Trip to the Vietnamese market

Saturday we were a group of about 20 people from MeetInPrague who went to Sapa a Vietnamese village/market on the outskirts of Prague. The week before a huge fire had ravished one of the buildings in Sapa but still there was a lot of other places to see out there. The highlight was the lunch at a local restaurant.

Most of the table

Dominic who organized the event had with the help of his Vietnamese friend Mickey found this delicious drink. It is snakes and some other unidentifiable animals soaked in vodka – yummy! Some of the others tried it out. I was a chicken but tried a sip of one of the others when they didnt colapse after trying it.

Dominic with the dead snake vodka

One of the new faces at the trip was Karen the blogger from Empty Nest Expat. It was really cool to meet her as I have been following her blog over the last six months. She had never been to Prague until 10 days ago but since she saw pictures from the Velvet Revolution 19 years ago she knew she wanted to go here. So she waited until her daughters went to college, sold her house and all her stuff and moved here to become a language teacher. Way to go!

The American in Denmark

The US ambasador to Denmark James P. Cain just published a book called Amerikaneren (The American) about his perspective of Denmark. His�ambassadorship is coming to an end with the change at the White House but during the three years he was in Denmark he went out an met a lot of regular people. Among other things he got on a bike and biking 2500 km meeting people all over Denmark – he even made a stop in Toftlund my tiny home town.

One of the Danish TV shows made an interview with him (the interview is in English) where they talked about how he percieved Denmark. Some of the things he said was:

It is a little hard for a stranger to feel welcome and accepted in Denmark – its a little tough to get comfortable in this society. […] I did come to understand that this society feel a bit insulated and under threat. It wants to keep the outside away. That creates some challenges for the society but also some challenges for newcomers to feel at home.

This reminded me of a blog post and subsequent discussion recently at Bluefishs blog about what its like to live as a foreigner in Denmark.

Denmark is a very homogeneous country and having experienced life elsewhere I would agree with Mr. Cain that the Danes are not always good at embrasing other cultures.