OPRAH said it and when she speaks, everybody listens, and tend to believe. So did I when she came out with an episode that the Danish are the happiest people in the world. Are they?
So I met this lady who dated my nephew, a Danish national of Filipino descent. I asked her what her thoughts are about her "happiest countrymen." Her replied with a smile, "I really don't know where it came from." She was shaking her head.
I had to experience that myself, and a trip to the Danish capital of Copenhagen will give light to a supposition, and of course, see the Little Mermaid, who was not a happy person/fish. That was a clue.
It would be my first time in the country, the first stop to the Scandinavia tour, which was made possible by my gracious host and personal tour guide, Des Aportadera. I will be rendezvousing with her at the Copenhagen airport.
What do I know about Denmark aside from Copenhagen as the capital, its happy people and the mermaid? Nothing else.
But if I base it from what people say-it's a small city, there's nothing much to do, a visit for couple of days is okay, etc., I would have second thoughts on going. But of course I always abide by my credo "I want to experience it myself," then I can say that yes, what you said is true, or not.
I flew the evening plane from Prague and arrived past dinnertime in Denmark. I was more excited and apprehensive than hungry.
First on the agenda was to connect to the net. "There is free WIFI at the airport," Des said. So I went to the tourist counter, approached the man on duty and politely asked for help. He looked up from what he was doing and with a blank face, he picked up a paper and handed it to me. It was an instruction sheet to get connected to the airport WIFI.
After several attempts and failure to connect, I approached the same man and asked for assistance. In a sarcastic voice, he said, "Then there is something wrong with your phone." The latest model of IPhone (it was #5 then) was a failure in Denmark!
How can I argue? It would be totally futile to engage in a conversation, worse, tirade, with this Danish man at the Customer Service Counter of the Copenhagen airport. I wondered how he ended in that line of work, and worse, whatever happened to the happiest people on earth claim?
Before my thoughts on this trip could turn into the negative, my friend Des appeared from a corner.
The funny thing was she was in the same situation as I was. She couldn't get through the free service and that the same guy was not at all helpful. A racist? How judgmental of me. I'm not sorry that I am, I take things at face value.
So that answered the first item on my list. I know I shouldn't generalize but it sure wasn't a warm welcome for a first timer in Denmark, the so-called happiest place on the planet.
With happy faces that we finally meet in a place that's not home, we took the train to the city. There was not much to see at the late hour except for the a few interesting buildings we caught sight of while walking from the Kongens Nytrrv metro station to the hotel.
And our home in Denmark? The chic Copenhagen Admiral Hotel with a great view of the harbor and the Opera House.
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