Ahh so I can imagine this question is on my Mum’s mind but it really is a topic you should all ponder if you are considering visiting me in the near future (don’t react – just read on – I have to have these little day dreams about my friends coming to visit me – makes me happy so don’t burst the bubble). Aaanyway… It is best to start in my immediate environment and branch out from there.
My bedroom is a war zone (which is not at all safe!) I know what you’re thinking – that its messy, sorry to disappoint you but it is fairly tidy surprisingly enough. What I am referring to is the body count. The smeared bodies of oversized mosquitoes creating a spotty effect on my white walled bedroom. It’s pretty gross really so I won’t show you the picture I took. They are huge! Its crazy and boy do they suck your blood if you’re not fast enough to squash them. Every night no matter how early I close my window or how dark the room is, I am having to go on a killing spree before bedtime. My trusty address notebook is the weapon of choice (flexible and light) My highest body count in one session was 18. I must get on to wiping down the walls. I just thought that maybe the display of dead bodies would deter other mosquitoes from making my room their home. It seems however while they are very capable of finding human flesh to suck they are not so smart and sit on the wall right next to their dead buddies unaware of the warning for their own fate. So you ask, ‘why is this such a threat to ones safety?’ SLEEP people. The very important necessity of life (reminds me of a jungle book song). The constant buzzing of mosquitoes and sucking of blood isn’t really conducive to peaceful sleep, so after a few nights of getting up at 2am to kill the suckers (he he) I now attempt to get them all before sleep time. No mercy.
Just outside the bedroom door, down the hallway we discover a new threat to safety. The dark cavern of the Danish house/apartment. Believe it or not, lights hanging from the ceiling are a rare sight here in Denmark. It seems the Danish love the dark, candle lit atmosphere over the brightly lit interior of a NZ home. They even go as far as to have whole outside walls with no windows! I know – strange but the brick houses are very warm, I am told, in the winter when it snows – the less glass the better. So they have a few lamps here and there in the corners and candles which I must say is lovely but potentially dangerous in the dark unlit corners!
Outside the house is the most dangerous backyard threat here in Denmark. The ‘Killer Slug’!!! Don’t laugh! It truly is very poisonous. God conveniently designed it in a bright red colour to warn us – danger, danger I’m poisonous! So you think I’m kidding? Not at all, it’s been on the news and in the papers that we must all wear shoes. No one has told me yet what touching it does to you but I have seen brave adults reduced to squirming, jumpy, frightened human beings at the sight of one of these beasts so I guess the stories are quite horrific. They are easily dealt with, due to their slow moving bodies (I am told 9 meters in a day for the average killer slug). Simply shake salt over their bodies and before your eyes they foam and shrivel up like the wicked witch of the west. This however requires you to get quite close which seems to be a revolting task for the average Danish adult. I must admit after being ridiculed for my fear of creepy crawly evil beasties all my life – it is quite refreshing to walk up to such a dangerous mini beast and smile with absolutely no fear whatsoever while others around me are less composed – is it wrong to feel empowered by such an event?
We leave the comforts of home now to the dangerous suburban streets of Copenhagen. Helmet-less bicycle riders are everywhere! Always look twice before backing your car out of the driveway, around a corner or through an intersection because these cycle enthusiasts always have the right of way. If the light is green, this does not mean go, this means ‘feel free to go as soon as all the helmet-less riders have gone.’ This is however less of a safety problem than it first appears to be. The convenience of separate raised bicycle lanes (at least two cyclists wide) is entirely fantastic (I have crossed over I am now a helmet-less proud owner of an old style second hand bike). Also the miniature traffic lights for the cyclists makes life much safer! Do be warned though – pedestrians have the right of way so if you’re biking and you hit someone randomly walking out onto your cycle lane – you will be charged!! I like this smallest rules rule.
We move now, finally, from the suburban streets to dangerous inner city Copenhagen. The dirt you have all been waiting for. The horrible truth. OK, so I tend to exaggerate from time to time (I know you do appreciate this though for the purposes of making these blogs more interesting – photo evidence is provided however for most unusual occurrences where possible). Copenhagen is pretty safe – definitely more so than Auckland anyway (not that I‘d ever want to compare the beautiful Copenhagen with Auckland!) I am told it is totally safe to walk home on your own at all hours of the night. The city is what you would call ‘alive’ constantly. Dark abandoned alleys are not that common and the presence of millions (ok thousands) of apartments really lessons the feeling of walking through an abandoned inner city. Every block you are surrounded with doorways which lead to stairways beyond, which wind up to many small dimly lit apartments. You are basically walking through thousands of peoples front yards on every side walk. It is easy to feel safe with people living all around you. You may have heard about drugs and Copenhagen. It is true the drugs and drinking scene is pretty full on here. Apparently the police can’t do anything but fine you $125NZ for possessing a small amount of hard drugs. If you are selling, it is a different story. But it isn’t uncommon to see people shooting up in broad daylight, syringes can also be found around sidewalks in some areas too which is pretty nasty. Basically make sure you can trust the people you are with and you are fine.
Don’t worry about getting lost in Copenhagen, Danish people are very friendly and are always willing to help – I have experienced this friendliness on several occasions (most younger Danish can speak English really well). Unlike some European nations, you don’t feel like your foreign status here is despised. People seem genuinely interested in helping you and understanding where you are from.
So in conclusion I rate Denmark (Well I really only know about Copenhagen) as fairly safe. So book your tickets, let me know when you’re coming and I’ll sort out your tourist itinerary!! Ha!
PS: Danish checklist is coming along nicely:
1. Own an old style black ladies bicycle – CHECK!
2. Move into an inner city apartment with a good room-mate – CHECK! (we move in on the 30 of August)
3. Find an English speaking church with lots of neat people my age - CHECK!
4. Get a job – still working on this one – hopefully it comes before the apartment moving in date or there may be a minor problem