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Awesome Friends, Great Weekend

February 1st, 2010 Fred 2 comments

I had such an awesome weekend.  And I have such awesome friends.  Most of my most memorable memories after school involve a small group of friends and I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with them this past weekend.  It is great when you can reach a stage in your friendship where you feel completely comfortable with your friends, and where you can truly just be yourself. 

So to my great companions this weekend (and in the years gone by) – Adele, George, Hilda, Francois, Esthee and Eugene – thank you for being truly awesome friends!

Friday Night – Tuks RAG!

George called me on Friday afternoon and asked whether I would like to go see some bands playing at the Tuks (University of Pretoria) RAG Festival.  I haven’t been to RAG since I was a student, but then again, I am still young and I guess I can still behave like a student…. sometimes.  So I excitedly said yes!  (Ok, ok, I first checked with the missus, who gave me her blessing, thanks honey!)

So I pitched up at George and Hilda’s place shortly after 6 pm, dropping of my car (Hilda being the designated driver!) and off the three of us went.  We pitched up at the Tuks RAG farm, which is mostly like I remember it, except that some of the students look like school children to me!  (Yeez, I am getting old!   But then again, die bokkies still look damn fine!).  Hilda joked with me an George, saying how we were cradle snatchers!

The bands were ok-ish, and starred names like Die Heuwels Fantasties and Straatligkinders.  We missed Jack Parow, which I would have liked to see, mainly for his somewhat provoking lyrics.  (Oh I know, he acts quite zeff, but I am strangely drawn…).  There was some rain during some of the acts, and so we danced at one of the discos which is under cover during those times.  After a couple of beers, some good bands and some dancing, we decided to go to Hatfield.  But not until Die Heuwels Fantasties gave their performance of Lea, which George really wanted to see.  And so I found myself repeating the tune of the song later the evening.

The ride to Hatfield was quite a scary experience.  In Prospect Street, we were waiting to turn right into a parkade, when a white bakkie started hooting at us from the back.  The next thing, he overtook us on the left hand side, mostly driving in the parking space (filled with cars) on our left hand side (in South Africa, we drive on the left hand side of the road and so the parked cars would be on that side).  He barely missed us, with 5cm to spare.  But he accellerated, and drove strainght into a parked car, damaging it very badly (there were bystanders also in the area, he could have easily hurt them very much).  The next thing he reversed (and we were scared that he will hit us), and quickly drove away.  I had my wits about me, and noticed the licence plate number.  We went to park the car, and then returned to where the accident happened, where the University of Pretoria’s campus security have arrived in the mean time.  We gave them the details of what happened and I left a note on the car to tell the owner what has happened.

Now you can imagine what it must feel like if you get to your car, only to find that it is very badly damaged and has shifted from where you parked it.  But the story has a somewhat positive ending.  The owner of the car called me on Saturday morning, to thank me for leaving the details of the accident and my number.  Armed with the registration number, the police were able to track the bakkie (which is a company car) and it seems that they will take the necessary action with the driver (which probably was drunk at the time of the incident).  I still feel bad for the girl (which I assume is a student), since she told me that it is the second time someone drove into her back and her parents are very unhappy with her.

Anyway, we went clubbing in Hatfield Square, which was jam packed with students.  We went to DropZone, where we danced a bit.  But it was getting late, and so we decided to call it a night.  By 3h30 am, I was back at home, where my poor wife was still up and busy designing a beautiful invitation for my upcoming 30th birthday party.  And so by 4:00 we decided to call it a day…

Saturday Morning – Barney comes to Town!

But by 8 am we had to be up again, since we had quite a bit to do for the day.  First we headed off to the Noise Boys in Hatfield, to get the gas of the air con of the car replaced.  As usual, I received professional service from the guys there and the air con was cooling again as it is supposed to.

By 11 am we were at the Gift Acres mall.  We, and especially Erik, were going to meet Barney!  We saw the advertisement some time ago, and were planning to make a special trip for Erik.  Erik has been watching the Afrikaans version of Barney on the Kowee channel on DSTV and has absolutely fallen in love with the green and purple dinosaur.  And did he enjoy it!  He would take Barney by the hand and walk with him (actually this Barney was a lady, but don’t tell anyone).  There were some clowns and a swimming pool for kids, face painters and balloons.

The promotion was organized as part of the opening Liquor City at the mall.  The owner’s wife later remarked that it is interesting that we were still there (we probably spent about two hours or so in Barney’s companionship)!  There is also a new butchery, Kanhym Deli which set up shop just a couple of shops down, which sold delicious prego rolls as part of the promotion.  The butchery is the cleanest I saw in my life, and the meats they offer just supreme.  What struck me about the staff at both shops, is how friendly they are and how at home they make you feel, and I will definitely support them again in future.  I think I have found a personal butcher (well in fact, they are catering for a spitbraai for my upcoming birthday party).  The two stores also presented the opportunity to shop for the upcoming Braai and Coinage evening…

Saturday Evening – Braai and Coinage!

And so it was Saturday night, and we set out to have a fun filled evening with friends.  Eugene, George, Hilda, Francois and Esthee, joined me and Adele (and Erik for a short while) for a braai and to play coinage.  Our coinage evenings have thus far been legendary, and make for amazing memories for years to come.  This time was no exception.

Now coinage is a drinking game – which does involve the sustained consumption of some larger-than-usual amounts of alcohol – and so it is something we don’t do very often, perhaps once every two or three years.  But I do have very responsible friends, who know how to have a good time and to make it enjoyable for everyone, without all the unpleasantness typically associated with being drunk.

How does coinage work?  Well quite easy really – I mean you still have to be able to remember the game’s rules after a couple of shooters.  Everyone around the table gets the chance to try and throw a coin in such a way that it bounces of the table and falls into a shooter glass.  Should the coin just nick the top of the glass, but not fall into it, the player whose turn it is gets the chance to nominate one of the other players to take a shot.  In the case that the coin actually makes it into the glass, the player is allowed to make a rule.  And this is really where the fun starts, because if someone breaks a rule, that person needs to take a penalty shot.  And the more shooters you drink, obviously the more difficult it becomes to remember all the rules!

It is actually quite amazing how difficult it is not to break the rules!  During the evening (and if the memories can be deemed reliable!) we instituted amongst others the following rules:

  • You are not allowed to say anyone around the table’s names.  So you across the table please pass me the shooter glass.
  • You are not allowed to point at anyone.  So you across the table, no not you, you!
  • You are not allowed to say yes or no.  So in the affirmative as to whether I am having a good time.
  • You are not allowed to accept anything from anyone.  So don’t give me the coin or the shooter glass, please put it down in front of me, please.
  • You are not allowed to say “please” or “thank you”.  So just put it down in front of me, dammit!
  • You are not allowed to swear.  Oh bugger, that becomes difficult…
  • If you have to take a shot, you have to swivel the glass twice above your head.  But it gets really difficult when you have had 10 shots already.
  • You have to handle the shooter glass with your left hand only.  So you have to helicopter the glass above your head using your left hand.
  • You have to say “chorts” after the helicoptor.  So you have to do the helicopter with your left hand then say chorts, then down your drink.
  • You have to say “hatisho” before you throw the coin.  Oh yeez, should I have said chorts or hatisho now?

Sound easy huh?  Just try it, it becomes really difficult very soon.  And it leads to some very interesting (although completely irrational!) discussions.  I mean, where have you ever heard that “bliksem” is a swear word but “dammit” is not!?

And so we continued and just had a good time.  Even the mighty Francois, who usually is a very composed coinage player, became somewhat tipsy in the end.  Poor Hilda sustained more damage, but then again, she has half the body weight of the rest of us.  Some time during the night, Karin (Francois’ sister) called to ask whether she has the house to herself… of course that had all of us wondering what she is up to.  Eventually, one by one people decided to call it a day and to find a spot somewhere on a couch.  In the end, myself, Francois and Eugene ended up just talking and thinking about where life is taking us.  Francois is emmigrating to Australia later this year, something which I am truly deeply sad about.  But he has good reasons for doing so.  After a while he just said something along the lines of “Isn’t there something less depressing we can talk about?  So how do you feel about the AIDS crisis in South Africa”.  For a comment that was made at 4 am, it was very sharp and had me in stitches!  (PS, no offence to people living with HIV/AIDS.  Me and my friends discuss the matter from time to time, and realise just how truly gruesome the situation is Southern Africa is, and have great empathy for those who are affected by this pandemic.)  But it does somewhat capture the sadness of “losing” a great friend.

By 5 am we decided to call it a day and everyone got a spot somewhere to sleep.  I felt happy that we could kuier like in my student days and that we were all so comfortable with one another.  Well, that was after Hilda awoke and made some very funny comments, especially about espionage, but that is something that cannot be repeated in this blog ;-)

Sunday – The Recovery

On Sunday morning we woke up, with some feeling better than others.  After a quick coffee, George and Hilda had to leave to complete some tasks for church and Eugene had to leave to complete some work.  A while later, Francois and Esthee had to leave, because they had a family braai to attend.

And so Adele, Erik and me had the day to ourselves.  Some time during the day, when changing Erik’s nappy, he decided to run to his potty, and use it for the first time.  I felt quite proud that the little guy is growing up so fast.

On Sunday evening, Adele, Erik and I watched the musical Mamma Mia.  Erik took somewhat of a liking to the music, and the three of us danced and had a good time.  It is very rewarding to continually see that honest smile on my boy’s face, and I felt happy and content with life.  Thanks to all those who make my life special!

Visit to the Durban Natural Science Museum and Art Gallery

January 27th, 2010 Fred 1 comment

During our short holiday in Amanzimtoti, we drove out to Durban on Saturday 16 January.  My mother-in-law, Daleen, wanted to visit some of the flea market stalls.  Unfortunately, these were closed and we were looking for something to do.

I vaguely recalled visiting the Durban Museum (or more formally the Durban Natural Science Museum) as a child.  I also seemed to remember that it was somehow close to the Durban City Hall.  A quick look on the GPS confirmed that there were indeed a museum located by the Durban City Hall.  So off we went.

The Durban City Hall is a beautiful old building.  I read on the Internet that the building was completed in 1910, and that it is build with Edwardian neo-Baroque architecture.  I have no idea what this type of architecture is, but I found it to be really beautiful.

The building is decorated with many small sculptures.  We didn’t spend a lot of time outside the building, but I am sure that if you took the time, you would see many wonderful small details.  At the moment, some parts of the building is being renovated.

There are also many beautiful statues in the garden in the front of the building.  They seem to commemorate the Anglo-Boer war (one of the statues read that the statues commemorate those who died in the period 1899-1902, and from there my inference).  The statues seem to be of people with English names, so I presume it in honour of the English side of the war.

I seem to recall that there were big statues of animals (as part of the museum display) in the garden as well, but I may be mistaken.

Walking down the street on the way to the entrance of the museum (on the side of the City Hall), we saw the Royal Hotel across the street.  This is the subject of a famous Afrikaans song by David Kramer, Royal Hotel, and I just can’t help thinking about the lyrics:  “Hier sit die manne in die Royal Hotel, ek ken mos vir almal ek is almal se pel, luister ou vrind daar agter die bar, hoe lyk dit met nog so ‘n doppie daar!”

Just a little further down the street was this interesting little building.  I have no idea what this building is all about, but it looked quite “cute”.  I looks quite European in its architecture.

Erik was riding on his Oupa Willie’s shoulders as we were walking.  For a moment, it looked like he may fall asleep, but it true Erik style, the tiredness only lasted for about 10 seconds….

And so we entered the Durban City Hall through the side entrance.  There is a public library on the first floor, the Durban Natural Science Museum on the second floor and the Durban Art Gallery on the third floor.  What surprised me greatly was that there were so few people visiting these, especially since entrance is completely free.  I guess in today’s age, most people don’t care much for culture.

The building’s interior is just beautiful, complete with red carpets on the stairways.  The rails are beautifully decorated, the tiles are laid out with interesting patterns, and the roofs have large open and intriguing spaces.

The Museum is mostly decidated to the display of various forms of animal life, mostly birds, mammals and insects.  In the first section, we walked through an area with many displays depicting various South African birds.  Erik enjoyed it very much, and was running around looking at the birds and saying “Ha-ha” (Where we live, the hadidas usually come to drink water in our swimming pool, and the sound they make is ha-ha, and so Erik associates that sound with birds)

They also have a large section on mammals.  I find it interesting to see all the trouble they have to go through to set up all the displays.

This is a Japanese Spider Crab.   When stretched out, this one has a span of 4m from tip to tip of those giant claws.  They say that there are ones that grow to have a span of 8m…. this truly scares me!  It is like something out of a horror movie.  Remind me never to enter any water in Japan….

What would a museum be without a giant dinosaur!

Just below the dinosaur is this crocodile.   We posed Erik on the croc to take a photo.  As we moved on the the next display, Erik ran back to the croc and got onto it himself, riding it like you would do a horse!  He has really shown the croc who is the boss!

After the museum, it was time for a quick break (and a nappy change)!

And so we headed to the third floor which houses the Durban Art Gallery.  One of the halls is filled with cables, tied from one end of the room to the other end.  Although I have no idea what this is for (probably just for the sake of having the cables…), I found it quite expressive in a way.  It is refreshing to think that the art gallery are willing to host a hall just filled with cables.

Walking through the cabled hall, there is another hall with some art by a black South African, a Mr Hobo, so I guess this can be called “Hobo Art”.  He made eight different sculptures from different materials such as rubber.  The room is tinted red through a lamp with a red bulb, giving it a very peculiar feeling.

The main display room has various pieces of mostly modern art, such as the one pictured below.  Some of them are very disturbing and provocative, which I find strangely attracting.

And then there is the future of transport…. this bicycle comes complete with a built in TV and video player.  I am sure by adding a dynamo one might actually get it up and running outside the confines of the art gallery…

I enjoyed our visit to the museum and art gallery – it was quite interesting.

Erik on the Beach

January 20th, 2010 Fred No comments

Below is some photos from Erik’s first vacation by the sea.  Erik is growing up so fast, and is repeating words that he hears.  One has to be careful what you say!  So we tried to teach him to say “see” (sea).  And he is trying very hard, pronunciating it without the “s”.  It sounds something like “kee” when he says it, and it is just lovely to hear him say it. 

Erik is not scared of the water at all.  Even with the waves crashing on him (yes yes, we are only playing in the very shallow water) and getting some of the salt water in his mouth, he just says “nog”, “nog!” (more, more!).

He enjoys just sitting in the shallow water and getting his feet buried when the water runs over it.

And it is great fun to play in the sand and to help dig holes and build sand castles.

If you work so hard digging a hole, surely you should be allowed to sit in it, not so?

Or you should be allowed to bury your father in it…

“Kom oupa, kom ons gaan hardloop op die strand!”

“O, maar dis lekker in die water!”

When it gets cold and the wind starts blowing (which happened on a couple of days), it is time to dress up a bit warmer and sit snugly with mom.

In general there were very few people on the beach (the schools started and most universities also started during our week in Amanzimtoti, so there were only a few holiday makers).  And although there were not that many lovely ladies in bikinis ;-) , it was still very enjoyable.

On the Sunday (which was by far also the busiest day), there was even someone flying over the beach, grabbing the attention of many of the beach goers.

And what will an outing to the beach be without ice cream!  (And a girl in the background picture ducking not to be in the photo, shortly thereafter producing a brush to straighten the hair!)

Erik’s First Encounter with the Beach

January 20th, 2010 Fred No comments

Our short holiday in Amanzimtoti represents Erik’s first time by the sea.  These images were taken when we arrived on Friday 15 January 2010, just after we unloaded our baggage from the vehicle.  We went for a casual stroll along the main beach (no swimming).

This picture below is just about one of the first pictures of Erik on the beach (we have walked from the stairs in the background).  He is just smiles all round.  Dis lekker by die see!

Erik is swinging on Grandpa Willie’s arm.

Adele and Daleen is enjoying it too.

Of course, walking on the beach makes a lot of footsteps, soon to be washed away.

Me and Erik enjoying a moment just staring out across the mighty ocean.

Mr Cool’s Going to the Sea!

January 20th, 2010 Fred No comments

Have you seen this little guy?  He was last spotted on his way to Amanzimtoti in a Nissan X-Trail.  If you get in contact with Mr Cool, please watch out!  He has dangerous smiles and he is not afraid to use them.  Please watch out, as he may melt your heart!

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Stupidity is Not a Disability

January 15th, 2010 Fred No comments

Yesterday, on our way to Amanzimtoti, we stopped at a garage just outside Heidelberg.  There was the following sign up in front of the disabled parking:

I thought it is extremely funny and I guess it doesn’t really require any explanation!  But I am sure it is very effective in stopping people from misusing this parking spot.  Or perhaps not…

We stopped at the garage for something to eat at the Steers.  Unfortunately the cashiers just ignored us (they were busy cashing up) and so I had to throw my toys out of the cot to get some reaction.  But when the food arrived (we ordered spare rib), it was truly delicious, the best I have had in a long time.  And the manager offered us some free ice cream as a consolation for the bad service.

We arrived in Bethlehem, and stayed over at Adele’s family, uncle Henry and aunt Meisie.  We also had a brief visit at our friends Elanze and Wessel, who moved from Pretoria to Bethlehem in December.

And this morning we headed off to Amanzimtoti, for Erik’s first visit to the sea!

Going to Amanzimtoti!

January 14th, 2010 Fred 1 comment

So, we will be heading off to Amanzimtoti this evening, for a short holiday (14-22 January).  By we, I mean, myself, Adele, Erik, Willie and Daleen.  Tonight we will drive to Bethlehem in the Free State and stay over at Adele’s uncle and aunt.  And then tomorrow we will complete the journey to the sea.

What makes this quite special (apart from the fact that we haven’t been to the sea for quite some time), is that this will be little Erik’s first encounter of the sea!  I wonder what his impressions will be and I cant wait to find out.  But I am sure he and all of us will enjoy it plenty.

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I Started Blogging!

January 5th, 2010 Fred No comments

It finally happened….   I started blogging!

It is something I wanted to do for a long time, and I guess with 2010 having just started it brought with it new inspiration.  So watch out world, Fred has his own blog and he is not afraid to use it!

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