Oh So Slow in Oslo, Day 3

I decided on my return to Oslo to consider this phase of my journey as my graduation vacation. Its the only way I can enjoy it.

Vigelandsparken looked astounding, yesterday. It felt like Central Park done right. That is, without the oppressive city around it. Theres no real reason to go there except to just relax. You know, Central Park is a bad comparison. Its more like the perfect marriage of the Musée Rodin and the Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong. Hard to describe. The park is immaculately planned in a way that reminded me of the grounds of the Taj Mahal I studied a few years back, each thoroughfare and line of sight carefully managed and spilling out from a central point and radiating out along two axes. The paths are lined with figural sculptures by Vigeland – some hilarious, some agonizing, some puzzling, some rather sexually charged…

I spent much of the rest of that day wandering around the bookstores and the library (where I gleaned from a placard why I was seeing “Christiania” everywhere – Oslo was once called Christiania – which helped to relieve my feelings of, well, if you know you do and if you dont, too bad) and taking the tram in random directions. At the first bookstore, Tronsmo, I bought Murakami’s Norwegian Wood for the lovely Norwegian couple.

And today (7.6.10) Bengt (the male half of that couple) took me about to see the bits Id previously missed. Its amazing how much swifter one can travel by car. We had a look at the hillside which inspired Munch’s The Scream, had a walk on the Opera building and finally made our way to the museum peninsula, where we parted ways and I spent the next three and a half hours marvelling at everything inside the Kon-Tiki museum. I remember as a child I loved the book and wanted to be a scientist-adventurer just like Thor Heyerdahl, and the museum more than revived that desire. Naturally as a museum devoted to his exploits I inevitably was pulled to a reverence of his life – the facts of what he accomplished and the way he went about it… just the inspiration for an aimless wandering sod like myself.

I took the ferry back into town when after much debate I decided I ought to busk one last time, just for fun. As soon as I reached Karl Johans Gate, I saw the nice blond man whod been so encouraging the day before set up with a guitar, a bass drum an amp and a bright blue hat right in the best spot. He came from Copenhagen and said itd been an appalingly slow day for him. We had a wonderful chat and I wished him luck before moving on. Id met a nice Slovenian guy busking the previous evening so I set off to find him and sing with him. Seeing as he was in almost the same spot, precisely, that took no time whatsoever. We had a brief chat about busking and Oslo’s failings, wondered about this one electric violinist who seemed to know just one song but played only 15 minutes at a time and seemed to be making a killing, and a nice semi long chat where we abused the Romanian buskers before setting up a pitch on the upper end of Karl Johans Gate.

We decided to sing those songs we both knew – of which there was quite a lot of overlap. It was truly, truly excellent. Like the time in Stockholm, playing with Michal reminded me how much more fun and how much more sustainable having a partner can be. We launched immediately into Im Yours and the energy we had was huge. The entire street for many meters either way noticed immediately. Here with someone else to match and focus on we could focus on the music. During just that one song we gathered a small crowd on the various doorsteps before us and had our photos taken maybe ten times. He harmonized very well, albeit softly (for he doesnt sing nearly as loud or high as I do) and I returned the favor on our next number, Country Roads.

It was a very relaxed pitch as we spent the between song interim chatting briefly about which songs were our most successful – Lemon Tree for him, Sound of Silence, Let it Be and Hallelujah for me and teaching them to each other as we went (he’s quite talented and it took us hardly fifteen seconds to break from the standard chord strumming and start soloing or comping over). Throughout we hardly got tipped – the only time I noticed someone tipping was when a pretty Asian girl bent down to gently set down a bunch of one kroner and fifty ore coins. We played the most energetic things and I quickly excused myself after a short while and getting his contact information so as not to be late for dinner with Tone, Bengt and Tone’s son and his wife.

Earnings: 44.5 NOK (divided by two), 0.6 ish hours
Song of the Day: I’m Yours – Jason Mraz (again, I know)

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