Sailing + Crayfish = AWESOME

So this past weekend we (Fredrik and I) went sailing with a fab crew and one of my favorite badass couples : Andrew and Gurly (Yes, I really do like you guys that much).

Our sailing adventure started off on Friday evening and continued until Sunday evening.

Here are some of the BEST moments with photos of course.

1. It was cold. Andrew wore a furry hat.

Andrew is gangsta

2. We did have beer. 3. Fredrik. Love the look.

4. We made crayfish party hats.

5. They did the ‘lets intertwine arms and drink beer thing”

6. We ate crayfish. It was good.

7.  Mattias made the best hat. I wish I had his skills.

8. We sailed back to Stockholm.

9. We were ‘kinda’ close to a big ship.

10. Alright, not that close. But it was exciting.

11. Hi Autumn!

As you can see- it was fun, adventurous, and really cold. No more sailing for this year- but I can say that I’m excited about next year. Yes- even with 4 layers of clothing.

……Here’s a new (new as in new to me) band I’ve gotten a bit obsessed with.

ForRealNotPretend

Same, Same- but Different.

Same Same- But Different.

First scene when getting out of the Airport at Ho Chi Minh City- Hello millions of people…. (a recurring theme throughout the trip…)

My first thought – ‘ How the hell are we going to find Ida and Matt?’ — Well, thankfully we did, and so our 2 week trip begins:

We spent a couple days in Ho Chi Minh- eating crabs on the street, drinking beer while sitting in miniature plastic chairs, and getting fitted for some tailored clothes before heading off to Phu Quoc via Vietnam Airlines (surprisingly good).

Phu Quoc is an island that is part of Vietnam but lies in Cambodian waters. It’s gorgeous. We spent 5 days here- exploring different beaches, going snorkeling, eating sea urchin and celebrating the Lunar New Year with fireworks- the year of the Cat (in Vietnam).

After Phu Quoc we headed back to Ho Chi Minh and explored the city a bit more as well as the Cu Chi Tunnels (where the US was defeated during the Vietnam War) before leaving for a 2-day excursion through the Mekong Delta.

Day 1 of the Mekong Delta involved lots of jumping on and off boats, a bee farm, local food, and a homestay- the best part.

Our homestay started with 4 Vietnamese men picking us up on motorbikes. Me and my driver lost everyone after about 5 minutes- so I got a bit nervous considering I had no idea where we were, I didn’t understand a thing this guy is saying, we are in the middle of nowhere, it was pitch black outside, and well- we were driving on these tiny back roads…  besides all that- It was so fun- and after about 30 mins we stopped at this gorgeous place right on the river and everyone is waiting for me. Hey- its not my fault I had the slowest motorbike.

At the homestay we spent 1 night hanging out with some Kiwi’s that were very chill, and had the funniest kids, as well as drinking beers with the guy who runs the homestay and his neighbors, playing guitar, and in the morning taking another boat ride down the Mekong to a floating market- and some more tours of the area (The trip was well worth the homestay- but after 2 days with 30 other tourists- well we were a bit sick of following our tour guide around and listening to him talk about rice, coconuts and other stuff- tip: Do it solo).

Our last 2 days were spent back in Ho Chi Minh– doing some last minute shopping (obviously)- where lots of lotus lamps were purchased as well as some colorful clothing.

All in all- Vietnam was wonderful. The people were so friendly and always willing to help out (even if we didn’t understand them- and I decided to speak Spanish with them- for some reason this made more sense than say English. I don’t know. ). The food was good and always interesting, although it all tastes very similar. I also really liked Vietnam because it is not as exploited as say- Thailand, but it probably will be soon.

Take home message: Go there. Eat Hot Pot. And Buy some sweet lotus lamps. Well worth the 10 bucks

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Now back to some ‘Thesis work’. Muacks! xxx

Nos Vemos Chile!

Ahhhh so much to write about…

The last weeks in Chile were absolutely amazing. Partly because I had two great friends from GWU visiting me, and partly because I got to re-visit all the places I’d done my first phase of research at.

So here is a bit of a recap of what we did:

Santiago: Ildi and Adrienne land at 6 am- I had one of my last meeting with my supervisor before starting Phase 2 of research (more on that in a bit)… then I go wake them up and we go on our drinking tour of Santiago. We had some awesome Chilean sushi for lunch (and beer), then headed to get some famous ice cream right by my apartment, then off to Bellavista for wine, met up with my ‘family’ for  some more wine and empanadas, and then well lets just say our drinking tour ended at 4 am with us losing our key to the apartment and having to spend the night  at a friends (Thanks Henrik!), and none of us felt that fantastic(well– I felt alright) the next day when we had to make our way to Valpo.  However, we made it and after a couple hours of sleep and Chorrillenas we were ‘Fit for Fight’ for the upcoming New Years!

New Years 2011- Valpo/ Viña: Can we say — Synchronized Fireworks. Yup they exist. From Valpo down to Concón we viewed fireworks on the roof-top of the apartment we (Me, Ildi, Adri, Henrik, Thea and Martin) rented with lots of other friends and neighbours. It was amazing and a lot of champagne was consumed… We stayed in Viña for a couple more days, spending time in Reñaca on the beach, going to the dunes, eating mariscos, and playing kings (in the middle of a bar).

El Quisco/Algarrobo/ Isla Negra–  I obviously had to take my friends to the places  to where I’ve spent most of my time outside of Santiago. We hung out on the beach in Algarrobo, met up with Karen in El Quisco for some lemonade, made it to Isla Negra and Pablo Neruda’s house (pretty but not worth the 3 luka for the tour), and I also had time to interview 4 different presidents for phase 2 of my research, while Ildi and Adri spent some time on the beach. Good work girls.

Cajon de Maipo– Hiking in mid-day in 30 (celsius)+ degree weather is not my favourite activity, however, making it up to the top was well worth it. Fernando – our guide , and now good friend, let us stay at his family’s house and we had a BBQ at about midnight after our hike. Mmm good!

In the mix of all this fun, I also had to complete my research. aka Phase Dos. Which meant interviewing the 8 presidents of all the Sindicatos that I’ve been to previously. And well, yes, my spanish has improved, but having in-depth conversations about views, strategies, etc., in Spanish was going to be nearly impossible ( I mean it would be difficult in English and Swedish as well…), but luckily my friend, Paulina, helped me with everything. We made it back to El Quisco, Las Cruces, Algarrobo, Maitencillo, Quintay, Montemar, and Los Molles! The interviews were very interesting and a good way to get a different perspective of how these organizations work.

After finishing my research, I spent the last couple of days  in Santiago getting together all my stuff, a wine tour at Concha y Toro with friends, having a final meeting with Stefan, and lastly a lovely birthday party for Thea/ goodbye party for me. Sangria and friends- wonderful combo.

There are also a few things I’m going to miss a lot when back in Europe:

1. Palta. It’s number 1 because there is probably nothing more delicious than avocado on toast (this combination is completely competing with ice cream right now…)

2. Men saying (under their breath) “Que Bonita” or ” Que Hermosa” etc…. It was a nice little ego boost everytime I walked anywhere…( and no- there was no obnoxious whistling actually…. well at least not until I dyed my hair back to blonde… )

3. Guys with long hair. (Not the ‘I haven’t showered or shaven in weeks’ look, more like ‘ I can pull this off and somewhat look like Johnny Depp’ look. Swedish guys need to get on that).

4. Awesome hippie imspired fashion. Colours everywhere. Wearing black all winter is not happening this year.

5. All the AMAZING people I met along the way. You are all missed.

6. The ocean and everything that comes along with it.

7. Good cheap wine.

8. CHILE

Now I’m back in Sweden, where it is cold, and dark. Fortunately I have a ton of stuff to do, such as moving back to Stockholm- SÖDER (wooohooooo!!!!) , starting my data analysis, and in about 10 hours going to visit my sister  in Vietnam. So although I do miss Chile, being back home is not that bad either.

I’ve also decided to keep up with the blog, but from now on it may be about more things than just research related, but don’t ya worry- I’ll update ya’ll on that as well.

Much love,

La Sueca

p.s. Nos Vemos Chile- June perhaps?

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Floripa! Oh my!

Brazil. You are gorgeous.

So this last week I spent in Florianópolis, Brazil with my study buddy Daniel. Although the weather was so so (it rained a bit), Floripa was fab. I spent a lot of time on the beach making new friends with all the stray dogs (they loved me). We went white water rafting- and our guide was from Chile- so naturally awesome. And of course- we had to make some pepparkakor (gingerbread) for Christmas- which I spent with some interesting construction worker friends of Daniel (haha check the pics).

Also in Brazil I tried some new food:

Acai- frozen berries that are ground up with ice and served with granola and your choice of strawberries, bananas etc. SO Good. Super healthy.

Caldo de Cana- freshly pressed sugar cane juice!

Pão de Queijo- literally Brazilian cheese bread. Mmmm!

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But after a week it was time to head back to Chile. I have about 2 more weeks left, which means a lot of work, but also alot of play! Two of my amazing friends are here visitng me and we are spending New Years in Valpo— although off to a bit of a rocky start in Santiago (we lost our keys to the apartment and well-lets just say we figured out we aren’t 18 anymore), however, we made it!

Happy New Years! Nos vemos en 2011! xoxoxo

Thanksgiving wedding- Björn style.

Hey Loves!

So this past week I spent one of the best American holidays, Thanksgiving, on St. Croix- an island part of the U.S. Virgin Islands… probably the closest I’ll get to the States in a while. We spent Thanksgiving on a boat going to Buck Island and then snorkeling. It was pretty fantastic- and they had rum punch. Even better.

The next days were filled with some history- going to a Danish Fort in Christianstad, a sugar plantation called the Whim, and then going to JUMP Off- the islands excuse to party and have people walk on stilts for entertainment- Moko Jumbies.

However,  the real reason for going to St.Croix was for Björn’s wedding. It was fab, a bit confusing in the beginning with the photographer being late, Ingrid (Elke’s mother from Germany) talking, and us kids (Ida, Me, Rick and Heidi) just laughing. All in all— it went well. Then we all went to Jump Off- where Elke danced around like a little princess and my Dad chased/limped (right— he broke his foot a couple months ago and is missing a tooth- He looks like a pirate) around in his  Steeler crocs after her for an hour before he gave up and sat down.

It was reallly nice to see everyone and I also got bit of a break from the research thing. BUT now back to work- I have 3 locations I’m visiting this week- starting tomorrow with Las Cruces (again), Algarrobo, and Reñaca, and then next week Maitencillo and Quintay. Good thing is that I like what I’m doing.

Besos! 🙂

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Las Cruces- check! Almost…

Hellllo Rockstars!

Soooo this past week I spent getting to know the women´s fishing cooperative of Las Cruces. This also meant spending a lot of time on public transportation aka buses, collectivos, local buses, and hitchhiking (thank you Paulina).  We went for a meeting and interviewed the majority of the members, but I had to go back  a few  days later to interview some more…. this involved me meeting up with the president  and walking from house to house to interview the remanding members- let´s just say- Women are very helpful. After this I also had to track down the president of the men´s Caleta.   Interviewing for this Caleta starts Tomorrow!!!

Overall, everything has been working out really well. Everyone has been perceptive, interested and willing to participate and voice their opinion (of course some more than others). Only 3 or 4 more to go! Woop woop!

Besides the interviewing- well I got food poisoning  for a couple days. I spent last Friday in El Quisco and Las Cruces with my supervisor, and two others to help with a game theory project they are doing. Let´s just say- mussles, oysters and red wine are not a good mix. I spent all night Saturday and Sunday and most of Monday with my head in the toilet (lovely I know) or in bed. Oops. But hey- that’s not  does not stopping me from eating sea food. Just toooo damn good.

Other than that- I went to concert with my friend, Henrik. We saw Theivery Corporation and Massive Attack- the place was pretty cool and so was the concert, however in Chile they have an AWFUL system for buying drinks. Everyone has to stand in the same line to pay and then afterwards go with their receipt to pick up the drinks. All good and dandy- if they have more than 1 line to pay- obviously this was not the case. Aka massive lines when buying beer. But hey- this is why you buy more than 2 at a time right? Right.

Friday I also went out ( I swear I work too…) We went to some crazy place in Bellavista. Besides the fact that I was exhausted- it was fab. Adri and Ildi- we are going here when you get here. It’s a must.

Oh yes- I´ve also made some more observations:

1. Po. Sí  po. Ya po. po po po? WHAT? Hello Slang- I love you. Let´s just say if you add po at the end of sí you might not be as much of a gringa /tourist. Sí po.

2. PDA (not just hand-holding)  It. is. everywhere. Literally.

3. They have Pâté. I almost felt like I was back in Sweden with my knäckebröd (hardbread), pâté and cucumber. Me = happy.

4. Brazilian bikini waxes still hurt. Even if you are closer to Brazil. (I´ll update this opinion when I´m actually in Brazil)

That´s it for now loves. Tomorrow, I´m off to St. Croix – my dad is getting married. Yep.  And yes a bit sad I will not be able to be in New Castle for the annual Thanksgiving Eve ridiculousness and Brighams big 25 (I LOVE YOU). However, Caribbean- eh not that bad of an alternative.

Besitos until next time! xo

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and stuff I listen to on repeat as of late:

El Quisco- Success!

Wooohooo!

34 Fishermen interviewed and Caleta El Quisco is almost complete for round one of my research (Going back soon to do interviews as well)! The first day was a bit hard …Let’s just say my Spanish needs a lot of work especially when talking to 70 year old fishermen without teeth— it’s a bit hard to understand everything they say. However, I had help from two AMAZING ladies- Francisca and Paulina. Don’t know what I would have done without them, and Celia as well- more for comic relief and moral support. The weather was fantastic and we stayed at Francisca’s apartment (beautiful). The fishermen were overall very recepetive and willing to participate.

Tomorrow I’m off to another location- Las Cruces (there is also a marine biology station here- went to the opening last week), and then spending the weekend in El Quisco with my ‘family’— which involves good wine, amazing food, sun, kittens, and knitting. Yes- relaxing weekend on the coast,  some work, and hanging out with fishermen does not sound too shabby.

Abrazos!

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