One-way Ticket: Menolippu

2 Feb

The absolute best thing about the trip up north was when, on our last day at the resort, I found a Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries boardgame hidden away in my backpack.

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It was such a nice surprise. Traveling to (and visiting) the north of Sweden with Chris (my grade school friend of many years) and his Swedish friend Tomas was trainloads of fun. But discovering a Ticket to Ride board at the halfway point was pure magic.

We were able to play it in the lodge. And also on the train ride back home.

And I, for one, think it’s really unique that we got to play a nordic, train-themed boardgame on an actual nordic train – it’s probably the first time in history that something like this has ever happened.

An historical first.

So on the train home, after six hours of travel, Chris and Tomas changed trains in Boden while I continued on the overnight back to Stockholm and after they left, I made my way to my sleeping cabin to find – get this – my all cabinmates were playing UNO!

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I invited myself to join them for a few rounds and it was a lot of fun. In our second game, about three turns in, Rohit played a Reverse Card that caused Praneeth to miss his turn. So to get him back on the next pass, Praneeth played a Plus Two but Rohit had a Plus Four so it looked like Naresh was going to have to pick up *six* cards but then to everyone’s surprise he threw down *another* Plus Four so poor Swathi ended up having to pick up ten! We all had a good laugh.

In the end Naresh ended up victorious. I think he won like four of the games that night. He killed it.

Around ten o’clock after we finished playing cards, they invited me for a home-cooked meal of delicious indian food: fresh naan bread, vegetarian curry, spicy chicken, and basmati rice.

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Absolutely delicious, kind, and generous.

So to rewind a bit, when we first got on the train back in Björkliden, after we found Chris and Tomas’ seats, I immediately went to drop off my backpack in my sleeping cabin. When I got there, I said hello to my new roommates, stowed my luggage, and then headed back to Chris and Tomas’ wagon for some good old fashioned TTR.

Now, I should mention that earlier when we were waiting for the train, the three of us wondered aloud about with whom I would be sharing my mixed, six-bunk sleeping compartment. “Swedish Bikini Team” was offered by Tomas – I countered with “is that even a real thing?” So this I why when I got back to where they were sitting, I reported to Chris and Tomas that my roommates were a “nice Indian family”.

Well I found out later that a full 33% of my initial report was 100% incorrect. Can you guess which part I got wrong?

Turns out my bunkmates were all computer programmers working in Stockholm for Swedish giant, Ericsson* and they were on a mini-holiday up north to see the northern lights.

Anyway, after the games and food were all done and everyone was getting ready for sleep, I found myself lying awake in my bunk (I still have jet lag nine days in) and I was trying to figure out how I scored a Moe Sizlack on my new friends’ origins story.

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The best explanation I’ve been able to come up with so far is that I’m probably racist.

I say this because during the post-incident period of self-examination I was able to dream up a bunch of rationalizations as to why my initial observation was not, in fact, racist. But then, after some more thinking, I realized that rationalizing racist behaviour to be “not racist” is exactly what a racist person would do. No?

I mean, I can’t even imagine traveling anywhere with six of my co-workers / friends and not being totally shocked at the idea of anyone mistaking us for being related. Like which of my new friends did I think were the parents? It’s totally crazy. Sai and Teju are both like twenty-five!

And to be clear, I’m not beating myself up over this – I’m just embarrassed about the whole thing. I mean, on a list of “unacceptable behaviours” (in this particular instance) my passive misidentification of the interrelationships of a group of people from a different cultural background than mine, well, it’s racist, but just a little bit.

Or at least that’s what I’ve managed to convinced myself it is.

* I purposely left out the word “telecom” from this sentence because I think it’s much more interesting that way, like you know these guys work for a proper engineering company but you secretly hope they’re all writing computer code for an actual giant named Ericsson. Many people are called that over here.

2 Responses to “One-way Ticket: Menolippu”

  1. Jason Chapman (@jasonAchapman) February 3, 2017 at 10:47 #

    That’s definitely a cool Boden crossover. And unless it’s a pilgrimage destination for tabletop gamers you may be the first to achieve this level. You should go back one more time but bring a model train and a signpost with a guy inside it playing TTR.

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