Friday, March 11, 2011

80's Child: VW Ad Song

I am an 80's child. I was born in South Africa during the 1980's and experienced all that was during that time.  My heart fills with joy and nostalgia every time I hear certain songs or see cartoons I watched when I was a child on tv.  If you were old enough in 1992 to watch a certain VW ad you can share this nostalgic moment.

Andre'; de Villiers - Memories
I remember the days of my life
I recall the faces- mostly yours
Magic moments – life was a mystery
There’s no place on earth that- we’d rather be

Moving up – going through some changes
Storing up the memories
Can you give me the light of my life?
I always gave the best I could give

Sometimes it never seemed like enough
Though we never quit when- the going got tough
Do you remember the way it used to be?
Never counting cost – was a matter of trust
Covenant cut – were lovers for life
I still bear the scar – you used to carry the knife
I remember the days of my life
I recall the faces- mostly yours
Magic moments – life still a mystery
There’s no place on the earth that- we’d rather be

This is my life
And I’m passing on the

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Joburg Awesomeness: The List

My really close friend has moved up from Cape Town and is really excited to see the sights and bright lights of Johannesburg.  We got talking and I realized that in my three short years, and despite my preference of watching series on my couch during the weekends, I had actually done many cool things in the city.  It became too much to tell her everything in one conversation, so I have decided to draw up a list of cool places that she (other émigrés) could visit.  As an introductory point, I live in Illovo and have discovered that I don't have to go further than a 10 km radius to visit many fabulous locales.  So sorry if I have left out that amazing restaurant in the south of Joburg that your cousin loves.  If you are in Joburg, Sandton is the place to be.

The Johannesburg metro website has already compiled a great list of places (complete with address and phone numbers) that you could check out.  My list is slightly different as the places that I have listed are either my favorite, and come as a personal recommendation, or are places that I really want to see.  Bring change for the car guards (if you want to tip) and your camera!  So here goes!

Useful sites:

44 on Stanley

44 on Stanley is a little nook in Stanley road that has cool, arty, little shops, an amazing bakery, coffee shops, flower stalls, clothing shops and other interesting little things.  The place has an urban chique to it and is very relaxed.  Go there for breakfast/brunch/coffee and a browse of all the creative artwork on display.  A good morning out!
44 Stanley Road
, Braamfontein (near Johannesburg City Central)

Arts on Main

As one of my favourite places it has an entire post dedicated to it.  Arts on Main is an urban warehouse in the middle of the city that has been converted in art galleries and clothing stall.  On a Sunday, there is a lovely flea market with confectionary, pastries, flowers, vegan goodies, art, clothes, and other interesting things on sale.  Bring cash as very few stalls have card machines.
Fox Street, Johannesburg
Open during the week during business hours.  However, the Sunday flea market opens from 9 and is super cool.

Gleneagles drive, Greenside

Gleneagles Drive
, Greenside

Grant often refers to this strip as "the Bermuda Triangle" as it is a bit of a weird place to find.  I type in "
50 Gleneagles Drive
, Greenside" on my gps and then keep an eye out for the strip of cool bars and restaurants.  Greenside used to be this really cool indie place but as my friend has bemoaned has been taken over by the popped collar jock crowd and have elbowed the indie kids out.  As a personal favour, if you visit Greenside, please don't pop your collar and behave like a yob. Much appreciated.
In terms of eating out, the strip has some good restaurant chains present: Fratelli's, Adega, Capellos, Doppio Zero, and the interesting Mama's Shebeen. 
The strip also has some great bars and clubs.  For dancing you have Toyo Star (house music, sometimes light rock, free some nights, other times pay up to R50 to enter, youngish crowd, good looking people), Gin (rock, pop, a bit of an electronic mix, student type crowd, a few older people, free), and the Office (a bar essentially, the music is rock, electronic, pop and the crowd is young, professional and well polished, dress decently, free to enter).

Grant Avenue, Norwood

Grant Avenue, Norwood

Cool spots: Chapter 1 books (cool second hand bookshop); Classique Spa (had a massage there, was good. They do manis and pedis as well).
Amazing sushi!  Hokkaido (the best sushi restaurant in Joburg, a little pricey); Real Sushi (great sushi, reasonably priced); Kung Fu Kitchen (reasonable quality, great prices); Rainbow (haven't been, but have heard service is meh, food is good, a little pricey).
There are a ton of bars and restaurants in the street including some pizza, pasta, and falafel places.  I just go for the sushi.

4th Avenue

Another great strip of classy eating out places.  I really liked the Attic (pricey but nice); Full Stop café and some others whose name I cannot remember… There are many and I do recommend!
The Jolly Roger is a legendary pizza place and watering hole.  I've never been (too many teenagers falling around the place).
4th Avenue
Parkhurst, Sandton

The Johannesburg Zoo

Lions, tigers and bears, oh my!  A really fun morning out!  A must if you love animals. I hear there is a new baby giraffe!
Cost:  R50 to enter for adults and R10 to park a car.

Jan Smuts Avenue
, Parkview.  Main public entrance on
Upper Park Drive

Zoo Lake

Cost:  Free to wander.  You can rent a boat, have no idea what this costs but the popularity of this indicates it can't be too much.  I really like going for a stroll and chat with a good friend around the place.  Families come for picnics and for their kids to run around and play.
There is a great restaurant called "Moyo" at the lake. The food is amazing, a little pricey, but there is an awesome afro-style ambience.
Location:  corner of
Jan Smuts Avenue

West World Street

Gold reef City

I love rollercoasters! I came here for my 26th birthday and it was so much fun!  This is a great day out, especially with a group of friends.  I can't remember how much it costs, but it was less than the price of a movie ticket.
Location:  near Johannesburg city central:

The Apartheid Museum

Have not been, but friends who have say it is amazing! Grant thinks this is too serious to be fun, but a little bit of a cultural and historical infusion can only do us good.  Also, someone told me that they went there during the world cup and bumped into Fabio Cannavaro!!! :D
Location:  the corner of
Northern Parkway

Gold Reef Road
in Ormonde.
Telephone:  (011) 309 4700

Nelson Mandela Civic Theatre

I love the theatre.  I have seen several ballet productions as well as some stand-up comedy.  Keep an eye out for some excellent productions!  It's a lovely evening/afternoon out.
Loveday Street
, Braamfontein

The SAB World of Beer

I have not been on this tour but several of my friends have and they thought it was really cool.  This tour has also won several tourism awards and appears to be reasonable value for money (R25 last time I checked).  If you like beer it might be a fun thing to try out.
Gerard Sekoto Street, Newtown
, Johannesburg City Central

Melrose Arch

A little enclave of shops, apartments, offices and restaurants, Melrose Arch is a classy hangout.  The allure of this place is the fact that you can sit outside, surrounded by pretty, well-heeled people and have a lovely meal or drink. I love the shopping and eating out.  Favorite restaurant here: the Orient for dinner and JB's for breakfast.  Pricey but amazing food!  Tasha's is also good.  My friend has her farewell at a wine tasting place, "Wine sense" and those who indulged loved it!  The shops range from a concept Edgars store, a great Woolworths, and some nice boutiques.  Melrose Arch is well suited to fun morning having breakfast and shopping with your girlfriends, or a romantic dinner or breakfast with your special person.  Check it out!
Location: Melrose Arch Precinct, off
Atholl Oaklands Drive
and off

Corlett Drive

Sandton City

I love shopping!!! Sandton City has a wonderful selection of chain stores and, the attached Nelson Mandela square has the classy boutiques and restaurants.  It can get busy during the weekend and month end.  Things to watch for: the side walk sale twice a year where you can get some fabulous bargains!
Corner Rivonia Road

5th Street
Telephone:  011 217 6000

Rosebank Flea Market
An excellent rooftop market!  Fabulous to get some lovely antiques, vintage clothes, second hand books, food, and random curios.  It's a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
Location: The Rosebank Mall, on the rooftop, Corner of Cradock Avenue and
Baker Street
, Rosebank.  There is an entrance to the mall if you get onto

Oxford Road
Rivonia Road
) from Sandton and head straight towards town.

The Rosebank Mall itself is also a lovely brunch place.  It has cinemas as well as a cinema nouveau. 

Hyde Park Mall

While we are on the subject of shopping malls, Hyde Park Mall has a great selection of restaurants and classy boutiques.  I have seen several celebrities (in the Miss SA sense) here. There is Red Chamber, a Chinese restaurant, which is great (also pricey, and difficult to get into unless you make reservations).
The Southern Sun Hotel at the Mall has a great bar that is really classy and comfy.  I met up with some friends here, and rubbed shoulders with many young professionals and businessmen.  The grapevine tells me that many business deals go down here, so if you are interested in that kind of thing.
Location:  The corner of William Nicol and
Jan Smuts Avenue

Bruma Flea Market

Have not been, but have heard it's fun.
Location:  Corner Ernest Oppenheimer and
Marcia Ave
, Bruma
Telephone: 011 622 9648.
Open: Tuesdays to Sundays 9.30am - 5pm

China Town

There are two China towns in Joburg.
The cool eating out China Town:

Derrick Avenue


The Official China Town:
73 Bree Street Newtown

The cool eating out China town is where you go if you are craving authentic Chinese food.  The places are grungy, and the menus aren't always in English, but the food is great and really interesting.  Bring cash as there are usually no cash machines.

Brightwater Commons

A family hangout, but with a cool outdoorsy vibe.  There are flea market stalls, cool gaming, comic book and anime shops and a few chain stores.  I love it when they have events.  The Thai festival and Chinese New year celebrations were so much fun!
Location:  Republic Road, Randburg
Telephone: +27 11 789 5052
Open:  Mondays-Fridays: 9am - 6pm, Saturdays: 8am - 6pm,
Sundays / Holidays: 9am - 3pm

Emmerentia Dam/ Johannesburg Botanical Gardens

Have not been, but it does come highly recommended from a friend.
Olifants Road
, Emmarentia

Not technically in Joburg, but still within a reasonable drive:

The Lion Park

There is a lion and big cat park on the outskirts of Johannesburg.  I have not been yet but am really keen to visit.  My friends have been and apparently you can go on a mini game drive and then actually pet the lion clubs.  On my "to do list"!

Cost: R130 per person to get in, less for kids and more for guided game drives.
Location:  Corner Malibongwe & R114 Lanseria Johannesburg South Africa

The Cradle of Human Kind

Have not been, dying to go!
Sterkfontein caves:  Specialised tours:  Palaeo-Tours: +27 11 726-8788
Location:  between Krugersdorp and Magaliesburg

Sun City

Went here for my 25th birthday.  An excellent day trip, 2 hours drive from Joburg and loads of fun.  I loved the water slides and chilling on the fake beach.
Gps Sun City, North West Province

Hartebeespoort Dam

A 40 minute drive from Joburg, it is apparently a great water sports, horse riding, fishing and camping place.  I went to a trance party here. It was cool, wet, but cool.  I recommend doing more research as to what you want to do here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

When all else fails, try something dodgy

This weekend my fridge door didn’t want to close. This was my trusty old Defy which I had bought for R500 from my old landlord and had cared for one of the most crucial ingredients for life’s happiness: milk for our tea and coffee. Unschooled in the ways of repairing domestic electronics, I called for my boyfriend Grant to fix the door.  Grant lives with me, knows how to fix the washing machine, install the dishwasher, has a toolbox and is thus very useful to have around. He also kills bugs, which is a bonus, but then picks them up and chases me around the flat with it, which is not so great. But I digress. On closer inspection of the fridge after pulling out the vegetable drawers, which I could have done, we discovered that the back of the fridge was covered in a mini-iceberg: a slab of ice had engulfed the fridge so that the drawers could no longer go all the way to the back and knocked on the fridge door so it could not longer close.  This was a problem. We could not turn off the fridge and defrost it as we had just gone shopping and it was full of food.  A common domestic problem, but what is a reasonable solution?  What Grant and I proceeded to do could not by any lengths be called reasonable, but it did work.

First we poured boiling water over the ice which made a mess of the kitchen floor but did little to melt the ice. Then Grant got out my hairdryer, which goes up to 3000 watts so it does pack a fair bit of power, and blasted away. But that didn’t work so well either.  The ice was melting at a painstakingly slow rate. Suddenly my fear of global warming destroying the polar ice-caps diminished. If a hair dryer blasting away at an open fridge in the middle of summer didn’t melt ice five centimeters thick, would a massive behemoth of ice be in danger of an increase of centigrade in temperature? But again, I digress. In a fit of desperation I reached for a butter knife and a bottle of Bovril and started chiseling away at the ice until I got enough ice out for the door to close.  This was very dodgy. I could have seriously damaged the fridge had the ice not been so thick. Even Grant hair-drying the fridge could have led to electrocution. I had several strategically place dishcloths to avoid this, but one can never be too sure.  We are waiting to our food to finish and them we will defrost the fridge properly. I am told that this should be done at least 2 times a year. Who knew? Spread the word people. One step at a time to being a responsible adult.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Movie Awesomeness: Scott Pilgrim vs The World

There are some things so awesome that they must be spoken of. The movie "Scott Pilgrim vs The World' is one such thing. This movie is so awesome that it has spawned my series of posts: "Movie Awesomeness".
The Plot: Scott must defeat the 7 Evil Exes of his girlfriend Ramona.
The Music: Indie Electro-Rock
Style: American Manga inspired and sometimes retro-cool
Rating: 10
Comment: Highly original, fun, killer one-liners that you will be dying to use.

Watch this movie. Then watch it again.

Joburg Awesomeness: Arts on Main

I live in the city of Johannesburg, in the beautiful country of South Africa.  Johannesburg, or "Joburg" as it is affectionately called, is an urban jungle: a surging, gritty, bustling metropolis and South Africa's (and Africa's) economic capital. That being said, it is also awesome.

There are so many incredible things to do in Joburg that I have decided to write a series on it.  What the urban adventurer can get up to in this fabulous city.

My first totally awesome thing to do is the Sunday flea market at Arts on Main.  Arts on Main is in itself a totally cool hangout. The venue holds several galleries and urban chic clothing stalls.  On Sunday the place transforms into the boho/glam hangout of the young and trendy.  This is the place that cool office mate yours buys their vegan chocolate and too-cool-for-school vintage slacks. My favourite experience was sitting under a cluster of olive trees drinking Ethiopian coffee freshly roasted and ground in an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.  In the middle of the city!

Bring cash as most places don't have credit card machines.  Then eat your vegan chocolate truffles and seaweed snacks whilst lying on the grass next to other pretty people.
Sounds good? Check it out: