Monday, September 29, 2008

Stockholm by air and by land and by sea

If only the bright boat there were sailing rather than just sitting obscured by a streetlight. Anyway, it wasn't a particularly productive trip for the photo department, but climbing up to a hill on the island opposite the old town on a last afternoon to find a series of hot-air balloons floating (at seemingly dangerous altitudes) over the city was a definite highlight. The balloons seem so out of place that to our photo editor's eyes, in many shots they look photoshopped in, even though we know they weren't.

We failed to get a picture we planned on using to demonstrate it, but Boston:Dunkin' Donuts::Stockholm:H&M. There were literally street corners downtown where you could see three or four H&M retail locations within a block or two. One quite stylish Swedish woman your correspondent talked with said she does all her shopping in the U.S., because she was tired of all the H&M that predominates Sweden. She was too polite to say so, but it probably doesn't hurt that you can probably buy a cashmere sweater in the U.S. for the price of a cup of coffee in Stockholm.

In other world-beating Swedish retail news, the Swedes say Ikea "ee-KAY-uh," and it's theirs, so they must be right. Other Swedish sources indicate that everyone from the lowliest drone to the grandest millionaire in Sweden has some furniture from EeKAYuh. We only know this from work-related sources, because unlike the carpet-bombing approach of the H&M, even in Stockholm, Ikea only has warehouse stores in distant suburbs. In any case, if you want to start getting snobby about authentic pronunciations of your some-assembly-required bookshelves, you have the appropriate ammunition.

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