Category Archives: News

The Surprises of Embassies

We have now been waiting around in Ankara for over a week expecting an e-mail from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran, that never showed up. One might think we should know by now, that’s not always how embassies work…

After applying for an e-visa on the Internet (yes, it’s possible!) we’ve spent over a week in Ankara waiting for an e-mail confirming Amanda’s application. Robin’s was done at the day of our arrival, but when we finally got to the embassy in Ankara, it seemed like Amanda’s just wasn’t there. It was lost in cyberspace, and a new application would take a few weeks.

Luckily we’ve been Couchsurfing during this time and therefore made some new great friends. Our host Deniz inspires us with her bakery skills! And as you can guess, Turkey is a country we don’t mind staying in.

Outside the embassy we got lucky to meet a Belgian couple on a long journey driving from Belgium to Vietnam. They recommended us to go to Trabzon in Northeast Turkey where Iranian visas are issued in one or two days. After an espresso with our new found friends, we called the embassy in Trabzon and confirmed.

Tomorrow we’ll be on the road again. See you out there, Njaros!

Recharged batteries

Though we often feel like we find new homes everywhere we go, the homes where we grew up will always and forever be our base, where our roots grow strongly as we explore the world.

It is just as awkward as it is normal, to step inside and hug our parents and siblings and pet our cats and dogs after a few months of traveling.

We have now recharged our batteries a bit and are ready to take off on Monday. We will fly back into Ankara in Turkey and from there we’ll cross to Iraq.

We received an extraordinary e-mail the other day from Jwan, who got roots in Iraq. He spoke just as warmly about his country as we do about our own families.
“I hope you don’t change your minds about hitchhiking through northern Iraq. It is a beautiful place, especially in the mountains.”

Thanks for following us into the new year!

New Introduction Video And More!

First off, we’ve made a new introduction video.

Check it out, share it with your friends and let us know what you think!

Second, we want to congratulate Kim Jakobsson, the lucky winner of our podcast competition!
The correct answer is “Summarn Kummar”.

Third, we’ll be sending out a new gift today to Bodil Heijbel who has made another donation to us. Thank you so much for your support!
This is what the last packages that we sent to our supporters looked like:

Fourth, for anybody looking for inspiration we now have the pleasure of offering our readers a 15% discount on Chris Guillebeau’s well made guides for unconventional living. Chris has inspired us in many ways. He’s a talented writer whose core mission is to help people live remarkable lives. The discount is valid until Monday 29/11! In order to get the discount you need to enter the code “PUMPKIN”.

Keep shining, all njaros of the world!
Amanda and Robin

Half Way to India From Poland Only By Hitchhiking

Somebody told us that Istanbul means half way to India. Depending on what way you’re going, of course,
but we feel like the second episode of this journey has started. We have entered Asia, the Middle East,
and the arabic culture. It is a whole new world where we so far didn’t hear any words for “hitchhiking”.
We’ll see how it goes!

Turkey has been a great pleasure. It has been easy to get around, and we have probably had more tea in 3 weeks
than we’ve had through our entire lives… A great time in a great country.
Now, we have just gotten our 15 day visas to Syria, and we are excited to spend some time here.

Since we are now in a country where both YouTube and Facebook are blocked, the use of Skype is techniqually illegal
and good WiFi seems to be more rare than common, we will probably not be able to post something on a daily basis.
In might also take us a few days to respond to e-mails and comments. So it’s not that we have turned ignorant
since we’ve entered Syria!

There is lots to tell, and we have a feeling that The Chicken Dance is gonna be something special here…
Just wait ;)!

Oh and by the way! We recently got featured at a travel blog – As We Travel.
They think that we’re the 18th most inspiring travel bloggers of 2010 out of 25! How about that :) ?

Welcome to MangoManjaro – part 2 !

How We Failed to Arrange the Chicken Dance in Bergama

Three police men, one promised mayor and a bunch of random men hanging around the public square, all watching the computer screen in confusion, while me and Amanda are trying our best to make them understand one concept: PARTICIPATION!

It’s been easy to arrange the Chicken Dance so far. Easy in the sense that people have been in contact with flash mobs, and art performances before. YouTube has been great at spreading these, but until last week, YouTube was banned in Turkey.
Perhaps that’s why the concept isn’t as well spread here?

I summarized the story (keep on reading) and will now fold it out for you: Last week we tried to arrange the Chicken Dance in Bergama. As you probably can guess, we failed pretty hard.
But not without a fight!

We had gotten a note written in Turkish that told the story and our mission. Now, more confident than ever we handed it over to the men that spent their days in the public square. They looked at it, perplexed and snatched the note from each other. Some of them talked to us, and then after a short while one man claimed that it was in fact illegal to arrange the dance in the public square.

Bergama citizen, Robin and Amanda

– “Problem with Police, girls and boys dancing together, here!”
– “Oh, really? Why is that?”
He didn’t answer “why”. The whole group kind of shrunk as we questioned the idea, the law and his words. We crossed some kind of line here.

– “Where can we find the police station, so that we can ask them for permission?”
He pointed at a building that was very close to the square.

With another man accompanying us, we walked over to the police station. Meanwhile the man (who spoke German) said things like:
– “Das ist sehr gut! B├╝rgermeister ruft das Volk, alle zusammen und jeder wird dann tanzen!” Meaning that the mayor probably would summon the town for this dance. Our hope was higher than ever!

At the police station we were sent between 4 different inspectors and then after 45 minutes we had our official permission and one inspector that tried his best to help us arrange the Chicken Dance. He tried convincing his co-workers, people on the streets and the men in the square. There was a limitation to this though: He would not dance with us himself.

No one else would either. They started talking about getting a local musician that could play for us (we insisted that we’d just sing instead) and then we showed them the video. On our computer.

– “This is in Brasov, Romania. And Bratislava, Slovakia. Varna, Bulgaristan. Stockholm, Sweden. Visby, Gotland. Warsaw, Poland. And now… Bergama – with you, in Turkey! Come on now, dance with us!”

And then. They all just turned away… and slowly… walked away from us… as if… they didn’t see us anymore.


We see four possible solutions to this:

  1. Contact the mayor in each city before trying to arrange it. But that would kind of defeat the liberating feeling of free participation, wouldn’t it?
  2. Change from “random people” to “young people” who got something to win by making weird stuff such as participating in a public dance. Youth is more rebellious by nature. The old men have had their fun and seem rather safe and secure with their lives and positions.
  3. Contact artists who are into doing stuff like this all the time.
  4. Start off the dance with more people that you’ve gathered in advance. This is the approach that we’ll try out in Antalya.

We’ll let you know how it goes.
Do you have any suggestions or feedback on the Chicken Dance?
Write a comment and tell us!