Friday, 30 December 2011

Hello tourists!

Both tuesday and wednesday has been those kind of days that don't have any interessting happenings other than that Simo has gotten slightly sick, and because of that we've taken it very easy and just stayed at the hotel.
We have gotten a couple of new friends though, with fur, that lurk around the restaurant in the El Gouna Downtown area.

A cat that I felt needed a name, so the bartender named her Cleopatra.

Yesterday we went to the center of Hurghada. Since Simo hasn't been feeling well, we put if off for a few days. We should have left earlier though, since the sun goes down very early here and we only got a couple of hours in Hurghada before going back to El Gouna. But at least I found a nice shirt and we got to train our ways of NOT getting tricked into the shops.
Sometimes it can be extreemely tiering just to walk around. You can see in the corner of your eye that somebody JUMPS up from a chair and hurries towards you to ask if you want to come and have a look at their shop. One seller even yelled "tourists!" to us and Simo just answered "local!" and we went on our way.
Sometimes I want to explain to them that it is when they let us look at their shop in peace that we might buy something and not the other way around. At least for me.

Dinner in the desert.

On monday after visiting the library for some needed internet access, we went to an organized dinner event called "Oasis party" in the desert. It was lots of people attending, and we didn't really know exactly what to expect. I've really wanted to do another Beduin camp thingy that would be much further out in the desert with less people, which would also include some star watching, but Simo though it was a good idea to check out this one first.

Eventhough they had said that it was a BBQ dinner, I can't say that it was. Some of the food was grilled but I don't think it can qualify as BBQ though. Still it was decent, and the entertaiment was cool, with Egyptian folklore dancing and bellydancing.

I got to ride a camel, and Simo tried it for the first time as well. I love camels. I want one when I grow up.

All in all it was a nice evening, and worth the 15 Euros it cost. However it should have ended a bit earlier, I felt like the show was going on and on and turning more and more into a "WECOMEFROMBELGIUMANDWE'REGONNASCREAMOUTASMUCHASWECAN"- party in the end. Because we didn't realize that the hotel we're staying at is hiding a TINY little "A touch of Belgian hospitality" inder their logo...makes feel a bit left out at times.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Relaxing and celebrating.

Eventhough I like to be up and about when I travel, even to a place like this, we decided to take one more day of pure relaxation. I can start to feel restlessness coming to the surface, but I think I can do that...
We spent the whole morning and midday in the sun by the pool and it was very nice. I got a slight headache though, and it feels a bit like I have some sort of a mild cold as well. I am pretty much all the time a bit chilly, and if I knew, I would have brought another hoodie.

The local bus in El Gouna (that we still haven't used).

In the evening we celebrated the fact that we have been engaged for 5 years now. We had booked our time for a dinner in Downtown at a restaurant called Hedra Upstairs. They served us turkey which was their christmas speciality, and I have to say it was the best thing we've eaten here so far!

When we got home, I spent some time looking like a pure silly person trying to make out the star patterns on the sky as the complete nerd I am. (Yes, it's an absolutely BEAUTIFUL nightsky here!)

Merry christmas!

I can't really say that if feels like waking up in the morning of the 24th here, being all exhited about eating christmas porrige, and watch cozy christmas shows while the christmas tree stands proudly decorated in the corner of your eye. But that's all right - I was exhited indeed, by going into the sun and just read and think of absolutely nothing else in the world.
The plan for the day is basically just that, before having a christmas snack at the hotel and then attending the party that the hotel along with another one has prepared in the evening.

Eventhough it's not as warm as I thought it would be here, and the locals here actually wear winter jackets and things with fur (!!!) the sun can still really get at you when you live in Finland, and haven't seen it for about 2 months, so naps are very much a must.

In the evening we got dressed up and went to the HUGE tent that was put up for the guests. We had no idea what to expect once we were inside, and I have to admit that I was pretty stressed about finding the nearest exit. Not so much because I thought something would really happen, but just because I noticed that there were none.
I managed to relax though, once the program started, and we got placed at "the Norwegian table" with two women from Bergen. The food was beautifully presented, and they had lots of interesting dishes to chose from.

Is bread just boring?

The evening was really nice, with lots of good food and Arabian Nights entertaiment.


First day in El Gouna, and a better impression!

There's nothing like a breakfast with food of all sorts and an information meeting to get the spirits up before exploring the new area around you. We have an "all-inclusive" reservation which means you can pretty much have whatever do drink for the bar, and eat whatever and how much you want at the restaurant here. So far it has payed off actually, and we've spent surprisingly little money.

Also, in the light of day we got a much better impression of the whole hotel area, and it's very cozy actually. It's a big hotel with many areas. and we live in the most quiet one I believe, which is very nice, and my idea of a vacation...

And they even have a hotel-camel walking the grounds! I'm a happy puppy!

We spent our first day exploring a bit, and went to the harbour area called "Abu Tig Marina". It's very beautiful there, but a bit fake in a way...I've been to Egypt before and this just doesn't feel like it, as it is WAY too clean and proper, not to mention the prices in the stores, which are even too high for even the sleeziest bargain seller. But lovely for the eye? Yes.

Finally in Egypt!

We arrived in Egypt on thursday the 22nd of December, pretty early actually, by travelling standards. However, going through the passport control was a bit of a wait, and I think we waited for over an hour. We saw on the side of the line that there was a V.I.P. booth, but didn't think any of it, as society tell's us that we're no V.I.P.'s. In Egypt though, you're V.I.P. if you've got 30 dollars to pay. Darn. 30 dollars would have VIP-ed us traight to the front of the line. Ah well. Instead we stood like cattle next to a guy from Holland and his very pushy backpack.

We drove through Hurghada and entered the VERY tourist made El Gouna area, but by the time we came to our hotel, it was already pretty dark, and getting a good impression of the place was a bit difficult. Instead we were left with a bad impression of the place, and we're not sure why really, but firgured that we're comparing too much with Thailand, which is a very bad idea, if you want to be happy on holiday.
Some sleep would probably do good.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

I'm packing my bags...!

So apparently it wasn't just me who got sick in Sweden, a total of 8 people at the convention had gotten sick. From the hot dogs that I also had.
So with a fresh memory of how it is to be foodpoisoned, I can't say I'm trilled to say that I have completely forgotten to take Lactose tablets before going to Egypt. But at least this time I have all the shots I need, unlike when I was there in 2003 and got really sick.

So today we've been packing like crazy, before we leave tomorrow morning. It's gonna be a really wonderful and needed holiday! I can't wait to share it with you here.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Stockholm Sci-Fi Convention 2011 Day 2.

Sorry I haven't written in a while! I was gonna write about Stockholm right after returning home, but there you go...

The second day didn't start so early...since we had already taken R2 (completely normal) there, we could sleep a tiny bit longer.
As expected, it wasn't that many people there on sunday, atleast not in the morning, and that meant it was the perfect day to get the autographs I wanted from the actors there. Most importantly Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi).

I felt completely fine this day, eventhough I had been sick on saturday. It all seemed to have dissapeared as quickly as it had come.
We had our parades ofcourse, which as I've understood, we're quite famous for there...they even advertise for it on the convention site. And true enough, as you can see in this picture, it's sort of a bit of a paparazzi moment.

I had been looking forward to meet Billy Dee Williams since I learned that he would be at the convention. Before the parade, I decided to go and check out the pictures that he had to be autographed and I talked a littlebit with him. But he seemed distant, tired and not very interessted, and I figured out that it must be because of the jetlag or something like that.
But as I talked to other people, some of them told me that he's always like that, and it seemed that he had a littlebit of a negative reputation as I've heard it even before the convention from someone else also.

However, I decided to get my autograph after the parade and went over for it. I told him that I loved him as Berry Gordy in "The Jacksons; An American Dream", but he sort of looked at me as if he had no clue what that film was at all. It made me very insecure, and hell, I've met Michael Jackson and wasn't nervous, but this guy made me nervous!
As I gave my name to the person next to him after picking out the picture I wanted, he must have gotten it wrong, 'cause he wrote "Ellie" on the note and handed it over to Williams. I didn't notice it, and not even when he asked; -"Ellie, is that short for a longer name?" I was sure I heard "Elise" and said: "No, that's my name".
Then he gave me the signed picture and said: - "A pretty name for a pretty girl."
I KNEW there was some Lando in him! *nerd*

Tom Skerritt, the actor from Alien and Contact was really cool though, and I talked with him quite a lot. He's that kind of person who seem to know a lot about everything and started talking about my hair and how women in a Native American tribe has similar hair when they're single.

Michael Shanks from Stargate was also really nice, but very business like and straight to the point sort of.

Later on I went back to Billy Dee Williams to get an autograph from a friend who couldn't be there. I didn't have the money for it the first time around, otherwise I would have gotten it then. I already felt like quite a stalker. Trying to laugh a bit of the whole thing I said: "Don't worry, I'm not a stalker", when I came up to the table "this is for my friend."
He answered: "You can stalk me anytime you want!".
And that's pretty much my communication with "Lando".

To my absolute horror, I discovered later on that he had written "Ellie" on my autograph, and wondered what to do. Should I crawl back there, like the stalker I really was? Or should I have that and be forever irritated by it?
- "Back for more, huh", he asked. Hehe.
After getting a new autograph with MY name on it, I was pleased and went on with my life. My real life. You know, in science fiction reality.

Again, this convention was a lot of fun, and I stayed with good friends and met new ones as well. Looking forward to next time already!

Oh, and

Friday, 9 December 2011

Stockholm Sci-Fi Convention 2011 Day 1.

So last saturday, we hit the Stockholm Convention centre again, with a great stand and lots of 501st and Rebel Legion troopers.
I was really exhited about this troop in particular, because it was the first time I would meet an actual actor from the Star Wars saga: Billy Dee Williams who played Lando Calrissian. Which is also one of my favourite characters...

Matti and I slept over at another troopers and hiw wife's place, and he is a really good builder. He has built a full scale R2-D2 and we had to bring it to the convention. It's all fine and dandy, but it's HEAVY, but R2 managed to get there, not whole though and not with grace, but still alive.

There was't actually that much to buy this year I felt, atleast not for me. But that is probably a good thing. I concetrated on getting the autographs and maybe some small stuff.

For some mysterious reason I got really ill later during the day. I had already felt a slight headache in the morning and gotten a Paracetamol to ease the pain. But as the day went on I started feeling ill and nauseous. First I though I was hungry, so I bought some food, but that only made it worse. In the end I got so ill that I had to lay down on the floor for quite a while, before I threw up. I was sick for a while and had to go back to Øyvind, Tia and Tiia's hotel room to lay down for a while so that I could maybe join the others later on for the dinner we had planned.
Itb was ofcourse quite a surprise when I discovered that one of the troopers had been filmed and interviewed earlier, and the crew hadn't discovered that I was in the background, puking into the trashcan. Oh the joys of trooping!

It's good to be a senator. You don't even need to tie your own shoelaces.

In the end I got better, and even went to eat with the rest of the gang and had a lovely lobster soup. The evening continued in the bar, and I had so much fun I completely forgot how tired I was!

Eventhough I didn't get my Arena battle outfit finished in time, and I even got sick, it was a great day! (Yes it was.)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


Last friday I got the day off from work so that I could go to Sweden a day early before the Stockholm Sci-Fi Convention.
I took the plane with Matti, and was at the airport in good time. His bus from where he lived broke down though, and he came to the airport in the nick of time. I was already a bit stressed because he had his lightsaber with him, and I wasn't sure how it would go through the customs, but everything felt much better when a guard saw that we were in a hurry and let us to the front of the check in line.
I made sure that the woman and I understood eachother and true enough, there were no problem to bring the lightsaber onboard. When we came to the security however, they didn't let us pass through with it, because it was too long to fit in the cabin. So already late, we had to rush back to the check in and after a slight argument with the woman there she almost sent off the open lightsaber box on to the belt! I managed to stop her and said - "But you SAID you were gonna tape the box! It's open!"
- "Well, you have to take care of that before sending it yourself", she answered.
I got furious. " But we had to open it in the security check! Besides you told me a minute ago that you had tape when I asked you for it!"
She almost threw me the roll of tape and said "There. YOU tape it!"
I'm just wondering where she got her training.

Well in Sweden we met up with some other tired troopers before some of them went to sleep and Matti, Øyvind and I went to shop. We did a little sightseeing before heading to the Convention Centre to help building the stand for the weekend (well, they were building, I was looking).

Mediveal christmas celebration of independence!

Today was Finland's Independence day, and since most people don't celebrate in a huge way that we are used to in Norway, we decided to take it easy and clean a bit and put up the christmas decorations around the appartment. We also started the very important rituals of getting into the christmas spririt which is basically watching Home Alone. Simo had made some authentic mediveal food from a cookbook he got when we were in Estonia, and it was really tasty. It's been a really nice and cozy day at home.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Velasquez reproduction.

Right now there's an exhibition where I take my art courses with art that all the students have done there. I have hung my Fransisco de Zurbaran reproduction there as well as my latest painting which is also a reproduction, but from Velasquez called "The Waterseller of Seville".
I'm still wondering if there's a few tiny things that I need to fix before I put varnish on it, but otherwise I'm happy with it, and it's been a big learning experience to paint it.