PETER ROST: PHARMA MARKETING EXPERT WITNESS. AWP, MEDICAL DEVICE EXPERT.: Tennis, antisemitism, trains and drunks in Sweden.

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Tennis, antisemitism, trains and drunks in Sweden.

So I'm spending a week in Sweden doing talks about the drug industry but that's not what I'm going to write about.

Today on the front page of the Swedish newspaper I read for breakfast a Jewish woman declared that she no longer felt safe living in Sweden. I understood what she was talking about because I just spent two nights at the hotel which hosts the Israeli Davis Cup tennis players in Malmö.

The hotel was filled with young males in civilian clothes and backpacks carrying red cards around their necks and they all looked at me supiciously as I entered or left the hotel. Apparently they were part of SÄPO, the Swedish Secret Service.

Another bunch of musculous men carried yellow cards, some of whom looked like US secret service but spoke British English.

It could all have been part of a John le Carré novel.

My cab driver who had an accent and didn't look Swedish had a hard time parking in front of the hotel and was almost not allowed to wait for me in the lobby until I pleaded on his behalf and got my coat.

The entire place reeked of testosterone.

Apparently about 10,000 demonstrators against Israel are expected and also some significant violence.

The politicians have not made things much better by directing that, based on security concerns, the players will play without an audience.

And a local union boss today said that security can't be guaranteed so he will close down the entire event unless someone removes all the lose cobble stones and debris from roadwork outside the stadium.

Unfortunately none of this is a reflection of what most Swedes think, but this will obviously color the perception foreigners have of Sweden.

Malmo, however, was beautiful and the audience I spoke to great; the only thing I missed during my stay was an Internet connection at the Radisson SAS hotel. I actually have a better connection on the train writing this, than I ever had at the hotel.

The trains in Sweden are a joy compared to the US ones, clean, quiet and inexpensive. The hotels, not so much joy,, at least not when it comes to Internet.

The only downside with the cheap fare as far as the train goes is that this means that even if you buy a first class ticket there may be surprises you'd only encounter in Russia. Right now a gentleman to the right has placed two large bottles of beer in front of himself and to ensure enough impact he is mixing them with a bottle of vodka.

He's already finished half the vodka bottle, which he hides inside his jacket when the conductor passes by.

The Swedish drunks . . . I'd almost forgotten about them.

Another memorable week.

Hopefully the Internet works in my next hotel. Otherwise I guess I'll have to go back on a train.

Still it is great to be back in beautiful Sweden and the drunk was just escorted off the train.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Viva Palestina!
Be proud of Swedes who
oppose apartheid and genocide.
And if they drink, Cheers!


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