July 31, 2012

A strut and a skip.

Before I dive into a full  report of my recent experience with Cape Town Fashion Week you should know that I don’t like fashion week in general. Ever. It is not because I never got invited, because I usually did or could have, but because I don’t like most fashion people that crowd these shows. Especially the really important ones which make every self-respected designer start his show an hour late. I don’t care if you are the devil who wears Prada, my time is valuable too and I don’t care that you need to share a Diet Coke and chat with Mr Lagerfeld before gracing us with your presence.
Though I might get annoyed by these Anna Wintours of the world, those are exactly the people you put on a fashion show for. You don’t put it on for some ordinary girls who buy a ticket for R 150 to feel important for twenty minutes, but who can never afford to buy your clothes afterwards. Tell me international fashion peeps – is there any other country than South Africa that sells tickets to their fashion shows? I think there would be quite a few ecstatic New Yorker wannabe it-girls, paying a little fortune to sit front row at Marc Jacobs or some nouveau riche Parisians to get a close-up look at Dior. But they can’t. Because that is not what a fashion show is for. Unless you live in South Africa, but then there is no MJ or Dior or any worthwhile reason to see a show either. Except you have a teenage niece like myself and it’s her birthday.

Yes, one could say that I went into the whole experience already prejudiced. In addition to the selling tickets part, I don’t hold South African fashion in high regard in general and think they should just let it go and concentrate on making beautiful furniture and home accessories. But hey, that is just me…

My prejudice got confirmed however upon walking into the CTICC and seeing a display by a Kim Gush with her collection called The Immortality of Devine Rule, which was in her words inspired by what black South African women wear and New York City. And in case this didn’t make sense for someone like me, it further explained This is what I would wear as a South African woman, coming to New York, but wanting to keep my own identity*. Considering what just happened at the Batman premier I didn’t think it was a good idea to wear a muzzle, clad in black leather when out about in Soho, but what do I know? I snapped a picture for Julia and sent it with the comment And this is Cape Town Fashion week for you to what she replied Thanks for adding the explanation, I thought it a Darth Vader Zeitgeist contest.

Darth Vader hip and happening.

At least the display of Dark Age appropriate dressing for New York kept us entertained enough till the actual show started. I had left the choice to Gabi as one designer means as little as the next to me and she selected Spero Vilioti. I thought he at least looked like the best of the bad options with puffiness, sparkles, and drama, so I expected to see a show in the true sense of the word. That was till the curtain opened to … a Resort show. Bummer. At this point I already wanted my money back.
To me resort shows are in their concept the pinnacle of decadence. If the idea that you buy a whole separate beach wardrobe to go on holiday somewhere warm when the rest of the country is freezing is not decadent, I don’t know what is. Unfortunately these shows never reflect this decadence as they are usually just an array of bikinis, beach cover-ups, and ugly sunhats in either tropical print or nautical themed colours. This show was no exception minus the tropical print, which may have just brightened the whole sombre affair.
What can I say? The clothes were mainly plain and boring themselves, but I giggled at the thought of what would happen if the guys actually got wet in their white, tight spandex swim shorts and I giggled a bit more at the sunhats that came in wagon wheel size only. I thought for a collection lacking any attitude at all, the models should have worn killer heels or at least skipped and danced in their generic, white flip flops. Nope, they didn’t. It made me giggle a bit more that most slumped across the runway in their flats, sporting a strange back arch as if they were walking against strong winds. One wonders why some designers haven’t realized yet that a fashion show is not real life and most outfits look a bit drab without a heel and a strut.
Luckily fashion shows are short and the finale look came quickly. I kind of respected the designer for being so old school that he showed wedding look to close the show. Of course here this meant a white bikini, a veil, and choice of groom. Then the model turned around and I felt more than giggly. Now I know that in the South African fashion world you can have a flabby ass, but still be chosen to walk down the runway in a bikini and show the world your inner beauty. And what is not to love about that for an ordinary girl like myself?

*Yes, I am paraphrasing as didn’t have a pen to write it down and I can’t find it online anywhere. Just in case you wonder if such a thing could be actually true, it is - I am good at paraphrasing!

July 27, 2012

Food for thoughts.

I might be in the dog box with you, but I just can’t get a story rolling. There is simply too much stuff on my mind this week, all feeling very important (the stuff, not me), but it doesn’t really add up to much of a proper story yet.

If you care to know regardless, just because you love me or because you are bored right now … I started thinking about Christmas gifts for my family and whether I should buy some in Morocco. Only then did I slowly start to wrap my head around the fact that I will be in Morocco shortly, which seemed more time appropriate than thinking about Christmas. I will admit I’m slightly terrified. I don’t think I have ever travelled to a country which will be so different from what I know. At the same time the thought of being completely outside my comfort zone is exhilarating. As we all know -after reading all these yoga studio postings - this is very the magic happens! I will also tell you a secret. You may find it weird. Ever since…well, ever, I loved to hear the adhān. Even in Istanbul when I first realized that it is mainly electronic these days, which made me sad, because some things just shouldn’t be, I still loved it day and night. Church bells make me nostalgic, but the call to prayer fills me with a sense of desert and kohl eyeliner and adventure. I find it romantic in an odd way. Don’t ask why, that’s just the way it is and yes, Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven may have reinforced that feeling over the years, but he did not initiate it! With all that in mind I am actually quite excited to go to a proper Muslim country for the first time and be kept awake by something else than my elephant-esque upstairs neighbors.

However I have mainly be thinking about yoga this past week. There might be a new teaching opportunity for me, but it’s not confirmed and I’m nervous, feeling like the girl who waits for the phone to ring. I’m actually expecting an email, but you know…same sort of feeling.
I have also thought a lot about Bikram. About all of it really…the man, the concept, the teacher training, my own practice… I even started reading Bikram’s book and the dialog again and to my surprise I find much that is new and inspiring. It also makes me desperately want to be back at my old studio and practice twice a day if I please and not be restricted by silly timetables as I am here. Dear Cape Town studios, I really want to practice on a Friday afternoon/evening – how come that none of you, 5 hot studios, offer one proper Bikram class??
I don’t know if anyone can feel my frustration, but it doesn’t matter. You can just regard this post as a diary entry which was allowed to go public. I could add much more to this one-way conversation, but I don’t think you are terribly interested in my bad massage experience or my new found love for Katjes and hate for bloggers who write about chewing gums or work ideas swirling in my head. No, I don’t think you will care at all and I don’t blame you. I will mention though that I am back on Pinterest, mainly because so many people started following me and I hadn’t pinned anything in years and felt bad. I decided it was actually the perfect place to put up giraffe pictures from now on, so you have an actual choice whether you want to see them or not. Go here if you dare.

Sharing one last thought before I’m off for the weekend: I will be attending Cape Town fashion week tomorrow. Yup, you read correctly. I didn’t think I would ever bring myself to it. Ever. Can you see me rolling my eyes and the sarcasm dripping of your page already? But what one does to make a teenage niece happy. At least you will get a highly snarly entertaining fashion report out of it on Monday. Till then… happy weekend!

July 25, 2012

On tour.

I know I promised you a proper and coherent story, but last night was even worse than the previous ones so I am in no condition for storytelling. I did however wanted to put up the tour dates for my newly reinstated annual Christmas tour back home. I call this holiday a tour as I tend to feel like a cranky rock star on rehab during these Christmas till New Year’s, one week plus a day holidays at home. Since my parents are divorced and family and friends live all over Germany stints to all the places I need to visit tend to be very short, thus bittersweet, and far far away from each other. At least in German terms a four hour train ride is far.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, but with the excitement of having a ticket booked, already comes the sadness that I will have to say good bye after only a few little days. I think I can just manage better when I don’t see my loved ones at all than seeing them and having to leave again. Is that normal??

Anyhow…I will cross this bridge when I get there. For now I am sharing my official tour poster, which I found randomly online. I don’t even know who The Ringers are (am I getting booed for this?), but it sounds a bit like circus, which I love, and I think the poster all in all just rocks. So here is my slightly modified version with my tour dates:

July 24, 2012

This and that and a bit of Gin.

Last night I had black tea after dinner because I was out of peppermint and as a result I couldn’t sleep. I came up with a whole lot of new story ideas, but in daylight none of them are all that appealing. I seem to have fallen into a bit of a post Zambia slump with nothing all that appealing. Not even the prospect of Morocco, only three weeks away, can pull me out. In fact it just reminds me that I haven’t brushed up my French as I should have. All I want to do is sleep and eat chocolate or cake or chocolate cake (yes, there might be a bit of PMS – which is short for Prepare to Meet Satan according to Twitter - in the mix too), and shop. Which I can’t, because I just got permission

…a little exited drumroll here…

to book a ticket to go home for the holidays and am now officially broke!

Just to clear one thing up, my German friends, holidays means Christmas & Co. Holidays does not mean August. Here I put it on paper in black and white, because yesterday I think I upset my little cousin lots as she thought holidays equals August which would thus mean I’d be home for her wedding. Which, unfortunately I won’t be. The unfortunately is small because as you may know I will be in Morocco so as much as I hate missing her big day, I cannot be too upset due to my self-chosen exile in form of a camel and a desert camp.

Yes, I know, especially after putting it on paper like this, life is not bad at all. I just haven’t slept well lately thus I am permanently a bit grumpier than usual and also I haven’t been on a yoga mat for a week. Ups. I feel doubly bad for this as my friend Jess deemed me worthy for a yoga & wine interview. She asked me yoga questions, I gave her wine answers. Read it here, apparently I’m funny and wise though I have no idea how that happened.

On another very random note: I am officially a big fan now of Gin infused slush puppies (Adam’s wording not mine) at the Labia. Though too much might not be good for my temper as I almost hit a loud popcorn eater over the head with my cup. Then again how loud can you get to eat your popcorn and Claire told me afterwards that she also turned around and gave him a stern look. Unsuccessful due to movie theatre darkness which swallows all stern looks and eye rolls, lucky for the receiver.

I know, this all getting very incoherent and I do apologize for it. I think in addition to lack-of-sleep tiredness I am also slightly fatigued due to hunger now. Will go eat and write a proper story for you tomorrow…

July 19, 2012

Tree, rainbows, and one party bus.

I bought a travel blanket for Zambia and Morocco. Well, actually it is more a shawl or a throw and I just couldn’t resist and needed a reason to purchase thus called it a travel blanket. Two weeks after returning home the blanket still smells like a mix of fairy tales and adventures. Actually the smoke from the campfire is still sticking to it, but since I don’t do campfires in real life it just equals the smell of Zambia for me.

As you know through bits and glimpses now I went to Livingstone for a week to plant trees with Greenpop at the beginning of the month. The idea came up after I managed to survive the weekend at Platbos, realizing that maybe it was time to face two of my biggest ‘fears’: Camping and sharing close quarters with someone I don’t sleep with or who is not on my top ten friend list. I was fortunate enough to never have to share a room with a sibling and the only time I had to team up was for one year in the dorms. That went alright till my roommate decided to pick up a stranger in a bar one night and take him home. I was greeted by his sight in her bed the next morning from across the room. Awkward to say the least and I am still wondering till today if a stranger admired my uncovered butt at some point during the night. After that it was no more room sharing for me so the prospect of sharing a tiny tent, well, to call it even worse would be an understatement.
Though this time I didn’t even think about it too much, I just really, really wanted to go to Zambia and plant some trees. It helped to be overly well prepared, as I usually am, and to take a sleeping bag the size of a toddler (I am still surprised the airline didn’t charge me extra to take it…), but I can proudly report I was the only person not cold! Also a big thank you right here goes to Micah, my tentie for the week, who made it cool to share a tiny tent and who just overall rocks.

What can I tell you from my trip? I kind of don’t know where to start as there was just so much… stories experienced, stories told, newness which became daily life overnight, sunburned shoulders and a fat Labrador doing yoga, Nshima for lunch and the pleasure of a slice of orange on a hot day, lions touched and elephants ooohed and aaahed over… little things coming together in one big bubble like a dream when it happened and still like a dream now that it’s over.

Excuse this story for being a bit incoherent, but I find it hard to wrap such week with so much here and there, this happened and then that happened, into one neat package. I’d rather tell you how I remember it. The little bits. Like the one time when we took the bus to the Victoria Falls to see the lunar rainbow, which I didn’t even know existed. How lucky did we get that there was a full moon when we were there! Or that day when we came to a school that gets frequent visits from elephants passing by and we had to ‘hide’ the banana tree saplings from their view.
Then there was the afternoon we went to play soccer at the local club and all ended up dancing like crazy people, which sort of didn’t stop when on the bus back to camp. Then the bus broke down. But that was another night and it wasn’t the same old crappy, but beloved party bus, it was the fancy one. Go figure.

New friends were made immediately after I managed to get through immigration despite my expired dollar bills. More on the first bus ride to camp and then each day after that. Muscles popped up we didn’t know existed, greeted with joy the first time around and cursed when they started to ache.
Lots of talking. From early mornings till late at night, in the showers, overlooking the crocodiles, on the bus, off the bus, during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even I talked in the morning though not before 7am. Baby steps, people, baby steps. As you know I am more of a sit around the camp fire (yes, the campfire is a new addition to the routine), drink whiskey and then talk – in the evening/at night – kind of girl. There was plenty of that too. Which would explain the adventure smell on the blanket. There was also lots of dancing by the campfire. Also applauding for various reason or just because we could and hurrahing too.
Of course there were trees. Baby trees and grown-up trees, magic trees and thorny trees, leafy trees and painted trees, trees on the bus, trees on my lap, trees in the ground. Mr. Shorty and Mr. Tall tree and their neighbour the honourable Mr. Annika Bran tree. Tree stories were followed by tree songs and skits, often funny, always smart, and sometimes a tiny bit sad.
Then there were the people from Zambia we met. The kids who showed us naughty dances, the boy who declared “I’m the handsome one in the class” only to be met by roaring laughter from his classmates, and Philippa who went mulching with me and called me her daughter. There was uncle Benge who draws the best warthog ever and Kebby who has planted 9 million trees in his life. New friends who immediately became old ones. Stories, handshakes, and laughter shared while we all gave little trees a new home.

So now you see how it was impossible for me to try to put such a trip into a nutshell, right? I don’t need to tell you that it was probably one of the best weeks ever. Or how grateful I am to Greenpop for making it possible and being all around awesome. Or that if you laugh at the picture below, I shall never ever speak to you again. Right?
Do not judge! I was really hot and probably severely dehydrated and didn't know what was happening to me.

The handsome one. But which one?

Just another ordinary rainbow.

The capes are not a money making scheme. You will need one or other.

Baby banana tree.

Trees riding shotgun on the party bus.

Good yoga motto.

Dangerous lions to be found everywhere.

July 18, 2012

No hope for Hope Street?

I have been living on Hope Street, Gardens for a little over two years now and stay in an awesome building right next to the government parking lot. I love it! What I don’t love is the fact that my car has been broken in to 5 times over the past years, the night of July 15th being the latest incident.
For some reason I always assumed moving from an area like Obz to Gardens would decrease any car related incidences. Apparently I was wrong. Unfortunately I have to park my car on the street and it usually happens to be the only car out late at night. That is a fact I cannot change and I have taken proper precaution with decent insurance, a gear lock, and there is never any stuff lying around in my car (except for a Pavarotti CD which thieves don’t seem to appreciate as it has been in there, not stolen, for a year). It doesn’t matter. The car gets broken it to, nothing is taken, but I am left with the hassle of yet another window to repair (the guy at PG Glass and I have become very good friends over time!) and an uneasy feeling in the neighbourhood I live in.
I know that break-ins are a reality we have to live with in South Africa, but on Hope Street it has gotten a bit out of hand (a tenant in my building even called it notorious).

So instead of a wish list for Santa, I am doing one for the City of Cape Town this year.

Dear City of Cape Town,
I pay my rent and my taxes so it shouldn’t matter if I was naughty or nice, thus I wish…

… You would check up more on all the people who live on and sometimes lurk around Hope Street and its side streets.

… You (and Helen Zille) would had taken my tweets more serious, which I have been sending for weeks, asking for the street lights to be turned back on. If I have visitors they will usually call from the car and wait for me to buzz before they come to the door, because the street is so dark and scary. How can Table Mountain be lit yet I have no lights on my street??

… The police would not take 5 minutes on the phone to spell Hope Street and be able to react faster and overall show more presence on Hope Street, so it can stop being notorious.

… That the two security guards who were on duty that last Sunday night at the government parking lot would have actually cared and helped. Yes, I know, technically that is not their responsibility as it happened outside the parking area. Still, from a security company paid by the government I would at least expect them to pick up the phone and call the police if not help in any other way.

Dear city, don’t you know that Hope Street is awesome? It’s in the middle of town close to Parliament and Company Gardens with businesses, cafes, and residents. Can you please do something? Anything so residents and visitors can feel safe here again, because I know, I certainly don’t right now.

Thank you for your caring!?

July 17, 2012


Yesterday I did something I have never done before. I deleted one of my own posts. I realized I had actually upset someone by writing it. I didn’t stick to the I’d rather be nice than be right motto I’m working on. I realized this only after I wrote it, published it, and was faced with the consequences.

When you complain somewhere about a restaurant or a business they ignore you in the worst case scenario. Sometimes they will at least apologize and if you get lucky they will comp you a meal or send you a freebie of some sort. An ex will usually be pissed at you for being called out so now it’s the best case scenario if he ignores you. In worst case scenario you will be unfriended on Facebook and called the crazy one in any further conversations your name pops up. What you will never get is a satisfying explanation or apology from an ex for anything that he may have done or not done. It just happens and things do and that means usually it is just time to move on. Because in the end it doesn’t matter whether you had a valid point or not, a personal blog is not Hello Peter for ex-boyfriends. At least not for the ones you still care about.

I have a hard time with moving on, so naturally I would be upset when any ex of mine has a new girlfriend and it’s okay to be upset for a moment. Not okay is for me to pretend he owes me an explanation or apology for it. He doesn’t and at the end of the day I just have to admit the fact that it upsets me that he has moved on and not that he didn’t tell me about.

So there. I admit the real reason why I was such a bitch yesterday.

After a horrible day, I took myself home, nursed with red wine and pasta, and finally deleted the post. Then I went to bed and for the first time in almost a year took out my diary and started writing. Realizing that there is a right place to write and complain and whine about all the things I needed to in order to feel better. Funny enough the last time I wrote something in my journal, I wrote about how it’s so much easier to be angry than to be sad. Like attack seems the best defence. Boy, I may have been right with that, but the whole idea is quite wrong. It may have just cost me a friend.

Today the world seems different and I blame it equally on last night’s revelations and this morning’s sunshine. So I thought I should sneak in a giraffe just for good measure. Don’t roll your eyes, this one is special. My Dad scanned it for me and emailed it. A picture my brother drew of my Mum and me when I was just born. I guess he thought it appropriate to picture us as giraffes because my Mum’s neck is really long and I was just huge (59cm!!!) in general. So now you know why I had no choice from the start but to love giraffes!

July 13, 2012

A giraffe to remember.

It wasn’t my idea, so don’t blame me! This post is for one special girl, who likes giraffes even more than me. In fact so much that she dressed up as a giraffe on carnival including painting her entire face and neck yellow with brown spots. I like that kind of enthusiasm, so this is a story for her.

I had told Charlotte from Greenpop before coming to Zambia that she needed to organize me a giraffe. They kept on posting pictures of hippos and owls, but no giraffes, and I told her no giraffe, no me. She finally sent me this and basically told me this was as good as it gets.

Not really all that good, but I appreciated her effort and decided to go and check it out for myself. I do think some people are more apt in giraffe spotting than others.

During the week we saw a herd of 20 elephants by the camp, the usual amount of baboons, hippos, crocs, and one scorpion, glowing in the dark, but alas no giraffe. I tided myself over with plenty of gummy giraffes for breakfast on the bus and got unreasonably excited when we got to one of the schools and found this in a classroom:

By the time the last day came along I had given up on the giraffe quest. Luckily my fellow booze cruiser Katie hadn’t and at some point we were all woken out of our G&T haze by her shouting: Giraffes! That is one clever girl with really good eyes because it took the rest of us minutes to spot them, meanwhile accusing Katie of hallucinating. She wasn’t. There they were: not one, not two, but a whole family including a little one.
I don't think we can be entirely faulted for doubting Katie - I think they are
damn hard to spot!

Unfortunately my camera was ill equipped to shoot them from the distance and instead of standing still and making it easier for me, the giraffes decided to do a little sprint along the beach. Mind you that wasn’t their fault, but some idiot’s chasing them with a car.

So if you, Mr. Giraffe Chaser, read this, just know that I think you are an ass and destroyed my probably one and only opportunity of taking a picture of a baby giraffe in the wild!

I should add that we were all still very excited by this. People, including me, were jumping up and down, and I think Kai, the biggest giraffe fan of all, even shed a tear. So thank you, Katie – I think you and your laser vision eyes deserve the title Supergirl!

July 12, 2012

A question on paper.

As I tend to be quite outspoken when something is amiss at a shop or restaurant in ‘real’ life, I don’t like to talk about it on this blog for the most part (and since men are not a shop or a restaurant so they are excluded from this rule). Yesterday though something came up while I was shopping and now I do want to talk about it here and maybe just get an idea of how everyone else feels about it.

I am the first to admit that I am no green fairy. Yet ever since I got involved with Greenpop I am at least becoming more conscious of the environment and what could or shouldn’t be done to live a bit greener. I think after getting blisters on my hands and cracking my back by planting trees, I just get really irritated when I see paper being wasted. It seems to make my blisters and hurting back simply pointless. I have realized in the last couple of weeks that companies make it incredibly difficult for one to save paper. Take my Click’s Card for example: it comes with a little magazine every three months via mail. I have never ever opened the magazine, but just taken my reward points and tossed everything else. I eventually decided to call them and ask them to send me the points on their own. What did they tell me? That it wasn’t possible. How can that be and why would a company want to waste paper = money on me if I won’t make use of it? After a long back and forth and speaking to a manager, I am now able to get my points and updates via email. Thank you very much and why was that so difficult?

Two weeks later I found a big glossy magazine from Greeff Properities in my mailbox. It contained a mix of properties in the area and general lifestyle articles. I wondered whether they have done any research as to whether I am even interested or eligible to buy. Upon emailing them to ask (and complain … yes, yes, that’s me) they wrote that the system of dropping unsolicited magazines into people’s mailboxes apparently works well for them. Mh, great. And good for them, but the waste of paper, judging by the bin overflowing with Greeff broschures in our building, still irks me. Especially when combined with the line “People who don't wish to receive a hard copy often request an online version and provide their email addresses for this purpose”. Well, I wasn’t asked if I want to receive either version.

Yesterday I wanted to indulge my sweet tooth and as it comes out rarely I allowed myself a little tart and a macaroon (alcohol something, hazelnut something, funny name – to die for, get one now!) at Cassis. Before I continue let me say that I adore Cassis’ purple boxes. Over the years I have received and given many little birthday cakes in a purple box and I think they are perfect for a special occasion. I also love the fact that one isn’t being charged extra for them if such an occasion arises. Yesterday was different though. Please just put them both in a little paper bag. The sales girl puts the macaroon in a clear plastic bag. Um, or both in the plastic bag. She starts folding a little card board box and is about to put the tart in it. NOOO! Can you please just put them both in the plastic bag? At this point I get a blank stare from her and start to feel like a bitch as I obviously don’t let her do her job. She looks at me like I am a crazy person, but very slowly complies and I just wonder why that was so difficult. Am I not the customer who can decide how my overpriced treats are packed? Unlike her I know that I am so starved for something sweet, it will take me less time to eat tart and macaroon than it took her to wrap it all up. There is no time or reason to make it pretty and to waste a box on it. Considering that I am not paying for the box that should also be in Cassis’ own best interest? Non?

So all I want to know – is it just me being silly or are companies making it extremely difficult to save on paper and packing materials when it should be in their own best interest to do so to - read slowly – S-A-V-E M-O-N-E-Y??

July 11, 2012

The lion whisperer.

We have established my love for giraffes. I will write about giraffes in Zambia soon, because something very exciting happened there, but for now I am stuck with the lions. And so are you. I apologize in advanced, but I will be showing you a boring amount of lion pictures now. I tried to edit them after realizing I had about 100. I managed to delete… 5…maybe 7. I do wonder what would have happened if we had seen cubs. I think I would have had a thousand pictures to share now, so be grateful that our lions were old…about 17 months.
On our day off we had the opportunity to visit David Youldon’s ALERT in Livingstone. We had all met David on our speech night before and he is some sort of Crocodile Dundee for lions. It helped that he is handsome and usually doesn’t do many public appearances, so we all felt quite special and there was lots of giggle around the camp fire that night. He was telling us how his rehabilitation programme for lions works and also showed clips from his documentary Lion Country. Of course it was me gasping loudly (which made everyone else laugh) and almost crying when he proudly reported that one of his young protégées had killed a baby giraffe all by herself. One wouldn’t assume I’d be keen on the lions after hearing that story. Knowing that this is life, this is nature though, I still was keen enough, so on Saturday we went off to play with the lions.

Upon arrival we got a whole lot of safety instructions by the staff and I think some girls got a bit pale, realizing that we were about to engage with actual, alive lions. We also got handed a little stick with a strict reminder to never hit a lion with it. As if. That stick was tiny. We were just supposed to tap it on the ground and firmly say NO! if a lion came running towards us. Mh. I was hoping I could add a bit of German accent to my NO! and it would be enough to scare it away…
After a short walk in the bush we met two lioness sisters lounging for a photo op with us. They were both really good little posers and so were we. I may just add - if I was a lion, I would have been annoyed with us oohing and aahing girlies, but luckily they were sport and we left with awesome pictures, all limbs attached, and just a slightly raised heartbeat.
Next stop got even more exciting as another pair of lionesses had managed to kill … no, not a giraffe, but an entire buffalo thingy. Sorry for being vague with this description, but I really don’t know what exactly it was. It was black, it had horns, it may have just been a cow, but obviously buffalo sounds way more exciting. The lions in charge were hanging in the shade near their kill, looking like little kids who had played a bit too excessively with mother’s lipstick and the dead buffalo thingy was looking, well, dead.
So now you know how it all came about. Without further ado, here the actual reason for this post :
100 lion pictures.

Just kidding!
I mean... just look at this face!

Lazy lioness sisters lounging.

Get your damn paw out of my face, sis!

Lion love.

Me, the lion whisperer.

Tail to tickle nose.

Dead buffalo thingy and exhausted lioness chilling.

Who played with mommy's lipstick?

Taken from the German kids show Hallo Spencer and its little dragon Poldi: Ich will Dir fressen! (I want to you eat!)

The thinker.


July 9, 2012

Home, rainy home.

I’m back. Sorry for the silence, but the internet at the lodge in Livingstone was no good and I probably would have ended up throwing my Airbook in the swamp with impatient frustration if I tried to blog more. I simply gave up after the first day and rather enjoyed the time without electronics. Now that I am back you are in for a treat though. I will tell you about the lunar rainbow and the time I padded a lion, how we saw a herd of 20 elephants at our camp, danced with the local kids, and planted 800 trees in one day. Tomorrow though. Today I am indulging in feeling sorry for myself…vacation time is over, Cape Town is sinking, and I think my ex has a new girlfriend, which is just not good news ever on a Monday.
So till tomorrow I will leave you with some glimpses of THE best week ever:

Baby twin lemon trees.
Shot of the day - volleyball match at the Livingstone sports club.
Post match dancing with the boys.
The trees are sharing a ride with us on the party bus.
Appropriate 2nd breakfast snack - mango & passionfruit giraffe.
Fully grown magic tree Faiherbia Albida at Songe Village.
Nshima lunch leftovers.
Soraya chewing on her own tail.
"Tentie" Micah and me on the Zambezi booze cruise.
Bestest drink ever after a day of planting (or chilling in this case) - local Mosi beer.
Where the rainbow lives.
Baby cat at the Vic Falls and its toy - a salamander.

July 1, 2012


You will be glad to read I managed to get the monster of a sleeping bag washed, dried, and stuffed back into its too tiny case. The washing and drying due to my amazing laundromat though. I also managed to pack my dufflebag and stay within my baggage allowance. All that after I had managed to get myself a last minute stomach bug following a night out with friends and what I thought the next morning far too much Alphabetical. Luckily the pharmacist eased my conciousness and told me a virus was going around. That made me feel much better, because to get so violently sick by red wine would have just made me very sad and probably spoiled my reputation too.
24 hours later I still don't feel like wine or anything but pasta with salt and butter, but I can report  much better health and mood as I am sitting on a delayed and shaky plane to Jo'burg. Yay for me.

Jo'burg hates me. That is my first impression after landing. We are stuck in the parking garage at the airport and the exit queue is not moving. After 25 minutes we are told the booms won't move and we must turn and go to the second floor exit. I'm quite impressed with all cars in line turning at once and reversing without a single scratch and off we are to exit 2. A shorter wait there and then we are told to go to the fourth floor as there is no line further up. We oblige and make our way up only to find an even longer queue than downstairs to begin with. Ruth ignores me when I ask for the second time whether we have wine in the car. After another 20 minutes we are told by the very uninterested parking attendants that the booms don't open and we should go down to exit 1.  At this point I think Ruth and I both scream. So in fact Jo’burg doesn't hate me, but the airport parking loves me so much that it keeps me hostage for an hour before we are on hour way.
A quick pizza at a 24 hour pizza joint, the only place still serving food besides Mc Donald's by the time we are out, and then I am off to sleep like a stone.

The next day I discover to my surprise that except for the dryness, which gets to my skin immediately, I like this city: The sun is out, everything looks pretty, everybody seems friendly, and even the taxis are cleaner than back home.
We start the day at the Neighborgood Market with Eggs Benedict and bubbly (hurrah for a happy stomach!) and explore stalls and shops all around. I like what I see. Somehow everything is a bit cooler than in Cape Town and at the same time less pretentious. No hipsters in sight and no one cares that I have to take a picture of the best cappuccino I ever had in my life.
On my suggestion we spend the afternoon at the Apartheid Museum which we enter by separate entrances according to our tickets which say 'white' and 'non-white'. A simple, but effective way to remind us what it must have been like not so long ago. Ruth and I would have not entered buildings by the same entrance, not even to mention dining together, shopping together, sharing lives as we do now. The museum is beautifully done and laid out with a permanent exhibit that you follow from the beginnings of apartheid to the end as well as special room guiding through Mandela's life. Architecture comes together with art as a visually striking background for the historic story told throughout. Even pictures and exhibit pieces with shock value are set up almost beautifully and neutrally as to allow the visitor to make up their own mind about everything. We are told a story, but allowed to judge and think for ourselves.
After seeing the tiny isolation cells for political prisoners though things start to get to me. I calculate I would be able to do most part of the Bikram series in there, but still scary thoughts come to my mind and I am quite relieved when we move towards the end of the exhibit, showing happier things like video footage of the De Klerk's declaration of the end of apartheid.

After all the history lessons we feel that we deserve a treat and it comes in form of a sushi snack, wine, and a beautiful rooftop view. As you can tell by food choices my stomach is much better and it actually makes me a bit sad that I had cancelled fancy dinner at Cube, but as we later end the day with a pasta dinner, my little world is still all good.

Street art.
Old and new.
The bestest cappuccino.
Coke Tower.
Market breakfast.
Freedom column at the Apartheid Museum.
Neighborgood Market entrance.
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