Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Afro coffee

One of the things I really, really missed in ZA was a decent cup of (latte) coffee. The ones that were served everywhere was pretty bland and barely drinkable.

Finally I did struck gold though, close to returning home I got this more than slightly sensational ice coffee at Afro Café in Cape Town. Omg, taaaastyy!! Strong, creamy with hints of spices, heavenly.

Afro Café also goes hand in hand with a nice little African Art shop - where you can buy the funky fabrics and kitschy recycled art work that's used in the café.

I myself opted for a really nice big weekend bag with Nelson Mandela on it - I'm so happy about it and I can say that the security staff at the airports were totally mesmerized by it. They actually caressed it fondly and gave thumbs up! - and some minor stuff.

If ever in Cape Town and want to have some heavenly coffee - and I bet the food is as funky as the coffee - head over to 48 Church Street for some Afro coffee!

Cape L'Agulhas, where the Atlantic meets the Indian

Contrary to popular belief, Cape of Good Hope IS NOT the most southern point of the African continent. That little tip is actually situated quite a bit further to the east. I bet this was news for you? Maybe even the most exciting piece of news you got today?

Anyway, of course we went to Cape of Good Hope too and Cape Point, which both are situated in the pretty vast area of Cape of Good Hope Nature reserve. The Hope and Point being both crowded and touristy - two of my least favourite things, on holidays or otherwise.

The actual southern tip, Cape L'Agulhas, was anything but crowded. On a sunny day in February with mild breezes and a temperature showing around +40 C one might be as content as above, with being just in the middle between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
I bet you can see how happy my little, faithful, orange companion Elvira is too? She was actually THE perfect companion, not only because she could carry so many things for me, but also since so much of Africa is colour, and especially the colour orange.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

First impression

My first impression of South Africa - apart from the Joburg airport and the more than friendly helper who got us from the international terminal to the national. Quite a walk there... And the busy, busy working with finishing a new, modern, updated South Africa for the 2010 World Soccer games - was the townships from above.

It's actually true, it exists. Exists beyond what you might think, areas of townships unbelievably vast, unbelievably run down - and not seldom rather close to houses and areas of unbelievable monetary wealth.

It's really, really difficult to take in... To accept and say "that's the way it is, the way things are in this country, at this continent", something that don't come easy for a Swede that believes in equal rights and at least some basic human rights for everyone. Like a proper house with four walls.

For a Swede that believes in something as simple and basic as municipal transportation like buses instead of road-signs that say "Hitchhiking forbidden" or warningsigns for children walking beside the highways, since they have no other way to get to and from school...

Of course it might be presumptous for me, as a tourist for some weeks, to draw a lot of conclusions. But still many things, of the way they work or maybe not work, in South Africa leaves me with a hard knot of sadness and actually, as a white human being, guilt.

After having abolished apartheid, the south african legislation is said to be very evolved and modern when it comes to discrimination clauses. Can't help but wonder if that's something that's only put to paper and not into words... With the evergrowing HIV pandemic in South Africa, it fills me with even more sadness that there are people in government that turn too many blind eyes to this fact and/or utter something so unbelievably ignorant as "eat more vegetables and get well".

People that obviously think it's more important to build new arenas for the 2010 games so the Table Mountain will show in the background - instead of using the perfectly good ones already existing. The budget for the games already exceeded more than 1 billion rands (about the same in SEK) - when there are so many national problems that urgently needs to be addressed and dealt with.

Yes, there are many things to cry over in South Africa. Not only the country's beauty.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Se*y Mother Pucker

That's the witty name of one of the beautyproducts I bought on my way down to South Africa - btw, if your main goal while on holiday is to shop for new and interesting beautyproducts, well then ZA is most certainly NOT the place to go...

Anyway, I found this little intriguing product - not that I really need to pluxx up my lips, but still I'm a sucker for fun products like this, and hey, who could resist a pluxxer with that name?!

- a lip pluxxing gloss, with scientifically proven pluxxing superfill microspheres that explode in volume up to 10x when they come in contact with the water. They're like tiny, dehydrated little sponges that expand when you put them onto your lips.

It smells divine, like chocolate, gives a nice gloss - and very kissable lips - it tingles quite a bit, first hot then cold, I don't know about the pluxxing effect though... From Soap & Glory UK, if you'd like to have a try.

The other three - well correctly I guess one should say 2 in 1, 5 in 1 times 2 - I got as a special edition at British Airways flight shop.

  • Bobbi Brown nude on nude five eye shadow palette (I thought now's the time to finally get down and dirty with eyeshadows. But the holiday was just too hot for even thinking about makeup...)
  • Benefit Realness of concealness (gotta love that name!) - a mini fake-it kit for those days your not really yourself, or perhaps too obviously yourself...
  • Benefit Pocketpal - benetint & gloss 2 in one for lips and cheeks. I really like the compact idea of a lip and cheek stain, but the uncoloured gloss part... Well, it's just bound to look a bit nasty after putting it over the tint.
I actually bought three other products in a superstore, or perhaps one should leave that super out of it, in ZA. At a superlow price. Which I don't think are available here in Sweden (or perhaps I'm just too posh to have a look in our own supermarkets...):
  • Palmolive Classic Citrus Sensation conditioner (because I ran out of my neat little packages of Kiehl's samples). With a scent that now reminds me of Africa...
  • Revlon Pink happiness, perfumed bodylotion with aloe & chamomile extracts. Smells heavenly!
  • Concord acetone free instant nail polisher remover. A funny little jar in which you're suppose to dip and twist your finger to remove the nailpolish. If it works remains to be seen.

Well, eyes open for the next chapter of my South African journey, I just had to get this bit in about beautyproducts...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Safari, part II

Sydafrika 2007 079

The warthogs at Schotia were pretty much everywhere, carefully curious little cute ugly animals. With hoards of cute ugly tiny babies. Behaving a bit like that lens-louse bird with Donald Duck showing on TV at Christmas in Sweden yearly, here, there and everywhere.

There was one more than ugly male one hanging around the lapa-area, I suppose he thought he could get some food-bits. Unfortunately I didn't get any picture of him, enormous tusks and a very hairy back. Maybe he's considered to be a real chick-magnet in the warthog-kingdom?

Safari, part I

One of the absolute best thing - apart from visiting the world heritage site of Robben Island - we did in Africa was the safari, at Schotia Safaris.

A private game reserve sharing fence with the vast Addo National Park, a bit east of Port Elizabeth. Schotia Safaris is the oldest private game viewing reserve in the Eastern Cape, owned, managed and run by the owners, the Bean family, since 1833 (now in its 6th generation).

This malaria free reserve has abundant over 15 antelope species, several smaller African animals, such as warthog, monkeys, genets, surricates and other larger African animals such as hippo, giraffe and rhino. Schotia was the first reserve in the Cape Province to have free roaming lions. At the moment there are five of them. It's not a reserve with the Big Five though, if that's all you want from a safari.

It was a fantastic experience, at first I thought it was a bit silly and touristic the whole thing - but after a while you actually was caught up in the ranger's enthusiasm over everything, great and small.

The best thing was being that close, five metres..., to wild lions. I'll never stop to marvel over the fact that they are just like our familycats in behaviour and gestures, just slightly bigger and lethal. Guess if I was a b i t annoyed about the fact that I really should have gotten a better camera for that particulary meeting... Mine, though as great as it might be in general and on closeups, just didn't give justice to the moment...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hot & cold

Looking out the window now, it's more than difficult to grasp the fact that only a few days ago we experienced up to +42 degrees C on the other side of the world... And a tiresome 24 hours of flying later (neveeeer again my body and mind cries, never again such an awfully long flight!!) we end up here, back home where it has been down to -18 degrees C.

That day on the beach in Camps Bay (a part of Cape Town, on the other side of Table mountain) seems terribly far away... I can't even imagine the sand between my toes now...
Ah well, I can at least enjoy the pictures as often as I like! I wonder what we did before the days of the digital camera?!? Paid a lot for the pictures and couldn't afford any mistakes I suppose...
So now even I have swithced to the new version of Blogger. A quick fix, I wonder how that'll be. Perhaps like basking in the sun on a beach with sand between your toes?

Home & dry

Phew, I've been pretty upset about Blogger for a few days now, there was absolutely no way to sign in, both my username AND the password seemed to be incorrect though they weren't... Anyway, now everything *touch wood* seem to work again...

It has been a wonderful few weeks down under, not down under = Australia but in South Africa. To tell the truth I'm actually not sure if I'd like to go back or if I even would recommend others to go - there's a lot to get upset about and cry over in (South) Africa... -

but it has been a fantastic experience, truly and deeply. Even more so when you're back home and have the time to really ponder over it all.

I'm not really sure where to begin to tell the story; day by day, by town/village/city, the shopping (which frankly wasn't all that, apart from semiprecious stones and pearls *my oh my, heaven!!*), eating experiences (simply masters on desserts and cakes, otherwise a bit too afraid of spices and vegetables), the landscape (mighty impressive, varied and vast), the totally exotic animal kingdom of Africa, the heat & sun (I've got a really, really neat tan) - or what.

Thinking a little more about where to begin, I leave you with a picture that was one of my first relaxing impressions of South Africa - one of the totally amazing beaches in the little sleepy town of Kenton-on-Sea at the Sunshine coast.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hello South Africa!

This will most probably be my last blog-entry for some weeks now - and all I have to say right now is take care out there!

Me, myself and I plus M will have to take care of ourselves down in Soth-Africa for these upcoming weeks, basking in the sun, enjoying good food, nature, wild animals and an occasional people or two I suppose. Plus maybe the tiniest bit of shopping...

See you later!

Friday, February 02, 2007

This close to music

I've been thiiiis close to returning that darn - but so very cute! And red! - iPod nano. The phone support wasn't very helpful - most of the times I have absolutely no idea what qualifications got those guys the job... - finally I had to reinstall the whole iTunes system, again. Overwhelmingly big sigh over that!!

But right now it actually looks like it's working, believe it or not. And I'm downloading old CD goodies and new ones just as fast as I can - which isn't very fast... So for this very first time of downloading to my cute new musical companion I've selected:

* Anthony & the Johnsons - first album and their album of I am a bird now
* Black
* Bossa Nova for lovers
* Ane Brun - Spending time with Morgan
* buddha-bar III (and contemplating about whether to take the others too or not...)
* Cher - believe
* The Classic chillout album
* Leonard Cohen - Dear Heather, Ten new songs
* Deep Forest; Deep forest & Boheme
* Enya - Amarantine
* Euro lounge
* Everything but the girl - Amplified heart
* Fleetwood Mac - Tango in the night
* Bryan Ferry - Boys & girls
* Julia Fordham - concrete love
* Sophie B. Hawkins - timbre
* Lighthouse family - The very best of...
* Ricky Martin - sound loaded
* Sarah McLachlan - Afterglow, Solace, Surfacing
* Katie Melua - Piece by piece
* George Michael - Patience
* Dominic Miller - Shapes (which must be one of the most beautiful records ever made!)
* Lisa Miskovsky - Changes
* Alison Moyet - Voice
* Our defintion of jazz
* Pet Shop Boys (of course!) - Discography, Fundamental, Very
* Presuntos implicados - el pan y la sal
* Chris Rea - On the beach
* Roxy Music - Avalon (classical all time favorite!)
* Simple Minds - Black & White
* Sting - Sacred love

One record that really doesn't want to cooperate with me and one I really, really would like to have downloaded is The Blue Nile - High. It seems like there might be some hidden non-copying function on that CD. Buhu huhu...

And tomorrow I'll be doing some selecting and downloading of separate songs from
* The Beautiful south
* Bo Kaspers Orkester
* Toni Childs
* Eric Clapton
* Frank Sinatra

Right now I feel like a busy little music-bee - a busy bee that has kept postponing the actual hard labour of packing her colourful (red!) suitcase in a very compact way. That certain compact way that still keeps one very stylish and yet comfortable and not overly dressed on a holiday in the sun.

And of course, that compact way that makes room for fun shopping which hopefully won't lead to any overweight-fees on the plane back home...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The world of more or less non-user friendly products

My cuter than cute Red iPod has arrived safely - note the word cute and not a very keen interest in the more technical pros of the tiny machine... - thanks for that! But I've been pretty upset with the installation, certainly not very dummy friendly.

And since I usually don't consider myself a dummy (all that often), I'd rather say it's not very user-friendly-for-the-not-very-interested-in-computer-stuff-users... Ah, life was so easy before the computers, don't you agree? And yet they're pretty convenient now and then. Even I must admit. Hesitantly.

But I do wish they would get some layman to write the instruction booklets and not the nerdiest nerd of computer-nerds... I'm amazed how anyone can find this extremely tiresome installations of software and new stuff interesting. It's just so utterly and completely time consuming and hair-tearing annoying.

Other than losing some hair - and getting some new grey ones that'll go well with the red tiny new "friend" (that remains to be seen...) - I've had the most lovely body scrub at a salon. My skin now feels so smooth and silky and super-prepared for the SouthAfrican sun!

Though the aromatherapy smell of the products, and especially the rose-bodylotion, was pretty nasty according to my nose. I wouldn't say it smelled rancid, but a non-pleasant, musk stench has followed me the rest of the day... How anyone can find that smell appealing beats me, and to pay about 700 sek for the products...?? I'm grateful it's an optional thing.

I did invest, finally, at last, in a new mascara though - can this be the one, the ultimate one...? - Diorshow unlimited. I'll save it for vacational use.

One thing that's been puzzling me for ages, is how come the sale-clerks at the cosmetic- counters about 99,9% of the time have everything but a well done make up? The more often than seldom look like something from a horror movie or like they have played dressed up in with someones very old and unstylish cosmetics. How come? They sure aren't very good posterwomen for the product-lines... Rather the sad opposite I'd say.

I also somehow managed to get my hands on a very pretty, greenish silk scarf with embroidery at the final sales at - surprise! - NoaNoa. I really think it'll go nicely in the upcoming evenings when one sits on a porch after dinner with a sundowner and watch some amazing sundown of a colourscale we rarely see up here in the north. So, well I couldn't resist its pleading to come home with me...

I think vests and silk scarfs is my basic wears for this vacation. Perhaps I'll skip the scarf thing while on safari - perhaps anyway...

Well, off to bed now. I really deserve to sleep like a baby. Like the innocent sleep that hairy little, strange - and sometimes charming - creature in the picture to your upper right.
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