Sunday, November 25, 2007

Strolling down Mouille Point

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Mouille Point's (pronounced Moo-lee point) right next to Sea Point, and since it was another glorious day today, we decided to take a walk down the promenade by the Light House.

Pruned Lavender

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I have no idea if I'm supposed to prune lavender after the flowers have wilted, but google articles say you should. And I have no idea where you're supposed to prune it - right under the flower (like most other flowers), or at the bottom of the long stem, where the leaves stop growing...

I tried pruning just under the flowers, but it looked weird having all the long, empty stalks sticking out of the plant, so I chopped them all off and what's left is... a leafy bush. Guess I'll have to wait and see whether they'll grow anymore flowers after this... gulp.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hanging out on Clifton Beach

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It was a glorious Sunday this past weekend so we decided to head down to the beach. The nearest one to us is Clifton Beach. It's a shee-shee beach in a shee-shee area and is split into 4 different beaches (although it's really 1 long beach that happens to have boulders that act as the dividing lines between the beaches).

Clifton Beach #1 = Beach Sports & Dogs hangout
Clifton Beach #2 = Celebrity hangout
Clifton Beach #3 = Gay pickup hangout
Clifton Beach #4 = Family & Tourist hangout

We happened to get parking at Beach #2, so we parked our bums there... no celebrities in sight though (although I wouldn't know who the heck to look out for. I can only recognize local celeb, Minki van der Westhuizen, only because I buy Heat magazine religiously every week. Also coz she has a rather unfortunate, unforgettable first name. Her claim to fame - swimsuit model. Of course.)

Dipped my toes into the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in my life - and got major ANKLE-FREEZE within 2 seconds. The picture of my feet in the water is as far as I went - it's about 5 degrees celsius! MAD!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Kelly's got a Scooter

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Since summer's pretty much here and the tourists will soon jam up the roads, Kelly's insisted on getting a scooter (easier to get through jams). He decided this past weekend "I'm getting a scooter this week", promptly went out scooter-shopping during lunch with his art director on Monday, and actually bought one on the spot.

I was like "HAR?!? You bought one already?!? No research, no bargain-hunting, you just went and bought a Kymco?! Simi lai eh?" ...he said "Made in Korea". Later that night, only after having purchased the scooter already, he comes home and starts researching the reviews and gets on the forums to find out all about the Kymco Agility 125. "Oh. It's Made in China. But it's got good reviews and more reliable than Yamaha." HAHAHA.

Anyways, it's really cute. And it's got flames along the sides (no, not airbrushed - stickers only.) There were more flame stickers on the front initially, but those were bordering on the really cheena, so he got those removed. I drove behind him in the car on his maiden ride to the office this morning - and I couldn't go past 3rd gear!

Check out the photo album on the left for more pix. (plus... he's got a garang full-face helmet, Ultra Man-vibe. He was so excited he was wearing the helmet around the house AND while driving the car to pick up the scooter. hahaha, damn funny.)

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Shoot in Nature's Valley

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Just wrapped a 4-day shoot. 2 days were here in a Cape Town studio and another 2 days were out in Nature's Valley, a 6-hour drive up north to a nature reserve that's just spectacular.

Can't give anything away or upload more pix than these until it's on air, but it gives you an idea of how beautiful it is here.
*P.S. No, the spiral staircase still hasn't been fixed. It's Africa time.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Making of the Spiral Staircase

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We went to the metal workshop, Striking Metal, to check on the progress of our spiral staircase today. What a beauty! She's gonna be a work of art.

These guys took 3 days scouring the scrapyards for the perfect wrought iron pipe that would be the spine of the staircase - what holds up the stairs. Then they cut the pipe into smaller pieces so each step is welded to its own little pipe column. When that's complete, they put each pipe column + welded step through another strong supporting column (like making a beaded necklace), and weld the entire thing back together again. Look closely at each step and you'll see the cut pipe.

What's cool is the pipe's nice & weathered with lots of texture, and some parts even have bits of old yellow paint on it. They're gonna take another 2 - 3 days to make a sweeping balustrade and supports and they'll be ready to winch the entire thing up to our apartment through the balcony next week. Watch this space for work-in-progress updates. Exciting!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Only in Africa Part 3: Bad Service

I have a 3G router and data card sitting on my desk at home, and it's been there since yesterday. But of course it's not working and i still don't have internet connection at home. I've spent all day today and yesterday fighting with the condescending tech support at mweb... giving various mweb tech assistants who've called up throughout the course of today THE SAME INFORMATION 3 times now... and on top of that, each time I call, the operator asks me what I'm calling for and I have to repeat my story, then she passes me on to the 3G dept., and I have to repeat my story AGAIN to the guy that picks up my call, and I've called them maybe about 7 times now, so I've repeated the same story to the same people about 14 times now, and i STILL don't have internet connection at home because "the sim card's from vodacom ma'am, not mweb, and vodacom takes up to 24hrs to activate it"... even though more than 24hrs have lapsed by now.

And because I'm now officially fed up, I've been rude, frustrated and condescending back to the mweb support guys, and miraculously, suddenly things seem to be moving a lot faster and people seem to be getting their acts together.

Why do you have to be an ass in order for people to get their jobs done properly when they should've just done it right in the 1st place?

Welcome to a country with shockingly bad service (until you bark). And you thought Singapore service was terrible, but at least they GET THINGS DONE (unless it's not on the menu. If it's not on the menu, the Singaporean doesn't know how to let you have it.) blarrrggghhhhh.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More apartment updates

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Took these photos to show the family in London, so might as well upload them here too... the desk & bookshelf are the new addition to the study. And we still have yet to re-do the stairs... the metal workshop (like everything in this country) is taking its time to sculpt our new spiral.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Family trip to London & Ben's Hampshire Wedding

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What an amazing trip - we spent a week in London before Ben's wedding, and traipsed all over town. Went on the London Eye, checked out the Tate Modern, St. Paul's cathedral, had as much Chinese and Singaporean food as I could (still not enough), made a gazilion trips to Oxford Street, went to an indie band gig in god-knows-where (near the Roundhouse Theatre) where the average age of the groupies was 18 years and all the boys wore skinny jeans (the tighter the better) with skinny scarves and sported shaggy emo haircuts, got lost in Covent Garden and ended up somewhere in Soho, saw Piccadilly Circus at night (stumbled on it by accident, again), met up with Oi and had a good girlie bonding session with one of my oldest friends (who also got interviewed by the BBC morning news while we were catching up), went to a bar that used to be a series of train tunnels and an "interpretive dance" performance was going on at the same time (the "interpretive dancer" stripped naked and had a cup of tea), met up with the parents from Singapore, sister from New York and brother and then-fiancee in London... and that was only the first part of this crazy trip.

Drove to Dogmersfield Park village, where Ben's wedding took place at the Four Seasons Hampshire - and what an amazing, fairytale princess wedding it was... I ran out of space on the camera plus the battery died on me halfway through the day but there'll be more photos from my dad I'm sure. This sets the standard for all weddings - topped off with a fireworks display that ran the entire length of the song "Diamonds are Forever", and the explosions were also timed to the song. Not joking. Arthur, the best man's speech made me laugh, Ben's own speech made me teary-eyed and sniffly, and Dee was absolutely glowing in her gown. Despite all the shenanigans from their horrendous, emotionally high-maintenance wedding planner who should really quit his day job, the day went really well for the rest of us, oblivious to the goings-on behind-the-scenes. Both Ben and Dee are just so perfect for each other, it's great seeing them so happy.

For more pictures, click on the slideshow here:

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Only in Africa Part 2: "Ammonia Fresh"

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Handy Andy cleaning cream is like Jif (now known as Cif) cleaning cream back home. It comes in all kinds of scents - including "Ammonia Fresh". EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

S.Africa - 36 : England - 0

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The Rugby World Cup's going on now and the country's gone mad. People love their sports here (even the office receptionist paged everyone over the company intercom "Remember there's a major game tonight at 9pm, support the Springboks and watch the rugby!")

So even though I know nothing about the game, we went with a bunch of people from work to the Neighbourhood Pub (that's what it's called - it's not really in our neighbourhood... it's actually smack in the middle of the CBD where no one lives, so it wouldn't really be in anybody's neighbourhood. Silly name.)

Anyhoo - brilliant game! S.Africa - 36, England - 0. It got boring towards the end coz you knew we were gonna win... the rowdy crowd got less interested in the game and more interested in the booze by the end of the night. Go Springboks!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Remember to breathe

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We have these amazing stairs at Ogilvy that sit right smack in the middle of the office, linking every floor together. It's been featured in many design magazines and photo shoots and yesterday we had another feature of a different kind.

A performance artist came to the office and she sat on the staircase, in the middle of everything, and proceeded to blow balloons for a whole 6 hours while someone recorded it. The footage will be played at some exhibition somewhere - reminding us that "in our busy lives today, we often forget about our breath and posture"... or something to that effect. (and she was slouched over her stool the whole time. ha!)

It was cute at first, but annoying later when you had to rush up or down the stairs to give someone something, and either she or the balloons would be in the way. And it's amazing she didn't faint after blowing that many balloons too - only taking 1 or 2 breaths between blowing the next one.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Only in Africa Part 1: Highway to Nowhere

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Right in the middle of town, there's a highway that's half-completed, so it just stops and drops off into nothingness. It's been there for more than 20 years already. Lots of film crews have shot special effects movies here coz of the dramatic backdrop, right in the middle of the city.
Talk about no proper planning...

We've got plants!

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Took a trip to the nursery today and came back with 3 plants: Lavendar (I LOOOOOOVE LAVENDAR! it's the first time I've seen a REAL lavendar plant), Polygala (the one with mauve flowers; it flowers throughout the year), and a Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow (they smell good and have purple & white flowers).

They came unpotted, wrapped in plastic, so we also had to get pots, dripping stones (to line the bottom of the pots), 3 huge sacks of soil and bonemeal as fertilizer... after hauling all this stuff up 3 floors, we proceeded to make a right mess of the entire balcony - soil and dirt EVERYWHERE!!! (and there was an earthworm in 1 of the plants)... ick! We really don't have greenthumbs at all - this is completely foreign (we had 2 plants die on us in Singapore).

It's an experiment to see if we can take care of plants (we kept telling Isaac the nursery sales guy that we wanted "hardy plants that can withstand abuse... or lack of care"). But they're GORGEOUS!

Kelly's Motto

Sunday, September 2, 2007

It's Spring!

YAY! September 1st is the official 1st day of Spring!! Even though it was still cold and yucky and wet yesterday, today was gorgeous and the weather's starting to feel like it's turning... tourists will be here soon and I'll no doubt have more photos of that in a bit.

Johannesburg Part 2: More Pix!

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More pictures from Johannesburg! There are mine dumps dotted all over the city - you see them from the highways driving from suburb to suburb. They're starting to re-mine some of them again coz apparently the technology nowadays allows them to get more gold that slipped through from back in the day.

Tried to get as much greenery as I could in these pix to show the world's largest man-made forest... and even in Sandton, the new CBD (and richest area in Jozi - this is where the most carjackings takes place coz of all the nice cars in the area), the buildings aren't really that high and built-up, and it still feels very American-suburbia.

The township in the 2 photos here are on the highway turn-off into Sandton, and it's a nicer one coz the houses have proper walls and roofs, built by the government (not shacks made up of billboards/ zinc/ any recycled material people can get their hands on).

It was hot on the trip there this week and the suit on the job was driving our rented car with the windows rolled down. She thought I was mad when I kept saying "KEEP YOUR WINDOWS UP! LOCK THE DOORS! CARJACKERS CAN SPRAY MACE THROUGH THE CRACK IN THE WINDOW!" ... even though we were driving a crappy little Hyundai Getz... I am a kia-see Singaporean after all mah.

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Healthy Breakfasts here

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In Singapore, my daily staple in the mornings would be fried bee hoon, nasi lemak or mee tai mak soup. And I used to wonder why Erik (my Dutch boss at the time) used to look at me like I was mad when I had chilli with my greasy Asian breakfasts. Things have changed quite a bit... would be nice if I could have some yu char kway or that famous greasy rice cake with chye poh on the top from Tiong Bahru market (forget what it's called now..)

These days, I either eat Oat Clusters with soy milk or Jungle Oats Energy Crunch (it's like muesli, but it's wheat-free & gluten-free). The BIG BIG BIG thing here for breakfast is oats. Everybody LOVES their oats in the morning - "low G.I. and good for your brain!" is what I've heard from no less than 3 people already. Jungle Oats ("proudly South African" it says on the box) is in practically everyone's kitchen larder (i don't like regular plain rolled oats - it's more Kelly's thing)... I think I'm just a sucker for its packaging with the Tiger on the box.

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