Hej Ey Canada!

In my little series of interviews the turn has come to our friends in Canada. This will be  different to the previous post Hej Hej Syria, which was extremely popular. Thank you for reading and commenting. If you haven’t yet read it please click here.

Why did I choose Canada? Oh Canada. Well, it’s a country that feels like a bigger version of my dear home Sweden. It’s probably five billion times the size of Sweden. Estimated well. I’m smart. We have a lot in common…moose, pine trees, ice, freakin coldness and the constant battle in ice hockey.

I asked one of my favorite bloggers Cyranny’s cove to help us out with answering some questions. How is it to have such a hot president? Is he really a rock star? Is Canada really the most polite country in the world or are they actually just one big East-Coast gangster fight?

Once you read this please check out her blog about her life and how she actually wants to live in Denmark. Oh well, I’m going to totally ignore Denmark and go ahead and talk about Canada. Happy reading!


Q: First and most important questions: Who has the best ice hockey team in the world?

A:  Ok, I must say I was a bit nervous when you asked me to do this, but it is starting rather easily! Canada, of course. We invented the game, so I guess the extra practice gives us an advantage… And not only do Canadians rule when it is time to jump on the ice, but the best team is here where I live, in Montréal! The Canadians have indeed won a total of 24 Stanley Cups. No other team has achieved anything close to that. But don’t look up this year’s statistics though… We didn’t even make it to the play offs. Meh!

Q: Since you probably failed the first question, I’ll continue. Who has the SECOND best ice hockey team in the world?

A: Aaahhhh… I see what you’re trying to do here! Sweden is a good competitor, but still, no match. You know I hate to put Denmark down (sorry for this, DK) but here’s a little hockey anecdote that really makes me giggle… In 1949, in a championship held in Stockholm, Canada destroyed Denmark’s team with a final score of 47-0. For those of your readers not so familiar with hockey, a regular game is an hour long. 60 minutes, 47 goals. Make the math…. I am still wondering if the Danes knew they could put a player in front of the net! But back to Sweden, I have to say, even if you don’t have the best team, you do have the best arena!!  That Ericsson Globe thing in Stockholm is amazing. No doubt the nicest place where Canada could beat Sweden!

Q: Why do you speak such strange French? Nobody understands you.

A: I think it is mainly to annoy people from France. They’ve been looking down on us ever since a bunch of them has come to live here, so it only seems fair that we get back at them, one way or another. But hey! We rock… After all these years, we’re still hanging on, even if we are surrounded by English speaking people! We must be doing something right!

glad

Q: Do you have an East Coast – West Coast fight like they do in US of A?

A) Canada’s motto is “From coast to coast” trying to give the impression that we’re so very united. It’s almost correct. But the truth is, there are a lot of “Québec against the rest of Canada” frictions. What can I say? We’re special, and we don’t exactly fit in. Funny thing is, though, both times we tried to separate, the other provinces didn’t want us to. Go figure!

Q: Tell me something about Canada that people probably don’t know

A) We have the only town in the world (in the WORLD) with a name that has two exclamation points! It is called St-Louis du Ha! Ha! (I have a feeling some mayor lost a bet way back then…)

Q: Are you in love with your extremely hot president?

A) I’ll give it to you, Justin is probably one of the most attractive country leaders of all time. But I am getting annoyed with the selfie-taking, and wife singing in public appearances… You’re not a rock star, Mr Trudeau, just run the country… Please!

Q: What’s up with Ogopogo the mysterious lake?

A) I have to be honest, I had to Google “Ogopogo”. LOL Ogopogo is actually the name of the “monster” that is supposed to live in Okanagan lake. I had never heard of the sea serpent before… But in my defense, British Columbia is at the other end of the country, and no one ever called me from Kelowna to let me know about it… I told you, we weren’t SO united!

Q: What makes you a proud Canadian?

A) I consider myself a Quebecker first, but I have to admit I am proud of being a Canadian too. I think Canada is a great place overall. We have great cities, yet most of the country is covered with nature. It is a safe place to live (thank God we didn’t pick up that gun craze going on South) and I think Canadians are nice, open minded and welcoming people in general. I have noticed how people seem to have a good opinion of us, when I traveled abroad. Some people even stopped me in the street because they had noticed the maple leaf flag on my back pack.

comptoir

Q: My favorite Canadian thing is the Poutine. Its so delicious and unhealthy. This is actually not a question. I just want to thank Canada for sharing this dish with the rest of the world.

A) Hehehehe I am glad you mentionned the poutine! It comes from Québec, and I wouldn’t be a true Quebecker if I didn’t like it! For your readers not familiar with the weird, yet simple dish, poutine is a plating of fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. Other toppings can be added, but I like to stick to the original. If you travel to Montréal someday, La Banquise is the place to go to experience poutine in the finest way. But don’t be disappointed if you don’t like it. Foreigners loooooove it, or find it really gross. There is usually no in-between.

Poutine

 

Q: Why are the people from Quebec obsessed with Maple syrup?

A) Québec produces 77% (say The Internets) of all the maple syrup in the world. So we know good syrup! Here, maple syrup is almost like wine, there are good years and not so good years, and the taste isn’t exactly the same, depending on where it comes from. It’s not just something we put on pancakes or waffles… We can use it in almost any recipe that requires sugar. At the turn of winter to spring, we have the maple season, called here “le temps des sucres” literally “sugar time”. People gather together at the sugar shack, building (usually in the forest) where maple tap is collected, and turned into syrup and all other maple products. During “sugar time”, these shacks become seasonal restaurants where you get served everything that can be topped with maple syrup; beans, eggs, ham, pancakes… And at the end of the meal, hot maple toffee is served outside, directly on the snow! Yum!!

Q: If you had a bunch of blogger friends to visit you, where would you take us?

A) Denmark! Oh shoot, you meant in Canada, right? Ok, New Denmark then! (yes, we have a town called New Denmark, in New Brunswick… LOL) I must say, I haven’t traveled much through Canada myself. But if I was to play the guide for you guys, and I got to rent a Tour With Cyranny bus… Well, I’d take you to Québec City because it IS the capital of the province, and it is beautiful. (we’re not big on castles, here, in North America, like in Europe… But Frontenac’s castle is a must-see) We’d go hiking and canoeing in Mauricie’s National Park… Perhaps not the most spectacular park in Canada, but I know it well, so we wouldn’t get lost! We could stop in Trois-Rivières, just because it is my hometown, and it’d be nice to stop by my parents’ and show them that the fellow bloggers I always talk about are not imaginary friends! I’d also take you to Drummondville, because you’ll never go there if not with me, and that’s where the poutine was invented. And last but not least, I’d give you a long thorough tour of Montréal, the city of festivals (there is ALWAYS something going on, in Montréal!) If you’d like to see a preview of that, you can type “If you came to Montréal” in the research box of my blog… I have several posts about it there! (see what I am doing here? Self promotion…. LOL)

Well I hope this was somewhat entertaining… It sure was fun for me to give you a little insight of my corner of this big country!

montreal2

Montreal


Thank you Cyranny! I enjoyed that and I’m sure the readers did as well. Make sure you start preparing that blogging trip we all are going on soon.

Hejhej Syria!

I have always been fascinated by other cultures and I love to sit down with people I never met and just ask them everything about their life. It’s important to stay curious and it’s so interesting to listen to other people’s lives, how they grew up and what daily life can look like in a different part of the world. I have therefore started my own little interview project that will be published here on the blog. I will interview people from different countries and background, obviously with my own extremely smart questions and we will take it from there.

First out * drums * : Mohamad Al Karbi from Syria!

Why Syria and Mohamed?

Because when I first started traveling to the Middle East 2011 I had Syria on my top of my list of countries that I wanted to visit the most. Unfortunately we all know what happened and it’s a very sad situation that we all wish will end sooner then later. I want to focus on Syria before the war and from a positive angle. A lot of people have left the country but the country hasn’t left the people. I want to hear what’s in their history and in the hearts.

And Mohamed! Obviously because he has such a nice and thought through blog and shares the same interest as me when it comes to being curious about other cultures and countries. He loves Sweden apparently so that’s a plus. I love the fact that these answers are not only from Mohamed but his family wanted to take part as well.

Please enjoy my short and sweet interview and the beautiful pictures that Mohamed has provided. Does it make you hungry? I’m going out for hummus now!

——

Thank you very much, Miss A, for giving me the opportunity to talk about Syria on your wonderful blog. Please note that the following answers were prepared by my whole family. We sat together for an hour or some drinking coffee and answering the interview’s questions 🙂

Q: Pretend it’s 2010, a time before the war started. What would you tell a tourist to do in Syria?

A: We hope the war ends soonest, so we can invite you all to visit Syria – a beautiful Mediterranean country. Every part of Syria has its own charm. We have deserts, mountains, ruins and cultures, coastal areas and green areas across the country. I need many posts to cover them all. However, I’m going to mention two places for now in Damascus: Old City and Bloudan.

You may visit my Syria’ album at Flickr on:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mohamadkarbi/albums/72157686468450746

Q: According to archeologist the Syrians have been drinking beer and wine for 4000 years. That makes me think I might be Syrian. Tell us more.

A: Damascus is the world oldest capital where the most delicious wine is made. Syria has the best grape vines, olive trees, and citrus fruits. Fresh grapes and citrus juice, or even barley juice, can do it for non-alcoholics. P.S., some argue that Damascus is the oldest city ever.

Grapes-Farms

Q: Is it correct that Syria used to be famous for having the most beautiful railway stations in the world? 

A: Hijaz station is the oldest railway in the area that is connecting Makkah with Damascus. As they are old and usually pass through beautiful places in Syria, trains are very suitable for families’ gathering; they are used mainly for the sake of fun and picnics.

Trains-funTrains-BeautifulPlacesTrains-OldTrains-HijazStation

Q: If you had to choose, which animals would the Syrians be if you weren’t humans and why?

A: Hmm!!! If we had to, I can say that we have the best of each 😉                                 Patience from camel, power/determination from eagle, humbleness from gazelle, …

Q:Which weird kind of food do Syrians eat?

A: Syria is very famous with the variety of dishes. Most of them are complicated and prepared on multiple levels until the final dish be ready. I consider Ozzie a weird food; baked dough stuffed with rice, meat, peas, and nuts!

Ozzie

Q: In Sweden we take out shoes off when entering a house. What kind of customs do someone that hasn’t been to a Syrian home need to think about before entering?

A: Oh my God, we do the same! All are to take shoes off before entering the house – often. Guests sit in the place assigned to by the hosts in a specific room (guests room). Appointment for visiting isn’t required in general; however, we ask for permission before entering… When food is offered, guests should have some (at least).

In general, all Syrians have the mentality of hospitality. If the invitation is for meal, the food should be home-made prepared by the land lady. To celebrate the guests, the host’s neighbors, friends, and family members might be invited to attend the gathering too.

There are morning gatherings for house wives on a periodic basis and usually they’re served by light delicacies. Female neighbors, even if they are foreigners, could expect an invitation. Relatively in weddings, the family of the bride and bridegroom usually welcome guests for 7 days after the wedding or after the newly born babies. P.S., wedding parties, originally, are not mixed – one party for men and a sperate one for women.

Q: Who wins the hummus war? I understand this is a sensitive question between Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan.

A: Hummus was originated in the Levant – centuries ago. The Levant (was referred to as Greater Syria) consists of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan. Each of which has its own tasty recipe of making this traditional dish.

Hummus-SyiraHummus-JordanHummus-MeatPineHummus-Mussabbaha

Q: The Syrians seems to be extremely social. Why is that? (This is a very Swedish question as we are not really known to be super social)

A: It’s in our blood. We are connected and very interrelated to the max. We share happiness and sadness with all our neighbors, families, and friends.

For example, in marriage, the family of the bride might collect information about the bridegroom’s profile from his neighborhood before giving the final acceptance. Another example is when you ask someone in the street about the direction to some place; they might not leave you until they make sure that you reached your destination. Furthermore, we might also offer advices even without being asked for…


Thanks for reading and hope you learnt something about Syria. You can find Mohamads blog here and previous blog post we have done together before, about Sweden, can be found here.