Coming to Grahamstown National Arts Fringe Festival, 2017.
My new comedy hour. I’m adding fuel to the fire.
Coming to Grahamstown National Arts Fringe Festival, 2017.
My new comedy hour. I’m adding fuel to the fire.
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.
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.
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.
(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
“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.
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.
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.
Less Public holidays and general summer Lethargy.
No sunset cocktails.
Which do you prefer? Summer or Winter Christmas.
Our South African Family Christmas Traditions.
Quality street chocolates,
dressing the tree together,
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,
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)
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.
Which do you prefer, winter or summer? What are some of your traditions?
*high fives for merry merry Xmas*
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.
For more info visit the website: www.capetowntens.com
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.
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* .
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!
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.
“You have a freak flag, you just don’t fly it.”
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.
Annie: Do you like kids? Jack: On a case-by-case basis.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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…
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.
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.
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… )
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)
*High five for The Holidays.*
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)
So what will you pick, The King or the return of the Mac?
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:
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.
As many of you know, I’m headed to NYC in 2 weeks’ time. I’m going to be exploring the underground stand-up comedy circuit, jumping on stages, lurking in audiences and taking selfies backstage… and in times square, because… cummaan!
Lesser known fact is that I actually lived in NYC during my Gap Year (and I bought gap jeans there, true story, although the pun wasn’t intended. I wasn’t very funny at 18. it took years of failure to cultivate this. Literally actually 10 years, since i started stand up at 28.) So it’s going to be 15 years, almost to the day since I was last in New York.
2001 was a pretty big year for the big Apple. Most notably, 9/11 happened. And yes, I was in New York for that. And no, i wasn’t in harm’s way. It was 8am. I was in bed. I might not have been a comedian yet, but I had a comedian’s sleeping patterns. (I was actually modelling… which is much the same thing, with less junk food, same amount self loathing and drugs.) Look at me acting all funny about drugs, like I’m cool. Look I wear high-tops now, so I think I’m kinda thug. (I recently bought my first pair of high tops. And I actually feel like every non-white person is laughing at me when they see me walking with what can only be described as ‘adidas bought white people swag’) No, I didn’t notice a single drug in NYC in 2001, I wasn’t even legal to drink at 18 (America is messed up like that) and had to brown bag Coors light, which is ironic, given it’s lame alcohol content.
2001 was also the year that was pre digital. I don’t even think the ipod had come out yet. I literally walked around with a FILM camera in my handbag, incase something awesome happened (no points for guessing that I DIDN’T Have my camera on me the day I left my Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment on Tuesday Morning, which turned out to be September 11th.) I had a film camera and a CD walkman, that took batteries. I also didn’t have my camera on any of the days I met celebrities, which included Liv Tyler naked (in a changing room) I suppose she was glad I didn’t have my camera that day. No one else is.
To be honest, I don’t really know what i DID take photos of. Photos were so underrated in 2001, pre digital, pre social media, pre not having to have a slideshow of travel photos to make anyone actually see the pics aside from strangers in a bank queue. I think I have one blurry photo of the Statue of liberty and a few overexposed images of us drinking indoors, which could have been ANY-FUCKING-WHERE.
So, yes. I will be snapping EXCESS of photos on my 2016 voyage to NYC. I was so worried, at 18, with fitting in, and not looking like a tourist, and one of the things New Yorkers told me to do in order to blend in was ‘look pissed off’ and ‘don’t look up’ (because only tourists think tall buildings are cool. Or clouds, apparently.)
Well fuck. I DO NOT CARE about looking cool at 33. I am PAST my prime. I will be looking up like a short guy at a strip club… and the buildings will be the exotic Russians clothed in angular glass and cement. So I’ll be looking up. But I’m older now – and have resting bitch face. So maybe I’ll still look pissed off. I tried so hard to fit in when I was 18. I remember trying to walk in Times Square (rookie error, no locals go there) thinking I blended in, when a street vendor greeted me, “hey pretty lady, what country are you from?” Dammit. My cover was blown. I hadn’t even spoken. How did he know? I was truly mortified that I didn’t look local. Shame. Poor little Angel.
One time, I was in the subways and Joshua Jackson (yes, PACEY from Dawson’s Creek. Which was still very much A THING then) was waiting on the same platform as me. It was 2am so we were the only people there, and the trains were running slower than they do during business hours. I recognised him but was too shy to say anything, then my train arrived, after I got on I noticed that he didn’t make a move to get on, so this wasn’t HIS train. In a moment of YOLO I jumped off the train and decided to ‘pretend to be a foreigner and pretend that I was lost’. This is where it gets really good. 18 year old Angel was so convinced that she fitted in, seamlessly in NYC that SHE PUT ON A FAKE BRITISH ACCENT TO CONVINCE HIM THAT SHE WASN’T AMERICAN. Yes. I did that. This is true. No, my REAL South African accent isn’t exotic enough. I pretended I was lost, (british) asked him if he knew which train I needed. Turned out he was more lost than me, and I had to help him realise he was at the wrong station and walked with him to his new station (pretending I needed the same train). So Mr. Jackson doesn’t realise that his Guardian Angel, Angel helped him that night. Halfway through hanging out, I started trying to phase IN my normal accent, and phase OUT my Fake british accent. It was like a drunk Australian doing an Irish accent, I didn’t even bat an eyelid because he told me I was the first South African he’d ever met, so I knew he had no frame of reference. He did side-eye me pretty hard every time I swung from Pom to Saffa. He probably thought I was an American, fucking with him. Damn. I was THE WORST at 18. I didn’t have my camera that night either. I went home and wrote it in my diary though, which is almost as good. *hangs head*
So now it’s the NYC reboot. Bigger, better, less lame. Or maybe more lame. But Awesome all the same.
I have sorted out some epic hosts via friends and couchsurfing. (I love the internet.)
I will try to be better with blogging and just have massive brain-farts on here, so keep in touch for that chaos.
I’m looking forward to hitting the hustle in the Comedy underground, just to get on stages, or to chat with NY comedians, to hear their world views, and experience THEIR comedy. I cannot wait to stretch my brain and document this time – and I will have my iPhone6s, Apple belongs in the big Apple, i hope I see Liv Tyler naked again. For all our sakes.
*This Post was not sponsored by Apple. Although, if you work for Apple. Let’s talk.
(If anyone has any comedian connections in NYC, please let me know – I’m so interested in networking and finding out about all the underground gigs.)
Whenever you eat shellfish in South African restaurants, the menu says it comes from Saldanha. I’ve always wanted to go to this magical place up West Coast, the birthplace of yumness, and eat cheap sea-food. So, this past weekend – to mark our 2 year anniversary – my boyfriend and I ventured the hour and half drive out of the city.
After some research and phoning around, I’d found out that the oyster factory no longer sells direct to the public, but you can buy from Charlie’s Fish Shop in Suldahna for R7.60 each. We stopped by and picked up the cheapest dozen we’d ever got and headed on to the accommodation I’d randomly found via Booking.com to eat oysters and drink wine (that we’d bought in Cape Town before leaving the city) on their terrace.
We stayed in Jacob’s Bay – A place I’d never heard of but I liked the look of the guesthouse, Klokkiebosch. It’s a tiny village between Suldahna and Paternoster. 20 mins each way. The whole of Jacob’s Bay has white washed houses, with blue details and gravel roads – so It reminds you of Greece or Italy (or what photos of Greece or coastal Italy make me think it’s like).
It’s the most sleepy, idyllic place and I’d love to disappear there for at least a week, just to read, breathe and relax. Our guesthouse was Klokkiebosch and it was just charming.
We headed into Paternoster for Rugby (SA beat Scotland, yay) and Paternoster is an equally idyllic (if somewhat more established) fishing town. Complete with white washed buildings and a long stretch of soft sand beach. Food in Paternoster was not as cheap as I’d dreamed, but fancier. Turns out it’s quite a fine-dining hub and all the main restaurants were fully booked. The Noisy Oyster and The Gaaitjie. We found a table at the cozy Square Spoon and had Snoek, Prawns and seafood curry with coconut rice. All very yum.
The following morning we returned to Paternoster for lunch where we managed to get a table at Gaatjie. I’d recommend Gaatijie for lunch and the Noisy Oyster for dinner if you’re doing the foodie thing, because Gaatjie is RIGHT on the beach so the views would be wasted at night. (Again, I felt like i was eating in Greece – or heaven.) It’s fine dining at it’s best and the presentation and flavours were sublime. But it still has the natural laid back environment of a small beach town.
A very memorable anniversary lunch was followed by a stroll on the misty beach before the scenic drive back to Cape Town to catch more rugby (Argentina beat Tonga!) Good food and good results all weekend.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.