Saturday, November 10, 2007

Norway has its problems too


Sandvika - and the other, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

This is the outside of a multi-storey car park in the suburb of Sandvika to the west of Oslo. i am currently in a train waiting to leave Sandvika for the city on its way to the airport to the east of the city. It has been waiting here for half an hour already and although the doors are now shut it is not going anywhere. A good thing I have left myself a long time to get to the airport. I had hoped to have some time to walk around town, but this is now time being spent writing this comment onto flickr.
I was supposed to be joining my colleague, Arne Rasmus on his journey home but I left him waiting on the platform for his suburban train,
He normally cycles to work, but having fell off his bike a couple of days ago (he slipped on the ice) and having heard the dreadful weather forecast this morning, he decided to take the train this morning. A pity for him as he would have had a strong tailwind on his way in and no wind to fight on his way back. For it has turned out to be a lovely sunny afternoon, or it was until the sun set a few minutes ago.
So, the train system is a disaster (where in western europe is that not the case?). Lack of investment means that the signals do not work properly and there are too few trains. Too few people to work on the trains as well. With very little immigration allowed and an oil-rich booming economy, there are not enough people who want to work on the trains. Then, with the Swedish economy picking up, more Swedes will go back across the border putting an even greater strain on the workforce in Norway. Time to open the borders maybe?
We are on our (slow) way into town now and we have glimpses every now and then of the water to the south, beyond the traffic jams on the motorway next to the track. Being so few people in such a large country, it is odd to see it so crowded here.

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