I haven’t been in this city for 24 hours yet and have already:

  • found my host’s home by sheer virtue of having stared at gmaps so many times before leaving, as my written notes were missing one rather important piece of information
  • had a Danish (pastry)
  • settled the ‘two serious things’ of phone and electricity
  • seen the graves of Søren Kierkegaard, Hans Christian Andersen, and — the big one — Friedrich Kuhlau. Who-lau, you say? German-Danish Romantic composer, friend / soul sister of Beethoven’s — but best known to Asian kidlets for flute sonatas and piano sonatinas, and parents as 库劳. At least it’s not 苦劳。
  • Had a rather nice brunch by the river with Jens (real maple syrup!)

Jens, looking properly miserable at his food

  • Went to sand sculpture festival park
  • Seen the Little Mermaid, lovely fountains, etc.
  • Had falafel wrap #1: Mona Shwarma of Nørrebrogade is not quite East Side Pocket, but rather fine.
  • Gone swing dancing :D

Copenhagen — or maybe Nørreboro — reminds me a lot of China. Not just the bikes, which are locked with key, not chain, and have practical adaptations galore (baby carrier, rear baskets); or the slight grunginess (this is apparently the up-and-coming part of town); but the layout of the supermarket is exactly the same as the one in Beijing Normal, there is fruit sold on the street (think Flushing, NY), people are very comfortable in the city, instead of hiding from it in cars; people whose thighs don’t touch; lots of hair salons and cafes;

And there are completely gorgeous parks everywhere, with lots of consideration for both mountains (statues, I think) and water. Oh, and bridges!

There are differences too, but those are either too obvious to state, or too subtle for me to have detected. I guess one such difference is that the grass is green because it’s drizzly, not because paid workers walk over it with pails of fertilizer and sprinkle it on by hand.

Why am I compelled to compare CPH with CHN? Dk with Pek? (ok, stretching it now) It’s about the same level of ‘foreign’ to me. In China I can understand people, read some signs, and be understood by some; here, I can’t understand people at all, I can feebly parse some signs, but I am understood by most everyone. When people see me their heuristic still goes to “American,” for a variety of reasons.

So, eh, yeah. I’m pretty psyched. Time to sleep before the sun rises so I can go running before going to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

(Photos here)