Blood Moon Buffoon

Blood Moon Monday, Johannesburg.  I leapt out of bed at 4.30 am, cameras (yes multiple cameras from point-and-press – my usual modus operandus – to a complicated multi-lens version that I don’t actually have a clue how to use) at the ready to capture the supermoon lunar eclipse.

Buffoonery:

I was being considerate and trying not to wake the rest of the family. I couldn’t work out how to switch camera on in the dark and was stumbling about hefting doors open. Eventually, I switched a camera on and took some photos. They were rubbish.

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I didn’t look quite how I had expected.

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Lesedi Cultural Village where you can Eat Worms and Spit on Stones

As promised in my last post, Heritage Day, here’s a little rundown of what you can expect on a visit to Lesedi Cultural Village. If you are visiting or living in Johannesburg or Pretoria, it’s certainly a great place to spend half a day and learn about some of South Africa’s peoples. It’s located in the Cradle of Humankind, to the North of Johannesburg and West of Pretoria.  You will need your camera handy because there will be  lots of great photo opportunities.

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Lots of great photo opportunities.

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Heritage Day

September 24th is Heritage Day in South Africa. It’s a public holiday to celebrate the rich and diverse melting pot that is the Rainbow Nation. Unofficially, it’s also dubbed National Braai Day.  Many families and friends certainly use the day to get together a chuck a boerewors on the braai*.

The braai is serious business here in South Africa. It tends to be a huge step up from your average soggy-sausage-British-barbeque. Many homes here come with built-in braais and just take a look at this supermarket section. Continue reading

Hot Wheels in South Africa

There’s always something left-of-centre to see when you are out and about on South Africa’s roads.  The reasons I don’t have an endless reel of pictures to share with you are that a) it’s not advisable to wave a smart phone or camera around for all to see when stuck in traffic and b) I’m rarely in the passenger seat and in general when you’re driving, you should’t be taking photos.  Here are the few that I have captured.

Sticky tape bus

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Johannesburg to St. Helena

St Helena is an isolated island in the South Atlantic with a population of around 5000.  It was first discovered by Portuguese explorers in 1502 and is infamously where Napoleon was exiled to and died. Historically it has been exclusively accessible by boat, but that’s about to change with the successful landing of the first test flight from Africa.

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Where the heck is St. Helena?

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48 Hours around Cape Town – Day 2

Yesterday I covered what you could do (and what we did do) around Cape Town in a single day.  Today, I’m following up with an itinerary for Day 2. Continue reading

48 Hours around Cape Town – Day 1

48 hours around Cape Town (and I say around, rather than in, because we barely visited Cape Town proper on this particular trip) is long enough to pack in an enormous amount of fun.

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View of Cape Town from Table Mountain.

We managed to keep the adults AND the children happy, which is no easy task.  Read on to find out how we filled the first day.

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Evil Eye

Time Warp Tuesday VII                                                                            Istanbul, 2011

Everywhere you go in Turkey, fixed on front doors, swinging from taxi rearview mirrors and even incorporated into jewellery designs, you will see Nazaar Beads. They are flat, blue, circular glass ‘eye’ beads. They are to deflect, distract and ward off the evil eye or bad luck with their bright colour.

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However, should your nazaar bead crack or break, unlike the 7 years of bad luck associated with cracking a mirror, it means that the bead has done its job and warded off some invisible evil or bad luck that was heading your way. Then all you have to do is buy a replacement bead to continue to live in peace and harmony. A neat marketing ploy!

We discovered a shop called Pasabache. The shop sells both ‘life’ products, i.e. everyday kitchen wear and also boutique items – which include a selection of covetable, beautiful, fragile and more expensive Turkish glass wear and ceramic (including high-end giant Nazaar beads). As we entered the artfully lit boutique display area, Pickle looked around and gleefully yelled: “Ikea Mummy”.  I gave him the evil eye* and we left very quickly.

* In modern English giving somebody the evil eye just means glaring at somebody, not cursing them.  Just to be absolutely clear, I did not put a curse on Pickle, I was just embarrased and gave him a cross look. 

Uber Cool

In cities like London, Paris and New York, Uber taxis are polemic because of the competition they present to established taxi firms. There has also been backlash here in South Africa from metered taxi drivers.  There have been protests and also reports of Uber drivers being intimidated and harassed.  However, from a customer point of view Uber has been a huge hit. Customers are generally thrilled because Uber fills a gaping need in South African society.

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Now that’s what I call a marketing campaign.

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