"Ante sure knows how to throw a party," Bjorn thought to himself as he entered the kitchen where most of his colleagues had already sat down to eat. Only Thomas and Espen were still over by the stove heaping up generous amounts of steak, baked potatoes and vegetables for themselves. There was no shortage of whine either, but John and Espen were both having water, either for personal reasons, or in sympathy with the official rules banning any kind of alcohol consumption from Norwegian military bases. But Bjorn saw no reason to be any more prudent than Frank or Ante, and poured himself a big glass of red wine to go with the food.
The atmosphere was positively festive which made Bjorn almost embarrassed to think that he had suddenly felt so uncomfortable in the living room less than two hours earlier. "This is not a bad place at all, is it?" Bjorn thought to himself. "And they are definitely a friendly and polite bunch." And to encourage himself to be more positive in his view of things, he concluded his short lecture for himself. "This is far better than I had imagined," He thought. "So why not be a little more grateful over this unexpected bit of good fortune?"
Almost immediately after sitting down, Bjorn was bombarded by questions from his colleagues which served to underscore his deliberately positive view of his colleagues. They were all curious to hear what he had to say about Lundby, and genuinely interested in all he had to say. They were especially curious to hear about Ane's factory, which none of them had visited before. But Ante was also very curious to hear about the open air market, and everybody thought the replacement of perfectly good pavement with a Portuguese style cobbled stone alternative excessively extravagant, especially in light of the poor living conditions that most of the inhabitants were suffering under.
At one point, they all descended into a discussion on the environmental aspect of the fish processing plant, sparked by Bjorn's description of how all the waste was simply spewed directly and untreated into the water underneath the plant. They all agreed that this could not possibly be legal. But with the alternative being to send everything to China with no guarantee that the environment would be treated any better over there, they could not agree on the factory´s net effect on the global environment. The local environment would surely come under strain from Ane's careless waste treatment, but would things really be any better if the exact same was done in China?
This in turn brought up the idea of a global government. A government with global powers on environmental issues, but they all agreed that such a solution sounded too utopian, and that it had to be up to local governments all over the world to make sure that people like Ane could not go around polluting the environment without any kind of cost or consequence.
Having settled on a conclusion of sorts as far as the fish processing plant was concerned, the talk turned towards the planned outing on Friday night, with Ante raving about Nora's place for which he clearly had great expectations. And Frank was all enthusiastic about the casino, eagerly describing the place as he remembered it from an earlier visit.
Bjorn gathered from the talking that all of the men, except John, had been down in the village on one or more occasion. John, it seemed, was fearful of the village, and the enthusiastic raves by his colleagues made him only less eager to ever visit the place, which made Bjorn think that the young man might be fearful of a lot more than just the village. John, it seemed, was not only fearful of the village, he was fearful of himself.