I’ve been travelling. Essentially with no real time back in Stockholm. This includes trips to southern Sweden, as demonstrated by the SJ issues (which, by the way, was handled nicely by SJ with the money already being reimbursed for my ticket), skiing in southern France, and a trip to Ireland. And now I’m back. But all the while, I’ve been tracking Swedes. Inadvertently.
Turns out Swedes are everywhere. In Skåne, despite what some people might say, this is not strange. In France and Ireland I wasn’t quite prepared for their omnipresence.
The mountains of Chamonix were crawling with Swedes. Swedes in the gondolas. At the restaurants. In town. At the bar. Everywhere. One bar was manned (well one man was a woman) completely by Swedes. Turns out that the Swedes enjoy working the winters down in the Alps. Which is absolutely genius.
In Ireland, they were elusive, but still there. It was like tracking wild game in the mountains. Instead of stopping in the forest to pick up deer droppings and sniffing them for freshness, which is obviously what all hunters do, I would stop at urinals and pick up snus packets and sniff them for freshness, which is obviously disgusting.
I didn’t actually do this. But I couldn’t help but notice the number of snus packets lining the urinals in bars throughout Dublin. This could really only mean one thing. Swedes had been there. And relatively recently assuming that the urinals are cleaned out every day or two.
For those of you who don’t know, snus is tobacco shoved into a small pouch. It looks like a pillow specially made for a grasshopper, except instead of being filled with soft down feathers, it is filled with tobacco. The pouch is placed in the upper lip, commonly known as the upper lip dip (which is always pronounced with a twang. Always.). Swedes love the stuff.
I generalize a lot, especially about Sweden. I live in Stockholm which is far from a good representation of all of Sweden. I know. But in this case I say Swedes rather specifically. Mostly because, snus is illegal in the EU except for Sweden. Sweden managed to argue that snus was a part of their cultural heritage and that the prohibition of it would obviously lead to mass riots, snus-easies, and black market snus. Or something like that. Either way, they still use it. And take it with them wherever they go. Like skiing in Chamonix. Or drinking in Dublin.
Despite not being a snus-user myself, the snus packets made me feel at home. There was something comforting about standing at the urinal aiming at the little pouch of tobacco just like I would in Stockholm.
Welcome to Sweden. And signs of Swedes in the wild.