Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

{ santa's coming to town }

On Thursday we volunteered at a Christmas party for some of the children living in Dysselsdorp, a small and mostly impoverished settlement about 20km outside of Oudtshoorn. A rather skinny Santa was driving around the town in a fire engine to rally up the kids and get them to the venue. Was a fun atmosphere until we started handing out the small food gift packs. Some children who has been waiting for over an hour didn't even get anything because the organisers had under-supplied :( Was really awful turning them away empty handed. Hopefully next year will be different. 

Merry Christmas Eve, Everyone. Try to share the spirit this year and give meaningfully, of your time and yourself. Who will you be reaching out to tomorrow?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

{ future cape town }

I cannot wait to go home to Cape Town for the Christmas holidays! I'm in love with the Mother City and can spend hours just walking through the CBD and discovering something new every time. But the city is more than a sum of it's very segregated parts, it's brimming with potential and energy that inspires my very core!

In the spirit of Cape Town, I have to share my latest web-love: Future Cape Town. Founded by Rashiq Fataar, Future Cape Town is a group of creatives who are seriously passionate about their city, how it works and what it may become! Forward thinking!! In homage to the Durban COP 17 (that ended two weeks go - read older posts here), check out Future Cape Town's list of "17 Sustainable Ideas for COP 17". They've teamed up with the award winning bloggers and thinkers at This Big City, and the collaborations make for a pretty exciting read. Topic range from the international transfer of renewable energy to making use of abandoned innercity buildings, and te concept of sustainable zoning. Thinking outside the box. Anything you might add to the list?

Image: Future Cape Town

Sunday, December 18, 2011

{ last stop knysna }

If I wasn't heading home to the Mother City for my Christmas break, I'd definitely be make a turn at Knysna for the Local Design and Food Market on Thursday evening and the Knysna Rocks Music Festival on Friday.

Next time you plan to head on down to Knysna, be sure to look up the CX Chronicles (CX being the Knysna vehicle number plate code) for some serious Garden Route inspiration, travel ideas and locally produced products and design, a selection of which will be showcased at the Local Design and Food Market on Thursday 22 December on the Upper Level Thesen Island Parking Shed. Thesen Island is an amazing feat of enginering and design, an upper end marina lifestyle development located in the Knysna estuary on what used to be an industrial site! With this setting, and the fantastic local design on offer, its the perfect last minute Christmas shopping excursion!

While you're in town, and if you're in a partying mood, the Knysna Rocks Music Festival is sure to rock your socks off with a line up including Johnny Clegg (such an amazing live act!), Prime Circle, Evolver One and Die Heuwels Fantasties among others! Tickets cost R165 for a general pass and R265 for VIP. Sounds like smashing way to round off the year. Read more about the festival on this post on the very cool OhEmGee blog.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

{ volstruisies }

In an attempt to do more touristy things in a town notorious for touristy things, and because so man of the local ostriches have been sacrificed due to the avian flu, we visited the Cango Ostrich Farm yesterday. I learnt a couple things at the farm... 

1. Ostriches are weird. They can rotate their necks a full 360 degrees! Their legs are reptilian and they come across terribly prehistoric. Amazing really. 
2. Ostrich chicks are cute! But be careful, they might pee on you. 
3. Ostriches are not to be confused with their relative the emu. Also their brains are smaller than one of their eye balls. Just enough to keep the lights on. 

A must see for any Garden Route visitor! The tour cost R70 and your guide can speak German. So tell your German friends :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

{ scramble for africa }

Spotted this on a friend's facebook wall, it's slightly outdated (stats are from 2007-2009) but it makes a point. Check out the original post by Mo Ibrahim here. Very scary stuff, so much for food security, you usually need your own land for that, it's like a modern day Scramble for Africa, only a little more under the radar than the 1884 Berlin Conference! Stealthy. Would love to know what the stats would be for South Africa, think that's be my next little project.

Monday, November 21, 2011

{ cop 17 : saving tomorrow today }

Despite the fact that many argue that the science of "climate change" is still up for debate, what's clear as day is that our cities are growing rapidly and there will come a time when there will be too many people for the Earth to sustainably support, and "climate change" is one symptom of this overpopulation and increasing resource consumption.

With just one week to go, the Congress of Parties or COP is heading to the shores of Durban for it's 17th sitting, from 28 November - 9 December 2011. The aim of the conference is provide a platform the for 194 member states to discuss ways for reducing carbon emissions, and encouraging wealthier carbon emitting states to limit their carbon outputs in an attempt to mitigate the "greenhouse effect".

Find out more about COP17 here, and follow the live blog and twitter stream here. After the successes and diappointments of Copenhagen (COP15) and Cancun (COP16), the outcomes of the conference are highly anticipted - here's hoping it's more than just a talkshop.

While the conference is looking at "high level" political solutions to the spectre of climate change, real mitigation and real change starts with you. Lower your carbon footprint, reduce, reuse, recycle. Be the change.

Image: Mail and Guardian Online

{ appelkoos en wyn }

An apricot picking weekend can be a dangerous thing, coupled with the beauty of Calitzdorp and the eight port wine cellars in the area, it's simply an excuse to get out of Oudtshoorn for a few days to enjoy a lekker kuier under the Klein Karoo sun - before it gets too hot! Running from the 2-4 December 2011, the Calitzdorp Apricot and Wine Weekend, is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. 

Apricot picking is a great family outing, and the De Krans wine farm is open for picking from the 23 Nov - 7 Dec (at R3.90/kg it's a deal), but for the full Klein Karoo experience stay the night, check out the fishing competition at the Calitzdorp Dam, take a historical tour on donkey cart tours through town, try a "pitspoeg" competition at the Calitzdorp Cellar, before sitting in on the organ recital at the NG Kerk, and round things off with some plaasmusiek at Die Bosvarkie Bush Pub. For more info find the program here.

A closing note for those who think ahead, based on her apricot pickings, a friend of mine makes enough apricot jam and chutney to last her family a year!

Images: Calitzdorp Port & Wine Festival

Monday, November 7, 2011

{ liveable cities conference - cape town }

Excited to attend the World Town Planning Day Conference Conference this week! The conference is hosted by the City of Cape Town once every two years, and really is a great networking opportunity for a young candidate planner such as myself, but it's also a space to get a real feel for what the pressing planning issues are in the Western Cape and South Africa generally.

This year's gathering is entitled "Liveable Cities: Urbanising World", really stressing the critical role cities will play for the future of our planet - that's the power of good design.

Friday, November 4, 2011

{ vote for table mountain! }

Have you voted?! If not, and even if you have, you there's one more week left - ie. 7 days to get your vote in! Make it happen. There're a few ways to do it, (1) SMS ‘Table’ to 34874 (SMS costs R2, and you can send as many as you like - generosity please); (2) vote on MXit; (3) online, or (4) on facebook. No excuses please.

Click here, to find out more about the bid to get Table Mountain shortlisted to become one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World.

Image: Table Mountain 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

{ cape town is the world design capital 2014!! }

After a valliant effort by so many, we have come out tops, beating Bilbao, Spain and Dublin, Ireland to win the coveted title of World Design Capital for the year 2014. Not only were we the first African city to make it to the final short listing of this competition, but we've taken the crown! Fantastic! I think all the folks at the Cape Town Partnership deserve a very long holiday! Find out more here.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

Monday, October 17, 2011

{ the occupation has begun }

Occupy Wall Street begun on the 17 September 2011, a month later South African's have heeded the call to protest against the extreme gap between the rich and the poor. Operation Ubuntu is the local spinoff of this international movement influenced and inspired in many ways by what the media has dubbed the "Arab Spring".

The slogan of the Manahttan OWS was "we are the 99%" in response to the fact that the majority of global wealth is owned by 1% of the population. Unsustainable, inequitable and unjust. We cannot deny the impact the global economy has on the everyday citizen, citizens who have no control over the system.

On a pop culture note, it's cool to see the "V For Vendetta" film's character beign appropriated for this cause. We are the masses, that's where our power comes from, our shared interests, and not necessarily our indivuality. Interesting thought.

anyway, I drigress. So, basically, it's an important movement, but it also questions the strength of peaceful protests - what will the lasting impact of the global occupations be?

Follow Operation Ubuntu on Facebook.

Images: 1, 2, 3

Monday, September 12, 2011

{ black is beautiful }

For his work as a founding member of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), Bantu Stephen Biko is a definitive icon of the struggle against Apartheid. Emerging internationally in the 1960s, the Black Consciousness Movement essentially emphasises the link between the individual and society; that only if individuals believe they are worthy of change, or capable of change, will that societal change happen. In other words, ‘black consciousness’ rejected the white monopoly on truth entrenched over years of colonial oppression (especially regarding race and class), an idea which became a unifying platform for the many ‘black’ activist and social groups of the time.

For those who missed out on POL101, the term ‘Black Consciousness’ was dubbed by W. E. B. Du Bois who argued that Black Americans had a ‘double consciousness’ – because they were conditioned by colonial oppressors, to believe they were inferior beings as a result of their race. Biko’s writings echo this sentiment in his concern for the existential struggle of the ‘black’ person as a dignified and proud human being. The core of black consciousness was psychological, not purely political and that’s why it was such a powerful movement.

34 years ago Steve Biko was murdered in police custody on 12 September 1977. Noting the political problems South Africa finds itself in today (like corruption, patronage), had he lived, would we be a more ‘conscious’ nation? Would we be better equipped to deal with problems of pollution and climate change? Biko is still relevant and will be until we all take responsibility for the impact we have on the planet  and the people we share it with. Be conscious.

The 12th Annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture entitled “Evil Under The Sun: The Death of Steve Biko” will be presented by Sir Sydney Kentridge (lead lawyer in the Biko Inquest) and held tonight at Jameson Hall, Upper Campus UCT, see the invitation here.

Images: 1, 2, 3

Friday, September 9, 2011

{ fear the box }

Begun as a legacy event of the 2014 World Design Capital Bid, Creative Week Cape Town embodies the zesty art scene of the Mother City. Running from 9-18 Sept 2011, this event  aims to showcase "creativity in design, music, film, theatre, business, innovation, digital media, fine arts and crafts in Cape Town" (so basically everything!), and does just that as it spans across the city from Khayelitsha to Kloof Street, presenting anything from art installations and gigs to opendoors with your favourite creatives. A fitting aspect of the format of this event is that you can create events - which means the week really is a current, relevant reflection of trends and ideas in the city!

There's a smorgasbord of events to choose from (click on the image links below for some of my picks). A must do on my list is the District Six Walking Tour on  Wedneday 14 September starting at 14h30 - a perfect way to celebrate Heritage Month and experience of the powerful impact this area has had and continues to have on Cape Town's creative culture. "The tour focuses on the parts of District Six which overlap with The Fringe: Cape Town’s newly developing Design and Innovation District.  Find out more about this fascinating area – the politically charged Stakesbury Lewis Hostel, the nightlife area of Castle Bridge, the Peninsula Maternity Hospital and the famous Bloemhof Flats will all be covered in this unique walk." Talk about living history! For more info and booking details click here. The Creative Week programme really has something for everyone, so whip out those diaries and start planning here.

Wherever you are, fear the box and do something extraordinary - here's to a creative weekend!

Follow Creative week Cape Town on Twitter using the hashtag #cw2011

Images: All Creative Week Cape Town - 1, 2, 3, 4

Thursday, September 1, 2011

{ heritage month }

September is Heritage Month, and this year the National Department of Arts and Culture have chosen the theme of "Celebrating the Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle in South Africa" as this year's collective reflection point. 'Heritage' has a host of meanings, be it your geneology, culture, or affiliations to specific places or things, and because of the way history has been recorded and experienced, 'heritage' is understood differently across the spectrum of South African 'culture' - making 'heritage celebrations' an important platform for communication, and a time to reflect on the past. This year's theme is perfectly apt, especially in the wake of the Julius Malema trial and they way that groups, like the ANC Youth League, are appropriating certain aspects and attitudes of South Africa's recent history to politicise comtemporary issues.

What does Heritage mean to you? Tell somebody and keep the lessons of the past alive.

Images: 1 - Tutu and Madiba ZA News Puppets, 2 - Members of the Black Sash Movement

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

{ open pass }

As of 12h00 tomorrow Oudtshoorn will once again be connected to George and the rest of the Garden Route! There will be two "stop and go" sections where one lane is available at the rockfall sites, but these should be well managed and will add a maximum of 15min to your travel time.

The rockfalls on the N12 about 10km outside of Oudtshoorn on 29 July and a futher rockfall on the Outeniqua Pass (between George and Oudtshoorn) on 26 August, resulted in many daily commuters and tourists having to take alternative routes (either the Heimersrivier gravel road or Robinson Pass via Mossel Bay). I've been driving into George everyday this week, and while the Robinson Pass is beautiful, it's exhausting to drive more than 200km per day!

Due to the severity of the rockfalls, it was necessary to use explosives to blast the debris into manageable chunks. As a result, it's taken a month for authorities to reopen the route, which has had a negative impact on local businesses, particularly longhaul truck companies. Many businesses suffered to cope with the additional costs of maintenance when driving on the gravel road, and fuel when driving via Mossel Bay (double the distance!). One example is PSP Timber, which employs 380 people, and threatened to close down because sending the  trucks via Mossel Bay on the Robinson Pass was costing an extra R10 000 per day!

Just goes to show how spatially interconnected everything is and how important transport corridors and routes can be to everyone from the businessman to the daily commuter. What's going to happen to this little dorp when we hit peak oil?!

Images: 1, 2

Friday, July 29, 2011

{ stellies wyn fees }

The 10th Stellenbosch Wine Festival running from 28-31 July 2011, is already well underway. Located about 45min outside of Cape Town, this picturesque farming and student town makes a great day trip and is surrounded my over 150 wine farms - making a wine festival inevitable. 

The week preceding the festival, starting 22 July, included some interesting smaller events while the main food and wine attraction started yesterday -  with over 500 wines for tasting at the Paul Roos Centre, you may have to invest in a full weekend pass! Cape Town residents are super privileged to have the 'countryside' just around the corner, so if you have some time to head out of the city this weekend, this festival is highly recommended. For tickets click here (it's a bit cheaper if you buy them online, or use your American Express card), and since you'll be drinking, don't forget the shuttle service here

If you can't make the festival, be sure to pencil it in for next year, and in the meantime schedule a road-trip to the Stellenbosch Wine Route as soon as possible. It's the oldest wine route in the country, turning 40 this year, and includes 150 farms, many of which offer free tastings, restaurants and a host of other activities all year round, which means plenty of entertainment for a fun day-outing. Thanks to the Stellenbosch University (aka. Maties), the Stellies night life is a guaranteed good time as the blog StelliesJol attests. Also check out two of my favourite Stellies night spots: The Mystic Boer and Aandklas for a chilled vibe and quality local music!

Images: Logo, Map

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

{ i love coffee festival }

The Klein Karoo winter is not something to shrug at. Despite layers of coats, scarfs and handskoene (gloves) - zero degrees at 7.30am is never an ideal way to start a work day. Mornings like this all I crave is a strong cup of joe. I remember rainy varsity days starting with a tall cappuccino from Vida in Kloof Street before hopping a Jammie Shuttle, and being wide awake just in time for my 8am lecture. Sadly those student days are long gone, along with the coffee (if you know of any hidden quality coffee joints in the Klein Karoo - please direct me!).

These thoughts lead to one of the many reasons why I'm excited to drive back to Cape Town this weekend. Beyond my regular caffeine fix, I'm definitely attending the i love coffee festival at the Neighbourgoods Market, at the the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock this Saturday 30 July. Along with the usual Neighbourgoods Market fare of fresh foodie goodness, expect some of the best coffee South Africa has to offer, an ideal cure for a potential Saturday morning hangover. There's also the opportunity to learn a bit more about the process of roasting, cupping, and alternative brewing methods from local roasters - always interesting and important to know where what you're consuming comes from, and in this case, how it makes it's way to your coffee machine. Just another reason to buy local!

Check out i love coffee's blog here. Regular posts profiling hip new coffee spots, aficionados and baristas make it a must read for anyone who appreciates their java. I particularly enjoyed a little post entitled 7 reasons why coffee is way cooler than tea - good for a chuckle. Looks like I'll be on a not so mild caffeine high all weekend!

Images: i love coffee

Friday, July 22, 2011

{ no regret friday }

No Regret Friday is a campaign launched by South African Breweries this month in an attempt to curb irresponsible drinking. I appreciate the simple, but 'oh-so-true' byline - how many times have you heard "I'm never drinking again" on a Saturday morning, from a hungover mate. The campaign comes at a time when there have been calls to manage drinking in South Africa, particularly here in the Western Cape where alcohol abuse is a major social issue. I've heard a couple radio debates from proposals to ban billboard advertising of alcohol, to closing bars earlier, and increasing the legal drinking age to 21, so there has definitely been a resurgence in the alcohol debate. 

It's cool that SAB, at the very least on face value, is trying to take some responsibility for the nature of their products. However, the debates that have been voiced recently often reflect an understanding that its the government's responsibility and that Province needs to regulate access to alcohol; though what it really comes down to is that what we consume and how we consume it is our individual responsibility. Irresponsible drinking is a symptom of poor socialisation, a lack of respect for those around us, and a lack of understanding that we are all connected and that our actions have impacts beyond ourselves. This argument is a little on the 'higher ground' but it's true, and it would be nice if public debates focussed more critically on the social problems and not only their manifestations. But it's easier to talk about drinking than about the tricky subject of 'culture'... Definitely something to think about.

Hmm, that might have been a bit heavy for a Friday post, but wherever you end up tonight - have a party, but don't forget to take a cab, call a friend, or volunteer to be designated Dave, we'll all be better off for it. If you need additional motivation check out the No Regret Friday website here, or follow #NoRegretFriday on Twitter. 

Images: No Regret Friday, SAB

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

{ good ideas. better cities. }

Stumbled on this website and the title made me happy. People have been dreaming of the cities of the future for as long as we have been building cities. From Orwell's 1985 to sci-fi landscapes, everyone wants to know what's coming next. These days the discourse focusses more around carbon free cities and innovative 'greener' cities which will last into the future. The emphasis seems to have shifted from what we can create, to how we can adapt, which is why the quarterly magazine, 'The Next American City', is such a great vision/concept - it keeps looking forward.

Starting tomorrow 14 July 2011, 'Next American City' will be documenting a conference called 'The Just City' hosted by the 'Ford Foundation'. This hive of creative minds from a range of professions such as policy planners, urban designers and economists, will explore how "fairness, equity and opportunity serve as defining features in this new era of urbanisation". The ideas of equal opportunities and social justice in the city are hot topics re: South African cities which are innately spatially segregated and 'unjust'. Looking forward to some fresh international perspectives! Follow the live blog stream here

Images: Next American City 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

{ eco-capitalism }

Monthly highlights of top role-players across all industries, make Leadership magazine as refreshing as it is inspiring. The June 2011 issue is filled with anecdotes and case studies by top "green leaders" who have made their mark for the sustainability cause. One that really spoke to me was an interesting article arguing that "eco-capitalism" and entrepreneurial competition are key to tools in the struggle to rescue our planet and "repair our future" by Jason Drew (pictured above) read the article here. He's also penned a book called "The Protein Crunch" alongside writer, David Lorimer, exploring the effects of unchecked mass-consumption.

If you're looking for other books linked to the idea of "civilization on the brink", I'd recommend these by two of my favourite (popular) science writers: "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell and "Collapse " by Jared Diamond (plus they both have interesting hair). These books take two different perspectives on the idea of "limits to growth", the first explores how and why trends happen and ideas grow, while the second is focussed on life-spans of 'civilisations', which are essentially the result of the way trends and ideas have developed within particular social or environmental constraints. Gladwell's writing is more accessible compared to Diamond's rather heavy offering, but both are definitely worth the read!

Images: Leadership Magazine

Monday, July 11, 2011

{ pavement special }

Spotted on the corner of St John's and High Street, Oudtshoorn :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

{ mendieta silueta series }

I haven't posted anything about artists in a while, and Ana Mendieta is right up there in my top five! These images are taken from her 'Silueta Series (1973-1980)'. Always makes me think about the space you're in - the effect you have on space and space has on you. The black and whites are beautiful and haunting...

What imprint are you leaving behind?
Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

{ ostrich avian flu epidemic }

I normally get really excited when I see Oudtshoorn, my adopted town, in the news. Festivals such as the KKNK and Klein Karoo Klassique normally make a national appearance, but generally it takes something extreme for such a small town to make it's onto the 7 o'clock bulletin.

Sadly, this time its bad news. The first case of the H5N2 virus was detected on one ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn in April this year, resulting in the culling of approx. 5 000 birds in one week in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. Luckily, the virus is not harmful to humans, but the head count is now standing at 25 000 birds culled since April! There are renewed calls for Oudtshoorn Business Chamber to find a solution to contain the aivan flu outbreak after three new cases were detected in the last week, two near Volmoed and one just outside Oudtshoorn. 

As a result of the virus a ban on the export of ostrich meat has been implemented since April. For every month of the ban South Africa is losing R108 million in direct income! Per month. 

Even the trained ostriches at the Highgate Farm which are used for rides and ostrich racing, have had to be culled.  The avian flu and the ban on exports are having wide reaching social and economic impacts due to the dominance of the ostrich trade in the local tourism and farming industries - Oudtshoorn, which already struggles with increasing poverty, may be facing a massive unemployment crisis if the H5N2 virus persists. In such a small town this could have tragic consequences... 

Images: Ostrich Chicks, Ostrich Riders

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

{ tiger tiger }

Tigers in the Karoo? We’re always laughing at tourists who are looking for Tigers in our backyards, retorted by the standard response of “of course there’re no Tigers in Africa (except in Claremont on a Friday night)”. This is no longer the case. After watching 50|50 last night, I now know that South Africa is now home to 10% of the world’s South China Tiger population. The 'Save China's Tigers' Foundation has established a breading site within a farm located near Phillipolis in the Free State in the Karoo - the original idea was to “rewild” the offspring and then return them to China to be released into specially created tiger reserves. While this goal has not yet been realised, the founder, Li Quan, is positive this project will influence research and best practice of how big cats are bred in semi-captivity and reintroduced to the wild.  

An indigenous example of big cat breeding is located in Oudtshoorn where the Cheetah breeding grounds can be found to the north, between the Cango Caves and the CBD. The cheetah breeding grounds here are one of only two such projects in the Southern Hemisphere, making the Cango Wildlife Ranch a definite must see when you're visiting the Klein Karoo. 

Watch 50|50 every Monday on SABC 2 at 19h30. The producers are really trying to change the way South African’s think about what ‘environment’ means. Kudos.

Monday, July 4, 2011

{ cape town for world design capital! }

One of the reasons why I love town planning as a profession and concept is that it can actually change the way people move through and understand space! Isn’t that incredible?! So much responsibility, and so much opportunity to use design to influence people’s lives! 

Cape Town is a city that Apartheid planning has rendered hugely inefficient through spatial segregation, which is why it is such great news that after massive effort from the Cape Town Partnership, Creative Cape Town and other groups, Cape Town has been shortlisted as one of the three cities, out of 56 nominations, competing for the prestigious title of World Design Capital 2014  - the other two contenders being Dublin, Ireland and Bilbao, Spain

The title of World Design Capital has been awarded biennially since 2008, by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to cities that are dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development. Coming in the top three puts Cape Town's creative and knowledge economies firmly on the map! The winning city will be announced in Taipei on the 26 October 2011. 

May the most innovative city (*cough*Cape Town) win!

Images: Cape Town World Design Capital, Pivot Dublin, Beating Design, Cape Town

Friday, July 1, 2011

{ the global urbanist }

The Global Urbanist is a very informative and accessible 'online journal' type of website with articles focussed on planning, governance, the environment, and all manner of issues that impact on how we understand and interact with global 'urban realities'. Take a look at some interesting case studies on housing in Johannesburg for international perspectives on local issues.

The site was established in 2009 by alumni of graduate urban policy and international development programmes at the London School of Economics (LSE). Its a great point of reference for anyone interested in why there is such divergence in urban development.  

Image: The Global Urbanist

Thursday, June 30, 2011

{ dining out - pomegranate restaurant }

Group dinner dates are always a good way to spend an evening with friends. I’ve been really lucky to meet a great group of people in Oudtshoorn who, amoung other things, enjoy doing just this and in Oudtshoorn we really are spoilt for choice. However, perhaps this choice is a little daunting as we tend to frequent a little Italian place, Bello Cibo, quite often.

So in a break from tradition we visited the Pomegranate Restaurant located at the Boudlers Spa, just off Baron van Reede Street, on you way out of town toward the Cango Caves. Boulders Spa is the oldest spa in Oudtshoorn and offers a range of treatments and packages aimed at the more discerning tourist. Pomegranate Restaurant has lovely understated decor, with a warm inviting colour palette and a fireplace for those cold winter nights. While the food was not fantastic, considering the slightly higher price range, it was tasty and rather filling despite the seemingly small portions. I’d recommend for mains, the orange and white wine infused ostrich steak, and for dessert the coffee chocolate mousse, or a glass of De Krans port if you need something sweet to finish things off.

All in all a good night out with friends - After a few bottles of wine and the plummeting temperatures, the jacuzzi was looking rather inviting - luckily they’d just chlorinated it, or knows what might have happened ;)

Images: Boulders Spa

Thursday, June 23, 2011

{ diy crockery: cake on stands }

There is nothing like starting creative hobbies to meet people and make friends in small towns! Everyone does something to keep in shape, be creative, or socialise (primarily the latter) - from belly dancing, to horse riding and yoga, Oudtshoorn has something for everyone :)

So... I recently started taking pottery classes! The lovely rustic studio is located on the highest point of our teacher's small holding on the edge of Oudtshoorn, just off Langenhoven Road. I’m slowly getting back into things after not working with clay in almost five years! Long time. But I’m looking forward to getting my first completed pieces at class tonight – hope nothing has exploded! Hold thumbs. 

Until then, I’m planning my next project: a homeware series - practical and crafty for when I eventually move into my own space. This choice has definitely been influenced by my super cool high school ceramic teacher, Wendy McLachlan, who now makes and sells amazingly creative ceramic "homeware" full time - no more teaching naughty school girls! Be sure to check out her homebakes range, available on Anthropologie!

First item on the list is... a cake stand! I'm loving # three, planning on giving it a bash - Trial and error posts to follow :) 

Images: one, two, three

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

{ 100 day challenge }

Women’s Health, in my opinion the most interesting of the local women's fitness mags, launched  their 100 Day Fitness Challenge a little while ago. Despite missing the bus re: the collective call to arms, I have been keeping this in mind. Just try taking the dog for a walk every day, or walking to the shops instead of driving - it's a great way to explore your city and get another perspective on your neighbourhood! You’ll be surprised that despite work, friends and creative hobbies, you can find time for something active EVERY DAY. It’s not necessarily only about fitness, because even if you do something small, you'll still feel a sense of achievement - and it'll help you to get outdoors and stick to your fitness plan even on your off days. 

Follow the movement on Twitter - add the hashtag #100daychallenge.

Surprise yourself! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

{ la evolución silenciosa }

The Silent Evolution: 400 statues, 9m under the sea,  off the coast of Cancun/Isla Mujeres, Mexico. 

The work of Jason de Caires Taylor is awe inspiring! I read about this underwater marvel when it was installed late last year and can't get enough of it's genius and artistry. The philosophy behind this massive installation is layered, but one central idea is, by providing a 'man-made' alternative coral reef, to decrease the pressure placed on the natural reef systems by the thousands of tourists who visit the area. 

The installation is located in the in the National Marine Park of Cancúnand is the first project of a new underwater museum called, MUSA, or Museo Subacuatio de Arte. The artist, Mexico-based British sculptor, Jason de Caires Taylor, used body casts of local residents to create the figures - talk about 'embodied symbolism'. 

See the before and after images below. One day the statues will be so completely covered in coral they'll be totally unrecognisable...

{ winter solstice }

I had a very fitting start to my Winter Solstice, which I have to share. What should end in a 'Midwinter's Dream' of cuddling by the fire with a book, while sipping hot chocolate, almost didn't begin at all... 

This morning I ran out of the house to find my cute city car covered in FROST! I come from Cape Town, South Africa, I've NEVER had to deal with frost. I couldn't see through the windows at all, and my car wasn't heating up fast enough for the frost to melt. There was literally a layer of ICE on the windscreens. So I drove to work with my head stuck out of the drivers window - felt like I was in an episode of Mr Bean - where's Teddy? :) 

When I finally reached the office, a colleague noted how his windscreen wipers broke because the mechanics had frozen over night! (So grateful this did not happen to me!) How's that for a happy Midwinter? Of course I was a little late for work and too rushed to even think of taking a photo, but I've been assured that the Oudtshoorn mountain-top snow is well on it's way - along with a host of photo opportunities! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

{ amazing }

Found this cool print around about the blogs a while ago. And you know, she's right. I've been increasingly concerned about my future of late. But somehow I'm really feeling the optimism today - not bad for a Monday :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

{ communicado }

{Translates as 'breathe' which is not something this tower of dictionaries readily inspires...} 

Happy Monday!

Drove the 435km from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn this morning - left home at 4am(!) and was late for work :P Good start to the week :) Feeling sleepy, but here's a short post to keep the ball rolling...

So... the relocation happened so suddenly I kinda forgot one teeny tiny detail – Afrikaans(!) Kinda silly because just about everyone on the platteland speaks Afrikaans - Duh! Now, a little background,  I haven’t spoken ‘Die Taal’ much since high school mondelinge and ordering the odd beer on Edward Street, so this was a pretty huge challenge! {Understatement} But I’m happy to report that two months down the line I can answer the phone and hold a pretty decent conversation – sometimes I can even make jokes! People end up laughing with me, not at me – very welcome change!

Many thanks to my ‘twee-taalige’ dictionary tower and Google Translate!

Groete {Greetings} from the Klein Karoo!

P.S. After posting this last week, my trusted twee-talige which I've had since junior school was nicked out my office :( Who steals someone's dictionary?! T.I.A.{bleak}