Friday, September 30, 2011


So far, I will have to rate October as the most awesome month of the year (and it hasn't even happened yet!)

H20 is tomorrow at Wild Waters in Boksburg and is rated as one of the sickest dance parties.

David Guetta and Akon are in SA for the St Yves Music festival on the 14th and 15th October 2011. I would go if I wasn't already so committed (and as a result, impoverished).

Then there is the charity art auction "Doodle in the Park". The deal is to bring a picnic basket and art. You donate your art, buy other art, chill out and eat. It's on Sunday 2 October 2011 at Emmarentia Botanical Gardens at the Rose Gardens from 2-6:30pm
 Rock on folks! :)

Joburg Awesomeness: Mainstreetwalks

My friend T and I keep making (and breaking) dates to hang out and go shopping in Jhb city central. Jhb is a mecca of quirky and cheap fashion and plenty of other interesting corners  Although I wouldn't describe Jhb as a great walking city the best way to get to know any city is on foot, and there is much fun to be had (and dodgyness to be avoided) in the cbd.  Being a suburban South Africa woman, a cbd walkabout  is not something I'm comfortable about doing on my own, nor would I be comfortable in taking any of my out of town guests there. Enter "Mainstreet Walks" a savvy, streetwise company that has seen this gap in the market and pounced on it.  They offer group walk and picnics and general tourisy tours through the city :D
This is what they say:
The three current ones are Art and Justice (every Saturday morning); Inner City (every Saturday morning) and Picnics in the Sky (every Sunday). The first one visits the Con Court and Ghandi square, the buildings, art and architecture. The second one goes into the Carlton Centre and down to Newtown and through Hillbrow. The last starts at the market ( and goes up into the Carlton Centre. They have a picnic on the 50th floor; the Carlton being the tallest building in Africa. All three use the BRT Rea vaya to get around.

The Art and Justice and Inner City are both R160 and the Picnic is R220 for two.

So there you have it. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My couch

Sometimes you don't really feel like going out and about, and painting the Jhb town red. Especially on a Friday night. In varsity, Friday was the biggest party night ever. The party unofficially started on Wednesday night with either chilling in a friends res room or going partying to some dingy student dive. Thursday was the classy clubbing at a place that had a guest list, and Friday night was the cherry on top with whatever awesome party was on the radar. After all that partying, Saturday night was either dinner with friends or drinks somewhere fun and new.

But that was varsity, where you were abounding with youthful energy, lectures were a breeze and you had something due every few days. When you are working (especially in a corporate law firm) it's like writing an exam every day at the office. At the end of the week, after work has chewed you up and spat you out the last thing you want to do is clean yourself up, put on your pretty face and bounce around in a place filled with people ten years junior (maybe on a Saturday when you have the energy to psyche yourself up). In the real, working life the most you have the energy for on a Friday night is to have a nice dinner or drinks with some friends and then go home and fall asleep on my couch watching tv. Sometimes, ordering take-out and pigging out on the couch to some dvds is the most fun you can have all week. At these moments my couch is the greatest thing ever. Especially in winter where going out in general is a mission and a half. The best dvd place in Jhb is the video spot in Craighall in Jun Smuts (if you don't have a portable hardrive and don't believe in downloading).

So, it's okay to be chilled out every now and again. Even in an excellent pary town (though I must admit, Cape Town has the best clubbing in SA). Signing out on my couch in time for a Glee marathon, N x

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Incredible Likeness of Dealing: Part III

It is a widely accepted fact that people in Jhb work hard. And not just the high-flying corporate types, everyone is expected to put in their 110% to all tasks no matter how trivial they may appear. This lifestyle is tiring, especially if you have to battle traffic every day (will save that one for another post!). My (humble) recommendation to all is to actively start taking care of oneself by eating healthily, exercising, getting enough sleep and having fun (which we have discussed already). So now for the serious stuff.

Working hard and being constantly stressed leads to people with high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone, which helps us deal with tough situations), which in time can lead to burn out (exhausted adrenal glands). I have met plenty of burnt out people who say that no matter how much sleep they get or how well they eat, they remain exhausted. Part of this is because their body is so messed up by being pumped with cortisol, and then the effects of going cold turkey. This is a simplification, but I hope I am getting the message across that being stressed out all the time will leave you a worn out and haggard person who is less fun than the average 80 year old whose weekly highlight is their knitting club.

How do I avoid this? I have made the potentially career limiting but life enhancing decision of drawing a line and leaving work no later than 19:30 every day. I go to yoga on Mondays, gym on Sundays, try and each veggies everyday and get around 7 hours of  daily rest. I take vitamins every day and drink 2 litres of water during the day and 2 glasses at night. I say this not to show off, but to illustrate that looking after yourself does take alot of effort, but it is worth it. Ask yourself, what is worth more time and effort than investing in yourself. Not much, if you ask me. Start with having a glass of water first thing as you wake up. Then some wheat grass before you eat. A spoon full of this super food twice a day (once in the mornings and evening on an empty stomach) is a nutrition boost for the day. Mind you, this stuff tastes horrible. Think of licking grass that someone with bare, sweaty feet has walked on just before their dog pooed on it. That is the level of yuck. But have you noticed how everything really good for you tastes awful? A friend of mine takes hers with no-added sugar fruit juice (a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down). Get it from dischem:

If you are super-stressed out and anxiety ridden, herbal tranquillizers (I'm not kidding, and I don't mean smoking a joint) can help alot. Rescue remedy can help in mild cases, and for times of stronger need Biral is the answer. Oh Biral, I wished I'd met you sooner! Check out my office pharmacopoeia. Caltrate for strong bones (a must for women), a selection of multi-vitamins and evening primrose oil capsules for glowy skin.

If you have been good, every now and again you have a little treat. Mine is strawberry mentos. I have a  sweet or two a day until my roll runs out and then buy another after a few months. The sacrifices we must make to stay healthy and look good (I will save this for another post!)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Art of Eating Asian Food

At dinner this weekend I realised that many of my friends don't understand the concept of Asian eating. This has nothing to do with the utensils or the actual food but rather the culture of sharing a meal with people. Food is a cultural concept, and realising this makes eating "different" food all the more enriching.

Indian Dining
Indian food is about sharing. It works best when everyone orders a different curry and has a taste of each one. I know with European food, people stick to their dishes, but it really is not meant to be like that with Indian eating. Eating is a time of togetherness and celebration (as in most cultures), so feel free to be loud and conversational. Traditionally, Indian people eat with their hands and many Indian dishes are made specifically to be eaten in this manner. Don't feel shy. Wash your hand before (try and keep your nails short), and try it out. Rotis, parathas and naan bread are not as delicious when eaten with a knife and fork.  Dish a portion of the various curries onto your plate, break off a piece of the bread and use the bread to scoop up the curry. It really does taste so much better! The same goes for rice. Afterwards, you can ask the waiter to bring a bowl of warm water or wash your hands in the rest room. The food is meant to be hot, and sometimes even messy (crab curry, in point), so have lots of tissues handy and a some sour milk salad on the side to help cool your tummy. It is totally acceptable (even expected) to take the left-overs home (Indians don't believe in wasting food).
My top picks are
North Indian food: Ghazal in Peter Place (Bryanston), Banjaara - for both North and South Indian food (Thrupps, Illovo), and Bismillahs in town. Have been recommended Bukhara (not sure where it is)
South Indian food: Masala Dosta in town. I have been recommended Namaste in Bryanston.

Chinese Dining
Similar to Indian eating, Chinese people believe in sharing dishes between a large group. The portion sizes are big, and it is customary for everyone to try each dish. Soups are ordered as starters as well as spring rolls, dumplings, spinach etc. Order a few bowls of different noodles to try each of them, as well as the various mains.  The idea is that everyone must have a taste of everything.  The dishes are placed on a spinning jenny (or a lazy Susan, however you look at it) so everyone can reach.  The tables are traditionally round so that everyone can see each other, chat to each other and feel equal. Chopsticks are the traditional utensil, and they are quite fun to use (once you get the hang of them).  It is said the the more upper-class Chinese hold their chopsticks higher up, so they can pick at their food at leisure, while the working class Chinese hold their chopsticks lower down so they can eat their food faster and get back to the fields. I would recommend going to a traditional Chinese restaurant (where the dishes are listed in Chinese) to get the real selection. Otherwise you are going to get the watered down "gwailow" sweet and sour variety. My favourite Chinese thing so far is squid in special sauce, and I have been told the sechuan (spicy cooking) duck is amazing.
Don't get put off by the decor. Most Chinese restaurants are either very grungy or quiet kitch.
My top picks: China Town in Cyrilldene, Lai Lai Gardens in Illovo (Thrupps Centre), Red Chamber is Hyde Park (only MSG-free Chinese restaurant I have ever been to. It also had the best decor of any Chinese restaurant I have seen). Have been told Swallows in town is also good.

Vietnamese Food
Similar to Chinese food, though I have been to a place that brings you a little portion of your own food.  I do admit, I have not been to what I feel is a real Vietnamese restaurant.  The food served in SA appears a bit too rich to be palatable to the average Vietnamese person. Show me a place that serves cobra blood shooters and I will give it my stamp of approval! In the interim, I would recommend Saigon (off Rivonia, next to the McDonalds).

Thai food
This could go either way. Most of the Thai places I have been to bring you a portion of your own dish and place it in front of you. But I am sure you could share happily. I have kinda given up on Thai food since I ate a dodgy plate of pad thai on my bday last year (after returning from Moz). I was convinced I was going to die of either malaria or some other weird tropical disease.
If pressed, I will recommend Wang Thai in Nelson Mandela. Note: they charge set menus for large groups.
To Thai For on Corlette is also good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Joburg Awesomeness: Art Jamming

This is on my to do list. Art Jamming is basically rocking up at this place, paying for a canvass and painting.  There is a little introductory thing on how to paint, but you are very much left to your own creative devices. Art classes, team building and parties are also offered, but I am keen to do it with one of my very close friends who will be joining me. Will let you know how it goes!

Where: BlueBird Centre, Atholl
Tel: (011) 786 0599
Lonehill Centre, Lonehill Boulevard, Fourways
Tel: (011) 456 5778
Trading Hours Mon-Fri     09:00-17:00Sat:            09:00-16:00Sun           10:00-15H00
Canvasses range from R95 to R600 (I am keen for a box canvass, a little bigger than the 30x30cm ones that cost R155).

Joburg Awesomeness: Future happenings

Events on the horizon (how I will be spending the next few weeks):

Earthdance: friends are going for this. A trance party essentially with a spiritual element. You can go for the day or camp over.
When: 24 September 2011
Rage Expo: the ultimate gamefest with stalls featuring the latest in comics, anime and gaming. Being a closest geek, I have to check this out.
When: 30 Sept - 2 Oct 2011
Where: Coca Cola Dome, Northgate
Cover: R50 day per pass
Sexpo: sex accessories, art, movies and general exhibitionism. It's a interesting way to spend three hours (that's all the time I could spend before I got bored.)
When: 20 Sept - 2 Oct 2011, Where: Gallagher Estate

Coldplay: The British rockers are here (Woo Hoo!). Got my tickets, just need to organise my park and ride)
When: 8 October 2011 Where: FNB Stadium

Don Quixote, the ballet: I have already got my tickets :) LOVE the ballet, and this one features dancers from Spain, Cuba and South Africa.
When: 13 - 23 Oct 2011Where: The Lyric Theatre, Goldreef City
Kings of Leon: US rock band coming after their earlier postponed show. Not going, but several of my amped friends are.
When: 29 October 2011

The Chilli Boy is showing at the Joburg Theatre soon. LOVED IT! Highly recommended! 
The Fringe
Sat 08 October 2011
The Fringe
Sun 09 October 2011
The Fringe
Sat 15 October 2011
The Fringe
Sun 16 October 2011
The Fringe
Sat 22 October 2011
The Fringe
Sun 23 October 2011
The Fringe
Sat 29 October 2011
The Fringe
Sun 30 October 2011
The Fringe
Sat 05 November 2011
The Fringe
Sun 06 November 2011

Where: The Fringe Theatre,  Braamfontein Jhb. Show details: Price: R130pp

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Joburg Awesomeness: Packing Heat

When you have done all the traditional touristy things in Johannesburg you can start looking for activities that appeal to your specific interests. The city is often underestimated in the weird and wonderful things that it offers. It is not only a concrete jungle, but also has tracts of vast open spaces that open up unlimited possibilities. I have always wanted to go shooting. Not at anything living mind you (people and animals are usually popular items for target practice in the city).

Not being dissuaded by not actually having a gun or a clue I set off on an intrepid Internet search for a relaxed yet well-stocked establishment that caters for individuals such as myself (and more experienced ones also).
The universe led to me to Guthrie's Shooting Range in Midrand. Nestled in the midst of Pretoria Main Road and several blocks of flats (they were here first and don't care how much noise they make), my eager group of friends and I drove up the dirt drive way and into their theatre of dreams. My posse didn't actually believe that they would give us guns for money. No one had a licence or any training (though a few peeps did have some good shooting experience.) But they did...

For R75 range fee, R85 gun hire and R150 for a bag of ammo they hooked you up with whatever gun you wanted and sent you on your merry way. We ended up choosing a .44 magnum, a Beretta, a glock and an R5. We later discovered they stock AK-47s, desert eagles and uzzis. Check them out:

Our range guide came and explained the basics of how a gun works, how to load, shoot and reminded us of the range etiquette and left us to shoot the afternoon away. Despite there being two completely inexperienced shooters in our group, there was no blood shed and we all left the range alive and well. In fact, I got a bulls-eye with the .44 magnum and my fellow noob got one as well. We all tried out all the guns and ended up becoming reasonably proficient in their usage.

I left the range feeling satisfied with my newly acquired gun toting skills and general awesomeness.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Joburg Awesomeness: Eating Out

So, Joburg may not have a mountain or a beach or excellent vistas (the best you can hope for is something that's not a parking lot). But it does have some excellent food and top-notch service. In my quest to spread the love regarding fun things to do in Joburg, I have come across these two excellence websites. They cover the best and we-known eateries in the country and will help the avid eating-out explorer find something new and exciting each week. Check it out: