Category Archives: WTF

Creepy weirdos

Living in a hot climate for many years, we are never getting used to running into various kind of insects, either jumping in the garden or somewhere inside the house where they, under the cover of darkness, have a tendency to break in.

The scariest of them all … tada! … is THE Flying Cockroach. Once, Hanna was quietly sitting reading a book when she heard a screeching sound from the living room.  She then saw Alex running out in panic trying to brush off the rare beast that was glued to his t-shirt. Even when it was long gone, Alex avoided the living room locking himself inside the bedroom armed with a flyswatter.

Then we have different types of spiders. Nasty looking fellas roaming around scaring the living daylights out of Hanna when she accidentally bumps into one. Alex deals with them the old-fashioned way: tries to shoo them out with a broom while standing as far away as possible.

One day Alex got a frantic call from Hanna who could swear that she saw a snake in the backyard. A small commando unit was organized and armed with rocks it arrived at the house within 10 minutes to deal with the poisonous intruder. However, on close inspection the ferocious animal ended up being a small but colorful candy wrapper lying in the grass. Well, better safe than sorry as they used to say.

Sam (our best friend forever) is on the other hand always ready to come to the rescue. He is naturally equipped with all the proper weapons: excellent hearing, sharp teeth and strong paws. As soon as he hears the annoying sound of a fly passing by or sees a cockroach trying to run under the sofa he is on their case faster than a speeding bullet.

What we haven’t come across yet (knock on wood) are real snakes (those made of candy wrappers don’t count, right?) and scorpions. On the other hand, if we did, we probably wouldn’t be writing this right now…

Hello, may I come in?

Hello, may I come in?

Home sweet home




Printable Sam and the dunes calendar for 2013!

Make travel plans and enjoy every day in 2013 with free PDF  calendar (size A4). 

                    Samandthedunes calendar 2013

Blogger’s ode to Christmas


When the snow outside the window falls,

Santa’s little helper eats his last meatballs.

Washing it down with one Coke Light,

this was one hell of a X-mas night.


– But our blog makes the world go bright,

and miracles do happen on Christmas night.

So if you want to be Santa’s favorite man,

read Samandthedunes as much as you can!


– Now what is the sense of this rhyming joke,

when all I want is a regular Coke!

– But if you want X-mas to give you the most,

don’t forget to read every single blog-post!


-Oh, how low can you bloggers sink,

when I want to rest with my little drink.

A few drops of whiskey and a splash of lime,

please stop bothering me with your stupid rhyme.

Christmas going up in smoke?

Last year we celebrated Christmas in Agadir feasting on oysters and champagne in the Sofitel Hotel. This year we are in a bit of a dilemma: obviously, we are in Gran Canaria (hey, a 40 minute flight, how can we say no) but suddenly we realized we have no clue where to go.

Alex suggests: SushiMex restaurant (yes, it does sound funny but they serve some awesome dumplings and Alex, coming from Russia, can’t get enough). Then off to listen to some cover oldies at a bar next door that he likes and a clientele he feels kindred with, bottom line, his age group or a bit older. Hanna is not really thrilled – seeing Alex and several dozen half-drunk guys trying to re-live their youth shouting along to “Smoke on the Water” is not her idea of a perfect Christmas.

Hanna suggests: get the corkscrew out early, pop the champagne, lounge at the pool, eat a late lunch at Golf Salobre and then get comfortable in our villa and listen to some Christmas music (Hanna REALLY likes that stuff, no joke). After a few annoying melodies, Alex is promised a short visit to a bar (Boy, that of course will happen, won’t it? Alex is not betting his wine cellar). Not to mention the bar suggested does not offer live rock ‘n’ roll music.

So, what are we going to do? Stay tuned and you will find out all the gory details in our next posting.

PS. we forgot to mention that Sam opted for a separate vacation this year; he is currently being pampered by friends, fed home-made cooking and taken on long walks. He doesn’t call or send any e-mails. That son of a bitch!

Alex, this is cozy, isn't it?

Alex, this is cozy, isn’t it?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

For Sam and the dunes, 2012 was an eventful year. We roamed around the mountains of Gran Canaria; looked for the Man in the Iron Mask in Cannes; researched all museums that exist in Geneva (don’t ask); dined like royalty in Monte Carlo; sweated buckets in Rome and danced the night away in Marrakech.

What else happened? Well, Alex turned 50 (ouch! stop hitting me, Alex!) and that was a big event, of course, while Hanna started blogging for National Geographic Traveler (we are still pinching our arms) and it seems she’s going for the “Blurriest Picture of the Year Award” (keeping our fingers crossed).

Our beloved pooch, Sam (the brains behind the blog) continued to give thoughtful instructions that were followed to the letter.

Now, we plan to get sloshed on glogg and stuff ourselves with various christmas cakes, gain a few kilos, and make the obligatory new year’s resolution: lose weight.

As we stumble along to the bar, we wish you all:

Enjoying a Belgian Beer at Newark Airport

I (Alex) ended up in early December flying from the US back to the desert from Newark Airport in New Jersey. After passing through all the formalities, I noticed a new addition to the traditional eateries one usually finds in all US airports: the Belgian Beer Café. Yep, that’s what it is called. And on top of everything, this happened to be their opening night. I couldn’t pass such an opportunity and decided to check the place out.

On initial inspection, I was completely flabbergasted since I have never seen a selection of Belgian beers like this one outside of Brussels before. They had it all: Ambers, Dupples, Trappist and Abbey beers, even (unheard off!) Fruit Lambics. A beer lovers paradise in an Airport? These guys must be joking? Well, apparently they weren’t.

The owner, Jeffrey Daunt (Senior Operations Director for HMS Host), explained that since Newark was an international airport they felt that there was a niche to fill by offering high-end Belgian beers. I wondered where they find such a variety of beers. “Not easy, we have to buy from five distributors to fill the bar, but we hope that our customers will enjoy a beer or two before they fly.” Sure as hell, I did, a few to be exact (they had some excellent food as well).

If you are ever in Newark Airport and love beer as much as the other guy, don’t miss the Belgian Beer Café (operates in several countries), you will be reminiscing about it – thousands of feet in the air.

Well, one can’t blame Alex for not being creative when taking photos. Here he is apparently lying down horizo…(hey, wait a minute, was this picture taken AFTER trying out all the beers?)

A kick in the…right direction

I (Alex) went to the US for two weeks and decided it’s time to (once again) get into shape. Too much food and wine during our adventure travels over the past year had made my shirt stand out a bit more than usual.

So, off I ventured to the nearest fitness center, joined up and asked for a personal trainer. After carefully eyeing me over, the lady at the reception told me: “I know a  PT who can shape you up.”

Enter the PT. He seemed to be my age but apart from that, we had nothing in common. His muscles were bulging and he had a perfect six-pack under the t-shirt (and you have seen the photos of me).

We started training. I was forced to do push-ups, lift weights, push-ups again, cardio, push-ups, crunches, more push-ups. After nearly fainting, I was finally allowed to have a “break” involving a few Jumping Jacks. He saw my pain and even showed sympathy like a drill sergeant feels towards new recruits. The session continued. Have you ever tried the plank? After 30 seconds your stomach is on fire and your whole body starts shaking.

He did give me one day off (sort off). It was after the first week he took me aside and said: “Alex, I think you need a rest, come down tomorrow and just do a couple of hours of cardio, no big deal, try the treadmill or the stepper, just to keep the blood flowing.”

End result? I have gained 2 kilos (hey, don’t laugh, it’s all muscles in the right places) and Hanna says I look fitter than ever. Huurray!!!

This exercise is no joke by the way

This exercise is no joke by the way

Wherever I lay my meatballs…

It’s easy to think that living on the road for many years would have made me (Hanna) a better packer. In the best of worlds, I would like to travel extremely light with a tiny bag, only filled with essentials. But my problem is, how do I actually define if a thing is important or not. It depends on the situation, right? One day I might need a toothpick so if I pass by a pharmacy I buy a 6-pack of toothpicks (plus a few XXL bottles of Listerine, kilometers of floss and a 12-pack of tongue cleaners). Customs must be convinced I’m a freelance dentist.

Over the years my suitcase has gotten bigger and bigger and is usually packed with things I deem being of absolute importance (or, more correctly, things I might require at some point in the future).

Yesterday, I came up with the brilliant idea of making food packages to bring back home, since the place we are staying in right now has a really inspiring kitchen. And what if I don’t feel like cooking in the coming 2-3 weeks, then I’m stuck eating Alex’s Special (spaghetti à la ketchup).

Therefore (to avoid a carbs overload), for this trip I prepared a small number of homemade meatballs (80 to be more exact), 4 portions of hamburgers (yes, I got tired of making meatballs) and 6 portions of sweet chili chicken. I was just about to start making another 6 portions of ginger fish, when Alex came to the rescue with one (understandable) question: What the h*^% are you doing?? Where are we gonna fit all this?

What can I say. I realized I once again had broadened the definition of “stuff-that-is-without-any-question-necessary-to-bring-along”.

Meatballs, anyone?

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