Category Archives: High Five Moment

Netball at the Zando Cape Town 10s

When I was 8, I moved to my grandparents and started a new school. I was from a private, all girls, very colonial institute. I’m reticent to say we were girls, we were ladies. Then I moved. I moved Provinces, homes, guardians, and started at a public school that was co-ed and bilingual. (This was pre-1994, so as far as white South Africans were concerned, there were only two languages, English and Afrikaans – hence the ‘bilingual’ school. It should be 11-lingual. Which is quite intense.)

Now this little lady, who made a ‘whoosh’ sound when she pronounced the start of words like ‘where’, ‘why’, and ‘whence’ was about to meet her first Afrikaans kids, and the sport that they so revered.

Netball.

We didn’t have Netball in Durban, at my all girls’ school. I mean, maybe we did – but we also probably had chess club and no one knew about that either, although, chess was probably in higher esteem.

But along with learning the nuance of words like Komkommer, Kombuis and Kombers, (and discovering how much more fun school is when there are boys in tow),  I was also growing taller than my peers, thus proving myself an asset in the competitive world of Netball.

This story is really about my grandpa. Ted.

Once I mentioned that I was taking up Netball, my grandpa went out to his garage, that was really more of a workshed/habadashery/store-room, with just enough space for his old, matt-olive-green Chevrolet, with fluffy sheepskin seat covers, to snuggle into. (A car I would pretend to drop a pencil on the floor of whenever he’d pick me up from school, to lie down and hide from the leering gaze of other kids. My grandpa knew I would do that, and he’d laugh at me. There was no shame in that Chevvy. It was a “classic”.) My grandpa spent a few hours in his garage that evening, collecting old fishing-rods and binding them together (“See, there was a reason I kept these old things, never throw anything away!” The TV show hoarders would have run screaming from Grandpa’s garage.) And he fashioned a pole, much longer than the standard Netball goal’s pole. And then he put that pole on top of an old table. And he put that table on top of the garage. And he shaped a metal ‘hoop’ that he made sure was just big enough to fit the ball through.

“There. That will do it. Practice with this hoop, and you’ll be better than the others. You’ll be the best.”

“But it doesn’t work that way, Grandpa. Only two girls get to throw at goal. I’m not that position. I’m not good enough.”

“Practice. Get 10 hoops in a row, then you can go down for dinner. Hurry, it’s getting dark.”

And thus began my childhood equivalent to bootcamp. Practicing on a too-high, too-small netball hoop. 10 in a row, became 20, became 50, became backwards. Movie Montage to when I became so good that when I’d see the real hoops on school premises they’d look as big and low as swimming pools. And guess who got so good at scoring goals that she got promoted to the first team and was given the position of ‘Hulp Doel’ (which I believe is ‘Goal Attack’ in English) – the kid who gets to run around AND enter the circle to score goals. Yup. This little English Girl.

Thanks Grandpa.

Then, I finished Primary school, moved away to my mother and became far “too cool” to do any sports after school in High School.

Fast forward TWENTY TWO YEARS. Yes. 22 years. Holy crap. How did I get so OLD? (One of my new teammates IS 22, so THAT puts things into perspective…) Zando contacted me and asked if I’d like to take part in the Iconic Cape Town 10s, which is traditionally a Rugby thing, it is South Africa’s BIGGEST social, sport and lifestyle event of the year – and they told me they wanted me on the Celeb squad, and I could choose Netball, Volleyball or Dodgeball.

Ah Netball. My dark-horse. My secret skill.

So I signed up. (And then realised 22 years had passed since I’d played… perhaps all those rounds of Beer-Pong in between count? Probably not. But my aim, even when drunk, has remained pretty good.)

Tonight is our first practice. (I wanted to write rehearsal, because of the industry I’m in. And given that I’m with a team of actresses, radio personalities, TV presenters and News Journalists – I feel ‘rehearsal’ is a more adequate description of what’s about to happen.) We ‘rehearse’ tonight. And tomorrow morning at 8.45am (EIGHT FORTY FIVE AY EM????!!!!) We have our first match of the weekend. And it’s bound to be a hoot.

My Grandpa passed away in 2010. Before I started my comedy career. Before I would ever have been considered “known” enough to be invited to play on a ‘celeb squad’ of anything. But he was certain I was going to be a star. He was always my biggest fan. He doesn’t know me as a comedian, but he knows me as a netball player. And that is what I will do.

Probably badly. I’ll probably pull all the muscles, in all of the places. But I’ll be playing Goal Attack, the position my Grandpa made me earn, more than 22 years ago. And I know my aim is still better than most, and THAT, is at least something.

Some of our Netball squad. We’re one mind. It’s going SO well already.

(This post got pretty sentimental, but my Grandpa helping me with Netball is one of my favourite memories of him. SO DEAL WITH IT!)

If you want to come to the Zando 10s to watch the mayhem, to drink, to see and be seen, It’s this weekend. 3rd and 4th February 2017. Here is a link to the info. You can come and support all the teams in different sports – and this is the first year that DODGEBALL is going to be a fixture, and that should be hilarious. I didn’t choose it because I’m not nimble enough. 

*high five for High Nets*

Follow the action on #Zando10s

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Do they know it’s Christmas in Africa?

Christmas: WINTER vs SUMMER.

“And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life (Oooh)
Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow
Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?” – Band Aid, 1984. 

My American Friends have our back. ;)

Apparenly it’s not Christmas unless there’s snow. So you’d better quickly get to the Northern Hemisphere! Luckily Travelstart has cheap flights to London so you can hustle.

That Band-aid Christmas song has honourable roots, (raising money for underprivileged parts of the continent) but it doesn’t help the misdirection of people in the North. We DON’T have snow at Christmastime, and if we did – it would be SERIOUSLY bad for global-warming denialists. It’s summertime. White snow is replaced with white sand, egg-nog by the fireside is replaced with cocktails by the braai-side and our Santa chills out in flip-flops. Days are longer, holidays are all around and we yell ‘KE DEZEMBA, BOSS!’ and pop bottles. It’s how we DO Christmas.

My cousins and I, with Toasty the Sandman. Family Xmas holiday 2016.

There is something to be said for a winter Christmas-time though. I have UK based family so we alternate Christmases. Snowflakes and sparkles make more sense in winter, you’re closer to the North Pole so Santa is guaranteed and all Christmas themed things fit in with your surroundings. If you’ve never a winter xmas, UK is more accessible than ever now, the Pound is weaker than last year, and with super affordable flights, there’s no excuse.

Shorter days mean more time to enjoy sparkly Christmas lights, cold weather means more time to cuddle indoors with Christmas songs and family members. And food babies from all that Ham and Turkey you’re going to eat can easily be hidden under winter clothing, unlike us bikini clad Southern Hemisphereans. Plus: You get to dress up in fun winter clothes!

Pros: Xmas themed jerseys,

baking and eating is better in Winter,

Christmas carols and Christmas Movies make sense.

It might snow.

Cons: You’re cold.

You can’t go to the beach in your ‘kini.

No Braais.

Less Public holidays and general summer Lethargy.

No sunset cocktails.

Northern Hemisphere Christmas 2008

Which do you prefer? Summer or Winter Christmas.

Our South African Family Christmas Traditions.

Road trips,

Quality street chocolates,

Mince Pies,

sunburns,

dressing the tree together,

watching Christmas movies,

jumping photos in bikinis with cousins,

merging of new family members (boyfriends and babies),

battling high tide and trying to get around the rocks during walks on the beach,

braais on the deck,

glazed ham,

Christmas themed nail-polish,

bunking up and sharing rooms together,

pretty dresses on Christmas day,

Christmas crackers (wearing hats and reading the joke aloud, mandatory)

Party games,

sing-alongs with Nanna and Amarula night-caps.

Lots of laughter and a few arguments.

We always do Presents on Christmas morning (after Church, for those members of the family who want to go), and have a late lunch that turns into a night-time chatting and games-fest.

Our African Xmas Tree, 2014

Which do you prefer, winter or summer? What are some of your traditions?

*high fives for merry merry Xmas*

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Dodgeball added to the Zando Cape Town 10s

Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge

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 South Africa, Cape Town, December 2016. South Africa’s biggest and most popular social, sport and lifestyle event, the Zando Cape Town 10s has announced that Dodgeball will be added as the 4th sporting code!

 

The Zando Cape Town 10s team has partnered with Dodgeball SA and Rush SA to bring Dodgeball to the 2017 offering and it’s bound to be a colossal draw card and massive hit! Whether you’re a spectator or sporting a team – think ‘bright lumo colours, Ben Stiller, dress up and epic movie lines’.

 

With the event happening in less than 2 months, we made this video which includes a snapshot of what to expect and more on the rules. The video features comedian Rob van Vuuren, re-embodied as the local version of Ben Stiller from the epic Dodgeball movie and also features cameos from some of the Mother City’s most popular media personalities. Check out the video here:

 

The internationally acclaimed event and winner of the 2016 Discovery Sport Industry Award for ‘Best Live Experience’, will return to Green Point Sports Fields on 3 & 4 February 2017 and is set to attract over 20 000 people.  Squads and fans from across the globe will be treated to a number of exciting additions, including a new Title Sponsor, Zando.co.za   (Africa’s biggest fashion store), who is set to add its own unrestricted signature style to the event.

 

Tickets are available via http://capetowntens.com/tickets and are expected to sell out in record time. Avoid the rush and snaking queues or surprise your mates with tickets for Christmas! Check out the special Zando.co.za fashion shopping vouchers accompanying all tickets purchased.

This event is overseen and managed by the Old School Group a ‘really cool little sports and lifestyle business’ specialising in sports tourism and these sports empowered, lifestyle festivals.

 

Event Details:

 

For more info visit the website: www.capetowntens.com

 

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12 days of Christmas Movies

If you’re a Grinch, move along – this post isn’t for you. Unless you’re the movie – then it literally is.

It’s the 13th of December. That means it’s the 12 days of Christmas! So now it’s not only acceptable to have red and green nail, polish, play exclusively Xmas music and each mince pies every day – it’s EXPECTED.

My favourite part of Christmas (Aside from EVERYTHING) is Christmas movies. I don’t care how cheesy they are, if there’s a few baubles and Xmas trees in the shot – I’m in. I’m all in, with joy and mince pie crumbs on my chest.

Here’s a list (with my reviews) of the movies you should watch over the next 12 days.

1. The Holiday (2006)

The First Day of Christmas; My true love gave to me – Jude Law

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So we can ease into Christmas with this easy-watching rom-com. The clue is in the name. Holiday season, Holiday. Some eye candy in the shape of Jude Law and some over-acting from Cameron Diaz is nicely offset by Kate Winslet and Jack Black stealing the show with far more moving storylines. This movie is so full of plot holes, that it should be paired with a holy swiss cheese but just let it be. Watch it for the cute kids, the snowy idyllic cottage that is (unrealistically) Kate’s home . I dare you not to cry moment: When the old man walks into the hall to rapturous applause. *SNIFF* .

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Try not to overthink that the end of the movie leaves all the characters, arguably, more screwed than the beginning (what with Long distance being the soul sucking demon that we all know and hate) and just enjoy the dancing… And Jude Law. Pretend you’re a nanny? (Too soon?)

Best Quote: You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for God’s sake!

 

2. The Family Stone (2005)

On the Second Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, this cast, this script, this everything.

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Ok, this is one of my favourite movies. I don’t know why. It’s just the perfect storm of family and cheesy. First of all, look at the actors in this: Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker,Rachel McAdams, Claire Danes, Luke Wilson, Dermot Mulroney…  With a flawless ensemble and a perfect cozy christmas house as the setting, there’s not much I can fault this movie for. SJP’s character will make you cringe as she tries to win approval from the Stone Family, (aka the name), as the new girlfriend that (almost) no-one likes. I find it hard to believe there are people that are as socially awkward as her character, but it makes sense for the film. I dare you not to cry moment: When they unwrap their matching presents from SJP and it hits a nerve with mother and daughter.

There is plenty of Christmas tree and sparkly lights in the backdrop of this film, to fill me with joy, and plenty of family moments of honesty to make this funny and watchable.

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Best Quote:

“You have a freak flag, you just don’t fly it.”

 

3. The Family Man  (2000)

On the 3rd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Nicholas Cage.

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Don Cheadle, Nicholas Cage and Christmas time. The classic Christmas miracle of a good deed, Nick Cage shows during a robbery being rewarded by some magic that basically breaks his mind. Taking his billionaire businessman ass down the path of the ‘what if I didn’t leave my college sweetheart’ – and showing him, that love truly is priceless. Aside from the cheesy premise, this film has some pretty heartwarming scenes and makes you think about the life choices we all make.

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Best Quote: 

Annie: Do you like kids?      Jack: On a case-by-case basis.

 

4. Batman Returns (1992)

On the fouth day of Christmas, My true love gave to me: Tim Burton, Batman and Christmas.

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Ok, not to start a fight or anything but this is the best Batman. Michael Keaton is my favourite Batman, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, Danny Devito as the Penguin and Christopher Walken as a baddie – all directed by Tim Burton? SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! How do you make this better? Set it at Christmas time. Yass!

This is a little treat for those of you who are already feeling a little ‘to the gills’ with Christmas as it’s technically still a Christmas movie – but with an awesome Gotham twist. Enjoy.

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The Penguin: I could really get into this mayor stuff. It’s not about power, it’s about reaching out to people – touching people – groping people! (Trump learnt from this film, perhaps)

 

5. While you were Sleeping  (1995)

On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 90’s rom-coms.

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This is one of my first ever ‘favourite films’ and Bill Pullman was my first crush. Sandra Bullock plays a subway-token lady (a job, most likely null and void by the millenial explosion of technology) who falls in love with a guy who rides the train daily. She then “saves his life” as he falls into a coma for like a week because of a minor fall off a train platform and then realises that he’s not the one for her (shockingly, since she’s never even had a conversation with him) and it’s his blonder, bumbling brother that’s really ‘the one’. Luckily The One happened to be part of the same family, thus cutting down her hunting time.

I can be as sardonic as I want, but I love this movie. It’s perfectly Christmas and 90s and full of sweet romantic cliches.

Highlight of the movie: When the scene changes and they show a paper delivery boy on a bike cycling past the house, to illustrate it’s morning, and the bike-rider WIPES OUT.

Also, Bill Pullman. I don’t know what it is. He just did it for me.

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6. Home Alone 2. Lost in New York (1992)

On the 6th Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me Sequels set in NYC

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I’ve jumped right to the sequel here, and if it’s been so long since you’ve seen either of the Home Alones, then go ahead and start with the first one. I personally prefer the second one. It’s set in New York, so there’s so much more ‘Christmas’ to be seen. Plus that toy-store, is just about the most magical thing ever, and the bird-lady.

Plus it’s the movie “Merry Christmas you Filthy Animal” comes from. So it’s more iconic than the other one.

Try not to cry when: You see Donald Trump’s cameo. Almost takes away your Christmas buzz.

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7. Elf  (2003)

On the Seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Will Ferrell.

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Buddy the Elf, what’s your favourite colour?

If you like Will Ferrell, then you’ve already seen this movie and it needs no introduction. If you don’t like Will Ferrell, then go ahead and watch the Grinch – because it’s not making my list, and you’re not going to like this movie. It’s silly and it’s genius. And it’s just perfectly Christmassy and Buddy the Elf loves Christmas almost as much as I do.

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8. Scrooged  (1988)

On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Bill Murray.

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Don’t tell me I never give you nice things. Bill Murray meets Dickens. It’s a dark, twisted take on the classic. And it’s gotten better with age (because it wasn’t THAT amazing in the 80s. but now that nostalgia and bad movie CGI is just so hipster and amazing)

“A meaningful Christmas Carol this is not, but a perfectly entertaining yuletide comedy this certainly is.”

scrooged

9. Gremlins  (1984)

On the 9th day of christmas, my true love gave to me: Gizmo.

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Yes. The cutest little gizmos that go all bat-shit crazy and scared us in our youth is actually a CHRISTMAS film. The movie opens with a Christmas classic song and it’s all joy and frights from there on out. Gremlins is worth a watch for all the same hipster reasons that shoulder pads and vinyl records are back. It’s actually surprisingly a fun watch, and the time has made it all the more quirky. Watch it, but don’t eat after midnight.

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10. Die Hard (1988)

On the 10th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me; Yipee Ki yay!

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It’s not officially christmas until Hans Gruber falls off the Nakatomi Tower.

Dear Santa. All I want for Christmas is old school Bruce Willis. As if you needed an excuse to revisit a classic, now you can justify it as a Christmas film. Die Hard is a Christmas Movie, c’mon… it’s got that scene where he puts the Santa hat on the dead guy and writes ‘Ho-Ho-Ho’ on him, what more do you need? It’s set at Christmas time. There is a tree in the Nakatomi scene and that’s all there really is to it. Yipeee-ki-yay…

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11. Love Actually (2003)

On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: This Movie.

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I didn’t know which image to choose to illustrate this movie. Because every single story is just so beautiful (except for that slimy guy who hits on his BEST FRIEND’S WIFE! I don’t care how hot Kiera is, you don’t MAKE A WHOLE DAMN SLIDE SHOW TO YOUR BEST FRIEND’S WIFE, and then play it outside her damn door. What the hell is wrong with that guy. It’s one thing to be in love with her, ok. It’s another to do that completely inappropriate PDA.)

But the rest of the movie. Is all perfect. This is the greatest Christmas movie of all time, and I don’t know what people even watched at Christmas time before this movie existed. Watch it, and watch it again.

love-actually

12. A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

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This is a family tradition with my brother and I. This is officially our Christmas Eve movie. The Muppets’ Christmas Carol is just pure brilliance. There are so many beats and subtle jokes that it makes me chuckle every year.

Worth it for the scene where the rats yell ‘heat wave’ and jump up in hula skirts when Scrooge threatens to fire them for being cold, alone. But there is so much more than that. Michael Caine is lovely, there are some really fun songs – and it’s a great fuzzy introduction to Dickens’ rather dark tale. So it’s kid friendly. And adult friendly, and it’s got so many little meta-jokes. And it’s basically Christmas day. YAY.

muppets-end

 

 

Bonus:

Polar Express (2004)

On Last day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Tom Hanks and CGI.

The train in the film The Polar Express was inspired by the 1225.

Ok, so this one is pushing it a little with the watchability rating, hence not making the top 12. There’s something uncanny about the realism of the characters that makes them feel a little ‘off’ to me. Cartoon characters are usually more cartoony – these CGI people bridge the gap of the uncanny valley – the train conducter literally looks like Tom Hanks in a moustache. However, this needs to be on the list. Because it’s about BELIEVING in the magic of Christmas and the North Pole is pretty magical. It’s a full immersion, shamelessly Christmas, movie. So, brew up some eggnog and take shots every-time you see a Santa Hat (and try not to overthink how stupid these kids are, to board a strange train, in the middle of the night, with a stranger who has a moustache. They are LUCKY it ended well for them… )

polar-express

Other notable mentions:

Home Alone 1 (1990)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

The Snowman (1982)

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Bad Santa (2003)

Arthur Christmas (2011)

The Santa Clause (1994)

A Christmas Story (1984)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Fred Claus (2007)

The Night Before (2015)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

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*High five for The Holidays.*

 

 

 

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Burger King Battle Royale

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On a day that McDonalds announced that the Big Mac Meal will only be R21 (1000 per store) it feels like a calculated move on Burger King’s part that they have announced the FIRST EVER SWOPPER DAY, in the world, will be in South Africa. Today. (Below is the official press release for those who have been asking)
whopper-vs-big-mac-xl

So what will you pick, The King or the return of the Mac?

PRESS RELEASE:

BURGER KING® SWAPS OUT BAD LUNCHES FOR A FREE WHOPPER®

The #Swhopper will see consumers being incentivised for sharing photos of their disappointing lunches

 

Cape Town, November 2016: Making global history, BURGER KING® South Africa announced that it will swap out disappointing lunches for a WHOPPER® at no cost to consumers on two separate days in November, the first being today, 8 November 2016.

 

With over 300 million photographs of food on Instagram alone, the world famous burger chain is encouraging the existing practise of sharing images of food, but with a twist: only images of simple and unpalatable meals will be considered for a WHOPPER® #Swhopper voucher.

 

Ezelna Jones, Marketing Executive for BURGER KING® South Africa says swapping out a meal in order to receive a WHOPPER® has never been done by BURGER KING® before. “South Africa will be the first BURGER KING® internationally to reward consumers who receive simple or disappointing meals for lunch. The call for photos further emphasises that feeling of food envy that we have coined WHOPPER® Envy – when someone near you is eating a WHOPPER® and you are not.”

 

With 221 184 different ways of garnishing your WHOPPER®, the pure beef flame-grilled burger is the number one burger on the menu worldwide and has garnered a cult following thanks to its fresh ingredients and great taste.

 

Follow BURGER KING® South Africa’s social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, for additional information on #Swhopper and other BURGER KING® news. Call 080 WHOPPER (080 946 7737) or visit www.burgerking.co.za to stay up to date on developments.

 

 

#Swhopper terms and conditions:

–        One QR Code voucher per user.

–        BURGER KING®s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

–        There are only two days in the month to upload your image.

–        QR Code voucher must be redeemed within seven days or you risk it expiring.

–        For full terms and conditions, visit the special #Swhopper microsite on the day.

 

Edit: Burger King’s SM team wins:

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High Five!                       

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New York, I thank you.

After a whirlwind goodbye, days of travel, hitting the ground running and finally face-planting into 12 hours of solid sleep. I have a moment to thank every human in New York, for making it THE most magical time that exceeded any expectations I’d dared to dream. From every audience member who laughed, contributed or made things awkward, to every comedian who gave me stage time, advice or beer. To the network of comics that I hung out with, that inspired me, that became my friend, that made me laugh. I thank you.

And to everyone else:
Boozy brunches, Brooklyn Bridge, Rainbow Bagels, giggling at modern art in the Met, brown-bagging beer on the Staten Island Ferry, Netflix, braving the cold rain to watch Broadway shows, Korean food, Mexican food, Thai food, Italian food, sunsets on top of the Rock, laughter, conversations, dog walks, craft beer, instagram tunnels, debating with Trump supporters, 5th Avenue cocktails, Central Park, bad comedy, great comedy, Tulips, Insomnia cookies, Breakfast pots of tea, watching the Yankees lose, Brooklyn sunsets with overpriced wine. Thank you for being part of, and helping create all of these memories. Old friends, new friends, lost friends, found friends. I thank you all. You were an integral part of it being magical, and I will be back. Soon.

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Sri Lank Awesome day 2: Colombo to Kandy

In April 2015 I had the most magical 2 weeks in Sri Lanka, now I’m trying to diarise it both for my memories and your travel reference.

I wrote a post about my first day in Sri Lanka here.

On our second day we woke up super early to catch the train from Colombo to Kandy. We booked this online ahead of time, the tickets are really cheap on trains – but we were in Sri Lanka over their new years’ celebrations, so all the locals were travelling too – so we paid a little extra to a booking agent in order to secure seats. It was still only around R100 each (as opposed to about R50). It’s best to book ahead of time but you can only get the fancy carriages online. In Colombo, there is a special ticket window for tourists in the 1st & 2nd class advance booking office at the east end of Colombo Fort station, it’s all very user friendly. We travelled 2nd class ‘coz 1st class was sold out. But it was perfectly pleasant, clean and spacious.

At the station, wandering around the platforms, a few locals offered us assistance as to which train we needed, and after a while of us nervously staring bemused at the menagerie of people and trains, a young deaf guy took us by the hand (they took us by the hand many times over the next 2 weeks) and guided us all the way to our train and  seat. Then he asked for a donation. Dammnit, HUSTLED! We gave him a tip and sat in our seats, bottled water and backpacks in hand.

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Most of the rest of our compartment filled up with school-aged kids and a few sweet grey haired grannies, white hair in a neat bun offset by their colourful saris. Sri Lankans are as excited by the train as tourists are. I don’t remember seeing any other tourists on that train trip so you really feel part of the country. After having lived in South Korea, I’m used to being stared at by locals but Sri Lankans are far more polite/shy and do not make you feel alien at all. Mostly just avoiding eye contact and allowing you to just carry on.

Through every blackout tunnel all the Sri Lankan girls scream (echoing throughout the train) and all the boys make ghost noises. It’s really quite charming and joyful. One of the grannies and I exchanged a grin and head shake at the adorable youth antics, once the daylight had returned to the carriage after a particularly long black out.

We took the train from Colombo to Kandy because 1: it’s an efficient way to travel and 2: it’s so fun and gorgeous as the train ascends out of the tropical heat of the coastal Colombo, up into the cooler mountainous regions, along cliffs and over passes. (Tip: Make sure you get a seat on the right hand side of the train, that’s where all the views are.) We didn’t have right hand side seats, but everyone leaves their seats to lean out of the doorways and visit friends, so you all get to take a turn leaning out the windows.

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Arriving in Kandy, the cultural capital of Sri Lanka, we had already booked our hotel ahead of time so we hopped in a tuk tuk at the train station and he took us up some twisty, steep cement roads to the venue. We stayed at the Kandyan Crown Hotel (quite a stunning boutique backpackers that’s 4 storeys high because it’s built down the side of a cliff. It’s nice and isolated from the noisy main part of Kandy, and the views are spectacular.)

I had to have some Sri Lankan tea, aka Ceylon tea. As I hadn’t had it properly from a teapot yet. So the owner gave us access to a side balcony, a pot of tea and time to plan the rest of our day (he was very helpful with recommendations and his own tuk tuk driver that we could phone and call whenever we needed him – this worked out cheaper than using random tuk tuks. Transport around Kandy is more expensive than Colombo, you’ll feel like you’re being hustled – but it’s standard – so if you can make a plan with your hotel, like we did – take it!)

Ceylon tea

Ceylon tea

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One of many balconies on the Kandyan Crown

Inside, the spacious, cool wooden interior with 2 storey, floor to ceiling views.

Inside, the spacious, cool wooden interior with 2 storey, floor to ceiling views.

Our tuk tuk driver

Our tuk tuk driver on the small back roads of Kandy.

Kandy is called the cultural capital of Sri Lanka because it was the last city to fall to colonialism and therefore preserved a lot more of the traditional architecture, temples and traditions. As I said it’s cooler than Colombo due to it’s mountain location, but it’s still hot and humid. Think Durban summer.

Kandy has a huge man-made lake in the centre of the town. It has the small-town feel of a mountain village, but it’s still really noisy, full of traffic jams and people. The highlight of the town is definitely the Temple of the Tooth, which is where Buddha’s tooth is said to be kept. THE Buddha. Apparently, as legend would have it, when Buddha was cremated, there was a tooth left in the cremains and that traveled around India for a few hundred years, then a princess smuggled it into Sri Lanka, hidden in her hair. (Much like drugs into Thailand with silly South Africans.)

We headed into the centre of the town, and asked our TukTuk driver to take us to a restaurant where HE would eat. We didn’t want touristy things. He took us to a small cafe in the corner of a parking lot next to the lake where we ordered ‘food’ with sign language of hand to mouth. We got a plastic bag filled with a rainbow of flavoured and spiced rice with a boiled egg. It was yum. It cost us R7. Then we booked tickets to the Kandyan cultural dance show and wandered around the entire circumference of the lake. Which is basically walking on a pavement with a noisy road to your right and a gorgeous pristine lake on your left. The lake was built by an emperor a few hundred years ago. He filled in rice paddies to create it. A lot of people in the town thought it was a white elephant and objected his campaign. Once the lake was inevitably created, the king had all those who had doubted him empaled on spikes at the bottom of the lake. Ew.

lunch in kandy was at a local's restaurant where they laughed at us for wanting cutlery.

lunch in kandy was at a local’s restaurant where they laughed at us for wanting cutlery.

The man-made lake creates a much needed breath of air in the town.

The man-made lake creates a much needed breath of air in the town. (So does looking at my boo.)

The chaotic city right next to the lake.

The chaotic city right next to the lake.

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Scenes around lake Kandy

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Beautiful but Busy.

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innocuous street art next to Kandy’s lake

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Kandy is in the mountain regions so the city exists on multiple levels.

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From Kandyan Dancing to the Temple of the tooth, we had filled up with culture (and this was the most ‘touristy’ we ever felt in Sri Lanka. They hustle, beg and bargain with you much more in Kandy than anywhere else, you also have to join the pack of other tourists in the audience of the dancing and accessing the temples. Not ideal but worth experiencing)

Back to the hotel for an early night. Tomorrow is one more day exploring Kandy before catching a tuk tuk all the way up into higher altitudes, past waterfalls into TEA COUNTRY!

More on that, next time.

 

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NOMINATED!

I’m nominated for an Mbokodo Award in the Comedy Category! (Which makes sense, imagine I was nominated in the Architecture category? THAT would be comedic. “What is this, a house built for funny ants?!?”)

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I‘ve never been personally nominated for anything! Not even as a prefect in school (much to my family’s disappointment, and my non-surprise.)

I won an award for a poem, once I wrote when I was 11 years old. About Spring. Coz that warm weather really gets me waxing lyrical. Never mind that I was 11 in 1994 and I could have written a poem about the start of Democracy. The end of my country’s tragic law, the birth of Mandela’s rainbow nation – THAT should have won an award. But I was happily nestled in my white privilege, and SPRING was the most essential thing to put pen to paper about. I even rhymed womb with tomb. It was special. I called eggs tombs. That’s not deep that’s just wrong. It’s the literal opposite of a tomb. Unless you’re buying it to eat. Then perhaps. Wow. Maybe I am deep. I was advocating veganism. No wonder I had no friends.

But now I’m nominated for a real award, Mbokodo (which means rock) honours women in South Africa who are changing the field in their respective industries of the Arts. It’s curated by Carol Bower Productions and the Department of Arts and Culture.  You can read more here.

To be honest, I feel like I’ve somehow sneaked in under the radar. I don’t know how, who or when they chose me. You don’t register for this award, you don’t send in a submission – they watch the industries and you are nominated by an independent panel. So, HOW did they notice me? I’ve only been doing this for 4 years. I don’t really deserve it! (But I’ll take it!) I have a sneaky suspicion my latest show in Grahamstown at the National Arts festival is what caught their eye. I say this because in their bio of me on the website they quote some of the reviews that were in the Cue paper (the festival paper) this year. AND during one of my shows, there was a very official looking woman, with the ‘all access’ media passes around her neck, who sat in the front row with her arms crossed and never even cracking a smile. The whole way through my hour of hilarity. Any comedian will tell you, that even if, in a room of 100 audience members, 99 of them are laughing – we will only focus on that 1 who is not. She was my nemesis. I was convinced she was a reviewer and a scathing expose was about to surface. It didn’t. (Or maybe it did and my thoughtful friends managed to buy them all and burn them before my sensitive eyes discovered it. Just kidding, my friends are comedians. They would have wallpapered my car with that shit, making sure I saw it as they laughed in a bush nearby. I love them.)

But yes, here I am. Getting flown up to the awards in Joburg this Friday. (SAA, thank you very much. FREE FOOD ON THE PLANE. Whoo hoo! Luxury!) Getting free accommodation in the Raddison Blu, Sandton and getting the honour of being at the same event of people who are truly inspiring.

We all roll our eyes at the ‘It’s an honour just to be nominated’ schpeel. But that’s how I feel. Really. My fellow nominees are absolute powerhouses, Mel Jones and Irit Nobel. Two women who’ve been in the game much longer and, in many ways, paved the way for me. The 2014 winner is Celeste Ntuli, another absolute steam-train of a comedian. The Queen of Zulu comedy. Believe me when I say, I am honoured and humbled to even be on the same website as these women.

I’ll be wearing local Cape Town Designer, Blackeyed Susan (available at The Bromwell). I love their stuff. I’ve worn their dresses twice before. To two other awards shows – The Fleur Du Caps and the SAFTAs. (Both of which I wasn’t nominated for) Well, the SAFTA’s was for ZAnews and we had 11 nominations. Including ‘best writing’, but I doubt it was because of any of the ludicrous things I’ve written.

Other fabulous nominees include Tara Notcutt (for theatre) and Lauren Beukes (for creative writing). Are you kidding me?! I stayed up reading Lauren’s novel, Broken Monsters just last week – now I get to say I’m nominated for the same awards show that she is!? Pinch me! (I like it.)

*high five for ROCKS (Mbokodos)*

 

 

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#StrongerThanTheRand

Our currency is at a record low, again. And because this is the land that I love, our country folk took to twitter to make humour, not war. The hashtag #StrongerThanTheRand started this morning and is still going strong.

I tried to find a website with some of the best ‘Stronger than the Rand’ tweets, but couldn’t find a good one. So I thought I’d collect my faves.

Here, in no particular order, are some I saw – and lolled at. (Please comment your faves that I may have missed below!)

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If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all…

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