Passport challenge: India

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Namaste folks!

Todays passport challenge brings us to the mystical subcontinent India! Aww I got lots to say about India 😀

First of all – Wikipedia check:

 

 

The South Asian country of India includes a peninsula extending into the Indian Ocean, and it is a land of great contrasts in geography. The barren, snow-capped Himalaya, the world’s tallest mountain system, rises along its northern border. South of the Himalaya, the low, fertile Ganges Plain is India’s most populous region. The Great Indian Desert lies in the west, but eastern India receives some of the highest rainfall in the world during the monsoon season (June to October). India is second only to China in country population but India is growing faster (by some 17 million a year) and may surpass China by 2030. Although 81 percent of the people are Hindu, India also has more than 138 million Muslims—one of the world’s largest Muslim populations.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about India, is the food. I LOVE indian food. The only takeout I order. My boyfriend is Nepali, and although he’d disagree, nepali and indian people are pretty close concerning the food and the culture. (Don’t tell him I said that!) so we got a rice cooker at home and I cook nepalese or indian food at least once a week. I thought I’d share my favourite curry recipe. ♥ So yummy.

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So gaaaaawwwd

The next thing you got to think about is of course Bollywood. Everyone loves Bollywood 😀 Especially my boyfriend. He would always see the movies in Hindi and I don’t understand much hindi, so he always overtalks the movie with what is happening. My favourite way of seeing a movie xD Confusing but funny 🙂 My boyfriend also knows about all (and there are about a million) bollywood songs and he sings them when he is in the shower. He’s so cute.
There is one song from a Bollywood movie I really like a lot, maybe you like it too:

About the only song I know to sing entirely in hindi xD

When I read that the next passport challenge would be India I inmediatly also thought about Mehandi, the indian henna. Last time in Nepal I bought a lot of Mehandi and also Bindis so yesterday I tried to do a little Mehandi although this is at no point traditionall indian, but I think it is pretty after all 🙂

 

नमस्ते (Namaste) roughly translates to: “I bow to the God within you.”

Beautiful, huh?

 

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Passport challenge: Gabon

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Namaste folks!

It is time for another passport challenge and this time we are traveling to Africa!

Gabon here we come:

Ok, it is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I have absolutely no idea about Gabon. I know it is a country in Africa, but this is really everything. O.o So lets change that together, shall we?

Well as usually -I checked the country first on wikipedia:

 

Gabon sits on the Equator in western Africa. Oil, timber, and manganese earn this thinly settled republic one of the highest per capita incomes in Africa. However, the income is largely based on oil money going to a few—most live by subsistence farming. France gained control starting in 1839, and Libreville (Free Town), Gabon’s capital, got its name when French forces freed slaves there in 1849. With independence in 1960, it functioned mostly as a one-party state until 1991, when a new constitution brought multiparty democracy. In 2002 the country created 13 new national parks—some 11 percent of Gabon’s area—to protect its forests and wildlife from logging.

Although french is the official language in Gabon there also exist lots of regional languages as well (I found a number of 42 languages which seems really  a lot, if you consider that in Gabon live just about 1.6 million people. in Germany there live over 81 million people and we hardly manage to speak our one language properly).

One of the languages in Gabon is called Fang (yes, easy to remember, it is called just like the threeheaded dog in Harry Potter 🙂 ) and I found a nice feel good song sung in this language (at least I think it is a feel good song – No idea about the lyrics xD).

 

When it comes to gabonese cuisine – there is not much variety for lack of ressources. Gabon is a poor country, they have a coast, so seafood and fish is commmon, also coconut, chicken, rice and bananas!

Speaking of bananas, I found a pretty nice recipe for baked Bananas Gabonese stle:

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By the way, did you know – Gabon is home to 80% of Africa’s Gorilla population. It also has hundreds of dolomite and limestone caves many of which are still unexplored.

Interesting country!

 

Passport challenge: Ecuador

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Namaste folks!

The same way I discovered Denmark a couple of weeks ago I will now travel to América Latina and visit Ecuador!

¡¡¡Ayayayay!!

I have never been to Ecuador so my knowledge concerning this country is pretty limited.
So I did the thing I always do first when I don’t have a clue about something – I go and ask uncle wikipedia!

 

Ecuador’s name comes from the Equator, which divides it unequally, putting most of the country in the Southern Hemisphere. It may be the smallest Andean country, but it has four distinct and contrasting regions. The Costa, or coastal plain, grows enough bananas to make the country the world’s largest exporter of the fruit. The Sierra, or Andean uplands, offers productive farmland. Oil from the Oriente, jungles east of the Andes, enriches the economy. The Galápagos Islands, volcanic islands 960 kilometers west of Ecuador, bring tourism revenue with its unique reptiles, birds, and plants.

A very good friend of mine spent a year in Ecuador as a volunteer and she told me a lot about Quito, the people and the food! She also sent me some postcards while she was there. As this is one of the first points of contact I ever had with Ecuador, I want to share one of the cards here, as I think it is really pretty:

You can read the blogpost to this card *here*

In Ecuador, as in most South American countries, the official language is spanish, along with some amerindian languages like Quichua. I love a diversity in languages and I really find the languages of the american indigenous people interesting! And I get really exciting when the languages get mixed up! Uhhhh there comes the linguist inside me out to play 😀

I have found this song from Ecuador which is sun in Quichua (o Kichwa) and I really like it a lot. I am sure you’ll like it as well.

Sounds cool, hm?

I think the most popular dish from Ecuador is Ceviche, everyone should eat Ceviche, it’s a great dish! I understand that there are a lot of different manners to prepare it, Ceviche from the south is different to the Ceviche from the north… I cook Ceviche quite a lot, because I really like it and I use a recipe my friend (the one staying a year in Quito) taught me. It is very  yummy, very refreshing soup!

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I love this recipe, Ceviche is a great dish! And I can really recommend it. I don’t usually eat seafood, but this soup I love! You should add some unsalted “palomitas” Popcorn to this soup (might sound odd, but it is really good!) or bananachips! So yummy!!

Speaking of foods, Guinea pigs are considered a delicacy in Ecuador O.o. No thanks haha

Passport challenge: Denmark

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Namaste folks!

I was really looking forward to this swap! The task was to visit a country through music, food, books and everything that would cross the mind! Exciting! I have never done something like this, but it did sound really intriguing!

So the country for this round was Denmark!

 

The first thing I did was checking Denmark out on wikipedia

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I don’t know why, but I find monarchies kind of cool. Maybe because it is something we don’t have in Germany. I always find it sweet how the royal families of the european countries are loved by the people. Sometimes it makes me feel sad that we don’t have something like this here ^^’ (Although I am absolutely pro Republic and Democracy).

When I think about Denmark the first thing that crosses my mind is, that a good friend of mine got married there. She was marrying a person who was not from Germany, which would cause a lot of troubles in Germany. It was possible, but way too complicated. So they went to Denmark and got married there. I could not join them back then sadly, but I have seen pictures and it looked really lovely. So I guess Denmark is a pretty chilled country, at least compared to Germany. Germany is not chilled at all guys xD

The next thing I thought about, was a movie I recently watched: The Prince and Me
an american movie after all. But the girl falls in love with the danish prince. And it was partially shot in Denmark. I found it quite amusing, so I am leaving you a trailer.


Best way to approach a country, at least in my eyes is to listen to its music. To be honest I don’t know any danish music. Not one artist, nothing. Zero. Nada. Luckily one smart genius guy invented youtube and other great people made playlists of danish music! Thank you youtubeusers for doing this btw. Helped me a lot, because I had no idea where to start on this.
So I put “danish music” in the searchfunction and 1 1/2 hours later – no kidding –  I can give you three songs I really find cool:

1. Pharfar – La´ Mig Rulle Dig

 

2. Sanne Salomonsen – Hjem

 

3. Mads langer – Overgir mig langsomt

 

Obviously there is a lot of english music going on in Denmark too. Great music! But I decided to only put music in danish, because this way you also get an impression of the language. I like the way it sounds. 😀 It sounds very familiar, as I think the intonation is a lot like in german, but at the same time I don’t understand anything. Obviously xD I also think that it sounds softer and a lot less edgy than german, which I think is nice. I could listen to this music a lot longer and maybe I will, who knows 😀 Music is great everywhere after all. If you understand the music or not.

 

What else? Well I was also browsing a little for danish food and recipes and there was one recipe of a cucumber salad that crossed my paths quite a lot (really, it was literally everywhere – god knows why). So I tried it.

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I realize that this is a pretty simple dish, but well. At least I always got a cucumber lying around! I was quite curious about all the sugar, I never imagined it would taste good, but it really did! I think I will make this more often now,  I guess it would make a great side dish to fish!

Last but not least I went to my Mothers hoouse to look for that book of fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. It has been a long time since I last read one of these tales. Of course everyone knows Arielle, but the original little mermaid is nothing like this. I don’t like it to be honest, it is too cruel to be beautiful. If you like, read it *here*.
I really did like the story of Thumbelina, this is really a sweet story 🙂

All in all I really like the things I discovered about Denmark! BTW, did you know? The UN World Happiness Report has rated Danes as the happiest people two years in a row. Awesome hu?