Random bits of weirdness for the week of March 21, 2017

isfjordradio

Don’t believe those new claims Norway is the happiest country in the world (or the recent study showing Svalbard folks are happier than those on mainland) – according to many informed people living elsewhere we’re simply deluged and deranged for various reasons. And when you see photos like what these folks at Isfjord Radio consider a proper winter wardrobe sanity would seem to be on the side of the skeptics. It seems Svalbard’s tourism bureau and Basecamp Spitsbergen see it as a sexy way to sell people on the weather station/mini-hotel at Kapp Linné (and those visiting this weekend were going to have the bonus of dozens of dogs howling all night until avalanche dangers forced the Trappers Trail to abandon the cape as a checkpoint). So, on that note and with tourism season in full swing, we’re devoting this week’s rant to  some seriously trippy possibilities available free to those hoping to visit and Letting You Decide if being here is a sign of being insanely happy or just insane…

For those who’ve dreamed taking a boat trip from Iceland to Svalbard an opportunity is coming up in mid-July, but for the average cruiser it might be a nightmare since the selected person will be helping five other people spend a month rowing across ocean. The team’s expertise is described as “rather high,” and both prior rowing and ultra endurance experience are pluses – although previous ocean rowing experience isn’t necessary…

For those who’d prefer a more traditional voyage on a comfy large ship in the far north, it’s time again to pick the passengers for the Most Coveted Cruise in Svalbard, although known as the governor’s annual coastal cleanup cruise. A total of 24 people are selected in the trash lottery, with half of them spending five days during different periods in July cleaning up the northern coasts of Svalbard. The catch: you have to be a resident of Svalbard (and as our seriously lame editor can attain from his fiasco of a trip last year, don’t try this if you have trouble moving on slippery and rocky ground). The dates for this year’s trip are July 10-14 and 17-21, and the entry deadline is May 1…

texascabin

Holy spirit: Nothing like telling your pious peers “I spent my entire Easter holiday in a Texas Bar.” Photo by The Governor of Svalbard.

Finally, those seeking a holiday that doesn’t induce labor can enter the annual drawing to spend five days surrounding Easter at one of 11 cabins owned by the governor, which will pick the occupants in a lottery drawing March 30. Applications with the name of all visitors and cabin preference(s) have to be submitted by 3:30 p.m. March 29…

Switching to fictional travel, it seems one woman is destined for an unmemorable trip – in the creepy “I can’t make new memories” manner of “Momento.” The book “The One Memory of Flora Banks” by Emily Barr features a namesake who “can’t remember anything past the age of 10 — that is, until she kisses her best friend’s boyfriend, Drake, ” according to a description by Bustle.com. “But just as Flora discovers she has a brand new memory, Drake leaves town to do scientific research in Svalbard, the land of the Midnight Sun. Flora, certain that Drake is the key to solving her amnesia, sets out for the Norwegian Arctic to find him, leaving herself notes as a guide. But what she finds leaves her with more questions than answers.” It’s scheduled for release in early May, but there’s a long excerpt at the end of the article for those who consider themselves “fans of both young adult romance and psychological thrillers.”

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