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Limo rides and champagne

By: Rayne McKenzie
By: Rayne McKenzie

It's a tough life cruising around town in a limo and waiving at Swedish residents.

Life hasn't slowed down much since I've been here.  I feel like I'm in the last leg of a marathon and I can see the finish line.  Less than 2 weeks to go and I can come home.  Before I get there though, I have to let you know what's going. 

Friday we visited a graveyard and the Wasa Bread company.  It's really hard, crunchy bread that is similar to crackers.  They say we have it in our grocery stores in the States but I assure you it will not be making its way into my grocery cart.  We then visited a geologist who told us about rocks.  Thank goodness he was hilarious or it could have been a very dry, boring 2 1/2 hours.  We saw uranium and arsenic up close and personal.  Yikes!  The guy told me to back away from the uranium if I wanted no harm to come to my ovaries- I asked no questions but quickly hopped away.  Gracious I don't think my insurance covers stuff like that on this trip!  He said some memorable statements like "All beer is good, some beer is better."  The guys loved that one.  I know it has nothing to do with rocks, but really guys I assure you it was like taking Earth Science all over again.

We then grabbed our bags and waited to be picked up by residents from our next city.  It was raining and we weren't feeling great about entering into the weekend.  Then, to our amazement, we looked out the university doors and saw a white limo inching toward the door.  Surely that couldn't be for us?  I started to think maybe some teacher really likes to ring in the weekend in style.  I didn't want to get my hopes up...just in case.  But this time, life smiled on me.  A hip, 27 year old guy with blond highlights hopped out of the limo and told us he was here to collect the GSE Team from Alabama!  Ahhhh, a ride to another city in a limo.  I've only been in a limo twice before in my life.  I really felt like a little school girl, giddy and happy.  We loaded our luggage in, piled into the vehicle  and were grinning ear to ear.  When we got in we found a cold bottle of champagne waiting for us.  Unfortunately it must have been a bumpy ride over because when my teammate Meg opened the bottle it spewed all over her.  Oh well, really who can be upset about almost anything when you're inside a limo?  Not me!  

About half an hour later we arrived in our new city, Gruttutan.  The driver turned out to be the leader of the GSE program for Rotary.  He just bought the limo from Latvia and told us it only made sense to pick us up in it.  We dropped our bags off at an apartment the 5 of us are sharing and then piled us back into the limo to go to....the grocery store.  That's right, we went to the grocery in the limo.  While I didn't pick up any Wasa bread, I did get pickles, bread, jam, turkey, cheese and yes- cokes!  It was shaping up to be a great weekend.  Mikael, the limo driver/Rotarian, told us he planned only a few events for us over the weekend to allow us to rest.  Saturday we went to a wine tasting of wines made from various berries.  My favorite was made from cloudberries, something I'm not sure we have in the U.S.  I've had the chance to read a bit, wash clothes, sleep and eat.  I feel so much healthier after a weekend eating "normal" foods.  

Tonight we went to Mikael's summer house where we barbecued chicken, sausages and veggies. We took the limo to the lake where his home is located. The mushrooms were divine and even my hot dog smothered in ketchup wasn't bad.  I also enjoyed a coke with my meal :)  We didn't get in until 11 o'clock this evening, but it was bearable after a chance to sleep in and rest up for the coming week.  Tomorrow we are going on a tour of the city and to see a famous furniture manufacturer.  I'll let you go now since it's nearing midnight and I have a long day again...not complaining though since I know I'll be riding in style :)

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