Am I really going to Sweden?

I have visions of what Sweden is like. Having never been there, I know this is a dangerous exercise. I made the same mistake before I went to China in 2005 (to study foot juggling.) China had been at the very bottom of my list of places to visit. And then when I found myself in possession of an Air China plane ticket, I madly pressed myself to find something about the country I was interested in other than acrobatics. So I watched “Hero” and “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and Bertolucci’s “The Last Emporer” and developed a romantic vision of dynastic China.

Arriving in Shijiazhuang I was disappointed when instead of dragons and lions lolling about on the green grass abutting the Great Wall it was smog, cars, and worker ants amid expectorated snot and pools of vomit that I saw.

In my mind now, Sweden is full of rosy-cheeked Samis in snowshoes and reindeer. No one has to work and children dress in bright snowpants and sled to school. And hills are made of meatballs.

Meatballs! In the first ever attempt at “Meatball Diplomacy”, Caravansarai teams up with artists Arni Gudmundsson and Cristian Rieloff to host a competitive meatball eating extravaganza at the Supermarket Art Fair in Stockholm. On Saturday, February 20th at 6pm, competitors line up at the trough to compete for the coveted “Gravy Cup”. The competitor who can consume (without barfing) the most meatballs within 10 minutes will be the champion of this (projected) annual event.

Sponsored by Caravansarai, and hosted by Anika, this event is open to only the fittest of eaters . . . and anyone else in the vicinity interested in pushing the limits of repulsiveness. Watch Julie as she tries to break her record of 15 IKEA meatballs in under 20 minutes! Or perhaps you are intimidated by the competition, in which case, we are looking for counters (scorekeepers.)

Along with this short performance, we will be exhibiting another installment of our collaborative saga with Arni and Cristian. What began with a glue-sniffer attack on the mean streets of Istanbul’s Tarlabasi District continues in Stockholm as as disaster relief for our “Swedish” brothers by our “Turkish” aid organization, CaravansarAID. In preparation for this collaboration between Caravansarai (Americans in Turkey) and ArniCristianArt (Chilean and Icelandic in Sweden), we have been preparing aid packets containing Turkish consumer products which we have accumulated as part of our outside (non-Caravansarai) jobs. These will then be displayed in our booth in some aesthetically pleasing arrangement.

If you find yourself in Stockholm during the fair, please come say hello and eat a meatball or 200!

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