Saturday, September 02, 2006

Adventures with Anders - Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - As it stood my options for after the regatta and take the boats back to Ljungskile were, find Cia and Lars (friends from way back and too long a story to go into) south of Gotenberg and hang with them. Since we are bringing the boats back to Ljungskile I could put my things in the H boat and take a train to Oslo and make it back in time get my things, spend another day in Ljungskile then off to meet Cassandra in Copenhagen or just go hang in Ljungskile on the H boat for 6 days. My first choice was a combination between Oslo and Ljungskile, but I'm gald I left my options open. On the last day of the regatta Anders asks me if I would like to drive across Sweden with him to his farm house north of Stockholm 40k to a small town called Vallentuna. I could stay with him and make day trips to Stockholm or just chill on his farm. Well this was a no brainer. Anders had agreed to be a sailing instructor on the day after our return from the regatta so I would have to spend a day organizing my things, buying postcards, rolling my sails, hanging out... oh darn. Another rad day in a cool place just being in Sweden. Life is good. The greatest part of this trip has been how just one cool thing after another kept happening to me.
Anders and I rolled out of Ljungskile around 5:30pm. The forcast was for rain with thunder and lightening. They were right. It stormed hard. I was driving because Anders had been teaching sailing all day and I had been a lazy bum. Plus, I didn't know if Anders was a good driver or not. I mean he's an awesome sailor, but that doesn't mean he can drive a car... the rules are different and not everyone on the road is a good sailor. We talk at length about the possibility of running over elk with the car. Apparently he's "smashed" an elk before and although his descriptions of the incident were comical, he was clear that he didn't want to do it again. We stopped once for pizza and once for gas and talked the whole way there. We arrived at his house around 2 am. He shows me around a little bit, enough to know where the kitchen, bathroom and where I was going to sleep. His house was built in 1852... and on the inside looks like a classic farm house with amazing detail and decoration. The "guest room" I was in is bigger than my whole apartment in SF... king size bed, beautiful tall windows that open up letting the gentle breeze blow the white linen curtains wave. He has a RC model folkboat that he sails on his lake that he built... Yes, Anders built himself a lake out of a swamp on his property. You see, Anders is a doctor and an engineer. He had this idea that he wanted a lake to go swimming in so he divised this plan to excavate the swampy muck and dig out a lake about 2 meters deep. He told me this story with slides and as he was telling the story it got more and more outragous and I couldn't help but laugh. He designed and built this machine to dig up and pump out the swampy muck, but it broke down a lot and didn't work the way Anders wanted it to. So, he built a second generation machine and it also didn't work out so well. It kept getting clogged and wouldn't work for very long and needed lots of attention. So, he build a 3rd machine that was designed to go in circles, dig up swanp and pump it out. It worked, but for some reason it capsized and sunk to the bottom of the swamp. So, just what do you do when your lake building swamp busting machine breaks down and sinks? You ask your friend, who knows and guy who has a friend who owes you a favor. At the end of this tangled web comes the Swedish military with a 2 propeller helicopter to pull out your sunken swamp digger. I'm not bullshitting you, he has the slides to prove it. Anders is no quitter. He decides all this going to slow and goes out and buys a huge crane with a scoop/bucket thing to dredge up his swamp and finally turn it into a lake. Here's the catch; In order to use the crane/scoop dredger thing it has to be on solid dry land. So, he started a row at one end scooping swamp up and putting it on the other side of the dredger. But he would have to let it dry for one year before he could make anther pass. This process alone took 6 years. That doesn't include the other swamp pump diggers he made before... I'm sure his wife and kids thought he was nuts and I was beginning the think the same thing. But Anders is crazy like a fox. Although it took many years and lots of failure, he prevailed and has his lake to swim and sail his RC folkboat. It's a mind boggling tale that only Anders can really do justice. This is another thing I learned about Swedes... they all have these projects that they are working on... all of them! If it's not a deck for their summer home, it's and old wooden boat restoration project or and guest house add on or something. I had the privelidge of being witness to Anders' greatest and soon to be greatest achievments.

Windmills are everywhere in Sweden. They are not considered ugly, but they aren't as efficient as people would like them to be. I asked Anders what the future of energy was in Sweden and he reluctantly said nuclear.

Just the front of Anders' house. It extends out on either side. This picture doesn't do it justice.

But you can see the bikes we rode all over the place.

Anders' dinning room with his RC Folkboat.
Way cool.

This is one side of his lake he built.
I'm standing on this section of land that extends out into his lake.

This is looking the other direction to the other end of his lake. He built this little dock to. All Swedes want to call them bridges... but we call them docks because bridges go across and connect two pieces of land... right?


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