Parktown prawn

I arrived at work today to find my friend hopping along in a moonboot having lost a fight with a very vicious Parktown prawn so I thought it wise to tell you about it in case you come to Joburg and have not encountered one yet (and if not, pray you never do!) So the Parktown prawn is technically related to the cricket family but it is a horrible looking insect of about 5cm that not only can jump very high and very far (and almost always towards the target – that being you), they also excrete a horrible black fluid. They are not easy to kill and it is always a very messy business. What you do not want to do (and which my friend as a Joburger should have known) is spray it with Doom or some other insecticide as it will just upset the creature who will come at you with a vengeance and if you do not die of a heart attack as it jumps on you, you are likely to fall off your bed trying to escape its claws and break your foot. I prefer to run and get someone else to go take care of it, usually with the aid of a tennis racket, hockey stick, broom – anything that can knock it unconscious while they then try and get it in a bucket to get it out the house. I am not a fan of killing innocent insects but if you happen to kill this in your ‘rescue’ attempt, do not feel bad or be alarmed – there are enough around to avenge it’s death. If you travel to Namibia, they unfortunately have a worse kind which looks like the prawn but with protective armor and shields especially on the road to the Forest of Quiver Trees where you will encounter hundreds crossing the sandy roads. While you drive over them which is impossible to avoid even if you try, the rest will come to feed on the dead – like something out of a zombie movie. Be afraid, be very afraid!
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Opikopi Pretoria

What fun! Had a great day with the family yesterday at Opikopi in Pretoria. No! not the drunken, motherless Oppikoppi festival by Northam but Opikopi the quiet and enchanting guest house in Erasmuskloof. It was gran’s 80th birthday party and it was awesome. Opikopi is a really great venue and ideal for a private function. I loved seeing the family and it is great to know we have four generations alive and well. A very special occasion indeed.

Irene Village Market, Coin World and Oriental City

What great fun!! The day started early as I heard traffic to Irene Village Market (at the Smuts House museum) was a nightmare so I was prepared to go early. Due to 101 little problems we only left Joburg at 8.30 but was very lucky to find a parking right at the entrance as people were leaving. The market is stunning with a great variety of original arts and crafts and stalls that sell clothing, toys, plants, books and food/sweets. There is a tea garden, food court, kids’ entertainment such as camel rides, face painting and candle making. I haven’t been to a market in years and this was a truly fun experience. We had a boerewors roll before discovering the stall that sold pancakes with a melted bar-one chocolate inside but mental note to have one of those next time as it simply looked delicious! We left at about 11.30 and decided to go to Coin World at SA Mint, less than 10km from the market. There wasn’t much going on as they do not offer tours of the factory over the weekend so we could only go explore the coin shop and see “Oom Kruger” the only surviving coin press of its class. Later the afternoon we went to the Centurion Oriental City which is similar to China Mall in Joburg. We went into every shop as it was intriguing to see that you can buy make-up, tools/hardware, serviettes, art tools, a cellulite pump and plastic disposable vases in one store. It is fascinating and crazy! Some stores really sell junk, let me rephrase, ALL stores sell some junk but if you dig around you will find a few cool items at great prices. I got myself a stunning phone cover for a phone I am yet to get so I have to make time to go do my upgrade next week and no changing my mind on the phone I want as the cover is already bought. We ended the day with more shopping as I failed to get my cousins’ children (whom I am seeing tomorrow) gifts during all the shopping earlier in the day but that sorted we had a late lunch/early supper at Nino’s and got home quite exhausted but what a day. PS: If brunch is the meal instead of breakfast and lunch, what do you call the meal instead of lunch and supper?

Mike’s Kitchen Parktown

What fun!! The day started out with our boss taking the team for breakfast and catch-up session which was great and it ended with our supper club going to Mike’s Kitchen in Parktown (on St Andrews Str) after work. I thought it was the only Mike’s Kitchen left but apparently there are quite a few around. It was a great evening with friends. We sat outside in the garden and scanned through the Menuzine (menu in the form of a magazine – how funny) to decide what to eat. The Parktown Mike’s has a heritage menu with items like steak with avo and biltong or fillet with blue cheese and cherries sauce. It was a beautiful evening and I had a fabulous time. Tomorrow morning I am getting up early to go to the Irene Craft Market with a friend so it is the first time this year that I had to set my alarm (as I wake up the natural way). It took a while to find the alarm clock on my phone. Looking forward to tomorrow as I have been meaning to go for months. Better get some shuteye.

Mystery ghost tour

I went on a mystery ghost tour with my team from work and what ghostly fun!! It started by us all meeting at the Sunnyside Park Hotel in Parktown yesterday afternoon and ended back there just after midnight. Some of us decided to meet earlier for a drink and late lunch at 4. I went to pick up some of my friends so we could travel together and one friend was very kind to make us a 80s mixed CD for our “road trip” of 30minutes to the hotel. It turned out there was like no music from the 80s (except for one Belinda Carlisle song that we skipped – sorry Belinda!) with mostly 90s and 00s and some of the artists not even born yet in the 80s but it was fun and we arrived just after 4. As JB would say: “My bad!” The tour started at 7 and we were about 20 people. Shame, we didn’t have the greatest tour guide and she sometimes forgot her lines and had to go look for her notes and was nervous. Some of the script wasn’t particularly well written with misguided facts, incorrect word choice and lots of sexual innuendo which caused a great deal of laughter through some very “sad” stories. It was however great fun. The tour took us to places like Moyo at Zoo Lake where we got to play with metal rods by the water and hear of people touching knobs – eh door knobs. We drove through town where we got flashed by some street girls – nice (NOT!). We stopped at places like the Kensington sanatorium, Constitution Hill, the High Court and Jeppe Boys High which caused the greatest amount of laughter due to the story told of the two men from Queenstown – Dickie and Fritz, whose paths just kept crossing from their upbringing in Queenstown to their teaching at Jeppe Boys and them dying together in action while away at war with gates erected in their honour so that they could still meet as friends as the gates close. That particular story alone made the trip worthwhile because we were all crying with laughter due to some very wrong word choices. We got out at some of the stops such as Kensington Castle, which is a privately owned home, so we couldn’t go in but could watch from the street, we stopped at Devonshire hotel for drinks and a ghostly story in the dark room and again at Troyville hotel for drinks before we went to Braamfontein cemetery where we got to walk among the graves in the dead of night – a first for me. It is an old cemetery, developed during 1887 that is closed for new burials except if you have a family grave. There are notable graves of the founders of Johannesburg, soldiers of different wars and Enoch Sontonga, the composer of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. It was a great evening and it was fabulous to see the city at night and drive through town with a lot of us reminiscing of old times when we went clubbing or raving in that neck of the woods. Most fun!!

Knopberg

Oh what fun!! A friend decided to celebrate her birthday by taking a bunch of us to Knopberg for a breakaway and it was really special and truly fabulous. Knopberg is near Parys in the Free State and is situated in the Vredefort dome, a geological site of the biggest impact structure where a meteorite hit earth some millions of years ago. The drive there was interesting because we did the scenic route through towns such as Carletonville and Fochville. I haven’t been in Carletonville since a school outing to the Anglo gold mine an eon ago when we went to see how they make gold bars. We arrived just after 2pm yesterday and sat outside on the stoep with a drink or two and some divine toffee tequila – yum!!! It was a beautiful afternoon. Later on some of us had a little splash in the pool (old farm dam) while others had a little siesta – not blaming the tequilla. When the sun set we sat around a camp fire and played a murder mystery game where everyone got dressed for the part. It was great fun. We had a stunning Mexican dinner followed by cheesecake with fresh figs. We watched the moon come up from behind the koppie and gazed at the stars before sending Chinese fire lanterns into the sky with a wish. It was cool to see how high they go and how far they actually fly. Absolutely awesome day!!! A few of us were up before 7 this morning while others only appeared from their rooms before 9. We had some coffee, muffins and croissants and left to go explore Parys (next to the Vaal river) which is a quintessential artist’s town. We walked around in the shops, had lunch at Feast and came home via the highway this time. What a great weekend!! It was truly awesome – the place where we stayed was great, the weather was stunning and the company terrific!

Il Divo at Carnival City

What fun! Took my mother to the Il Divo concert at Carnival city (Brakpan). No judgement! I took my MOTHER. First I got lost and anyone who knows me knows I have no sense of direction which I myself acknowledge (except when playing Baldur’s gate with a friend when I refuse to use the map and of course know where we are going – ps the best PS game EVA!!!) So I have a Garmin which is cool. It does not however help if you program Carousel and not Carnival City. Luckily ma figured out we (when you are wrong it is always we and not me) were going in the wrong direction. So we arrived on time. It is not a particular favourite venue of mine but our seats weren’t bad and the evening turned out to be great fun. I am not crazy about the group but they were enjoyable and performed with a live orchestra and interacted with the audience and it was fun to see how a (let me be politically correct) more mature audience gets excited and jumps up and clap or sporadically starts dancing when they get carried away by the music (close dance, two-step, sakkie-sakkie style down the aisle). The concert was good and the music wasn’t bad as they sing mostly well known songs and the men seem genuinely nice and Carlos is very much a charmer. Some of the songs, like Mama, was however cheese galore!! It was still a fun evening that I enjoyed.