Sunday, August 19, 2018

My story with people in Herrang Dance Camp (2) -- at the ice cream store

There are several places that one can buy food in the Herrang Dance Camp. One place is called the Ice Cream Parlor (ICP), which sells not only ice cream, but also snack foods and drinks. It is also a place to buy WiFi access for an hour, a day, or a week, in case there is such need. This place is next to many tents where the classes are taught, as well as most of the general accommodation. Thus, many people visit ICP every day.

On my first day in Herrang, I would like to get WiFi for a week, since the phone card that I bought was 30 days, but my trip was a week longer than that. I did not believe a food place would sell WiFi password, but I was told that this place sells it. Eventually, I got a week of WiFi for 150 SEK, which I think buying a phone card elsewhere should be a bit cheaper.

It is also a time to look at the price of stuff in Herrang (in 2018). All prices are in SEK (1 EUR = 10 SEK = 9 HKD).

I think the price for most of the snacks and drinks, while a bit expensive to my standard, are still acceptable. The prices of the coffee drinks are actually not too expensive. Yet, look at the prices of the ice cream (cup/ cone). They are really affordable!

So, I got my first 2-scoop ice cream on the first day of the camp. "Hallooo!" the cashier said casually with a bit of happy energy. I asked about the price of the WiFi password. I also learned about an ice cream card that cost exactly 5 rounds of ice cream (2-scoop?), but card owner can wait outside, as an express lane, for ice cream. I thought I probably would not have ice cream every day, so I did not get the card. The cashier then showed me the list of ice cream flavors. After I learned about the choices and got the ice cream, we introduced ourselves. At that point, I did not quite remember her name, but I only remembered she is from Lithuania. I thought: perhaps I could learn about swing dancing opportunities in Lithuania, since I would be there later in the trip.

I was wrong about my ice cream consumption in Herrang. There was no rain in Sweden for at least 2 months. Wildfire and water shortage warning were announced during the Week 2 and 3 camp period. It was hot every day during daytime. Moreover, ice cream can provide me inexpensive sugar before taking classes at around 4 pm. I did not really need to eat breakfast. Lunch was sometimes just snack food, also provided by ICP. Thus, I visited ICP very often each day. Sometimes it was snack for lunch, but I got my ice cream every day. It was 2 scoops earlier, but I got 3 scoops later on. I also tried different flavors each day, always in a cone.

My everyday ice cream allowed me to look at the life of the staff in the Herrang Dance Camp. That cashier, who greeted customers in a playful way, was there most of the time. I could then remember her name: Ruta. She seemed to work almost all the time in the ICP during the open hours, which was around 11:30 am to 7:00 pm. Before coming to the camp, I saw the option of signing up as part of the camp staff. A week of work as a staff can mean waiving some cost of the classes and dances in another week. Yet, staff needs to commit for at least a week of time. Seeing that I had to leave early in Week 3, and I would like to enjoy the camp fully in Week 2, I did not sign up to be the staff.

I tried to relate names with what they do to remember, so I mentally called her Ruta the Ice Cream Server. One day, I was with the ice cream and checked the laundry service. A female staff there told me that the ice cream was too enticing, and she would not help me to wash laundry if I brought the laundry with ice cream. I later knew that she is from Italy and her name, and learned what they did every day for the laundry service. FYI, I don't think the camp has public washing machine for the participants to use. Yet, the laundry service helps people to wash, dry, and fold clothes, for a fee by weight. I think it was 4 kg for 60 SEK. So, I mentally called her as the laundry helper.

Staff, including instructors and DJs, seemed to have perks that normal camp participants do not have. They have a special area for dinner (known as the Hell's Kitchen). They have staff classes, probably on Wednesday when the cultural activities mean a break for the staff (I saw one of my favorite instructors taking classes on Wednesday when I was wandering around). There is an afternoon staff party each week to appreciate the hard work of the staff.

Back to the ICP, I later found that there was another staff that guarded the cashier also called Ruta. She is also from Lithuania, and told me that the name is a name of a flower. So, how can I identify them? The two have the same name, same country of origin, and same occupation in the camp. They do look different, but I do not like to use appearance as an identifier. So, Ruta 1 and Ruta 2? I probably cannot read out their last name (past experience: look at Pamela's last name), and calling the full name is too formal anyways.

For the rest of the dance camp, I could meet either one of the Rutas, or both, when I wanted to get food in the ICP. Besides ice cream, I tried the banana bread with different varieties; I tried Herrang Slap, which is espresso with lemon juice, and sleepy people should really wake up with this drink.

Then, there is anti-cold juice:

This is a great product to sell because a dedicated dance camp goer will never get enough sleep. Thus, it is easy to get sick due to prolonged sleep deprivation. I love the ingredients in the juice. When I get sick, I like drinking ginger tea to help me to recover. People in Europe seem to know the anti-cold ability of ginger.

At some point, the two Rutas could recognize me as a regular customer, and gave me recommendations of the ice cream flavors. Once, when I got a cone with three scoops, I got an extra cone. When the ICP had fewer customers, we talked about events happening around the camp.

Did I see them in the dance? Yes, but not often. I believe the day work already tired them out a lot, so they sometimes came and sometimes not. If they come, they will also not be able to stay for too long, for tomorrow is another day of work. Once I danced with them, however, I think they have probably been to many dance events, perhaps even winning competitions. "Beyond my ability to harness their following potential" was the phrase that I wrote before with someone else, and this probably applied to them.

I not only met them in the whole Week 2, but also in Week 3. Before I left, we exchanged Facebook and had some pictures together. One of them even met Sinclair from Singapore. I bet I would meet Sinclair sooner or later, and I would pass down words to him.

Ruta 1

Ruta 2

The evening before I left the camp (Week 3 ,Wednesday), I wish I could use my GoPro camera to take a video around the dance floor, and with one of the Rutas. I forgot that the room is dark, and I forgot I should change the ISO setting (or EV compensation) to make the video look brighter. Thus, I got a really dark video that is hard to watch. Now, I wonder if video editing can brighten up the video a bit. I also wonder if she would like to watch it or not.

Before the O-Ringen Hong Kong team came to the camp to pick me up, I got my last ice cream in the ICP, and bid farewell to them. Once again, who knows when I will come to Europe again to dance.

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