Wash your hands!

Picture from Courtney Lee Simpson's Facebook

Picture from Courtney Lee Simpson’s Facebook

“To all my teacher friends this is the grossest yet coolest experiment. I did this while teaching about germs and how they spread. You use three pieces of bread. You let all the kids see you put a piece of bread in a baggy with a glove on hence “controlled” then you wash your hands and put a piece of bread in a baggy for “clean” last but definitely not least you pass a piece of bread around and let every kid in class touch it then you put it in a baggy and label it dirty. Watch how the bread changes over time due to germs. It is so cool and a great way to teach the importance of hand washing :-)”
Courtney Lee Simpson

We’re now in Egypt, a country very well known for “tourist diarrhea”, meaning people getting sick from food, or from not washing their hands before eating. In our daypack and handbag there’s always a bottle of hand sanitizer and some wet wipes so we’re able to wash our hands before eating or touching food.

That’s just one of the tips we got from reading Five Dollar Traveller’s blogpost about street food in Asia.

Keeping our hands clean while travelling

Keeping our hands clean while travelling

We’ve also loaded up with supplements from Mannatech, to keep the stomach’s natural bacteria in shape – about 70% of our immune system is in our GI-tract. And we got some CitroPlus from our friends, should any stomach problems occur.

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AO, NutriVerus, GI Pro and CitroPlus

And every now and then a Jägermeister or Underberg does the trick 😉

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Underberg

// Anders & Wivan

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Welcome to Egypt

There is so much to say, and write, about our first week in Cairo. So much, and still so few words.

Our internet connection is far from steady. It works, from time to time, and we are glad it actually works at all since the area we’re staying in is far from finished building. Fact is, there are empty lots just around the corner and several neighbouring houses have a loooong way to go before they’re done. We could write ‘ loooong way to go before someone can live there’, but that would be a lie. People actually do live in what looks like building grounds or sceletons of a house. Behind some curtains people are sleeping, they use simple toilets out on the street and cook their food over an open fire or a grill.

So, we’re lucky to have internet working, we’re more than lucky to live in a nice apartment with a small garden, a fully equipped kitchen, great shower, hot and cold water from the tap, comfortable furniture, an outdoor jacuzzi, television, pool table, Play Station… Well, a perfectly modern, comfortable home. In here we’re safe, keep warm and get to eat and drink whatever we wish every day.

After a day down town Cairo we’re even more aware of the conditions people live under here. And the ones living in the building sites around the corner from us are not the ones moving in when the houses are done – it’s usually the builders and their families living on the site while building.

So, we’re taking care of the place and a small dog and two fishes while the owners are away. A perfect house/pet sit for us – sunshine every day, around 20 degrees Celsius and possibilities to go around and explore the area and the local culture while being here.

Honestly though, the exploring part is challenging. Just to get places by taxi is an adventure – there seem to be no rules whatsoever. Really.
We thought French traffic was fast, a bit rough and hard to get in to. Now, French roads seem like a dream!

Sometimes people drive against the traffic in roundabouts, you simply drive where there is a free spot… It doesn’t matter if that’s in the opposite lane or what. There are no traffic lights; so if you’re going into a crossing the appropriate thing would be to honk the horn to signal “stay out of my way”, sort of.

We’ve made trips to different shopping malls, both local ones and one very “American”, Festival City, a huge mall with Ikea, H&M, Starbucks, Carrefour, Costa Coffee, Gant, Mango, Victoria’s Secret, Samsonite and lots and lots more.
Yesterday’s trip was to Cairo Tower. One of Cairo’s famous sights, and a good place to get a view of the city from 187 meters up in the sky. After the visit to the tower, we went for a walk and were “greeted” by quite a few people wanting to sell things, invite us to their friend’s souvenir shop, offer us a boat ride on the Nile, someone even tried to scare us by saying it wasn’t safe for us to walk in a specific area… and should we have stopped he’d invited us to his friend’s store or offer a taxi ride or something.

You know what’s really frustrating about this? That some of those people have taken on a role play to trick tourists into their game – they might say they’re a doctor, not some seller on the street, or they might start the conversation by saying ‘I don’t want any tips, I just want to talk to you and give some advice’. So it’s gone beyond “Do you need a taxi?”, or “I have beautiful souvenirs you can buy”, instead some are trying to convince us of their “innocence” and how trustworthy they are so we can rely on their advice and expertise.

For a couple of Swedes like us, who value being truthful and living honestly, it’s new and rather frustrating not to be able to trust the ones we meet, and to walk around wondering if we’ve been fooled again. This actually makes it hard to take in what the city is really about, instead we wanted to get out of there and go back home.

These experiences are ones we had never thought of when going here, and nothing we could have understood without actually being here. One of the things we like with travelling is to learn more about the world, about us and about life. That’s what’s happening right now.

// Anders & Wivan

Swedish fika

Ever felt a craving for a cup of coffee or tea at around three o’clock in the afternoon?

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Coffee and pain au chocolat + some extra chocolate

Well, you might be Swedish without even knowing it!

See, most Swedes cherish their “fika” (coffee break) almost as much as a full three week vacation. That time of relaxing, a small chat and something to nibble on really is worth a lot to many of us.

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Morning "fika" outside, with some tea and cold water

Usually, it would be a cup of coffee and a sandwich at 10 am, and a cup of coffee and something sweet at 3 pm. But, as most cultures in the world, also Sweden has had some changes over the last… Decades. So it could also be a healthy smoothie or a fruit as the morning fika, and maybe a rye sandwich, a fruit, yoghurt or something totally different in the afternoon.

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We like good coffee and travel with this Italian Bialetti coffee maker

Oh, “holy” as many people still see the coffee/tea break, there really are no rules around how to do it – it just sort of has to be. Let’s just say that when it’s Friday, lots of work places have an afternoon break with some home made sweets together with a chat over a cup. And if someone quits their job, it’s sort of expected of that person to serve the former colleagues something little extra as a good bye-gesture. What’s your favourite fika? And at what time do you serve it?

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Hot cocoa and raisin buns at the market

The new New

Suddenly in Cairo, Egypt. Suddenly in a new environment, new (to us) culture. Suddenly, and again, in a new setting of people, new aquantencies, new subjects of discussion and again a new home, a new pet, almost everything totally new to us and yet still at home, still together, still at peace.

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Sunshine and blue sky

Sitting in bed at night, trying to grasp all that has happened the last 36 hours; flights, friends, airports, hotel, sleep, staying awake, new people, new places, new bed and… It’s so much to take in, much to learn and catch, many, many things. Inspiring, tiring, scaring, laughing, leaning, listening, seeing, hearing, waring, eating.

It’s all ours. It’s all us. It’s all here. It’s all now.

We know nothing about next. Nothing about tomorrow. Noting about later. It’s all here. It’s all now, new.

The New New

Suddenly in Cairo, Egypt. Suddenly in a new environment, new (to us) culture. Suddenly, and again, in a new setting of people, new aquantencies, new subjects of discussion and again a new home, a new pet, almost everything totally new to us and yet still at home, still together, still at peace.

Sitting in bed at night, trying to grasp all that has happened the last 36 hours; flights, friends, airports, hotel, sleep, staying awake, new people, new places, new bed and… It’s so much to take in, much to learn and catch, many, many things. Inspiring, tiring, scaring, laughing, leaning, listening, seeing, hearing, waring, eating.

It’s all ours. It’s all us. It’s all here. It’s all now.

We know nothing about next. Nothing about tomorrow. Noting about later. It’s all here. It’s all now, new.

Cairo baby, yeah!

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Check in at Toulouse airport

We left “our” little village at 10.30 Wednesday morning, got a ride to the airport and now, about 17 hours later we’re settling down in our hotel room we’re staying in until our new house sit hosts pick us up late afternoon.

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Toulouse airport

It’s been a good time with a layover in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Ladies room in Istanbul airport

We had dinner at the airport in Istanbul, a surprisingly good meal and a great waiter who picked up on Wivan’s interest in drawing…

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Oh yes! We got color pencils

And, except for the mouse picture we also got some blank sheets and made a little Christmas card for our waiter, Umut.

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Christmas greeting made at the dinner table

We’ve been well taken care of from the moment we entered Cairo airport and are very comfortable in our luxurious room at the Dusit Thani hotel in New Cairo.

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Chillaxing before going to bed

//Anders and Wivan

Oh, we almost forgot! On the plane from Toulouse to Istanbul we met Jeff, a new international friend who’s on his way home to the Phillipines over the holidays. When life is giving you good surprises – enjoy them!

Anders, Wivan and Jeff arrived in Istanbul

Anders, Wivan and Jeff arrived in Istanbul

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Airport survival kit