. I then asked another co worker who works out down there, and was told that there is one shower room (like a typical men's, open room with a bunch of shower heads sticking out of the walls), and two locker rooms (for men and women separately). And I thought the restrooms in France where strange.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Good Week

I managed to accomplish much this week. Things are falling into place very well. We are hiring several new employees- which is a good sign. It also means I won't be the new guy much longer. I really am feeling like I am a part of the company, and that I have a purpose.

The other day I had to edit a white paper- written by an author claiming to have written a million words on an obscure business management methodology. He was from the U.K., and must have been inspired by hometown hero Charles Dickens. His writing was a rambling mess that defiled most grammatical conventions- particularly those valued in business writing. I was concerned about offending him, since I am not a published author, and I certainly have not published management consulting paperbacks that literally sell for over $1000 each. Yet my boss was co-authoring the piece, which meant he developed the outline and had his name attached to the cover. I found at least a hundred errors in my conservative, light-handed editing. Ironically, when I sent him the annotated version, he found several more errors. I suddenly didn't feel so bad. I quickly wrapped up the project. My issue is letting go. Like music production, there is always more work that can be done. Sometimes good enough is good enough- especially when my good enough could easily be regarded as someone else's perfection.

Anyway, things are busy and I am loving this job. I have also been dealing with branding a subsidiary, and dealing with our design department in India. I am feeling like I am really getting to know these people I haven't met. One thing I cannot get past- everyone calls them Indians. Coming from Minneapolis, Indian became a word wrestled away from popular use by those more politically correct. It sounds wrong to be told to give the job to the Indians. Or someone asks me which Indian were you dealing with? There are other confusing aspects to globalism. We have a Norwegian business manager in India who cannot get it through her head that I am not Norwegian. Of course, it took me some time to figure out that she was Norwegian.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wanna Feel Old?

While my wife is fighting her youth, I am fighting my age. The X-files first episode is showing next week- they are broadcasting the series from the beginning. The problem is that I remember well watching the much hyped first episode in my apartment on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown. Seeing Moulder and Scully circa 1993 is a complete 90s flashback- and it makes me feel old. If I recall, Friday night was X-files night before meeting up with friends. There are few things that I recall as being "the 90s"- but the X-files would definitely be on that list.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Strange News

The TV at the gym was tuned in to the national TV station, NRK, showing olympic skiing. Next up was the Sami news- done in Sami- a language only three people still speak. Sami are the indigenous people of the north. Fortunately it is texted in regular Norwegian. There is some government iniative that requires Sami news. From what I could tell, it was news from northern Norway (Finmark), in cooperation with Sweden. It is that crazy part of Norway that joins Russia. Of course the border is guarded to keep booze smugglers out- I can't imagine any other purpose. The news was all snow and reindeer. I cannot imagine living there.

Afterwards was the news for the deaf. It is all signed by some grandmotherly type- but a different grandma than last night. Watching it made me wonder how many different sign languages there are. It also made me wonder why they didn't just caption it- like everything else. Very strange.

Be My Guest

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon- mostly about myself- your mileage may vary. I act like a guest whenever I am in a foreign country- except now I actually live in one, so I am always on my best behavior. For example, I drive more responsibly. This began because speeding is actually treated like a crime here- or so most people seem to believe. Also, I try not to call much attention to myself. I never talk to strangers here. I use my cell phone quietly. Most people are much too busy SMSing that they don't speak on cell phones at all in public. I received a call on the bus today, and tried to be as discreet as possible. Actually, most people tend to avoid drawing attention to themselves. It seems to be a real cultural value here.

I don't know why. Perhaps I am trying to set a good example as a foreigner. Maybe I am afraid of a confrontation where I would be outed as a foreigner due to language issues. Maybe I am trying to fight American stereotypes. I don't really know. I don't want to wear out my welcome. In the US I acted like I owned the place.

I think the world would probably be a better place if everyone acted like a guest in their own country- or their own homes for that matter. As an added benefit, we could all use the nice towels and linens all the time.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

TV Tax?!

We just received a bill for 1347.65NOK for owning a TV. This is an annual tax. TVs are licensed here, and unlike PBS in the US where they beg for funds, in Norway they simply tax everyone who owns a TV (which presumably is everyone). Strange, huh?

Unlocking Cell Phones Pt. 2

A good friend from the US who is currently in Oslo phoned last night with phone questions. She had a phone from the US from an AT&T plan (before they turned Cingular) that she wanted to use. Of course it was locked. What a scam- first, that they even lock them. There are codes available everywhere to unlock phones. It is merely a speed bump. Secondly, it took some digging to find a site with free phone codes. Many try to charge a few dollars or euros. I guess you just have to know where to look. Once you get there, the procedure is so bizarre that I wouldn't believe it could work, had I not done it before. You enter an arcane series of numbers and symbols, then the phone suddenly works with competitors' SIM cards and networks. Of course the phone companies would have you believe their phones were entirely incompatible. In Norway, phones are not locked, by the way.

Happy Mother's Day

Just to keep everything confusing, today is Norway's Mother's Day. It is a relatively new holiday here- a little too close to Valentine's Day if you ask me. I guess May is a little crowded with holidays?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Few Photos

Moody Beach Photo
Nothing quite like a desolate winter beach sunset. Pardon the lack of fill-flash- the shadowy figure (Lise) is less ominous than she appears.

When in Norway
From this angle, it really doesn't capture the length, but I almost think it is too big. Parking and "unparking" is a bit of a chore. At least we won't need to rent a car when we have visitors.

All Washed Up

When we were relocating, my worst nightmare was that our belongings would wash up on the shore of some island. Lise reassured me those things never happened- although I was certain a shipping container full of Nikes washed up somewhere in the Pacific. In today's news, a P&O Nedlloyd container washed up. Our belongings were in a Nedlloyd container. Accidents do happen.


Styrkeprøven is somebody's sick idea of a timed bike event from Tronheim to Oslo- across the mountains. I have heard several people talk about this- a 540km with 4245m of climbing! It takes many people close to 20 hours to ride it. Fastest time last year was a little over 13 hours- though many people took closer to 20. I think "styrkeprøven" literally means "strength test," but I could be wrong.

The racing scene seems to have more events like these and almost none of officially licensed races of the US. There is a race from Egersund to Stavanger along the ocean, for example, that is more of a timed "citizen" event- and they throw just enough off-road into the mix to require a mountain bike.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Automotive Hypochondria

I still bear scars from driving "$500 cars" during my salad days- and lest you find the expression "salad days" as being completely hackneyed, it is from Shakespeare. Actually, one of the better cars I have owned cost a mere dollar- and now that I think about it, I am not sure I actually paid it. It hasn't helped driving the gasping Mazda- which, by the way, is no longer. Lise's brother was rather skeptical of our experience with the car until it stalled on him on his way home from a ski trip. We thought he was insane for even attempting such a road trip in that car. When he called for help, he was fortunately less than a kilometer away. He has a company vehicle, which afforded him the opportunity to loan us his Mazda. He is changing jobs and will no longer have a work vehicle. But the Mazda required constant hypervigilance, and ever-present fear that it could die on the road at any moment. I felt like I was 20 year old again. I hated that feeling. I vowed years ago to never be in a position where a machine had that kind of anxiety provoking power over me.

So we purchased a car- a used car. You never really know where a used car has been, or how it is driven. Presumably, this is a car chosen by a more mature driver, and it is immaculately cared for. All this leads to a strange phenomenon I have noticed when I have driven it alone. A few times the warning bell has "rung." It just rings once when it happens. The first time I thought I was hearing something on the radio, as I noticed nothing else. The second time I caught something flashing out of the corner of my eye- and I became obsessed with catching it flashing in the act. The next day I noticed it was the outdoor temperature flashing for a few seconds at 3c. This made no sense to me. I was worried there was some electrical problem with the driving computer. I was paranoid.

The owner's manual offered no clue- which is in part due to the fact that it is wholly written in German. I googled it, and discovered that some mini Cooper owners have experienced the same vexing events. Apparently it occurs when the temperature drops to 3C (or 37F) and it is an ice on the road warning- that there could potentially be black ice. Apparently this is undocumented by BMW. Again, this is one of those features that I could live without- and yes, apparently it is a "feature" and not a problem. Typical German over-engineering.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Talking Heads

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

And you may ask yourself-well...how did I get here?

OK, we don't live in a shotgun shack, but some days I can't get the lyrics to this song out of my head- and I am not Talking Heads fan either (for the record).

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Short Fuses

If depicting Mohammed with a bomb in his turban is offensive to all Muslims because it depicts them as terrorists, is it not ironic that the Danish/Norwegian embassy is already in ashes? Or that chants of "death to Denmark" are heard in the streets of Syria? Is it not racist to condemn all Danes for the actions of a few cartoonists? I suffer serious confusion.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


I have noticed a phenomenon where I don't notice something until I have a reason to. Since we purchased this car, I see BMWs everywhere. I think they are probably the second or third most popular car around here, from my informal "how many of what brand are for sale" survey.

A few strange points: this is a relatively large, six cylinder, rear wheel drive vehicle- with a manual transmission. I doubt it is even available as a manual in the US, but we really don't like automatics. The problem with this car is that it is so quiet and the engine is so smooth that there have been a few occasions where we have forgotten to shift. Most small cars let you know when they hit 4000 rpms. This one offers no clue.

This car has some sort of sensors that start beeping if we are too close to backing into something while parking. It is actually a rather cool feature, despite the fact that I have existed this long without it. In the slippery, snowy road up to our apartment, I discovered that the traction control sort of works. At least a light comes on when one of the wheels starts spinning, and I think it sends more power to the other wheel. It is so hilly and icy, I doubt it would matter if we had front wheel drive. At least we have snow tires. Today I noticed a Passat with studded tires, which are legal in Norway. It seems like overkill for this part of the country. I think people really get into having winter driving features. Even most low end cars seem to have heated seats.

Finally, what impressed us the most is how solidly the car is built. Our previous Toyotas both had something of a plastic feel to them. Both Toyotas drove and handled marvelously, and were quick and nimble, but you could tell that they cut a few corners when they designed the interiors. This car probably has the most comfortable seats that we own, and when we close the doors, the car lets you know that we closed something solid. It also has side-impact airbags, which is cool, since there are roundabouts everywhere. I still feel like we will be t-boned half the time we drive into one. The only feature missing is cruise control- which is rather an odd thing to leave out, since even an integrated hands-free system is present. The thing is, I hate cruise control, and in Norway, there is no such thing as a wide-open highway to cruise on. The longest stretch of straight road is probably a few hundred meters. Anyway, it was nice to drive a little today. I really hadn't driven much since we purchased it.

Saturday Workout

It was snowing today, so we went to the gym. I am not quite acclimated to the new gym, and I forgot my towel. I later realized I forgot my iPod, so there was no doubt that today would not be a cardio day- I lifted weights. Keep in mind it has almost been a year since doing any resistance work, so I took it easy. There were kids everywhere, since the gym had a soccer tournament. As I was changing, an adult woman storms into the locker room with a kid and her husband. She put something in a locker and left. There were people changing. It was very strange. The club already has family locker rooms. My guess is that a man would be arrested for doing the same thing. In the US, back at Lifetime, there was a stretch when the Eagan club had a female working "maintenance," but there were signs everywhere "warning" men that there would be a woman cleaning the men's locker room. Also, on weekends, it wasn't unusual for a father to bring a young daughter in the men's locker room to help her change. Still, I thought it strange that a woman would do such a thing- out of principle.

After the workout, I drove the a bike shop to try again to remove the fixed cog that was loctited on. I drove to Sandnes to Spin, which is the largest bike shop I have seen anywhere. It was enormous. It would be like jamming all the Erik's Bike stores and rolling them up into one gigantic store. I went back to the shop and there was a lone young male working there. I explained my predicament, and he didn't look at me like I just stepped out of a spaceship (as others have done). Fixed gears just aren't seen around here- particularly with a suicide hub. I explained I needed some heat to remove the cog, since it was installed using the infamous red loctite. He pulled out some sort of torch and fired it up. The cog flamed up as the grease burned off. Then I grabbed the chainwhip and leaned into it while he heated the cog. It quickly loosened. He was amazed. He didn't charge me anything, since it wasn't everyday that he could play with fire at work. Now I can fix my wheel. I should be back on the road in no time.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fise Du?

Today five students share my office. To be fair, I inexplicably have the largest office in the company, but only because it is an overflow room that is located outside the main area. Apparently we managers will be moving into a new area, so my lone wolf status is temporary. These students were apparently with some sort of professor, except he farted incessantly. Loudly. These lasted all day, despite the fact that he was in mixed company. One of my coworkers asked me later how it was going with everyone in there and I told him about the farting situation. He had just met with them in the conference room and said he thought something was rather malodorous in there. I asked him if this was some sort of cultural difference, which he roundly denied. Anyway, they will be back tomorrow.

I had to call a company in North Dakota that inquired about our product. The man I spoke to complimented me on how well I spoke English. That was a first! Later I had to sit in on a conference call with some developer out of California- likely to ensure we didn't misunderstand anything. The trouble was, despite his clean American English, I had no idea what he was talking about since it was so technical. This kept me at work late, and the coworker later picked me up at the bus stop, which was very cool, since it looked like I missed my bus. He saved me a half hour wait. I finally rode in a Skoda, which are very cool cars. They are basically rebadged VWs made in the Czech Republic (whatever it is called these days). Anyway, that is work.