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BBNers - International Experiences Thread - Sharing Global Information & ExperiencesViews: 663
Nov 07, 2006 12:09 pm re: BBNers - International Experiences Thread - Sharing Global Information & Experiences

Deepak Shenoy
I love this thread! I think in this context I'd like to say a bit about Norway. I used to go there quite often and have loved the country, so here goes:

Norway's a very beautiful country, with some breathtaking fjords and mountains. With a population of around 5 million, it's a sparsely populated nation (less people in that country than Bangalore!) but is one of the most technologically advanced.

People speak Norwegian (Norsk) which has variations in the spoken form (each region has an accent and a dialect of sorts) and two written forms - Nynorsk and Bokmal. They are not the same, even currency notes come in both languages (front and back). But the language is kinda like singing - it's probably one of the few languages that has an inbuilt tune :) English will take you along, and in most cases so will German. But don't try German too often, since the Norwegians have not yet forgiven the Germans for occupying Norway during WWII but not Sweden (that's an ongoing rivalry)

Folks there are usually friendly, but they need to know you. There are tons of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankan Tamilians there so you will most likely be confused for one of them. Some of the Asian communities have created controversies with things like immigration through arranged marriages and loud blaring speakers at mosques, and such topics tend to come up often in the radio.

Weather: COLD. If you don't like it cold, this is not the place for you. Outside, the temperature can get to -50 degrees in some places; I have skiied at -25 degrees and I can tell you that's freezing. But the coast, where most Norwegians live, is temperature controlled by the gulf stream so in most big cities the temperatures are about -10 degrees in winter, and +22 in summer. Of course EVERYTHING is internally heated; malls, buses, cars, homes etc. Come armed with enough clothes, for the Norwegians have a saying: There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

Food: Norwegian food is...well, bland. But it's delicious once you get your taste buds adjusted, and some of the traditional food you get in cafes is fantastic. My preferences are reindeer, cod and the pork ribs. I do not recommend meatcakes(kj°ttkaker) or lutefisk for the uninitiated- these take a LOT of time to get used to. I'm not sure how vegetarians would do, but they do have a lot of kheer style dishes, and vegetarian salads. There are large numbers of "vegan" people in Norway. You can also find the big fast food joints and DIY food packs are available in most stores.

Cities: Oslo, AAlesund, Bergen, Kristiansand are the places to visit. Trondheim in a college town, and there are other small towns littered across the coast. There are places to watch the Northern Lights (in October - December) and even cruises that take you there.

Work wise: People are punctual, efficient and usually very tech-savvy as well. They've always been big on security so you'll find the most amazing security devices here. They're also extremely fun loving, and after work will love to enjoy themselves. But generally, no one shirks work. Most offices work from 8 AM to 4 PM.

Holidaying is big; the country pays for people to have summer and winter holidays so people tend to travel a lot. The summers are great - some places have sun all year around but the biggger cities see about a 2 hour window between sunset to sunrise in summer. Winters are equally harsh, with about four hours of sunlight in Oslo in December.

If you're overweight, you may be out of place! Norwegians may be big but they're usually very healthy. Nature walks, treks etc. seem to be part of the family culture. My customer's 75 year old dad used to do a four hour mountain trek every Sunday!

Taxes are very high. Norway has a 23% sales tax (which for many items you can get back if you're leaving the country) and very high income and wealth taxes.

In all, Norway's a fabulous country to live in, and probably as beautiful as Switzerland if not more. It's not touristy so you will have trouble getting around, but if you like that kind of a ride, it's just the place to travel.

Private Reply to Deepak Shenoy (new win)

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