• Sweden's news in English

'I felt like a tall blonde in the middle of Shanghai'

The Local · 5 Apr 2013, 14:20

Published: 05 Apr 2013 14:20 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Perdomo first visited Karlstad, a mid-sized Swedish city with around 60,000 inhabitants, several years ago to catch up with Swedish friends he'd met while living in Barcelona.

"They were on holiday almost ten years ago and we just kept in touch. We've managed to meet up every year since, and one time I came up to Karlstad for a long weekend," he explains.

"It was summer, so everything was green and beautiful and everyone was happy."

Perdomo's initial impressions of life in Karlstad stayed with him, and were reawakened last summer as he found his business ventures in Barcelona hitting a wall.

"I was going broke and it was just impossible to keep things going. I needed a break, and my friend said, 'pack your bags and come to Karlstad'," he recalls.

"Sweden always had this sort of charm of being a country where a hard-working person with a little initiative could make things happen, so I figured, why not give it a try."

Perdomo arrived in September, just as the famed Swedish summer was coming to an end. Looking back, he admits that leaving sunny Barcelona for an uncertain future in Karlstad was a bold move.

"But once I was here, I couldn't sit still," he says.

IN PICTURES: Click here to see more of Carlos Perdomo's Karlstad

In just over six months, the spirited entrepreneur has already launched two business ventures and left local residents scratching their heads after introducing what he suspects may be a new adventure-sport hybrid to the area.

"I did a lot of kite surfing in Barcelona. But Lake Vänern was frozen so I was forced to improvise," says Perdomo, referencing Sweden's largest lake by which Karlstad sits, nestled where the lake's northern meet the Klarälven river.

Along with a fellow Karlstad transplant from the UK, Perdomo strapped on a pair of alpine skis and rigged up a kite similar to the ones he used for plying the waters of the Mediterranean off the shores of Barcelona.

Soon, he found himself cruising along the frozen surface of Vänern, spawning a crowd of curious onlookers.

"We attracted a lot of attention. People were taking pictures and videos. I don't think they'd seen anything like it before," says Perdomo.

"I felt like a tall blonde woman in the middle of Shanghai."

Perdomo also tried his hand a winter recreational activity somewhat more common among Karlstad residents: ice fishing.

"All I caught was a cold," he quips.

However, Perdomo found his heart thumping when he ventured into the nearby Värmland woods to witness another Swedish winter sports spectacle he calls "the most amazing experience of my life".

The transformational experience? Watching Rally Sweden, an annual auto racing competition held every February in Värmland.

"After watching it on TV for 20 years, the chance to see these cars barrelling through the trees at 100 km/h was just awesome," he says.

With the snow melting, Perdomo is looking forward to getting back out onto Lake Vänern, but this time on a boat.

"The lake is my favourite thing here in Karlstad. It's just a short walk from the city centre, and when you're there, it's like you've come out to the middle of nowhere. It's so peaceful. It's like being in a picture postcard of Swedish nature," he says.

Another Karlstad-area gem, according to Perdeomo, is the nearby Bryngfjordan Bike Park, which turns a popular ski hill into a mountain biking paradise during the summers.

As home to Karlstad University and its steady stream of Erasmus exchange students from across Europe, Karlstad is also a place where Perdomo has been able to connect with other foreigners.

"Socializing in Sweden is a bit different, however, and it's something I'm still getting used to," he explains.

While saddling up to a bar for a beer by yourself is common in Barcelona, and often leads to spontaneous conversations and new friends, Perdomo has found the practice yields a different reaction in Sweden.

"When you go for a drink by yourself here, people assume you are an alcoholic and have no social life," he says.

In addition to busying himself with Swedish language classes at SFI, Perdomo is focusing a lot of energy on his business idea to introduce electric "tuk-tuk" auto rickshaws to Sweden.

"These cars are 100 percent electric and Swedes are really into green and environmentally friendly transport," he explains.

Story continues below…

"Swedes also love Thailand, and these vehicles bring the charm of Thailand back to Sweden."

With the help of investors, as well as seeking funds on the crowd-funding website FundedByMe.com, Perdomo hopes to have the first set of tuk-tuks in Karlstad this summer.

"Who knows, maybe we'll eventually organized a tuk-tuk rally," he says with a laugh.

While he admits he still misses Barcelona, Perdomo is happy to call Karlstad home for now.

"Karlstad is also great because you can get to a lot of really great places in less than three hours. Olso, Gothenburg, Stockholm. It's a great road-trip starting point," he adds.

"And I really like the small-town atmosphere."

SEE ALSO: A list of The Local's past My Swedens

David Landes

Follow David Landes on Twitter

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
jobs available