Writing that title immediately reminded me that the word odd is not to be taken lightly here, at least not when capitalized. Not only is it a place and a Norwegian Premier League football team, it is also a man’s name – as is Even, which never fails to amuse. While English speakers may chuckle at meeting Odd and Even, Norwegians snicker at finding a Bruce – which sounds exactly like the word here for ‘soda pop’.
But I digress. I was coming back from London when something very strange was going on at Torp Airport. Perhaps elsewhere as well. After going through immigration, I was stopped again as I went through the customs area with nothing to declare. This was not the usual search for goods smuggled over quota, but another passport check. A little while later I was sitting on the airport bus back towards Oslo, when three officers, I thought customs but perhaps police now that I think about it, boarded the bus and asked to see everyone’s passport.
The voluble woman behind me was on her mobile phone, so I can confirm that she too was being checked for the third time. The authorities called in to check one woman, and then left empty-handed and conferred on the sidewalk nearby, looking for other newcomers to question.
Naturally this made me scan the headlines more closely than usual, and on top of this there were some ‘back issues’ to check after being away. But even a quick chat with journo friends produced no clear reason. Security was more stringent than in the UK, which had just upped its terrorism readiness to ‘hysterical’*. Perhaps it was related to that alert. Or the Krekar attack.
It’s not like there was a shortage of major or frightening stories. A Norwegian soldier had just been killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. An arctic storm with gale force winds was tearing up previously balmy northern Norway. A wooden church was ablaze and beyond saving in Hønefoss.
For a detailed look at the big, weighty stories on the Norwegian news front, I once again recommend you consult the successor to Aftenposten’s News in English, which colleague Nina Berglund is running. I will be back shortly with a round-up of the smaller, odd stories, that to me, somehow make up living in Norway. So, on to weird eggs, icicle shooting, black metal icons and more in coming instalments.
* Not unfair I think, when alert status is raised while simultaneously admitting there are reasons for it.