Category Archives: Blast from the past

Please allow me to introduce myself…

– Posted by Hanna –

Who am I? Why am I traveling? All I know is that from a very young age I always wanted to see the world. But to be able to realize my dream I first had to learn basic English (AND finish high-school, AND get a job, AND earn some money, but I was luckily unaware of all that tedious stuff back then).  I started studying English in fourth grade and I still remember my second lesson – with horror!

The teacher (I’m sure she was a senior associate of 666 personally) had given us homework and now we were supposed to know how to say the following sentence in English: My name is …… (and fill in with our own names) and I have…… (and say either a ball, a pencil, a book, etc.) No iPhones or iPads back then.

Pretty easy, right?

The teacher started to question us one by one and to her complete satisfaction everyone answered correctly. In the end it was my turn. “Can you say the following sentence in English: my name is Hanna and I have a pencil?” (Obviously she asked this question in Swedish so 10 year old me had to think really hard to come up with the right answer.)

I was nervous like never before and started sweating. My throat was as dry as Lynchburg, Tennessee (OK, maybe an odd reference when you are 10 years old but trust me, if somebody offered me a Jack Daniels I would probably have swung it back without even blinking). I could hardly breathe. The entire class turned in my direction. They were all waiting impatiently to hear the answer. Finally I opened my mouth and said:

My name is pencil…”

I couldn’t finish the sentence. There was an eruption of laughter in the classroom. It was a slip of the tongue but I don’t think even Eddie Murphy could have pulled off a one-liner as good as this one. The entire class was rolling and the teacher was laughing so hard that her tail started spinning (not exactly a woman of wealth and taste) I told you she was from one of Dante’s circles of hell, right?

After this little blunder, I could no longer enjoy my English language lessons. I also realized that my ambitious plan, to travel and see the world, unfortunately had to be postponed for another couple of years.

N.B. I have now been traveling for the past seven years and my English still hasn’t improved, but my Swedish has gotten worse. Touché.

A glittery and side-splitting New Year’s Eve!

©Moulin Rouge®

Before we celebrate the New Year in Marrakech in a couple of days we would like to revive the memory of a very special New Year’s Eve, the one in Paris.

Being a source of inspiration for numerous books, documentaries and movies for over a century, Moulin Rouge, despite its corny reputation among cultural experts, continues to deliver cabaret shows that attract thousands of tourists each year. On New Year’s Eve 2008, the samandthedunes team (minus Sam) ended up at this historic cabaret, sipping champagne and watching cancan for the first time.

We had picked up our tickets the day before and were then at the same time given a short tour of the premises. When the doors opened and we saw the theatre in all its glamour, we were struck by all its opulence and the vibes it generated: the foyerthe auditorium, the wooden floors, the small tables, the staircase up to the balcony, not to mention the stage. But, when we came back on New Year’s Eve, all the original charm had suddenly faded. Instead of hearing the sound of creaking floors, there was an ear-splitting ruckus from hundreds of tourists planning to celebrate the New Year in exactly the same manner as us. This shouldn’t really have surprised, but it did.

As soon as the show started the magic revived. It’s fun, catchy and entertaining all the way through and the scenery is impressive (we were sitting far back so a pair of opera glasses wouldn’t hurt). Part of the performance is built around the famous topless dancers, of course, but there were also many other numbers involving various flying and jump splits that should impress even the harshest of critics. There were even mini-horses and dogs hopping around on two legs on the stage (Sam would have loved that!). In the end, when the orchestras’ grand performance of Jacques Offenbach’s Galop infernal filled the room and literally lifted the roof-top, it was just impossible not to be emotionally affected and jovial at the same time.

For the price of 900 Euros we were offered a three course dinner (for future reference avoid the steak), two bottles of champagne and some nice surprise gifts. After a long and entertaining evening we stumbled out of this establishment not knowing which leg to stand on (whether it was the champagne or the glitzy cancan, we prefer not to say).

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