(Wednesday November 5, 2008)
For a week I've been meaning to email Bjørn, my contact at the Os film fest, to confirm our arrival time and his plan to send someone to pick us up at the airport. But I never got around to that email, so I'm a little nervous as to how we're going to make the 40-minute trip from the airport in Bergen, Norway, to the city of Os.
I'll worry about that later. Our first stop of the day is the airport in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before we land, the flight crew announces that Barack Obama is the new President-elect back in the States. Good for him. I am cautiously optimistic that Obama, being young and intelligent, might repair some of the damage caused by all of the old, stupid guys in Washington, D.C.
We run into a little trouble at the Copenhagen security check, due to a misunderstanding over some beverages purchased at the duty-free store back in the States. The problem is quickly resolved, as the ladies working security are actually polite and helpful. And they're very excited about Obama's election win. We talk politics with them for a while before moving on to wait for our flight to Norway. Everybody else we meet at the Copenhagen airport treats us like guests, not potential terrorists. Will airports in the States ever be that way again?
I actually get a little sleep on the short flight to Bergen. The "arrivals" side of the Bergen airport seems pretty small. There aren't many people in the area... except for a guy holding a "WT Os Film Festival" sign. Yes! Ole Bøe is here to pick us up. Actually, Ole is here for our luggage (he brought a grip truck!). Jan Christian (J.C.) will be taking Stacey, John, Jen, and I to Os in his Mercedes.
Picked up at the airport in a Mercedes. That's pretty serious rock star treatment as far as I'm concerned.
J.C. takes us on the "scenic" route into Os, and it is quite lovely. The tiny road winds through hills and mountains. And lots of trees. It reminded me of some areas Stacey and I saw when we visited Alaska. Talking to J.C., I realize that his English is excellent. As opposed to my non-existent Norwegian skills. We'll find out later that most folks in Norway are fluent English speakers.
J.C. drops us off at our hotel, one of only two in Os. I'm pleased to see that it isn't a generic Holiday Inn-style hotel, but more... I guess "cabin-style" is a good description. Stacey's and my room especially, with our own front door, beds in the loft, and separate bathroom/shower. I check the small TV -- two channels in English, a Norwegian-language news channel... then static. John later informs me that there is free wi-fi. Looks like the computer will be our in-room entertainment for the rest of our stay.
Take a few steps outside and the view is unbelievable. The weather is sunny today, a rarity for this part of Norway. Our hotel is right on the water (the shore of a fjord), and in the distance one can see a glacier and snow-capped mountains.
After long-awaited showers, we make the two-kilometer walk down the hill to the Os city center. Based on J.C.'s recommendation, we try Peppe's. It's a family pizza restaurant, sort of like Pizza Hut, but with more variety. Apparently in Norway, a pizza place can also sell burgers and Tex-Mex-inspired dishes. Woot.
From there, it's down the road and up a different hill to the Os community center, where most of the week's film festival action will take place. We meet Bjørn and several other members of the festival staff. And we get beers, Tuborg beer from Denmark. The evening kicks off with several Norwegian short films. The first two horror-themed shorts are particularly well-shot, and I can pick up something of the story from the visuals even though I don't get much out of the dialog.
Stacey and Jen head back to the hotel, while John and I stick around for the opening night feature, a mockumentary from the States called Let Others Suffer. I must admit, I find most mockumentaries lacking, especially after the genre-defining This Is Spinal Tap. But Let Others Suffer is entertaining for the most part, and I liked many of the performances, especially Caroline Hall's.
It's a little late, and it's been a very long day, so John and I say our goodbyes and make the walk back to the hotel.