Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Johannesburg International Motorshow: Additional Pictures

Opel Corsa OPC (facelifted)

Audi R8 GT

Audi Etron concept

BMW 1 Series M Coupe

Race cars

Ed Hardy Graphics Car BMW M3

Electric Car

Lewis Hamilton's F1 Mercedes

Lamborghini Aventador

Nissan Leaf electric car

Mercedes Concept A 1

Mercedes SLS AMG

Porshe GT3

Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead

Smart electric bike

Ford GT40 Replica

Mercedes early petrol car (one of the first "real" cars)

Toyota LJS

Cobra replicas

Vintage cars

Canopy Tour: Magaliesberg

About 1 and a half hours out of Joburg lies the beautiful Magaliesberg. The area is lush and green and mountainous and offers an easily accessible peace and serenity.
I was lucky enough to go on a canopy tour in the area and then have a lovely dinner at a nearby 5 star restaurant. The canopy tour was run by Magaliesberg Canopy Tours which provides the equipment, transport and services of 2 energetic tour guides.  The price is R450 and includes a dinner for after the tour.
Zip lining, or canopy riding is basically a person sliding across a cable that overlooks a tree filled ravine.  The cables are pretty secure and at all times you are hooked safely onto a cable. I am told that no one have ever died from a canopy tour in the area, and the safety regime is pretty strict.  The fun part is the adrenaline of swinging about 50 metres above ground and getting a lovely view of scenery.  There are ten slides in all and 3 really fast ones. My group was lucky enough to have a hilarious young tour guide who kept us entertained and calm.  In fact, after the first few slides you stop stressing and really enjoy the experience. This is a really fun activity and perfect for team building, for an adventurous young group or outdoorsy couple.
Check it out: www.magaliescanopytour.co.za  

Hello Kitty makes the World a better place

Monday, November 28, 2011

600 Page Views!

Thanks to everyone for reading my blog :)

World Wear: Beyers Naude

Another shopping mall discovered. Location: on Beyers Naude (just before the highway, travelling towards Northcliff). The ambience: a bit of a Melrose Arch vibe with the cobblestones and streetlamps.  However, World Wear does lack alot of the character of Melrose Arch. There are a mainly clothing shops, a few resteraunts and I am told that there is a Pick and Pay there. I think Cresta shopping mall is a better bet for the area (though it is always super-busy... to the extent that the shelves run dry). If you are in the area, it may be a good idea to check out World Wear to see if they have anything that would be useful for you.

Theatre: Girl in the Yellow Dress

There has been some good theatre of late. Matthew Ribnick is back with "Monkey Nuts" (on now at the Nelson Mandela/Civic theatre) and I was lucky enough to catch "Girl in the Yellow Dress" at the Market Theatre. These are two completely different types of plays.  I have been told that Monkey Nuts is hilarious and brilliantly silly. The one man tour de force that is the Ribnick delivers again. I am unfortunately too busy to see it (and there was a great Groupon on it as well!) but I hope that many do and support the theatre in general!

Girl in a Yellow Dress is a two person show about the tangled relationship between a teacher and her student. It has been billed as a psycho-sexual drama, but there is fantastic social and racial discourse.  The play is heavy to say the least but very well written . I won't give anymore away, check it out for yourself.
I am really looking forward to seeing the Phantom of the Opera at the Theatro at Monetcasino. It has started and runs till the end of January 2012. Needless to say, there will be a review :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

500 Page Views!

Thanks to everyone for reading my blog. It has reached it's 500th viewing today. It makes it all the more fun to write knowing that people are reading it! Thanks to everyone for your support!
Peace out
Nerisee x

Joburg happenings: November

Summer is here and the city is alive! I am chilling in Durban this weekend, but I encourage you all to check out this cool party:

The Electric Circus Street Party is taking place at Carfax in Newtown this weekend! DJ’s Alex Kenji from Italy, Rent Dent and others will be there.  I've never been to this one before, but street parties in general are awesome. I love being outside and the weather so far has been great. I expect top notch music and lighting
Date: 5 November 2011
Time: 8pm until late
Cost: Tickets R120 pre-sold, 150 at the door

The city centre often has a bad rap for being grungy, dangerous and full of drug peddling foreign gangsters… I am inclined to believe that part of this is at least true. However, there is a huge movement to revive the city with cool little spots that are both safe and stylish.  Here is one such beauty that I have been recommended:

Situated in Braamfontein, it looks like a very plush locale with a lovely deck on the rooftop. It is open to the public for special parties or can be hired as a venue.  It seems like a place where the cools kids hang out.  It looks like it has great views of the city. I will try it out and put up pics!

Where: 22nd Floor South Point Towers
41 De Korte Street

Subscribe to their newsletter for parties that would interest you: http://www.randlords.co.za/

As mentioned earlier, I am not a drinker but I found this really useful site that has reviews and details of the best bars in Johannesburg. 


I have often read that Johannesburg has some of the worst traffic in the world (only behind Beijing and Mexico City…. And remember that month long traffic jam that Beijing had! Weird when you think that China has a petrol shortage. But I digress).  Joburg is the economic hub of Africa and more people have come to work here than the city was designed for. Apartheid spatial planning had made sure that the black population lived outside the economic centers, which was the city centre at that point.  Many banks and mining houses still have their headquarters in the city; however, Sandton has become the outlying business district and preferred location for many financial houses and other corporate. 

If I were to summarise the city: Sandton is the financial centre and the place where everyone wants to be; the city centre the old power house of trade and industry with a few remaining corporates holding fort; Midrand the upcoming business district due the lower property prices and large tracts of unused land; and the outlying areas containing the industrial centers.  Property prices peak around Sandton and are much lower the further out you go.  It is the masses of the poor who get jobs in Sandton but can’t afford to live nearby that must bear the brunt of incredibly shit traffic. If you are poor and live in Joburg you will spend a large portion of your income commuting. I know a secretary who lives in Lenasia and spends 4 hours a day in traffic commuting to Illovo (2 to work and 2 back home).  Public transport is limited to buses and taxis and these forms of transport still use the roads and do little to alleviate the chaos.  I have been told that the Gautrain has reduced traffic between Joburg, Pretoria and Midrand, which is great. I often use the Gautrain to the airport and it is very clean and efficient. It is not for the poor, though. Tickets are expensive, though said to be much cheaper due to the rising costs of fuel.

To live in Johannesburg, I must advise that you live close to the place where you work or risk getting stuck in a soul sucking black hole of despair that is the Joburg peak traffic. The best paying jobs are usually in Sandton, so people put up with the commuting. Fourways is a new, young and hip area that has grown due to its proximity to Sandton and cheaper property prices. However, William Nicol Drive, which is the main road artery to Fourways, is a black hole of death when it comes to peak hour traffic.  People deal with it to have bigger houses and yards as the property there is quite new and nice.  Midrand is the same deal, with similarly crap trap traffic on the highways. As with Sunnighill, Paulshof, Bryanston, Roodepoort, Alberton, Lenasia, Soweto, and many others.  Loads of people work in Joburg and live in Pretoria and do the 110km return trip every day.  They prefer the Pretoria family vibe, cheaper properties and home Bulls games.   

My priorities are different though. I work long hours and often travel home late at night. The last thing I want to do is spend time driving a long distance in a tired, semi-comatose state. I choose to live as close to work as possible and luckily for me I work in an awesome area. Illovo is a fantastic place to live.  It is close to so many cool hangouts, malls, the highway, parks, Wanderers stadium; yet has a chilled and hip vibe. I spend 10 minutes getting to work in the mornings and less than 5 minutes getting back home in the evenings.  Rent is really harsh, but what I extra I spend on rent I save on petrol (and harm the environment a little bit less). Having that extra time in my day and less stress makes a huge difference in my life. I am grateful to be able to afford living so close to my place of work and that it is so awesome. I hope that others will some day share this experience.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October awesomeness: Part II

Yes folks, there's more.

Johannesburg International Motor Show

It was another bright, sunny day when my partner and I ventured to the Joburg motor show at the Nasrec exhibition centre in Soweto. Cars are not really my thing, but I was keen to check it out and broaden my knowledge on all that is awesome. And the show really was awesome. There were several halls full of interesting displays discussing all things motor related. The highlight, of course, was the sports and concept cars that the major car manufacturers bring in.  I am not going to go into the mechanics and specs of the cars, but I will share my thoughts on the really interesting displays:

Asimo the Honda Robot

Can anyone say "Cylon"... Honda has made a full on robot that serves your drinks, does minor cleaning functions, runs, speaks, climb stairs understands and can speak. Hectic stuff. Apparently, you programme your furniture layout into Asimo and your name and Asimo can respond to your (minor) requests on his own.  I watched Asimo get a drink, navigate a living room and speak and respond to the host. This was incredible. My hours of science fiction viewing makes me inherently suspicious of humanoid robots. Asimo seems harmless enough... for now.

BMW concept car: apparently this is set for production! Will be amazing to see it on the roads.

Chevrolet Miray: a Korean design that looks like the love child between the Batmobile and the Silver surfer's board. By far, my favourite.

McLaren 2011: ooh yeah! the McLaren made up for the dearth of Ferrari's and other super cars around. There was only one Lambourgini and one Porsche. I am keeping my eyes peeled for this one as I know it is on sale in Jhb.

Kings of Leon

The Kings, came, rocked and conquered. I again went along to the FNB stadium to accompany my 17 year old cousin to the KOL show. Before last month, I hadn't heard a single Kings songs but quickly acquainted myself to their repertoire.  My favourite thing about this concert was how chilled it was. At both Coldplay and U2 there were massive ques to drive into the park and ride areas alone. I think by the time the Kings came along, the organisers knew the deal and got their ducks in a row for a more efficient handling of logistics.  There were hardly any queus for buses, drinks, foods and t-shirts.  There was a bit of a hippie vibe (should have worn a Slayer t-shirt) but I suppose that is expected with the laid back bluesy music that the Kings play. I bought myself a cool half serpent half rooster Kings t-shirt and Grant had a blast with the short beer ques and awesome boere wors rolls (I had chips being a non-red meat eater, and was impressed that there was veggie food unlike my 3 previous outings to the stadium). The FNB concert vibe is a bit overwhelming at first. It is a bit of a mission to get there and there are always thousands of people.  But like I said, this time round things were super-efficient.  Even though the concert was sold out, I think some people stayed at home for fear of getting drenched (thunderstorms fore casted). But the Gods smiled on us, and we remained warm and dry. It really was a lovely night for a concert.

The three opening acts (Black Hotels, Shadow Club and Die Heuwels Fantasties) were pretty good.  I liked the Shadow Club the best. They had a really Jhb rock sound. My partner thought all they needed was a trumpet and they could be the Springbok Nude Girls (so if you are a Nudegirls fan, here is a bad to listen to). I think the singer's mike was turned off for the first song, but they rocked on anyway! The Black Hotels were okay, they were a bit forgettable.  Die Heuwels sounded cool, but I always have to try a little harder with Afrikaans bands as it is not my first language. I do love Fokofpolisiecar, tho! I hope they have some shows around here.
Back to the Kings! I thought they played a really good set and I really enjoyed their performance. That being said, I am a casual observer and not a fan. I spoke to my friends who were fans and they felt that the stadium vibe didn't suit the Kings and that their performance was a bit lacklustre. The band didn't chat that much to the audience and focused on playing their songs. I think the fans I know would have preferred if the band made more of a connection with the audience. However, I didn't mind.  The concert was more about the music than throwing a good "show".  There were two screens and bubbles and smoke etc but I think the Kings are more musicians than performers. What they lacked in showmanship they made up by playing allot of their songs and focusing on the music. I appreciated and enjoyed that. I also really liked the venue. We were in the nosebleed seats and still had a pretty good view of the bad. The calabash shape and design lets everyone have a decent view. Check it out. 

October: the month that was

As we roll into November, I sit back and reflect on the awesomeness that was the month of October 2011.  It was spring and the city came alive with Jacarandas, thunderstorms, sunshine and a hub of activity. I did mention some of the happenings, but there were a few more which slipped under my radar. Notably, Winesense (the annual wine tasting festival) and the Oktober Bierfest (the annual German beer piss-up). As a caveat to my readers, I do not drink alcohol and tend not to notice alcohol related festivities.  Though, I promise to be more vigiliant to give everyone a fair heads up if anything similar comes around.  And if the drinking fests are done, there is always Winesens in Melrose Arch to indulge in some winetasting any day of the week.  But back to the topic! These are some of the fun times that I had during the month:

The Lion Park

yes folks, I finally made it here accompanied by my fearless fiance and my two intrepid sisters.  We paid our R175 entrance fee, which included a guided game drive and a "lion petting" session, and headed off.  I must say, having a mini-game park in the middle of the city is a bit of a mind trip. One minute you are passing shopping malls and the Northgate Dome and the next you are driving up a dirt road which takes you to a large fenced off area with several animal enclosures. It was a beautiful, hot day when went and as it was a Sunday the lions had just been fed and were lounging in the sun. We went merrily on our game drive, and I use the term "game drive" quite loosely as it was a 40 minute drive around fenced paddocks with large areas containing certain animals.  All the herbivores were in one paddock, the lions one, then the white lions another, the cheetahs had one and finally one with a pack of wild dogs. The lady doing the game drive was really knowledgeable and good and it was interesting to get up close to some of these animals.  However, I must say the experience was a bit artificial, Kind of like a large zoo in which you can drive your car in (you can take your own car in for R120, but as my partner's car had very low suspension we opted for the guided game drive in the hardcore jeep/truck/railed vehicle.) I would recommend all you city slickers to try it out, especially if you have never been on a game drive.  There is still something majestic about seeing these animals, albeit in a post lunch nap. Another interesting and touristy thing that we got to do was touch a baby lion.  It seems like a cute thing to do, but afterwards I kinda felt sorry for the poor thing. It was just trying to have a nap and then the whole day it has people coming along and touching it. Here is a photo of my experience.  The lion is a baby white lion. I imagine it was thinking: yes, touch me now my pretty but when I get bigger I will eat you.


I really enjoyed Coldplay. I was a fan when I was in high school but my affection for them faded after a while and I only went to the concert as my siblings were amped to go and required my chauffeuring/chaperoning/payment abilities.  However, I am glad I went. To summarise the experience: I was blown away. Chris Martin has incredible gravitas on stage and Coldplay are a phenomenal live act. There songs are sweet and rocky and emotionally stirring and to actually feel the bass from the band playing and hear the voices of 60 000 people singing alone was a moving experience. The vibe was excellent and everyone was excited and friendly and ready to sing along. To top it off, the band shot part of the video for the single Paradise at the Joburg concert. The best song, however, was Viva La Vida. The crowd went crazy and in the end Chris Martin had to calm everyone down to get to the next song. After the concert, the crowd continued with singing the chorus and the happiness followed you home :) Here is a pic of the concert.  You can see the giant bubbles that were tossed in the crowd and pulsed up and down during the show.

Everybody, sing along:

Viva La Vida lyrics
Songwriters: Berryman, Guy Rupert; Buckland, Jonathan Mark; Champion, Will; Martin, Christopher A J;
I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
Once you go there was never
Never an honest word
And that was when I ruled the world

It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become

Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?

I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

[. From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/c/coldplay-lyrics/viva-la-vida-lyrics.html .]