Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category
For the past few years I have driven past the old Oranjezicht Bowling Green on many occasions. The bowling club, which operated for 50 years, closed down leaving this prime piece of city land abandoned in its wake. Wasted green space in a city fast running out of the precious green stuff.
Fortunately local residents, led by Cheryl Ozinsky, saw a future for the plot. They proposed an inner city farm to local city officials, jumped through the necessary bureaucratic hoops and within a month had received permission.
With the help of some generous donations (about R500 000 at last count) led by the Madam Zingara Group donating R100 000; and a group of volunteers, the once derelict land has now being transformed into an oasis of fast greening soil – an inner city organic farm.
This one plot of land won’t change the world, however it shows what can be achieved with a little bit of land, a lot of initiative and people willing to give up their time, energy and in some cases money, for the greater good. This does sound a bit grandiose to be honest but the idea is not to solve world hunger but to use local land more productively and make organically grown veg available to residents without the carbon footprint attached.
It sets an example of what can be achieved with limited space; be it a small balcony or a patch of garden, you can grow your own veg without too much hassle or expense. I have
now started noticing many other disused pieces of land in the City Bowl and Atlantic Seaboard region and would love the veggie growers to get hold of them before the developers do. We do not need more suffocating concrete monstrosities.
My five year old and I popped in to take a closer look. The youngster was keen and quickly entered into the spirit of things, planting protective hedges as well as peas and spinach while chatting up some local talent at the same time. He loved it and spent a healthy and productive couple of hours getting his hands dirty, learning about growing food and generally having a good time. We have returned and he again pitched in, as did mom and dad this time. I have seen many kids there and I think it’s a great way of introducing them to alternative means of obtaining healthy food other than procuring them at the local supermarket. It’s also fun and educational.
The land was originally a farm with a weekly market where they used to ring a bell to call residents to buy. The bell still remains and I look forward to it ringing again when the produce is ready for sale. This is a great way of getting the community involved in a collective project, making unused land productive and educating kids and adults alike.
I recently guided members of a rock band up Table Mountain. The band is not just any band but a Jesus rock band, for want of a better description.
They were the two lead singers, the manager and a marketing guy.
The band is internationally known in Jesus circles and travels the world playing to devoted followers; they were in South Africa playing to fans nationwide.
Now I am a secular Jew and not big into religion. I respect most moderate believers, but am not mad for bible bashers, Koran wavers, torah tossers or even Bhuda buddies who want to convert me. I’m not into any god squad of any sort but am still intrigued by the cult-like following most religions have in some form or another …by this I mean hardcore followers who take their God seriously.
Despite this I accepted an offer to go see Hillsong United perform at His People’s Church near N1 City.
I arrived to see a small crowd queuing; Mike, the logistics guy, met me and ushered me into the Green Room where the band hangs out before their performance. He introduced me to a few people, while I looked around trying to spot any God groupies … nada.
I was issued a guest pass and shown inside the hall to a special seating section. The hall is large and was packed wall to wall with eager fans. The sold out signs had gone up long ago; 3 500 Strong, the crowd was a real mixed bunch of colours and ages and all of them amped for the concert. It was a hot summer’s night and pretty hot and stuffy in the packed arena.
So there I was, a lone Jew (I don’t imagine too many more in that throng) surrounded by a sea of Happy Clappers/Rockers; bring it on.
To reiterate, this was no gospel show – this was a full on rock concert. The stage had two enormous screens on either side and a large LED screen in the middle. The band itself is 10 strong and produces a powerful sound. They are a professional act who sells hundreds of thousands of albums every year. Sure they have a built-in market but these guys were good.
After some touchy feely intros, a few giveaways and some prayers the show got under way. The guys rocked. They were really good, and monotonous lyrics aside I was impressed. But seriously, how much can you sing about the Big Guy? Besides, nothing rhymes with Jesus.
My issues aside, people were feeling the spirit and were fully into the show. They looked as spaced out as any concert goer on any number of Schedule 2+ drugs but this crowd was high on love … it was something to see.
Now as a non-believer I watched the crowd with a sense of wonder and a touch of jealousy. It must be nice to believe so strongly in something that it gives strength and a feeling of contentment.
I can never have what they have; I’m a Jew, and its part of who I am no matter what my practices or beliefs are, but I do not believe in God in any form or function.
Nevertheless it was an interesting evening out and I think this band has huge potential for a wider audience – but I suppose it would not be the same for them if they played for cash and not Jesus. Who knows?
“I’m going to fuck you before the night is over.”
Hellavu thing to hear from a woman on a gentle summer’s evening out; especially when uttered in a strong Eastern European accent to the gay guy sitting on her other side.
What the fuck am I, chopped liver?
Now I may be in a relationship and not particularly interested in fucking the exotic temptress next to me – but I am straight and at least, technically, on the menu.
Fucking chopped liver I tell you.
Earlier she told the gay dude to feel her tits to prove they were real, he replied that tits repulsed him and he wasn’t interested – so my PIA (partner in action) told me to feel them.
Now, as tempted as I was, it’s not every day one’s significant other tells you to feel up another woman. I had to decline; my days of public fondling are over. Not PIA’s, she agreed to prove the lack of silicon in said European’s breasts – so she copped a feel.
Europa and her friend, a pre-school teacher, who we had met earlier landed up joining us at our table at the Backyard Grill & Lounge on Regent Road in Sea Point; along with gay dude and his friend, an old acquaintance. Said pre-school teacher and Europa were sucking on their Digital Berries like – well let’s just say they were sucking. Digital Berries are the latest electronic cigarettes to hit the market – some sort of fruit flavoured water filler, which, according to the teach, is perfectly safe. Now it well may be a healthier alternative to the real thing, but it clearly was not doing the job as both smokers alternated between regular cigs and their digital versions. “We just got them today” was the excuse given.
Luckily Junior was sitting in the indoor area watching TV, as the table talk got kind of steamy.
Gay dude was browsing gay dating sites on his mobile – checking out dick sizes and G-d knows what else. There was talk of shemales and whether the European woman had a dick or not and I was suddenly put off the piece of boerie that I had ordered.
Junior had no such issues, which was a slight problem as this Backyard Grill is not shy to charge; a pity as it’s a fun place to hang out, informal with an outdoor area conducive to meeting people – all types! Its not often you go to a restaurant and meet a mixed bunch of people – making it a fun evening with some interesting characters.
I like the Backyard’s relaxed setting and will return. Although I found their food tasty, it is expensive for what it is, making it slightly prohibitive to make this a regular hangout.
Jacqui Simpson loves markets and her love is starting to spread throughout Cape Town. She founded the Earth Fair Market in Tokai after been inspired by a desire to create
’moments of magic’ and a realisation that consumers wanted to form direct relationships with the people they were buying from. Consumers are increasingly disturbed by the use of hormones, preservatives and unethical farming practices and organic markets are at least a partial solution to people looking to buy more wholesome food and buy from as close to the source as possible.
The Tokai Saturday market proved such a success that they started operating on Wednesdays as well and in February 2011 Earth Fair launched its second market in upper St George’s Mall. The Tokai Market is open every Wednesday from 3-8:30pm and Saturdays from 9-2pm.
The market offers a range of delicious produce from speciality sausages and homemade pies to farm cheeses, bacon from free range pigs, fruit and vegetables and biltong to name just a few yummy products. The market also serves as a meeting place for all sorts of town dwellers; from journos to businessmen and tourists both local and foreign. In fact the market is proving so popular it has already become an institution, bringing many a faithful follower into town specifically for its wares. Based both indoors and out it can cope with all weather and the good vibes and fantastic smells have made a significant impact in this part of town.
Jacqui’s previous work experience includes managing the UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing and starting her own business, OmniVision, a qualitative research company specializing in on- camera research.
She is now focussed on fresh food markets to the benefit of local foodies who are flocking to these markets in droves. “Many cities have iconic, fresh-food markets – Borough Market in London, the Dublin Food Coop Organic Food Market and the Marché de Pont de l’Alma in Paris – now its Cape Town’s turn,” says Jacqui.
“In many ways it’s a return to our roots. The Company Gardens originally provided fresh fruit and vegetables to passing ships and Greenmarket Square was somewhere where farmers could sell their produce. That’s why upper St George’s Mall in the historic heart of Cape Town is the ideal location.”
The open air market trades every Thursday, from 11am to 3pm. If it rains, the market
moves indoors to the Mandela Rhodes Building (entrance off St George’s Mall).
Q & A with Jacqui Simpson…
Best coffee in Cape Town
Deluxe Coffee shop in Church Street – love the vibe, love the coffee. I rush there every Thurs and grab a takeaway flat white before we start setting up the market!
Favourite watering hole
Wafu (Mouille Point)
Societi Bistro in Gardens (great food, well priced, well trained waiters and passionate chef) and El Burro in Greenpoint
What do you like most about markets?
I love the fact that markets represent an ancient way of shopping. They support small businesses and true artisans. They are about slow food and not fast food. The food does not have preservatives, hormones, chemicals and other unhealthy additives. It is made on a small scale (no mass production) and it is made with LOVE and passion. I love the fact that markets have become a community meeting point where people from all walks of life gather and can feel like they are a part of something. I love the fact that the traders and the customers have developed such bonds of friendship and trust. I love the reconnection with food, the freshness, the absence of over packaging… I love so much about markets!
The next big thing
In my opinion, food is the next big thing. Small shops opening up which are not linked to the big chains. Small chocolatiers, free range specialist butcheries etc etc.
Method Cap Classic
Best blog / website?
School holidays can be a stressful time for parents. How do you entertain your kids on a daily basis? Play dates, helpful friends and family are one source of respite, and there are numerous activities for them to do if you have the time. Living busy lives we found an afternoon activity that both parents and kids could enjoy. From sea to mountain top and back via the Hop-on, Hop-off City Sightseeing Bus.
With kids travelling free up the cable car we decided to take advantage of the special. Our 5-year old had never been to the top of Table Mountain and we thought now was as good a time as any to take him and his friend up. We also thought the topless bus was a fun way to get there. The bus goes past the cable car station so we could make it a real sight seeing day – starting at sea level in Sea Point and making our way through the city to the top of Table Mountain.
We waited for a clear day and as soon as the clouds parted and blue skies appeared we were good to go and more importantly so were the kids. We caught the bus in the early afternoon and enjoyed a trip through the city with a view quite different to what we normally experienced – despite the fact we are born and bred Capetonians. The kids in particular lapped up the ride – sitting earnestly with their ear phones plugged into the special kids channel and enjoying the sights and sounds of our beautiful city.
We travelled through the V&A Waterfront, passed the Foreshore skyline and a bustling Adderley Street, to the ever-colourful Long Street and the historic District Six, Cape Castle and City Hall. We passed the evergreen Company Gardens, saw the National Museum, the Planetarium as well as churches, mosques and a synagogue.
Eventually we were winding our way up to the cable car station and before long we were on top of the Table with the city spread out below us.
The kids took one whiff of the very chilly mountain top air and took off like two dassies on a mission. They dashed around from rock to rock and from one view point to the next. I had a tough time pinning them down for a quick photo shoot here and there. We explored the top area before settling down near the top cable station. We set up camp, enjoying a picnic while overlooking Camps Bay as a large cloud bank and menacing cold front moved in from the sea. It was truly spectacular!
Being the middle of winter there was a scattering of tourists, both South African and internationals on top and a few hardly locals like ourselves.
As cold as it can get, visiting the mountain top in winter can often be more spectacular with far less people, allowing us to really enjoy the special place and views without the summer masses. We caught one of the last cable cars down, (last ride is at 6pm in winter) just in time to catch the last bus back to our start in Sea Point. We loved it and more importantly the boys loved it, barely managing to keep their eyes open as we made our way through Camps Bay to Sea Point, the mountain looming above us, reminding us of a memorable trip.
I like my laundry clean – I love my laundry with whiskey.
I like my laundry dried, ironed and folded – I love my laundry with wine (although I’d prefer it with beer)
I like my laundry smelling fresh – I love it with snacks and art.
@ILovemyLaundry is laundry in the 21st century. A Laundromat that not only cleans your laundry but sells coffee, sweet treats, wine & dim sum and throw some damn cool parties.
The Laundromat sits at the back of the shop where dirty clothes are put through their paces. The front section includes their cool coffee maker and a stylish dining table, suitable for sipping lattes or tasting fine wines and whisky. With larger crowds the parties tend to spill out onto the pavement outside their shop at 59 Buitengracht Street, Heritage Square.
The first party I attended was a whisky deconstructed evening with Glenffiddich, where the well known Scotch was…well, deconstructed. We got to taste it in its various formats, and then paired it with different foods. An interesting and fun evening with a small crowd allowing us to network with the help of some fine Scotch.
I was back there the following week when Arno Carstens launched his new art exhibition at the venue. Yes, Arno is an artist, yet another over achiever in our local creative scene. So while we quaffed Graham Beck wines, and some people snapped up Arno Art – I think one piece sold for R35k – others popped in to collect or drop off their laundry. I wasn’t mad for the art but the eclectic crowd, made up of a mixed bag of bloggers, art lovers & curious Capetonians, made for another cool laundry night out.
After discovering Arno’s art we moved down the drag to @Union where The Kolo Novo Music Band was playing. Lead by founder member and musical director, Grada Djeri, their Eastern European roots and Balkan style of music – is, to use an overused word, awesome.
The band comprises a collection of 12 musicians, with any number or combination playing together at one time to produce an eclectic brand of Euro, techno, gypsy style music. The 12 include Kyla-Rose Smith and Zolani Mahola from Freshlyground but on this night there were five members playing with Kyla-Rose doing her thing on the violin. There’s still nothing sexier than a woman playing the violin, well except maybe those playing the sax, but the mixed bag of sounds coming from the mixed bag of musos was a real treat.
@ILovemyLaundry host regular wine tastings at their Wednesday evening laundry parties and sell wines though their @ILoveMyWine brand, selling only via Twitter and Linkedin; and business is booming according to the owners Clayton Howard and Mico Botha. Not bad for a business that only opened in March
Their events serve many purposes, exposing hospitality linked brands to a new audience, networking, partying or killing time while your suits are pressed or running gear washed.
From a funky multi-purpose Laundromat to craft beer and Eastern European style music, Cape Town is still leading the way in terms of creativity, fun and good business sense.
Naming your burger joint after canine testicles takes…. well balls I suppose. But Nigel Woods’ burgers really are the dog’s bollocks.
This is my kind of place, a driveway come alleyway in Gardens; a few old-style table and chairs, some hot coals and a been-there done-that still-doing-it Englishman making the best burgers in Cape Town.
This is a no-frills burger driveway; bring your own cutlery, if you think you need, your own drink, any kind of drink, unless you want wine, in that case buy 1½l of Nigel’s own brew – good wine and excellent value at R50 for the funky tube. It comes papsak style inside the tube but this papsak is quite o.k. to take to a party.
Then there are the burgers. Choose one from the generous list, considering the no frills approach of the place. R55 a burger or R50 for the plain and you get a tasty large burger with a good piece of meat and plenty other goodies plus your choice of toppings. Pepper mushroom was my choice and delicious but the American 50’s style slider also looked good. Pity @Capetowncandy didn’t leave me a taste. Anyway, I’m putting this burger joint at the top of my burger list and I know my burgers – I was eating them before they became trendy – lots of them.
Nigel only makes 30 burgers a night – first come first served – and late comers might get Nachos if they behave. But you don’t tell people you went to the DB and ate nachos – they give you that pitying, condescending look – like everyone knows you need to get there early and the Nachos are really a consolation prize. Being occasionally helpful people we tried to assist some new arrivals with advice but were told very quickly, “we’ve been here before.”
Who would have thought burgers in a Gardens alleyway would become the trendiest food spot in Cape Town?
He opens at 5pm – don’t try booking. Cash only.
When I mentioned the Topless Bus to some friends the usual jokes about Mavericks and other places of ill repute followed, but on this bus everyone kept their top on. Now red double-decker tourist busses are the norm around the world and Cape Town is no different. The shame is that locals very seldom take advantage of this pretty cool experience; we did and loved it.
While driving our cars in Cape Town we are too busy avoiding wild taxi drivers, speaking or texting on our cells and just trying to stay safe (irony noted), we often don’t notice our beautiful surrounds. But riding on the top deck of a fancy red bus, the wind in our face, we let the driver negotiate the traffic so we could just enjoy.
We chose the blue route, which takes in the Atlantic Seaboard, the Cape Town CBD and some of the Southern Suburbs. We boarded in Sea Point at 1pm which didn’t leave us nearly enough time to do all we wanted (first bus is at 9am). These are hop-on hop-off busses so plan your stops and make a day of it. We at least made an afternoon of it.
The initial scenic drive along the Atlantic Ocean, through the Waterfront was both scenic and enjoyable but it was in the CBD that our modest but not unimpressive skyline
caught my eye. I suddenly noticed buildings and small shops I probably had passed 100s of times without paying them much attention, now they stood out. While it was a warm day – travelling on the top out in the open kept us comfortable and allowed for a new perspective of our city.
We rounded the mountain past the famous Groote Schuur Hospital, where the first heart transplant was performed on a cousin of mine in 1967. We passed the lovely UCT Campus, where memories of wild parties, card games and a chequered academic career flooded back. We enjoyed the lush greenery that is the Southern Suburbs and watched as a few passengers disembarked at Kirstenbosch, but we were heading for wine territory in Constantia.
Busses were changed at Constantia Nek, where we joined others on the wine tour shuttle. First stop was Groot Constantia, the oldest wine farm in the country, where for R33.00 we tasted five excellent wines. The next stop was supposed to be Eagles’ Nest, but in our hurry and lack of decent signage we landed up at neighbouring Silvermist Wine Farm instead, and at R15.00 for one measly, albeit good quality, taste of wine we promised to pay more attention next time.
But for now it was time to leave the manicured wine farms and visit Imizamu Yethu Township in Hout Bay. We were met by tw
o guides on the outskirts of the township; we were thirsty and decided to forgo the “formal” tour and head straight for the local shebeen. Our guide led us to Phillip’s Tavern, taking us through dirty narrow alleys populated with life, colour and characters aplenty; friendly mamas, cheeky kids and some rough but slick looking dudes.
Soon we were seated and drinking much needed cold quarts; the dj was spinning the tunes inside while the friendly locals spun us some yarns outside. All too soon it was time to go. That’s why you need more time, it’s no fun leaving somewhere prematurely, and we were enjoying Phillips.
With time running out we hopped on again, dropped some American girls at Mariners Wharf and settled in for the spectacular drive back. Sea views all the way, a cooling sea breeze and a bustling Camps Bay. All too soon we were hopping off for the last time, at least for today. We couldn’t believe it went so fast and that we had enjoyed our trip so much – and yes we really did feel like tourists.
When one of South Africa’s favourite artists plays at one of SA’s most beautiful botanical gardens on a magnificent summer’s day in Cape Town – it’s always going to be a good evening out. Sitting on the sloped lawns, mountains standing majestically in the background, thousands of eager concert goers and a cooler bag full of cold beer, it was a perfect afternoon. Except for one thing.
I acquired a case of severe picnic envy. Not that me and @CapetownCandy – my PIA – partner in adventure (at least those that don’t involve steep ascents and severe drop offs) don’t know how to put a decent picnic together. On the contrary; we are highly experienced picnic-goers capable of doing wildly creative picnic stuff on an almost empty fridge and sometimes empty wallet too. But we don’t always get it together to the best of our ability.
This Sunday was one of those. Even though Provita and cheese, olives, Pringles and peanuts were adequate for our needs – it paled in comparison to what I saw flaunted on the hallowed Kirstenbosch turf. It wasn’t just the sushi platter the couple next to us devoured but the range of amazing looking treats served from perfect looking picnic baskets that got to me.
A trip to the gents took me past so many awesome looking picnic hampers that I had to put my hands deep in my pockets to stop me helping myself to a quick snack here and there. Seeing so much tasty food brazenly displayed does make it feel a bit like a large cocktail party where you are welcome to help yourself – but here it would seem wrong. Bbq chicken pieces cut into perfect bite size helpings, platters of exotic cheeses (well they looked exotic), pies, meats and other goodies which all seem to glow with a robust tastiness – despite the hot sun beating down on it. Luscious fruits, expensive nuts, sweet nibbles and amazing looking sandwiches – it all looked so good. But I restrained myself and made do with our humble offerings and cold beer, which did help ease the envy. One neighbour did share his homemade beer with us, which was excellent; he also informed us about the local subculture of home-made beer brewers developing in the Cape. Check out www.southyeasters.co.za
Food aside – Jonny delivered as always – singing old classics and introducing new songs that we hadn’t heard before. As much as I enjoyed the concert I couldn’t help keeping one envious eye on the mountain as the setting sun made it glow with a come hither look (even though I had enjoyed an awesome morning adventure up Kloof Corner Ridge, and my other eye on the delicious looking food surrounding me. Next time we will be better prepared.
The Hout Bay Triple Trouble has been trouble for me since its second running in 2006, but now, having recently completed my third, I can safely say its right up there as one of my favourite runs on the trail calendar – despite the tar sections between each peak.
Started by Eric Tollner in 2005 as a training run for the more established Three Peaks Challenge, it has developed into a very special, albeit low key, event. The run starts at the Chapman’s Peak Hotel in Hout Bay and takes in Suther Peak, Judas Peak, via Llandadno Ravine, and Chapman’s Peak, returning to the hotel after each peak. The field is small, 30 runners, and friendly, with just a few speedsters chasing records and the win. The rest of us like to take our time (often more through necessity than choice), smell the flowers, enjoy the views and camaraderie and revel in a day out on the spectacular Hout Bay mountains.
My troubles started at my first attempt in 2006. I somehow managed to get lost descending Judas Peak in the mist, wandered about the top for an hour looking for the path down before finding my own, not very safe descent and traversing back to Llandadno Ravine. After my not so kosher experience I declined the 3rd peak leaving me with unfinished business which I planned to put right the next year. 2007 arrived and I entered early. But the year was a hectic one, with numerous moves and the birth of my son, and came Triple Trouble time, I was pretty exhausted the night before. I woke up at 4am, confirmed what I already knew and sent a text message to Eric, bailing before even putting on my running shoes. I managed to get there to take some pics on the third peak and once again vowed to be back the next year.
2008 and I was the first to enter, but then realised it clashed with my holiday plans so was first out as well. My holiday plans changed and I again landed up on Chappies taking pics.
2009 and finally I got to experience the triple in all its glory. The morning started with a scooter ride from Sea Point to the start with a large orange moon hanging lazily over the glassy sea, the day was already perfect and it was only 5.30am.
After my experience in 2006 I was determined not to get lost this year, but it didn’t take me long. After tagging Suther Peak, I led Brenda, my running partner for the day, down the garden path and landed up with a fabulous viewpoint but sheer drops everywhere. We backtracked and made our way safely down, finding ourselves at the back of the field but in no hurry.
The second peak was stunning; fynbos as far as the eye can see, clear skies with views to everywhere and Mediterranean-like turquoise seas below. The South Easter that had howled the week prior to the run had cleaned up the air and sea for the day.
We finished at the tail end of the field – hot and happy after 10 hours + of beautiful weather and stunning mountains – finally I was on the board.
2010 saw me run the entire route with Michael and Douglas, and various others along the way. With cooler weather and stronger legs we finished in just over 7 ½ hours. Almost 3 hours behind the winner, a certain Ryan Sandes, who seemed to cruise the route but still broke the record finishing in a fast 4.48 and some change.
This year was similar – cool weather and Michael and Douglas again keeping me entertained as we as toured Hout Bay the way very few people ever do. The colourful flowers on the first peak, again the fynbos on the second and whales in the bay on the third made for another memorable trip. While we weren’t racing we realised at the top of Chappies that if we motored we might just break 7 hours. When we hit the tar for the 4km downhill dash to the cold beers – it was still on. But as we neared the finish – about 500m near – Michael started to cramp and stopped to get himself right. Douglas and I had a brief discussion, wait and risk not reaching our sub 7-hour target – or leave Mike, finish under 7 hours and face his wrath. We chose “glory” over sentiment and finished in 6.58.10. Mike, to his credit, finished a minute later also breaking the 7 hour mark and not letting us forget for a minute that we ditched him 500m from home after running together the entire day. Sorry Mike!
At the front of the field Rupert Becker proved you don’t need sponsors and financial incentives to break records (although that would be nice) – just enormous talent and a great attitude – he shaved 1.14 off Ryan’s time – smiling all the way to the finish.