The bus that took the passengers i came with had left for Stockholm by the time i finished with the immigration officials and drug agents. I had to wait for another hour before another Stockholm bound bus arrived. While i waited at the cold open Skavska Airport, i played Lucky Dube songs from the album ‘Soul Taker’.
The atmosphere in Sweden was very different from what i was used to in Southern and Western Europe. There were always a lot of people all over the places in all the previous countries i had visited but there in Sweden Skavska Airport, everywhere was quiet. The outside was very white as a result of Snow. The cold was very harsh too. I had ignored the fact that the temperature could be too low and didn’t travel with a good winter jacket.
We left Nykoping Skavska Airport with a bus and drove to Stockholm Central Station; a massive train station that looked like the biggest structure in the entire Sweden. The station was organised in a way that it wasn’t difficult to find your way without asking questions.
I picked up my bag and walked across the road where a phone shop was open.
“Do you have a simcard?” i said to the elderly lady behind the counter who stared at me without understanding a word of what i said.
I opened my phone, brought out my simcard and showed it to her.
She got up and brought out a pack of new simcard. The price was written in Krona, the Swedish currency. I flashed a ten Euro bill but unfortunately it seemed the woman didn’t know what it was. I walked up to a small neat hotel along the Same road and saw the receptionist attending to a group of female students. It seemed they had come for a programme but decided to lodge in the hotel.
As soon as the receptionist finished with the students, i called one of them and asked if she spoke English; she nodded her head in affirmative.
“I am new in the country and need where to change Euro or Dollars to Krona” i said.
She said they had come from Malmo, another city but asked me to wait for her while she settled with others in their rooms. She was going to help me locate the exchange bureau.
The major issue why i went to the hotel was not to ask where to change my money; i was sure i could find it inside the Stockholm Central Station. I went to the hotel to find a room where i would lodge; i was also sure that almost every hotel across Europe accepted Euro whether the country has joined Euro zone or not. But the way it stood, the beautiful Swedish girl was going to show me where to change Euro or Dollar to Krona; yet i had no dollar with me but that won’t be a problem. I was going to decide to change Euro first when i get there with her. I wanted to be an American to her or them since i didn’t know how many of them that would follow us.
While they went to settle in their rooms, i asked the hotel receptionist how much money it would take me to rent a good room, She said ‘€40’, I guessed she overheard when I was asking for where to change money. I handed her €40 and she recorded the data from my international passport, then she gave me a room very close to that of the girls which was on the ground floor of the hotel.
I walked to my room and opened it with the key card i collected from the reception. It was a neatly organised room with white bedsheets, a reading lamp, table and a chair. It also had a neat bathroom and toilet.
As i settled in the room, i left the door open since i didn’t want the girls to leave without knowing that i was close bye.
I opened my belthole and brought out €6000. I was going to change all of it to Krona. I knew i might not need all of them in Sweden but i could always change them back to Euro anytime i wanted. I wanted the girls to know that i had large sum of money. It will make them relax a bit with me. Money was money anywhere in the World.
I kept my red samsonite on the table and sat on the bed facing the open door while playing tetris game with the Nokia.
Twenty minutes later, i heard some noises in the passageway; it was the girls. I got up and walked to the passageway, locked my door and faced them. They were five of them, all smiling and chating heartily.
“I have decided to hang around here for a while so that you beauties will keep me company. Where can we get the local Currency now?” i said to them in general. The idea was to let nature decide who has more interest in me. It would be a mistake if i concentrated on the first girl i called earlier, she may be the cold type that didn’t have a say in collective decisions but if nature decided the best admirer by itself, it would be better for everybody.
“Lets go to the station, we can see the exchange office there” the first girl i had met at the reception said.
As we walked past the reception and into the street, one of them asked what my name was and where i came from.
“I am called Solo and i am from Africa” i said.
I had suddenly decided to go with Africa because the funny Europeans could ask for my international passport at the exchange office. I remembered they asked for it sometime in past in Bratislava Slovakia.
“Where is Africa?” one of them asked.
Here we go. We spent our entire school days studying Europeans and Americans while girls as old as they were didn’t know where Africa was or what Africa was.
“It is a continent south of Europe. You girls should visit there someday, it is all sun and no winter” i said with a smile.
“Wow cool, no winter at all” one of them said.
I wanted to ask for their names but i felt it was awkward to start asking for their names one after the other. I decided to wait for the right moment to do that.
We got to the Central Station and located an exchange office. They spoke some Swedish to the man behind the counter and i wondered if they had told him to cheat me and give them some balance later. I found the exchange board and found the equivalent of one Euro to One Krona, then i made my calculations with the calculator in my phone. It was true that i was new in town but anybody who was hoping to cheat me will be disappointed.
“Do you speak English” i asked the manager.
“Some men see things as they are, and say, “Why?” Still others dream of things that never were and say, Why not?”