Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mies Julie: A Review

Last night I went to the Market Theatre (for the first time) to watch a remake of the 1888 play Miss Julie.

The play has had numerous interpretations in the last Century, but I think this one will remain the most powerful. It was presented at the Endiburgh Fringe Festival in 2012 and was chosen to be amongst the best plays that year.

The South African playright and director Yael Farber, reinterpreted the story, setting it in a kitchen in a karoo farm, 18 years into the new South Africa. It deals with the relationship between a young woman, Mies Julie, (played terrifyingly well by Hilda Cronje), a young black farm hand, John (outstanding performance by Bongile Mantsai) and Christine, John's mother (achingly haunting) who brought Mies Julie up as her mother dissacociated herself from the world. And throughout the story floats the ghost of an ancestor.

It deals with ancestry, race, freedom, sexuality in a fiery intensive way. "The storm is coming. It will break soon" is repeated a few times and centers the theme of the play.

I came across The Guardian review, which encapsulates so much of what I felt watching the play.

It runs until 24 February and I recommend you go see it. It is NOT for the faint of heart. Emotions will run hard and you will feel uncomfortable at times. But the intensity of the performances will blow you away. You will ache, you will cry, you will feel emotionally confused and will struggle to take sides.

I loved it!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Around the World in 80 Meals: Troyeville Hotel Review

I have recently joined a Meetup Group called “Gauteng Expats”. One of the events that are organised regularly is called “Around the World the World in 80 Meals”. The aim is to meet new people and discover new restaurants that are not your run-of-the-mill places. I'm going to do monthly posting on the places we visit, that way you, dear reader, are also inspired to explore our lovely city.

Last saturday we went slumming in Troyeville and trotted to the Troyeville Hotel. It really is in a dodgy part of town. I came via Joe Slovo Drive but next time I will come via Bruma. It might be a bit longer but it’s less dodgy.  The area might not be salubrious but the restaurant and bar were packed. I guess all the locals from Kensington know about this little gem.

The restaurant at the hotel served really good Portuguese and Mozambican food. The menu was not extensive, but what was served was really good and very reasonably priced. I had the L.M. Prawns. Nice big ones. The manager was welcoming and came to give us the specials and his recommendations, the waiters were friendly and efficient, the food came fast and was excellent.

All in all we had a great night. I met some nice new people and I’m looking forward to more Meetups.

Troyeville Hotel Address
25 Bezuidenhout Street Troyeville Johannesburg 2094 South Africa
Telephone: +27 11 402 7709 Fax: 086 509 4584

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chalk and Cheese

I have spent the last to days in the tiny town of Kathu in the middle of the Northern Cape. The only reason the town exists is due to the very big iron ore mine next door. I refer going to site as going to Mars.

Because I was staying overnight I was booked into a guest lodge used by my company. I have to say that if ever I have to stay overnight in Kathu it will not be at Lidikwa Guesthouse. For the following reasons.

I arrived at the house around 5:30 after I had left the mine. There was nobody at reception. There was no envelope with my name and a pair of keys in it. I eventually found a gardener who was washing cars and he went off and located one of the helpers who in a very surly manner gave me some keys.

I found my room. Not big but clean and that's all I really need for one night. After a dip in the pool I took a shower. Luckily that I ALWAYS pack shower gel when I travel because there was no soap or shower gel provided. I mean, don't people wash their hands in this town?

Next I planned on charging my phone. Not one two-pronged plug to be found. I eventually unplugged the TV and precariously perched my phone as the plug was way up.

In the morning I rock up at the breakfast nook. No one in sight. I had been told breakfast was served between 6 and 8 and I got there at 6:45. A sign tells the guests to please help themselves to the lovely selection of cereals, fruits and yogurts. By cereals they mean Rice Crispies, Corn Flakes and muesli that has seen better days. No sight of fruit or yogurt. Nor milk for that matter. I finally located the kitchen to find milk. Then the urn for hot water was stone cold, clearly never having been switched on that morning. Although I called out to see if there was anyone, no one responded and I ended up getting a muffin and coffee at Wimpy.

And this is the place our company uses. I intend lodging a complaint. I don't want to hear excuses about how it's a one horse town and standards are different etc. I've had better service in the middle of seriously nowhere.

By comparison, last week I slept over in Polokwane at a stunning B&B called Victoria House. Superb service, friendly staff, spacious charming room (with all the essentials), royal breakfast. The owners even recommended restaurants where they have an agreement that the restaurant bill is spent to them to be added to the B&B bill. We ate at Rhapsody's where we were charmed by excellent service and great food.

I will certainly stay at Victoria House again. Lidikwa guesthouse? Not a chance!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Getting Started

With a new year come resolutions and these are generally adhered to for a few weeks and then get ignored for the rest of the year. Last year I did pretty well but this year I intend to excel!
I started on Weigh-Less just over a week ago and I shed 2kg, even though I was away on site visits and there were a few birthdays I attended. I feel that is a fantastic motivator to continue!
But to feel better here are 7 simple rules to get you kickstarted. They don't involve a detox because detox diets out there are more likeley to do you harm than good. And they are quite simple methinks.
1.       Cut coffee down to 1 a day and drink more herbal tea.
2.       Drink ginger tea. It’s really easy to make at work and you can drink it all day, it’s a lovely metabolism booster and body cleanser. Or make your own ice tea without sugar (if you need the sweet use xylitol or stevia).
3.       Cut out all junk food (that includes soft drinks). You can do it! It’s actually quite awful stuff. Mostly made of cardboard with seasoning and oil.
4.       Buy fresh ingredients and make your own salads and veggie dishes. You can add some lean protein on the side. And eat fruit twice a day.
5.       Leave out the carbs at supper time (or keep them to an absolute minimum, like a crumbed chicken breast or crumbed fish). It’s simple: you just don’t need an energy injection a couple of hours before you lie down to sleep.
6.       Try not to drink alcohol during the week and do some exercise. These go hand in hand for me. I always feel so great after I’ve had a spot of jump-up-and-down, I don’t feel like drinking... most of the time. And on weekends when you want some alcohol stick to a light white wine. A pinot noir is a very nice option. There’s a gorgeous one from Simonsig (available at Woolworths only) that will not make your wallet cringe.
7.       Water water water! Still or sparkling. Don’t go for flavoured as it’s full of sugar and other nasties. You can add mint, lemon verbena or lemon to your water for a refreshing flavour. And avoid fruit juices as they’re sugar traps. Get yourself a 750ml bottle for work and make sure you drink 2 of those while at work. Have a few large glugs every time you think you’re hungry. You’ll find that you probably only thirsty.
It’s all about breaking the habit. Try the 21 day rule. If you can break it in 21 days, you’ve done it. And then stick to it for the rest of the year!

Ginger Tea
This makes 2 cups
2cm fresh ginger
2 wedges of lemon
Peel the ginger and chop it into thin slices. Place the ginger and lemon into a container and fill with just boiled water. Let it steep for five minutes before drinking. You can make a large jug and keep it in the fridge once it has cooled, but make sure to make a fresh one each day.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Kick-starting the new year

2012 has predominantly been a good year. I achieved quite a fw things on my bucket list, I got to go to the UK for the first time and had a blast, I lost weight (though some came creeping back), I enjoyed my work and I met many new and interestng people.

Yes my grandfather died and I was diagnosed with stress and anxiety induced depression, but's all part of life. I miss my grandfather very much and there is a bif sore hole I walk around with. I will never stop missing him but with time the pain will lessen. AS for the depression, happy pills make life much easier and te ones I'm on don't affect me like othe anti-depressants would. I actuall sleep well, something quite novel to me, and my libido hasn't taken a dip. I accept that this is something I will be living with for the rest of my life and I'm okay with that.

As for 2013, I think it will be a great year. Or at least, I plan to make it great. There are a number of things I am looking forward to: Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Metallica live in concert, and a trip down to PE around easter.

Then there is my bucket list, which is so much fun! I can't believe I waitedso long before putting one together. I guess I had to be in the right frame of mind.

I'm already starting the year 2kg lighter than when I left on holiday (thanks to insane temperatures in the kruger that made me live off water and a salad because it was too hot to eat anything else). My cousin Verena and my friend Lia's weight loss has inspired me to get back on board with weigh-less and to get fit again. I had done really well last year and then I got really ill over winter, that coupled with an overseas trip and my grandfather's death had a detrimental effect on the weight-loss and I piled on a couple of kgs. This year's aim is to loose 20kg. Fingers crossed. Healthy eating has started as of today and I know how hard 2 weeks of no coffee is going to be. That's the only part of weigh-less I don't like.

So here's to 2013! Bring it on! And who knows, I may meet the man I deserve this year ;-)