Friday, December 28, 2007
So, for your own sake, keep updated on the FTM's!
FTM #1: "Thank you for existing!"
-Filipe, saying to himself about the waitress at the French Bar
Thursday, December 27, 2007
-self explanitory, Hurghada, Egypt, Nov. 23, 2007
Never eat at a place with the word "foul" in the name.
-After eating at a place called Foul Falafel, Nov. 25, 2007
"'gypt" = Egyptian for being cheated out of money
-Nov. 28, 2007
Chew softly when you eat at falafel stand.
-Nora acquired more than the shits, a chipped tooth, after finding a pebble in her falafel, Dec. 9, 2007
"I'll try anything once, with he exception of incest and Morris Dance."
-Paul the Brit, Dec. 12, 2007
"Fly with the Eagles! for tomorrow we shit with the crows."
-Quote from a RUSH flyer, a cheesy club in Dahab, Egypt, Dec. 15, 2007
"Food poisoning is good practice for child birth."
-Peter, on the pain of Nora's food poisioning, Dec. 16, 2007
"Very bold Gato added yogurt and bee honey to the above kick.:
-Description of a drink from Gato Restaurant menu, Dahab, Dec. 18, 2007
3 out of 5 male Egyptians are named Mohammad
-It's true!!!, Dec. 18, 2007
Nora learned a lesson: Don't eat the Turkish coffee grounds.
-"but they are sooo good." -N, Dec. 21, 2007
"Don't try to fart when you are getting over the shits! Seriously!"
-Peter, Dec. 24, 2007
"I had an Egyptian man's fingers in my mouth."
-Terje, after being fed by Omar Master of Sheesha, Dec. 26, 2007
"I gave birth to Omar's baby."
-Terje, the day after being fed by Omar Master of Sheesha, Dec. 27, 2007
Nora: "I'm craving crappy food!"
Peter: Why? You'll just poop it out your butt!"
-Nora on craving crappy food and Peter persuating her it's pointless, Dec. 30, 2007
Egyptians must be immune to headaches.
-On the loud noise in Cairo, Jan. 3, 2008
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Downtown Dahab, one of the many restaurants on the "strip"
While in Dahab, we decided to upgrade our housing. We moved out of the three dollar a day hut. The thin foam "mattress" on the concrete slab is really only quaint for a short while. We moved down the strip, our friend Brian called it the 'burbs since it was a good 10 min walk, everything else in Dahab is usually under 5 min. Sunsplash hotel was our new home.
Our beach cabin, the water is 15 meters to the left
We fell asleep every night to the wind and the waves and woke every morning to amazing sunrises. It was our first, and possibly, only beach house.
Monday, December 24, 2007
T'was the night before Christmas and all through Dahab,
Not a creature was stirring, not even the mouse Peter caught with his bare hands and set free a half kilometer down the beach and who then came back to eat a package of non-hydrogenated choco biscuits.
The galabia were hung in ElAsalah Village with care,
In hopes that Mohammad soon would be there.
The little Bedouin girls who sold bracelets were nestled snug in their beds,
While visions of rich tourists and their money danced in their heads.
And Nora in her sarong and I in my Mizuno,
had just settled down for long winter snuzo.
When out in the beach there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the mattress on the floor to see what was the matter.
Away from the cabin I flew like a Central Mass Strider,
Tore open the mosquito net and the door besid'er.
The moon on the edge of the Red Sea did behold,
The luster of mid-day to the plastic bottles scattered to and fro.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a pick-up truck taxi and eight mangy goats, my dear!
With a Bedouin driver, O in his fancy horned "Geep,"
I knew in a moment that this ride wouldn't be cheap.
More rapid than camels his promises came,
"Best Prices, Best Fabric!!"
No, dude, they're all the same!
Now Ahmed, now Sala, Peter and Shahla,
On Brian and Josh, on Jason, on Sam and Carmella.
Salam Alaikum, Salam Alaikum, Salam Alaikum to the rest of the crew at Yalla.
Now Riga, now Hamburg, now Buda and Pest.
On to Krakow, to Oslo, to Chamonix and the rest.
To the top of the Baltics, where the snow did fall,
We've seen it, we've done it, we've loved them all!
As dry leaves in Europe did fall to the ground,
We met with Arnuad and Emile and their advice was so sound!
So, up to the atmosphere our backpacks they flew,
"To Egypt!" we said, "Warmth, and pyramids, too!"
And then in a thud I heard on the plywood roof,
The clumsy clunking of camel toe hooves.
As I drew back my Kalashnikov and turned it around,
I was struck by the vision now staring me down!
He was dressed all in Egyptian cotton, from his sandals to his Arafat,
And there was soot on his lips from where his sheesha pipe had sat.
A bundle of memories he soon flung in my face,
And he appeared like a magician when he made me look back on this sojourn and each place.
My eyes how they twinkled! My memories so Merry!
Our new friends are like roses! The adventures sweet as guava!
More exotic than cherry.
Our trip, little in September, was drawn into more,
And exploring Egypt made it worthwhile, we are sure.
We had no set plans to hold tight while we wander,
But relied on new friends and their information of yonder.
We came to Hurghada, shop owners all yellie.
We found the resort town yucky and smelly.
It was Sinai and Dahab our destination or bust,
The snorkeling, the desert, the mountain all a must.
A glimpse of the beach, our small bungalow,
Gave us a calm from our head to our toe.
We spend many a night among our mates so wise,
Laughing and enjoying the world though their eyes.
And laying to rest with the sea as our song we give
Thanks to the many who have dared to come along.
To everyone everywhere.
At home and far from sight,
And to all a goodnight!
Peter and Nora
Baltic Sea in Latvia
Tallinn, Estonia at night
Boat Ride in Hurghada
Egyptian Red Sea Reefs from the air
Monday, December 17, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
After our time watching a prostitute bash a man over the head with a chair in Vilnius, Lithuania, hanging out at the French Bar (La Belle Epoch) with a lot of Spaniards and one Brazilian in Riga, Latvia, working at a Hostel with No Name as chefs and cleaners in Tallinn, Estonia, getting great deals on thrift store clothes in Helsinki, Finland and getting sick of the cold weather we found an inexpensive ticket to Hurghada, Egypt. Saw the Suez Canal, and are currently working at a bar as bartenders and making Egyptian wages (don't even ask! enough to cover our $3 a day bungallow on the beach) in Dahab, Sinai. The weather is amazing and the snorkeling and diving in the Red Sea is considered the best in the world.
More adventures and photos to come!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
bonding over some Pivo in the streets of Krakow.
Ben watching out for the local police
Hiding our drinks in Ben's jacket he got at the second hand store where you buy things according to weight. A Polish woman costs a lot.
Peter is considering trading in the Volvo for this ride.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Back to the hostel, we meet Ben our other roommate Ben from Australia.
The four of us go out that night to a local brewpub, but not before Ben and Peter remind Daniel "Don't forget your bitch hat". We order the big glass...
The beer is good, the company is funny.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
-Nora "so Peter the tickets to Prague are 58 euro, right?"
-Peter "yes the bus leaves tonight at 7:00"
2:34 outside of the Euroline office.
-Nora "look there is a sign that says we can go to Krakow for only 56 euro"
-Peter "What a deal! We get more kilometers for our Euro!"
2:36 inside the Euroline ticket office.
-Peter "Two tickets to Krakow please!"
It is amazing how things can change in 4 min...
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
Saturday, October 6, 2007
We flew from Oslo Torp (120 k outside of Oslo) to Frankfurt Hahn (110 k east of Frankfurt). I believe that it should be called Luxembourg Hahn because that is how far east it is. Our flight arrived at midnight and we were without a bed to sleep in. Thank god for the free market system for there was a HUGE sign for the Advance Hotel. 45 euro a night for two, free Internet, use of sauna, free airport pickup AND a toll free phone number. A toll free phone number is unheard of here in Europe. We call and 15 min later Andreas comes with the black Advance Hotel mini van. We are driven though the night to a small town called Büchenbeuren, 3.1 km from the airport. We went to sleep happy in this quiet town in our beds on Hauptstrasse 35. The next morning we opened the shades and were treated to an amazing view of the German countryside. Green rolling hills, apple orchards and farmers working in their fields. This quickly helped us decide to stay in Buchenbeuren for a few more days.
Peter was particularly excited when we found out that the only store in town was the supermarket this would give us a constant supply of German brew, though not on Sundays since the country seems to shut down on the lord's day. This made our stay complete, we now have all we need, though the hotel workers could not understand why we wanted to stay and kept trying to get us to take the bus to Frankfurt. They were not aware of Peter's quest to taste some of the best beer that Germany has to offer. The small market did not disappoint and not only did all the beer adhere to the Reinheitsgebot law, or German Beer Purity law (originally enacted in 1516), which permits only four ingredients in the beverage: water, hops, barley, and yeast, it was also super cheap! Let the tasting commence.
We did not drink all day as the previous paragraph may allude to. We walked through the countryside, found some blackberries for desert. Watched a wedding procession, saw the farmers hard at work and enjoyed some good German cookies. Perfection.
We spent most of the day enjoying the sun and the view seated on the edge of this field. We fell in love with Buchenburen and all it had to offer. You often don't need modern buildings, tourist attractions and souvenir shops to be magical. Peter went for a run that night. When he came home he announced that he was inspired by this place. He felt like he could run forever, something that his body has not allowed him to do in sometime. We celebrated with a good meal, desert of blackberries with cream, and a sauna.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
In Norway, at the Rimi 1000, I was faced with a conundrum; Whale. Or as it will now be referred to, Beluga. We were assured by our Norwegian friends that this beluga in the freezer section was not the happy beluga we donated our pennies to in school during "save the whale" campaigns. So the dilemma I faced was not one related to Greenpeace, I simply did not know if I ate whale! It is a mammal, but it falls into the no legged sea creature category...Well when in Norway...
We had a feast our last night in town. We were joined by Christer, another fine Norseman who only solidifed our love for the people here. He is a kind and curious soul who loved to share stories and ideas with us. One of the main courses was the aforementioned Beluga. I can say that it does not taste like chicken or warm apple pie. It was more like a very tough red meat with a fishy aftertaste. I would not want it everyday, but I am glad that we tried it at least.
Turkish pebber shots,and lots of laughter that lasted long into the cold night.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
The woods were also home to ancient Norse Viking burial mounds. I, myself, am a Packers fan, but found them awing none the less. We ran often in the woods along the trails used by those ancient men. The locals thought us to be a bit crazy with scraped up legs, muddy shorts and smiling red faces. burrial ground
One of the beautiful things about couch surfing is that you get to see how life really is in a country. The small everyday things that you miss while meeting Australians and Canadians in hostel common rooms. The one touristy thing we did was to visit the sculpture park. We went with our host Terje as he decided to skip classes once again and spend the day with us. Tejre and Nora skipping class
The sculpture park was commissioned by the city of Oslo in hopes the perfect park would be created. The artist, Gustav Vigeland, was told that his budget was endless, and he could have as much time as he wished. He took 40 years of his life to create the plans for this park. Each bridge, tree planted, sculpture, and fountain was of his design. He never got to see his work come to fruition in that he died before it all came off his paper and into reality. Walking though the trees and fields is like being in a museum. It was as intricate as a puzzle and I wondered if there were secrete messages hidden in the carvings and sculptures. Sitting in the sun by the fountain does make you think of the message the artist was trying to convey, the journey of life. Fountain by Gustav Vigeland
We did in fact also go into a museum but that was only so that Peter could use the bathroom. That was our time being a tourist in Oslo.
Terje is a creative soul who is constantly looking for a new opportunity to create something. To do this he is need of a constant supply of art supplies. He finds most of them at the Salvation Army. He mentioned our first day there that he may be taking a trip to this store at some point. I am guessing that at the delight that lit up in our eyes at this prospect, Terje felt that he had come across two kindred spirits. It seems that since people in Norway are so well off they donate extremely nice things to the poor, like us!. We went to two stores all together. We purchased two hand made Scandinavian sweaters for 15 usd each. We had almost bought one in town the day before that was more than twice as much and less than twice the quality. All together we found some amazing, non touristy items, glassware, pewter, plates, and warm clothing that will last us into the future. We vowed that after this we would be on the look out for other second hand stores in future countries.
Some of the other non touristy things we experienced in Oslo via Tejre and Alec:
-Going to the recycling center. Norway is years ahead of the US, well most of the world is, in this respect. We were happy to be around so many green minded folks.
-Going to the supermarket Rimi 1000 and trying to find the cheapest things. Surprisingly this was not eggs as they were $5.00 for a dozen. But cabbage and orange juice were not too bad.
-Being a secrete shopper with Tejre. He gets paid to shop at gas stations and rate their service and sandwich making abilities. He used to work for McDonald's but he gave too many good ratings and he got taken off that account.
-Learning all about life in the Norwegian army. They have compulsory military service. Alec used to be a royal palace guard. We quickly learned this is not glamours, it is quite boring.
-Going on a beer run that turned into a mission of stealing apples from peoples yards. A game that Tejre had not played since he was a young lad.
-Trying to learn Norwegian by watching American television with Norwegian subtitles. Many young people in Norway have an amazing grasp of the English language, this may be a reason why. It is sad that we pump all our trashy television to the world.
-Sharing books and our love of them. I was able to read two books while curled up on the Ikea monsters.
-Going to Max Bo, a home depotesque store, to eat free pancakes with jam, blue raspberry slushies, and take free samples of wall paper.
Museums are great. to pee in.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Off we went to Oslo. But actually we landed in Torp, 120K outside of Oslo, that's what you get for a € 0.01 flight. A dirty trick, as you have to pay your life savings to take a bus to get into the city of Oslo. We quickly found out how expensive Oslo was as it took $8USD EACH to ride the local bus the 15 Kilometers to Terje's apartment. This was only 3 stops outside of the Oslo city limits. I was missing the MBTA, even with their fare hike.
Terje's Apartment + Not bad for a student, ehhh!?
After spending 40 times more to take a bus to Oslo than the flight we just took to get there, we got off at a dark bus stop and waited for no longer than 30 seconds before a tall dark figure come around the corner and waves to us. "Hey, you must be Terje!" I said. "Well, close enough," he responded. His name is pronounced Tee-ara, who knew!? He took us to his 5th floor loft apartment, an immaculately decorated place where the "IKEA is slowly being fazed out", according to Terje. The Salvation Army thrift store was the new decor designer of choice. We talked for 2 hour and became good friends instantly.
Terje's roommated, Alek, arrived home from work at the "old folks home" and sat and talked with us for another couple of hours. "I work at the old folks home. How do you say it in English?" That's exactly how you say it in English, I replied!
A little tired from our long days journey and hours of talking, we made our bed....or couches, rather. The comfy white IKEA monsters!
The next day.....
Terje told us a story about a rather embarrassing incident that took place in the Fjord of Oslo:
Once upon a time (a couple of years ago), an unidentified Norwegian man spotted a frolicking porpoise in the Oslo Fjord and decided to be friendly and join HIM for a swim. The innocent swimmer learns that the porpoise is a HIM when he becomes starry eyed and hearts begin to erupt from his head (see diagram). The happy porpoise gets excited from the man's petting and becomes erect. The porpoise's erection becomes lodged in the unwilling swimmers shorts (what are the odds of that happening!?) and is dragged down underwater to his near drowning. Luckily the man was able to get his shorts off before he met his death and swim, naked, gasping and violated, to shore. The man's name was published in the local newspaper and the following diagram was created to show eager minds what had taken place between the unaware swimmer and the sexual offending porpoise. WARNING: Explicit cartoon rendering!
Forsøkt voldtatt av kjærlig delfin
"Dolphins are considered to be amongst the most intelligent of animals and their often friendly appearance and seemingly playful attitude have made them popular in human culture." - Cited from Wikipedia, a reliable source, but not in this case!
"Its beautiful in its simplicity...works in any language."