Week 3: May 23 to 30

May 23 – 24: To Bodø and back

he latter half of my trip to Bodø was perhaps the most exciting.

Saturday, May 22 marked the official beginning of the Barents International Press Conference. While most of the meetings were in either Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish or Russian, there were seminars in English. The seminar which sticks out to me most was the youth seminar. Chantaie and I participated in discussion of how to better involve young journalists in the Barents region and create a network of youth. It was so invigorating and encouraging to see these young journalists want to work together for something greater than themselves and their own nation’s media. It would be really neat to be a young reporter in the Barents region at this time.

The conference included a trip to the National Aviation Museum and boat ride through the Bodø fjords and islands for all the attending journalists.

I had no idea how key a post Norway was for NATO during the Cold War. It was a real learning experience.

The boat ride was gorgeous! While it got quite windy and cold on the deck – as you will see in the vlog – it was so worth doing! We rode past island communities that had only 100 to 150 inhabitants, who must drive their boats into Bodø each day for work.

(more blog below)

We made some great contacts at the conference, I’m very glad we went. I met and shared conversation with journalists from all over the region. I even was interviewed by a Finnish woman! She is writing a book about the Finnish liquor “Jalovina” and wanted a Canadian’s perspective on the taste. So, she had me take two swigs of this Finnish brandy and give her my impressions. Her camera was clicking the whole time, documenting my facial expressions. It was a really neat experience, plus, I may be in a book! She said she’d let me know when the release party is so I can attend – another trip to Scandinavia anyone?

The last thing we did before leaving Bodø was to drive 30km out of the city to the Saltstraumen. It is the biggest maelstrom in the world. What is a maelstrom? Well, I’ll fill you in – since I just learned this the other day too. A maelstrom is when two ocean currents going in opposite directions hit each other and whirlpools form. At this maelstrom, the Salstraumen, ocean currents coming down two different fjords hit each other. About 400 million cubic metres of water pass through the Salstraumen in six hours. It is very dangerous waters!

The plane ride back to Kirkenes took us up and down three times to pick-up and drop-off passengers. Even though cities aren’t that far apart in Norway, the mountains and fjords make it very difficult to build good highways. The existing roads are very windy to accommodate the landscape. In some parts there are tunnels blasted through the mountains, but more often than not, a 25 minute flight is the transportation mode of choice.

And finally, today is May 24 – another national holiday in Norway. Today is meant to celebrate the Pentecost (when the disciples received the Holy Spirit).

As a caught a cold over the past week, I spent the day tending to my sore throat and cough and doing some work. It’s been a nice relaxing day back in our cozy Kirkenes apartment. Chat tomorrow! 🙂

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May 25: Dinner fit for a King (Crab)

Every day of this internship in Norway is filled with amazing conversations, heartwarming moments and just awing feelings. I am so grateful. This is truly one of the best experiences of my life.

Today at work I did a lot of research and interviewing for the multiple stories I’ve got on-the-go. By now I must be becoming a quasi-specialist in aquaculture information! I can tell you about the spawning cycle of wild salmon or the four or five main forms of de-licing used to get rid of sea lice on fish farms. But, my stories are stretching beyond aquaculture as you may know. I published a story about renewable wave-generated energy, ocean acidification (a process whereby the ocean pH level will decrease and become more acidic as it is forced to absorb increasing levels of CO2, some scientists say) and I’m currently working on a Sami-related story. The Barents Observer provides a lot of support for my initially proposed research as well as stories that present themselves along the way.

This evening Chantaie and I attended a very nice dinner with the Norwegian Border Commissioner, our colleague Trude, a Foreign Affairs Officer and two French journalists. It was, well, delightful! I seldom use that word, but I think it fits the evening. The seven of us shared absolutely wonderful and fascinating conversation. For instance, the border commissioner recalled stories from his services in Lebanon, Bosnia and Afghanistan on UN and NATO missions. Very vivid stories – which you don’t hear first-hand very often about such places. Being the border commissioner for the Norway-Russia border seems very intriguing. The French journalists both added in neat anecdotes throughout the evening too. One of them was the Moscow correspondent for his newspaper for years and the other is now a director at a major French radio station. We will spend more time with them tomorrow.

Today I found out what my name is in Russian: KAППA MAPГAPET ФPAHCEC

Neat eh?  What’s funny is that while the Russian Cyrillic symbols looks so different than the English alphabet, the pronunciation is nearly the same. Just put on a Russian accent and you can say “Margaret Cappa” in Russian!

Until tomorrow, I’m faithfully your aspiring Canadian journalist in Norway, KAППA MAPГAPET ФPAHCEC  🙂

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