5. April 2013

Sandhamn Off-Season

A weekday in April in Sandhamn: no people, no sound, almost no coffee. But plenty of water, plenty of sun, and still plenty of ice. Here are some impressions. And a riddle: what is 北京八?

Sandhamn might be known outside Stockholm and Sweden for its role in the Millenium trilogy, in which the fictional character Mikael Blomkvist has a summer house on Sandö. Apart from just enjoying the scenery and the pleasant weather, there were a few things to note.

First, I was suprised by a restaurant called Beijing 8 北京八, Given that the islands receives a lot of visitors, it is not too suprising that it features a Chinese restaurant. However, the name puzzled me, and after a while I found out why. 北京八 is a game with words and sounds. You have to speak 北京八 aloud in order to understand what it means: Beijing Bar. 酒吧 (jiǔ bā) is a bar. And 八 (bā) denotes the number 8. Phonetically, there is no difference between 北京吧 and 北京八. There are similar games with sounds, for example www.51job.com (sounds like “I want a job”). However, I was suprised to see it in a context far away from China.

I have not been out in the archipelago without ice skates for a long time. Yet, I could not help being pleased by the sight of large ice piles that were pushed ashore on one side of the island, and the quite speedy pancake ice passing by because of the wind on the other side of the island.