We have taken quite a few taxis for the last two days because of the dreary weather, and we got some great information from the drivers when we asked them questions. (By the way, anytime you tell a person you’re from the U.S, they immediately crack a Donald Trump joke).
1. Big Brother is Watching
We took a taxi back from a Castle and a classmate was asking a driver a question about something, but he really did not understand. He then pointed out a random fact that gave me the chills. He asked us if we saw any police on the streets, or police cars anywhere. We thought about it for a little bit, and realized that no, there really is no police presence here. He explained that the government is watching their people so closely, that they do not need to be out. Then he pointed at a camera right in his taxi, and told us to smile and wave, because they are watching right NOW! This just reflected to me the negatives of a socialist political and economic system.
2. Bicycle Accidents
When Sheila, Megan, and I missed our bus to go to the opera, we had to take a cab, and our driver was super friendly. We asked him questions like how he likes living here, and what his favorite part about Denmark was. He really liked that you can walk everywhere you need to go, and he really enjoys that there are always people around. We then asked him if there were many accidents because of the large amounts of bicycles. He explained that anytime he makes a turn, he has to look twice because a bike will come out of nowhere. He then explained that bikers have all of the rights, so it will always be the driver of the cars fault. That is why there are actually very few bike to car accidents in Copenhagen.
3. Women in America
We had a very interesting conversation when a taxi driver immediately asked about Donald Trump. It is not his view of our President that was unusual, it was his theory of why Trump won. He told us that a woman can never be a President of the United States. He almost had a conspiracy theory as to there being a secret historical document where it states this. We kind of disagreed with him, and he was like “no, it is really true”. I just thought this is so interesting because people in other countries are so involved with American politics, and we barely understand theirs.
4. Warning for Foreigners Traveling to Denmark
This is not a conversation so much as a scam that some of the cab drivers pulled on our group. It happened twice. We take a cab, the driver will not really speak English, and when we go to pay with a credit card, they will say that the machine isn’t working. They actually will not let you leave until you give them cash. After this happened to one member of our group, it happened to me. Luckily we were given advice from a good cab driver who told us to always say that we are going to call their cab number in and that we get the ride for free. So that is what we said, and a credit card machine magically appeared. As he ran my card, he was swearing in Danish the entire time, trying to intimidate us.
5. Danes are NOT the Happiest People on Earth
Denmark is always voted as the country with the happiest people on earth. Many people here, including taxi drivers, and a past Mount Mary Alumna who is from here explained this to us. Socialism is supposed to fix many societal problems like homelessness and poor economics, but Denmark does have homeless people, and poor people, and they are not happy all of the time. I think that Danish people do not let it show the troubles that their country has, and that is possibly why people think they are so happy.
I just thought all of these combined conversations were so fascinating. It made me really see Denmark in a different light, and made me realize that you can never have a perfect country, or a perfect political system.
Our last day in Denmark is tomorrow, so I hope I carry with me all of these wonderful memories, and feelings of this beautiful country that I was fortunate to visit.