Rock n roll circus party

We had our departmental year end party last week Thursday and as far as office parties go this was great fun and well organised. We went to the Barnyard theatre in Rivonia where the theme was “Rock ‘n Roll Circus”. Everyone got dressed up as either a circus or rock act. It was amusing to see some of the more quiet guys come out their shells. We had one of the actuarial teams dress up as Alice Cooper, two guys from finance came with polystyrene U’s around them indicating U2, there was a clown, Dolly, Katy, Madonna and even the King himself was there.

 

We arrived at 11:00 and received a welcoming cocktail and then went into the theatre where you could choose a table to sit at, each with seven chairs around it. The table was filled with a beautiful picnic basket with an assortment of pâtés, mini bread loaves, a salad and quiches, wine, colddrink and beer. We watched the Big Top Rock concert after starters where circus acts performed while artists entertained us with the wonderful sound of rock music. There were various acts but the most entertaining was the pole acrobatics and the contortion ballet. The show was sweet and short, just less than an hour. Main course consisted of fillet mignon in a balsamic and rosemary reduction with Cajun onion rings served with creamed spinach, chips and a choice of sauces. There was also a vegetarian option for the non meat eaters.

We had a prize ceremony for best dressed. There were a few categories, one was for the person who dressed according to their alter ego, one for the person who dressed opposite to what their personality is at work and then for best team and best overall. The dance floor was then opened followed by dessert, Belgium chocolate truffles, red velvet cupcakes and seasonal fruit kebabs. I left after the prize ceremony as I am not one to party late with work colleagues. I have seen too many stupid people do silly things and then they have to face the people from work the next day. The party was however great fun and I loved the idea of mixing some theatre with good food, music and dance.

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“Now, I’ve had the time of my life”

Last night I went with my girlfriends to watch Dirty Dancing the musical at Montecasino and what a fun night it was. It is the classic movie brought to life on stage with all the favourite scenes and lines like “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”. I must say the water lift scene was extremely corny and although I settled into the UK lead man, Gareth Bailey playing Johnny, towards the end (when it felt that he also relaxed more and was more natural) I felt that the legacy that Patrick Swayze left as the unforgettable and misunderstood Johnny Castle was just too big. Our Johnny just did not have enough natural suave but he made up for it on other fronts. It was however extremely fun and everyone there enjoyed it as was evident by all the oe’s and ah’s and screaming when Johnny swayed those hips or flexed those impressive muscles. The poor men who got dragged there by the women in their lives. It didn’t seem that they enjoyed it as much…

Friends, family, goodbyes and laughs

I’ve had such a wonderful day yesterday. I went to Pretoria to have lunch with the family and see them before I leave on my trip Wednesday. My uncle showed off his new seawater fish tank with his three fishes and explained the intricacies of a tank. You cannot just buy or catch some fishes in the ocean and throw them in a tank and voila. Most of them get flown in from America where they are then jet lagged and shocked and have to be carefully looked after and introduced into a new tank. If you buy them it is an hour and a half process to get one fish into the tank and they may die of shock if not done properly. The tank setup is also no easy task. It takes six weeks before the tank is ready to host an animal. It consists of two sections. The pretty one you see is only half of it. There is a whole separate set of tanks, filters and sand bank hidden beneath the visible tank and then you need equipment to create currents in your tank so that corals will be able to survive. After he explained the whole process and showed how everything worked I appreciated his three little beautiful fishes even more. It really is fascinating, especially the corals and sea anemone.

My cousin’s hubby is going on two work trips later this year and he feels so guilty that my cousin will be home alone with the children that he has offered my cousin (and her very esteemed travel partner, me!) a paid long weekend where we can go jol while he stays home with the kids. I did hear him ask his mother about her schedule and availability to visit him then. We are busy planning how best to take advantage of this generous offer and are thinking the wine lands of Cape Town, a trip on the blue train, a weekend to Zanzibar…so many choices 🙂

After the goodbyes to the family I went to see my friends in Centurion before heading off to meet another friend at Montecasino for a night of comedy. We went to see Mass Hysteria – Funnier than parliament featuring Marc Lottering, Casper De Vries, John Vlismas, Tumi Morake, Nik Rabinowitz, Eugene Khoza, Ndumiso Lindi and Mark Banks. Comedy isn’t typically my thing but it was a brilliant show and I enjoyed the humour and laughter is good for the soul. It was a great day!

Chilling at Origins and Soweto

It is freezing cold in Johannesburg which is extremely unusual. The winter month’s temperature is usually a mild 16 degrees Celsius but today it was 10 dropping to the minuses tonight which is mad as we don’t typically have it drop below five degrees, especially not in June. We were aware of this cold coming since the beginning of the week but my friends and I decided to have a day out on the town regardless!

We went to the Origin Centre at Wits this morning but we couldn’t find any parking and thought that there was maybe a memorial service for leading palaeoanthropologist, Professor Phillip Tobias, who died on Thursday so we decided to go to the Neighbourgoods market. Where the market was packed last week, the cold was a big deterrent today and the smoothie, beers and margarita stalls did not get much attention as everyone was queuing at the coffee station, glühwein, hot waffles and paella while the outside, upstairs deck area was totally abandoned. After we warmed up we went back to the Origin Centre and managed to find parking. The Origin Centre is simply superb and tells the story of our ancestors and the emergence of modern humans with a sense of consciousness, art and spirituality. It is an incredible journey that is well presented through various short videos, audio, artefacts and rock art displayed throughout the museum. It was very informative, interesting and quite beautiful.

We then went on a little road trip to Soweto to go explore the newly opened Soweto Theatre. On our way there we drove past the Orlando Towers and decided to stop for a little sightseeing detour. Orlando Towers are two old power station cooling towers that now serve as the biggest mural in South Africa as well as offer bungee jumping for the extreme sport enthusiasts who want to jump from between the two towers. There are other activities such as abseiling, paint ball and quad biking if you want something a little closer to the ground. Unfortunately the cold scared away even the brave today so we did not get to witness a jump from 100m up high. We proceeded to the Soweto theatre which was opened on 25 May 2012 and it is an absolutely stunning building with interesting design. The security was very kind and let us in and took us around to explore the building from inside.

Later in the afternoon I joined another group of friends for a braai at a housewarming party. By now it was a mere six degrees but we were adamant to continue our braai outside. This just meant everyone was cuddled closer around the fire and were drinking whisky or sherry to help warm up. We eventually ventured inside to eat. It was a remarkable and very cold day and well worth giving up the duvet day in bed.

The Phantom of the Opera and Nelson Mandela Square

I had such an excellent day yesterday. It started with me meeting my friend for breakfast at Ciao Baby at Cedar Square and it was great to just relax, chat and catch up as we have been so busy lately and phone calls, emails and SMS’s only go so far. It is just fabulous and good for the soul to hang out with your best friend.

In the afternoon I met my cousin and her family at Nelson Mandela Square which is linked to Sandton City shopping centre. It has many restaurants as well as the Sandton library and Michelangelo hotel that overlook the square and the bronze statue of Nelson Mandela.

In the evening I went with my mom, cousin and friend to The Phantom of the Opera at The Teatro at Montecasino and what a magnificent production. I have seen it before but I couldn’t remember the story so it was like watching it again for the first time. I loved it and the phantom, played by Jonathan Roxmouth, was simply superb! I had goose bumps through the whole performance of The music of the night. Not only did Jonathan sing this with so much control and emotion but his acting matched his velvet voice. I was extremely impressed. We ended the evening with coffee and dessert at The Meat company. We each tried something else, crème brulee, chocolate mousse, malva pudding and fridge cheese cake. Their desserts are absolutely divine but the mousse was extremely rich and the malva pudding very sweet but what a phenomenal evening!

Montecasino

I went to Montecasino on Saturday night for a fun night out. Monte’s tagline is “Gauteng’s Premier Entertainment destination” and it is so true. There is something for everyone. The many restaurants cater for all different tastes, from Kai Thai, Gourmet Garage with some interesting burger combinations, Metropolis Lounge and Grill on the Square that serves a fabulous fillet with real mushroom sauce and Ciao Baby Cucina that offers great breakfast buffets to name but a few.

There are stunning movie theatres with the Il Grande if you want to watch a movie in absolute comfort, ten pin bowling, hot air balloon, bird garden, dinner/dance and two theatres of which the Teatro is probably South Africa’s best theatre, currently showing Phantom of the opera. It also has a casino in the complex and has an open air Piazza which sometimes hosts free open air concerts, especially over New Years or during product launches. I had a great time.

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.