Monday, April 30, 2007

Introducing Jezebel & Abigail

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2 yappy, fluffy, white doggies belonging to Kelly's dad & step-mom. Jezebel = Maltese. Abi = Westie.

We're house-sitting while Robyn & Margarita are away and the doggies have grown on me (and my allergies are slowly getting used to them). These dogs eat better than some people - Woolworth's rosti grilled chicken every morning (Woolworth's here is like Jason's Gourmet Market in S'pore) & a hand-made dog-bone pet cookie every evening (it's weird when cookies smell like beef).

Abi's the alpha-female who's always patrolling the house, jumping arouns the bushes looking for prey, or watching the cars drive around the bend. Jezebel's the princess who's scared of the dark (seriously, this dog sits down and stays put if there are no lights on), afraid of walking down the stairs (someone has to carry her up & down), and rubs her bum on the floor whenever she's excited (it's freaky & funny at the same time.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


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The blinds installers came today, and Gaye did her thing (she's in interiors, and blinds are her thing). The dark cherry wood looks fabulous!

...but there's more dirt & dust in the apartment. Can't wait till Clarence builds the cupboards so we can have a major clean up of the place and finally move in!!!!!

...I feel like Chicken tonight

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NANDO'S!!! A South African institution! (i think) serving Peri-peri chicken, originating in S.Africa (I think)... but it's got Portuguese influence (I think). Whatever. It's YUMMY, and much much better for you than KFC (grilled, not deep-fried). You can choose from Lemon & Herb, Mild Peri-peri, Hot Peri-peri, or super hot peri peri chicken (it's probably as spicy as the ramen with 4 chilli's from that spicy ramen place in Far East Square) Kelly says you can get a blow-your-brains-out spicy that's not on the menu (and your chicken comes soaked in the sauce). (...WHY?!)

Kelly had 2 burgers (1 lemon & herb, 1 hot peri-peri) and fries. I had a 1/4 hot peri-peri chicken leg with coleslaw, spiced rice (tastes like something from Little India. No wonder Sonal loved this stuff when we were shooting here) and a Portuguese Roll. Carb overload! ...I could have this again tonite...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Yes, it's Imported!

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It's funny coz while Kelly found some parts of Singapore restrictive & claustraphobic, I'm beginning to feel the same way about South Africa. As it's a country that's got very strict money controls (coz the Rand is so weak), changing foreign currency becomes a 1/2-day affair for locals, having to show all kinds of proof just to change 40 euros into the ZAR (passport, proof of travel ie. air ticket, electric bill for proof of residence, and visa if required). PHWOARRR! (i took for granted the ease of going down to the friendly neighbourhood mama shop to change currency. Ah Neh gives instant cash, no questions asked!)

And everywhere we've been checking out furniture, paint samples, appliances, wallpaper, and also amongst conversations with S.Africans, the buzzword seems to be "It's imported". (I feel like saying "yeah, so...?" since everything in S'pore's imported anyway, from our foreign talent longkang diggers to our water supply) but i guess coz their imports are so tightly controlled too (to protect their local industries from cheap China labour), imports are highly taxed and suddenly having anything from abroad seems to be a status symbol. (so maybe Kelly's got it good with an imported girlfriend? ha!)

The good thing that's come out of this though is there's NO starbucks in sight (actually, I dunno if that's a good thing. I'm craving a Grande no-whip iced cafe mocha- with ice cubes, not blended)... and there are hardly any mass products stores (eg. Burger King, G2000, U2, Esprit, Ikea, etc) around. Most shops carry one-off handcrafted products and the high level of aesthetic is refreshing. Go local!

(except all of these damask wallpapers are "imported")...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fish & Chips at Hout Bay

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Hout Bay's a little fishing village, and there's a coupla touristy restaurants in the area, but Kelly took me to where the locals go - Fish on the Rocks! Mm Mm Mm... the smell of stinky fish in the air, and where there's fish there are seagulls... and shitloads of... bird shit. EEEE!!

It's all very quaint though - seals were chilling in the water (the zoom on phone-camera is not that powerful), fish & chips came in paper bags printed with newsprint, and the Cape Minstrels came around dancing and singing. :)

Friday, April 20, 2007

My City View

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How's this for the view in the city? ...anywhere you go within the CBD, you look up, and there she is. Beautiful!
(the clouds in this pic are rolling down the mountain like a waterfall)

The Painters are here!

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..and it's MAYHEM!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Victoria's Bakkie

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Between the 4 of us (Kelly, his mom Gaye, his sis Victoria & me), we have 3 cars: VW Golf, VW Chico, and a Ford MONSTER TRUCK (it's Victoria's). We seem to be having plenty of car troubles in the last couple of weeks, and it's a merry-go-round of which car is in next at the mechanic's.

Victoria's a tiny person, and it's funny seeing her drive such a HUGE truck. (she's circled in pink - for scale). Lucky for her, no matter which car breaks down, I don't think any of us would dare to drive her truck.

Charles in Charge

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Gaye's cat, Charles, is the cutest thing in the world. Everytime you call her name, she stretches out (downward dog-style). She's not allowed in our room coz of my allergies, and has taken to playing games. Everytime I leave the door open, she makes a run for it, under the bed and plays hide & seek. I sometimes annoy her when she's chilling out. It's very funny when she tries to pretend I'm not there.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sea Point: Winchester Mansions Hotel

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There's a lot going on around our new apartment, and I'll keep updating as I go along, but traditionally, where we'll be in Sea Point used to be quite buzzing until The Waterfront was built a few years ago and everyone moved there, then Sea Point became kinda dodgy, with pimps & dealers in the streets. But the area seems to be picking up again as the yuppies are moving in - the 2010 World Cup stadium's being built round the corner in Green Point, so gentrification has begun! (It's the reason why Kelly decided to buy in Sea Point.)

It's quite an interesting neighbourhood - we're on Hall Road, which is perpendicular to the ocean (which is on Beach Road). Beach Road is lovely and clean, with the famous Sea Point promenade where families hang out with their dogs & kids, people go jogging in the evenings and the whole place really feels like Miami with its gazilion art deco buildings. The Winchester Mansion Hotel is on this side where weekend brunches are famous (we stopped here for a coffee - check out the pix). The smell of the sea's in the air here and it feels like a holiday already.

Main Road's on the other end of our road and here's where it gets interesting at night - there's a strip joint (GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!) next to a store that sells men-only lingerie and I wouldn't walk down here at night. But it's perfectly fine in the day - found a Chinese supermarket on this street!! The block farther up from here is perfectly civil (where the yuppies have moved in with their delis, restaurants & cafes), and there are plans soon to make Main Road a pedestrian-only mall... so we reckon the XXX places will be gone within the year. Will take more pix of this later.
(Sam: maybe we can trade stories when you & Ash have moved into Geylang?)

We officially get the keys tomorrow, so watch this space! xxx

The Old Biscuit Mill

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It's been quite an eventful weekend - went to the Old Biscuit Mill with Gaye and her friend from London, Judy (whose son happens to be a fascinating up & coming artist - Sam... er... forget his last name. but that's a whole new blogpost altogether).

Anyways, this place used to be a... biscuit mill of course, and it's still got its huge red chimney and scuffed up grungey walls. They've now turned this into a little artists' quarter with galleries, quirky one-off shops, and doesn't feel touristy at all (without tourist prices too). On weekends, they turn a huge empty barn space into a food market - old doors are used as table tops, those plastic sheetings used to store quilts or winter clothes are stuffed with hay and turned into instant seats. Some sellers packed their goods onto the back of a trailer and that became their store front. All very quaint! Found more info online here:

Stuffed our faces with the fluffiest waffles in the world, pancakes with nutella & banana, gelato, and even took home a tart for supper. Oh, and also found more shops with lovely things for the home... was so caught up with it all that i forgot to take more photos, so here's all I've got.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cold Front = Misty Mountain

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The big huge mountain is usually where this big white misty patch is. Brrrr... it's a wet & chilly day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Appliances R Us

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ARGGHHHH!!! So Little Miss Non-Domestic went shopping for appliances with Gaye today (Kelly's on shoot in Romania till this weekend). Appliances here are SOOOOO much more pricey than back home. A washing machine averages R5,000 (approx. S$1,000). But delivery charge only R30 (er... S$6?)

Options paralysis - big fridge or small fridge? Of course the Smeg's the perfect retro fridge but at R17,449 (S$3,800), it's it's down to a big Bosch non-frost stainless steel or the smaller ones we're thinking of are a Whirlpool or a Defy (locally made, supposedly reliable. but they've got ugly locks on both fridge & freezer. Very odd. And almost 3rd world. Ha!)

But why do we need a big fridge (considering we had a virtually empty one in S'pore) "ok, go with the small fridge."... but the small ones don't have no-frost and you have to manually defrost them. "ok, go with the big fridge" ... but you can put a microwave on top of a small one - save space! "ok, go with the small fridge". (not like we even had a microwave in S'pore. Nor a toaster. Nor pots & pans till the last 3 months...) ...but we're gonna take cooking classes here. Seriously. And Chad, the friendly sales guy says go with the big no-frost fridge coz it's better... And also more expensive.... So he gets a bigger commission... ARGHHHHHHH!!!

Decisions, decisions.

Lion's Head from Thys' Camera

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Monday, April 9, 2007

Conquered Lion's Head!

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Hiked up Lion's Head this morning. It's about 600 - 700 metres above sea level. Went with Kelly's mom Gaye & her friends, Thys & Rose, and it took us about 3 - 4hrs in total, stopping every 5-10min to huff & puff and for Thys to explain more about Cape Town's history/ geography. Oh, and that also included a 1/2hr picnic with coffee, muffins, cheese & digestives halfway up the mountain (no wonder their backpacks were so big).

To get up to the top, you circle the mountain all the way up, so the attached photos are taken while circling up - a 360 degree panoramic view of the walk to the top.

From the sea moving inland in a clockwise manner, you get the city bowl under Table Mountain, then Table Mountain, and diagonally across cuts the 12 apostles, which overlook Camp's Bay, and moving clockwise some more, you get Sea Point, then Signal Hill, then you're back to the City Bowl the other side. This will pretty much be my 360 degree circle in Cape Town. Small, but gorgeous.

At some points you have to climb up on your hands & knees and it gets pretty hairy, but you just look straight ahead with tunnel vision and all is OK. In the pic of Lion's Head, I've circled how small the people climbing up the rocks are (the small pink circle) - but this is the last stretch already. It took us about 1 - 1.5 hrs to climb to the point where I took this pic.

Cape Town Scenery

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So I've spent the last coupla days driving around Cape Town... er... it's just 1/2 hour driving around the City bowl area, Clifton & Camps Bay... pretty much the areas my life would revolve around. It's a... er... pretty small town? (like S'pore lah... abt 4 million people too!) and everytime you look up or look around, it's like "WOAH!" coz you're surrounded by mountains and it's just breathtaking. It's almost like it's a fake matte painting in the background of a movie. And you see this EVERYWHERE you go. Very surreal.

Took some pictures, so here goes... 1st photo is Table Mountain itself (the one with the flat plateau). the city/ CBD area otherwise known as the City Bowl, is at the base of the mountain, and stretches out to the sea all the way past camera left. Ogilvy's down there, Kelly's mom's place where I'm staying at now is down there, and practically everything in my life will happen around there. Behind the mountain is Clifton & Camp's Bay, more sheeshee beaches/ suburbs I'll take photos of later (all the following photos taken from Signal Hill)

2nd photo: Table Mountain drops off on camera left and that solo bump at the end is Devil's Peak. Kelly's standing on camera right for scale. That reservoir on the bottom left is what supplies the city's water.

3rd photo: me!

4th photo: Kelly in car with Devil's peak on his right shoulder.

5th photo: View from top of Signal Hill, blob on the right is Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The area right below the hill is Sea Point, and our apartment is 1 of those down there. We couldn't figure out which one from up there... it could be further to the left of camera.

6th photo: Lion's Head. We're hiking up this tomorrow morning with Kelly's mom and some of her friends. (2 hour walk only lah!)

It's GORGEOUS this place! ...I'm still in holiday mode. We went to see the apartment over the weekend, and more photos of that coming in the next email. All good this side.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Our Apartment

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So our apartment's in Sea Point. If you google "Ark Royal Cape Town", you'll see 1 of the neighbours has a unit for short-term rentals. (but it's a very, very yucky interior they've got. not AT ALL like ours)

It's a gorgeous art deco style - similar to the tiong bahru flats, or what you see in miami. our unit's the top right corner with a balcony, and the previous owner basically bashed down the roof ceiling to make way for a loft-type 2nd floor. The wall next to the skylight upstairs is the bathroom, and there's another area behind the bathroom and at the moment it looks like this section at the back will become the guest/ TV area. Under the skylight in front will be a desk/ study area. We might later on change the stairs to a spiral staircase to save space (coz the whole section under the stairs is an odd space). and you can see also these stairs have a gimmicky cut-out pattern in them, which makes it hard to walk up & down them.

Downstairs beyond the stairs is where our room will be, with a bathroom next to it.

Kelly & Mom are going through blinds options in the kitchen. Behind me where I am with the camera is a small sitting area, by the windows (the row of windows that's in the exterior shot). So the balcony's behind the camera, to the right.

It's got rough, textured terracotta tiles and in move-in condition, but we might do a bit of work here & there, and still working out options.There's just not enough storage space (and not enough wardrobe space for me!) :p

that's all for today... will send more photos later. (actually sam - jolene's blog thing might be a good idea.) :p

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