29 Dec 2011
The Turkish coffee is thick, hot, with a strong aroma and it makes my senses sing and my happiness index to hit new levels. Turkish coffee is prepared with love. Turkish coffee, thanks for bringing me back to life!!!
But, just like many museums also in Europe, they miss an opportunity to tell a great story. The museums here basically just put everything in monsters and then there is a little sign saying what it is in as few words as possible.
I find it boring and not money well spent, old rocks I have seen before, it's old rocks. Or church doors or sarcophaguses or whatever it may be. What I want to see is not that, what I want to see how the things were used, hear the story about a potential use, see the families before me, maybe even smell the smells, hear the sounds from the streets, the master addressing his slave, the dinner being cooked, the funerals prepared, the mummies being wrapped. Or the grave diggers and plunderers climbing up the pyramids, hearing the bats swooshing around their heads, a lonely dog howling somewhere in the darkness, far out there, on a late and slightly cold night, when you hear the wind swooping between the pyramids making that special sound that sounds like a humming...
In Hong Kong I visited the Historical museum, and that is an amazing experience, and 1000 times more interesting than what you see here, Hong Kong have a lot to teach us. It's no wonder so many people find museums boring. There is no LIFE. And how can you miss the life in a country so full of history, like Egypt?!?
Tell me the stories.
I don't need listings, I need drama!
27 Dec 2011
And imagine my surprise (or "dream about my surprise" as we would say in Swedish) when I get to Tahrir square in Cairo, the square where they have had so much trouble - all the demonstrations, and so forth (don't tell my mum that I have been staying not far from that area...), and I run into a restaurant called Tahrir Table, a Swedish restaurant.
So in Egypt I am sitting down, eating Swedish Christmas food! OK, not the ham, but turkey is as good as the typical Swedish Christmas ham.
Really enjoying it!
And the staff as well as the owners are wonderful too! I like this place!
And I admit it, the view over Tharir square is also pretty exciting!
But need to come back here regardless - curious about all the dishes!
26 Dec 2011
Oh, and a warm pyjamas, as many hotels don't have heating. I came prepared, I have my hot water bottle too.
And I'm fascinated with the city and haven't slept this well in weeks!
22 Dec 2011
AND DON'T WORRY - you can click on it, there are no pics of women in the video, it just looks like it on the introoduction screen
Except for one thing, he says that women know that we look good and therefor you don't need to point it out. This is not right, there is nothing better than feeling appreciated.
Take his advice on overkill though...
And confidence - yep, that is good, but it needs to be on the right level. But there really isn't anything as unsexy as a man who appologises for everything and is afraid of making a mistake all the time. On the other hand it is a total turn-off with a man who also never listens.
21 Dec 2011
althought you can't quite see it on the photo...
Typical Gothenburg Christmas weather here in Germany, except we don't have the same wind, the wind that goes through everything.
What we do have though is a few degrees above freezing, and dark and cold and rain, it's like a thick wet rug that has been pulled over the city, making everything miserable.
Although one should not complain in Germany, we also have the wonderful Christmas markets and Glühwein (mulled wine).
And even if it's dark and miserable - today is the darkest day, the shortest day of the year, and already tomorrow it will start to get lighter again. Step by step, little by little the light is going to slowly return, and I am longing!
16 Dec 2011
Dear God, never let me get ill in Germany! I don't need to get my money worth of health care, I'd rather pay and never use - please!!!
You KNOW how impatient I get when I have to wait for ridiculous things. It is far better for world peace if I never have to use the system!
(glasses, going to the dentist, these are exceptions that I can take. But don't let me ever have to go to the doctor for anything else! Especially not when they have to cut you, I learned today that for that you also have to go separately to the doctor to sign a note that you don't have any allergies... One would have thought they could combine the two, especially when it's just a tiny little thing and not something you need general anaesthetic for...))
Oh dear me. Germany. Where everything has to be complicated (although to be fair: I've been very good at avoiding the worst, my German colleagues keep being amazed that I can get some things done so fast - but I guess it's because I don't expect to wait. And therefore don't settle with it...)
12 Dec 2011
Must learn to take it easy but among things I don't do so well is cook for one...
Germans are seriously using their health care system (which I can in a way understand as it is so darn expensive, and it is a cost that is ADDED on top of the tax - at least in Sweden we pay much tax but everything is included, in Germany we pay as much tax (or more) and then we have to pay extra for a lot of things. So I guess it makes sense that they run to the doctor all the time, you want to get value for your money, right? But I also have the feeling that the Germans always think that they are dying, because it seems many of them have a subscription for doctor's appointments... I really don't get how they have time. (OK, in some cases you have to, because you have to have a doctor's note if you are ill more than 3 days, so if you are ill ill then you need to drag yourself to Herr Doctor, but otherwise?!?).
I have never used the German health care system, as I was never ill. Well, I have been to the dentist for my checkup and cleaning, but that's it. But now I have a little thing on my leg that I want removed, I thought it would be a simple process Go in, cut it away, and it is done with. Don't EVER think that it is that simple. I just want to call someone and go and have it removed. NOT in Germany.
I asked the "hausarzt" - the general practitioner if you like - that I didn't even have, just got for this - if they could do it and the receptionist said "yes of course". Obviously she didn't get what I meant, it apparently didn't even exist in her world that someone could even ask about the process being fast and simple. The german way IS the way to someone who never saw anything else. I used to be the same with Sweden, we are all biased.
When I got to the doctor he more or less laughed at me, and wrote a little note for me to go to a specialist. Took 2 minutes. And that was including the questions the doctor has to ask - any allergies, any medicines and so forth (although to be honest I don't get why he needed to know that considering he is not removing my little spot anyhow).
And now I have to call this other doctor to get a time. Turns out that also not that doctor will be able to do it straight away, but he will have to take a look (less than 10 minutes), and I will have to sign some paper and then I have to book another time to go and have it removed.
Sod it, the thingy stays. three doctors' appointments for a couple of little knots in my skin - I don't have time to waste on such stupid things and I don't have time to sit and wait on the phone for a time either. Because of course there is no automated system, there is no email and no web booking. There is only telephone. And my time is more valuable than that!
And my little knots are cosmetical, in the way but no danger, nothing hindering me, so they stay.
Or maybe I should just sterilize a knife and cut it off myself... ;-)
(No, I'll have it done when I am somewhere else where they can fix it straight away).
HOW do you do it, Germans, how to you have time to go to the doctor? How do you have time to be ill?
9 Dec 2011
Strange things about cooking in other countries, or even more so: Baking.
The ingredients are not always quite the same, or the packages aren't. Where the Swedish package has one size, the German may have another one. Yeast for baking is one example, a Swedish package of yeast is 50 g, while the German standard seems to be 47 gram. Or was that 37? I don't remember, used up the yeast ye(a)sterday...But you have to adjust accordingly.
A package of saffron is traditionally 0,5 g in Sweden. In Germany it seems to vary, where I got mine the last time it was 0,125 (not that it mattered, I had some of the Swedish, although still didn't remember to put enough of it in). Yes, I was making the traditional Swedish saffron buns, the type you do for Christmas, yesterday.
Other examples: The salt is more finely grounded in Sweden than in Germany, while the sugar is more finely grinded here, typically (caster sugar that is - "strösocker" - the German version is more powdery, although of course there is powder sugar too, just like in Sweden). None of it really matter from a cooking perspective, it is just different. Although in the beginning I couldn't be sure if it was sugar or salt just by looking at it, as the sugar crystals are too small here, in Sweden I could see that with the bare eye. And yes, I know, you can just taste it and you will know, but it is FUN to be able to see it too.
And I don't normally follow recipes very well anyhow, but go on feel, taste and smell, but still, it causes confusion.
And if you are baking in America it is supposedly even more tricky, specially with yeast, as yeast may die if it is too draughty - and with air condition it may just not work! Plus there is that thing about temperatures, and sometimes the air pressure may also make a mess out of your baking, especially if you are on high altitudes, as water (and other liquids) boil at different temperatures and sometimes you need that chemical reaction to be started through boiling etc.
Oh well, it is an interesting topic! I'd love to hear about your experiences of differences between countries and regions!
8 Dec 2011
Got to love it.
SERIOUSLY? If my line was busy it is probably - since it is my own line, my direct line - because I am talking, right? And seriously, if I am talking, do you really think another number would help? I may have two ears but I only have one brain and one mouth, I am not going to try and hold two conversations in parallel...
Call me later, that is all I can say. C A L L me L A T E R.
On the same number, preferrably.
Seriously, I find this very amusing...
I am not too bothered specifically about the Christmas days (24-26) but more about the whole month.
Getting the lights up for 1 of advent, the rest of the decorations for December 13, seeing friends for Swedish Glühwein - Glögg, being cosy and warm at home. Adore if. I love the smell of cinnamon, love the smell of oranges with whole cloves pinned through the peel, love the wonderful feeling that something big is coming. Chrismas has become what I always wished it would be, something nice, peaceful, lovely.
But then again as I have gotten a bit wiser I have learned what really frustrates me and makes me miserable, and I have learned to avoid it. I don't shop, I don't throw myself head first into the crowds, I only cook and prepare what I feel like cooking and preparing, and that way I really get to enjoy Christmas. And I like to spend time on my own, I am surrounded by people so much of my time that it is really nice to sometimes just get away, sit with a good book, something good to eat, and just - just ENJOY. And that is what I plan to do Christmas eve, the most important day to a Swede, traditionally. And it is important. It is not just any day, it is an important day, and I will celebrate. I will just celebrate MY way, and not someone elses way. And I don't care if people go out partying. If there is one day I will never ever ever party, it is Christmas eve. Christmas eve is is my day. Christmas eve is a peaceful day. Christmas eve is not a day for going to the pub getting drunk. Christmas eve is a sacred day for me, Christian or not, on Christmas eve I want to relax. And just BE!
7 Dec 2011
Because we are not talking "tired", not even "tired so my face says nothing" or the next level "I'm tired and lost my face so I may look a bit annoyed", we are talking "If you so much as look at me I'll bite your head off and feed the rest of you to the wolves"-grim.
Yes, I know it is winter and I know it is dark, and I know it's not all that uplifting. And I miss all the lights you have in the windows in Sweden from December 1 or 1:st of Advent, which ever comes first. The Germans have the Christmas markets but not much changes in terms of lights in the windows (unless the Germans have been to Sweden or at least to IKEA). But life gets so much easier if you can at least smile from time to time.
Everybody must have at least something good in their life, something that they can smile about? I'll do my best to find a reason, and if I can be the reason for someone else to smile, then I'll be happy.
We need colour, we need smiles, we need to get through this dark season!
5 Dec 2011
(Side note: Keep your coffee in the fridge and buy small quantities but more often, the beans have some fat in them and the taste stays better if they are in the fridge - but still, small quantities and more often instead and you get the best coffee. Or freeze it, that works really well too).
Anyhow: Had to get to the coffee shop this morning so I worked from home until they opened, and then I headed down.
Except now I now have to go through a special kind of torture... My whole office smells absolutely adorable of this fantastic amazing coffee - and in the office the coffee is something very different from what I just bought. AHHHRRRRRGGGG
When I got to Hong Kong I was met by this, turns out that in Hong Kong, November is the Wine & Dine month, with various events across town. It's different events at different times, so it's not a monthly festival that goes on everywhere all the time - but it is really a collection of various events here and there.
One could almost think that it had been set up specifically for me, right? Much better then when I ended up in Dubai for the Shopping Festival, which is in January, and everywhere. I don't like shopping, shopping is advanced torture for me (not that I don't buy stuff but I do it out of necessity, not as a pleasure). But I AM a foodie, so Wine and Dine was perfect for me.
Now I did mainly stick to local food this time around but I plan to come back and do the fancy side of Hong Kong eating too - this city has so much to offer! And November is a good time to visit, later on it will be too chilly and earlier it can be really hot - and Hong Kong is humid, which means its even tougher.
Yes, Hong Kong I'll return to, after such a welcoming. A festival suiting me perfect. The only issue is, I guess, that you had to know about it and go look for it, or you would have missed it, but then again I met people in Hong Kong that hadn't been able to find any good food. But guess what, they were westerners that hadn't dared to step out of their comfort zone. The westernised chains will be as uninteresting in Hong Kong as elsewhere.
My first rule: If the restaurant doesn't seem to have any locals, don't go there.
My second rule: If you can't see any of the food on someone's plate: Don't go for food, just have a drink, the others probably know what they are doing.
Third: If you can see others eating, look and see if what they have appeals to you or at least looks appealing. You don't need to have the same thing that they are having (although when no one speaks a language you understand that may sometimes be the solution), but at least you will know if the restaurant is serious about food or not.
And then there are a bunch of other tricks too, but start above and you'll soon get the knack when it comes to finding good places!
Oh, and remember the street food! The locals normally know how to prepare the street food. It's the European style food that can be trickier....
Still don't get how people manage to be in Hong Kong without finding good food?!?
1 Dec 2011
I am very lucky, I have a mix of friends, both international and Germans, but almost all my German friends originally come from another part of Germany, and not from here, not from the Düsseldorf area. Germans that have lived abroad, or at least changed areas. My German friends are all amazing. But there aren't that many or that easy to get German friends.
The reason is simple. Germans move a lot less than people in many other parts of at least western Europe. When the Germans buy houses they buy for life, and if they move they often rent it out, it is rare that they sell - but most of the time they stay for life. Yes, you are right, there are Germans that move, but I am talking about the average German. Germans stay in the same place, and further more, they stick with the friends they have known since they were little kids.
sometimes I get the feeling that the Germans stay friends with their childhood friends just because they feel obliged to though. Sometime I consider to be a close friend but I have only known for a few couple of years talks about his best mate, his best friend. But when I ask about the best friend I am told that they see each other around 5 times per year, and that they live totally different lives.
In my world the best friend is the person you can more or less share everything with, the one person that you would call in the middle of the night if you had a problem, the person you can sit and be quiet with a whole evening without feeling that it is awkward, the person who sees you when you have problems and still loves you like a brother or sister. The person who accepts you for who you are, the person who you would do anything for and the person who you are not afraid to share your pain with.
Not the person you have known the longest.
But it is clear that I won't ever have a German best friend. I wonder if a German will even ever call me a close friend? I call some Germans close friends.