Madikizela-Mandela accidentally visits healthy, unknown woman

31 01 11

The ex-wife of former president Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was seen storming out of a residential complex in Brakpan after it was revealed that person she was visiting was neither sick nor the victim of a tragedy; neither grieving nor famous.

An eyewitness said he noticed the former first lady’s turbo-charged Subaru speeding away from the east rand home.

Madikizela-Mandela’s chief bodyguard, Goldstein Mnthembu, told reporters that his boss had thought it was “the other Patricia Lewis; the one who sings” who she was visiting a few months after throat surgery.

Mnthembu added that it was only after the woman refused to sing, or even say ‘aaaahh’ that Madikizela-Mandela dropped a small cake and a bag of bagels next to a framed photograph of the woman and a Ghanaian football player, and left.

This is the second visiting mishap in as many months for the ex-president’s ex-wife. Most recently, when attempting to visit a group of residents of a flooded settlement near the Vaal river,  she landed up spending an afternoon with the Potchefstroom  Dutch Reform Church’s women’s group. Leader of the group, Lizandre-Ilonka van der Planck, said their guest was ‘quite charming’ and had left with a milk tart recipe and accurate directions.

Meanwhile, despite Patricia Lewis of Brakpan being left quite upset at being urged to sing, she remarked that Madiba’s ex-wife had worn a fetching hat, and that the bagels were fresh.


A+ revenge tactic

28 01 11

HA HA HA HA. I tip my hat to whoever thought of such a beautiful revenge plot.


Missing Pedigreed Cat Turns Up _ Neutered

Prized Pedigreed Cat Returns Neutered After Two-day Absence From New Zealand Home

(AP) WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – A valuable pedigreed cat that went missing from its New Zealand home turned up two days later a little different – it had been surgically castrated.

Owner Michelle Curtis said she was furious when Buddy, her prized Siamese-Bengal cross, came home “fixed.”

“I couldn’t believe someone took my cat and got him fixed. I don’t know why they would do that,” Curtis told Bay of Plenty Times newspaper in an article Thursday. “It really was quite bizarre. I mean, who just takes someone’s cat and gets them neutered?”

Curtis said she had owned Buddy for almost two years and was considering using him as a stud cat.

“What am I supposed to do now? I can’t exactly get someone to sew them back on,” she told the newspaper.


Thoughts for the end of Extember 2011

27 01 11

Last night, I ate dinner off a menu that was 14 double-sided pages. And still, I managed to ask for something that was not strictly on the menu, and because this was the case, the manager came to our table, sat down, and informed me that I’d have to order the two items separately as the computer wasn’t geared up to manage my request. Literally over 100 items on the menu and still unable to imagine that a person might want a mussel sauce ON her steak, not as a starter.

Earlier in the day, flooding of a part of a highway allowed me to miss having to schlep 30km or so to the airport for what was sure to be a bit of a waste of time (for me) media briefing  by a pharmaceutical organisation. This summer has comprised, predominantly, grey, wet skies and green, wet earth. Makes me appreciate my short time in Goa all the more.

This article in The Times, famed in my eyes for being able to create crazy and offensive headlines (isn’t it marvy when ‘lust’ is confused with  child abuse?) on a regular basis, alleges that the City of Joburg has apparently warned a certain department not to continue downloading child porn, beastiality images and adult porn using their work computers. How lovely that they get warned not to commit any further crimes, and that there’s no concern about the fact that they’ve, um, COMMITTED A CRIME ALREADY!!!

Finally, in a move that will surprise no-one, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has visited her previous husband, Nelson Mandela, in hospital, although he is NOT AT ALL SICK, NOT ONE BIT (according to his aides, who have now clammed up good and proper). Winnie is a regular sight at the homes of flood victims, rape survivors, bereaved family members of those who’ve been murdered/swindled/suffered food poisoning/been stuck in two-hour traffic jams. Evidently, Winnie was born to be an aunty who likes to visit – I sincerely hope she brings cake with her.

Finally, Extember is on the way out – we’ve been paid! VIVAAAAAAAAA!

A fully clad woman walks into a bar…

24 01 11

A bar is a funny place. Mostly funny-strange more than funny-ha-ha, but that is not to say that a bar can’t be an amusing little outpost of reality, and none more so than the variety of bar that establishes itself in the heart of the yuppie district of that particular city.

In what has to be some sort of personal record, I was both the most underdressed and overdressed at this bar on Saturday night. Because I elected not to wear what surely is the dress code for such places – a cummerbund as a lower-body-covering garment; a bikini top as an upper-body-covering garment – I looked like I was suitably attired for a blizzard, in comparison. And yet, because I chose jeans and a top that I’ll admit is not Saturday night wear (unless that specific Saturday night involves lying on the couch while eating chocolate), I accomplished being at both ends of the least-desired dress sense scale, simultaneously.

Right, moving away from my state as sartorial pariah, let’s talk about what happens at such a bar.

1) You might run into someone you know, though if, like me, you are out at such ‘scenes’ about twice a year, that becomes less and less likely. (Did you see that? I said ‘scenes’. I am sure that there’ve been dozens of updated terms for what implies a happening place, and I am aware of none of them. That one word alone already makes my take on what’s trendy and ‘now’ null and void. Oi vey, I used the word ‘now’! And HAPPENING!!!!)

2) If you do run into that person and he asks where you’ve been, answering “Practising achieving a spinal hunch” won’t win you any points if you wish to continue the conversation. If you do not, however, it can make you smile a bit.

3) You might sit at a table/stand around a table/stand around holding a drink, a cigarette, a cell phone, a handbag and your friend’s handbag, while waiting to be noticed. Noticed not by ugly mo-fos, but by spectacularly handsome, elegant, charming men. Why? Because, naturally, such places are brimming with spectacularly handsome, elegant, charming men, that’s why. After all, isn’t that why YOU are there? Don’t you deserve such magnificent beings? However, unless you are not a fan of food, a great fan of yellow hair and a staunch devotee of  The Cult of Elle Magazine’s Fashion Section, those fellers won’t see you. In fact, even if you do meet the physical requirements, you won’t meet those men. Why? Because they’re not at this particular bar. Why? Because they know better.

4) Despite men glancing through, around and over you, it’s hoped that you might not think this is the end of the world because the women you’re sitting with might talk to you in a sisterly manner about interesting stuff. Why? Because you’re interesting and interested in people. This, however, is not usually the case if you are with friends of a sibling, and friends of their friends,  who prefer to speak about how awful the men who frequent that particular bar are, the infancy of the clientele and how fat they look in their outfits.

5) Jokes are forbidden. Oh no, don’t EVER try to be funny with anyone. People-watching is serious stuff. Besides, the volume of the place holds that whomever you’re trying to joke with will only hear “duck…orange…Czech republican” moving past your lips. That never did anyone any good, my friends.

Ok, I have to go look up ‘happening’ in the dictionary now. Excuse me for a bit.

What I did do in India

18 01 11


Onto the things I did see, do and learn in Mumbai and Goa.

  • I learnt that there are around 18 million people living in Mumbai and people tell you that between 50 and 60 per cent live in slums. There’s no cash to maintain the outsides of buildings, so they are grey/brown/black and look like they could crumble at any time. Inside, however, I’m told they can be gorgeous.
  • I visited the very famous Dhobi Ghat, a massive open-air laundry, near Mahalaxmi Station. Here, men do the washing of the wealthy of Mumbai and the hotels, apparently. For about 20 rupees (about three rand) a piece, they’ll wash clothes in what looks like very grimy water indeed, dry and iron them in an hour. The men do this work as it’s regarded as improper for a woman to do washing for work, according to our tour guide. It’s OK for women to wash for their families, of course.
  • I visited the Kanheri Caves, a series of more than 100 caves carved by Buddhists from the first century BCE until the ninth century CE. The highlight was watching our golden-voiced guide pray before Buddha in one of the caves specially designed to provide the most magnificently powerful sound. Suppose his praying and then demanding we pay him for the privilege of watching him is an irony that escaped him.
  • I watched a cat steal a Bombay Duck, which is actually a skinny, smelly fish and not a duck at all. The cat managed to lick a few of them before finally making off with his/her treasure. Needless to say, I decided not to try it. Apparently it’s too smelly for most restaurants to cook, anyway.
  • I haggled but still got ripped off. I haggled with taxi drivers, guides, peddlers, shopkeepers and very nearly with the money exchange place and even airport staff – I managed to stop myself with the latter two categories of swindlers.
  • I learnt that there are dozens of ‘official’ languages in India, including a state-specific language for each state. Sadly, I can speak not even a bit of any of them, apart from ‘thank you’ in Hindi, which no shopkeepers seemed to appreciate. Apparently an extremely endearing and charming way of nodding one’s head passes for affirmation in India. I truly did enjoy that, I must say.
  • I learnt that men are basically the only gender that do any work among the working and middle-ish classes. Almost all of the shopkeepers, tour guides, taxi drivers, waiters, hotel staff and Dhobis were all men. I came across one woman when I bought fruit from her in Goa, and I can honestly say it was my most pleasant experience with a shopkeeper during my entire trip – perhaps it was because she shoved a custard apple in my hand for me to try without demanding anything in return. Needless to say, we bought fruit from her.
  • I found that taxi drivers usually have some religious iconography displayed on their dashboards. I’d assume they pray that they don’t die or kill their passengers when doing what can be loosely termed ‘driving’.
  • I discovered that I’ve never met anyone more determined to make a sale than the Indian salesperson. During one morning out in Goa, my friend M decided she needed a bikini. When she told the shopkeeper that the one he wished to sell her was  too expensive, he argued that it was ‘good quality’. She rather facetiously announced that she wanted a ‘bad-quality’ bikini. Without blinking, the shopkeeper said he had plenty of ‘bad-quality’ items, and dug into a pile of swimming costumes less perused. M left with a bad-quality cozzie, which looked remarkably like everything else in the shop, and which lasted at least for the duration of the Goa trip – what more could she have asked for?
  • I saw that the poverty in Mumbai is fearsome – it is assaulting and unavoidable. Generations of five-year olds are learning not to accept the word ‘no’ form anyone, which is almost more terrifying than what growing up poor in Mumbai must mean for one’s chances of a tolerable life. It is a mad, manic place which is quite unreal and I think would be unbearable for more than a short while. Fortunately, I was there only a short while, so I was allowed to love and treasure the experience. An absolutely astonishing 10 days – I wish I could do them over again.

Enjoy the pics and the brief descriptions.

Now that's what a beach should look like - Mandrem, Goa

Fruit, people, cows ... Mumbai

Man and goat livin' in harmony

Rasgulla - Cheese balls in condensed milk syrup. Errrrr....

Half of Mumbai's skyline

Victoria Terminus in Mumbai. Extremely impressive on the outside.

Kitty eating Bombay Duck (a fish) drying at a fishing village in Mumbai.

Rice paddies during Monsoon season, empty fields during the dry winter in Goa

No chance of running out of antiseptic, then?

Backpacker shacks on Mandrem Beach, Goa

Butter chicken in Mumbai .... heaven!

Daughter gets to see what she will look like in 20 years

A name for a bug zapper that appealed greatly

AcuPuncher might be a little more painful than acupuncture.

What I did not do in India

14 01 11

Because I am not entirely sure what to write about India, where I spent 10 mind-boggling, amazing days earlier this month, I think I shall start with the things that I did NOT do and the things that did NOT happen to me during my travels:

  • I did not drink the water. Yes, I limited myself to bottled water, fastidiously (at first) checking that the seal had not been tampered with. Also softdrinks, Masala tea, ordinary tea, Kingfisher beer, the odd sweet lassi and local lime sodas.
  • I did not eat the food made by street vendors. Though some of what they made looked and smelt beautiful, it just wasn’t worth the risk. On my first evening in Mumbai, my sister J and I wandered into an entirely local fruit and vegetable market at dusk. In among the chaos of motorbikes, piles of dirty fruit and vegetables, animals and throngs of people doing their daily/weekly shopping, we noticed a goat whose testicles were so large that they scraped the ground as he stood. Said goat had a huge wee on the ground, just about 1.5 metres from a man cooking an unidentifiable meat dish in an open pan. Thus ended any thought of trying street fare.

Instead, we ate the most wonderful assortment of traditional Indian vegetable and chicken dishes I could imagine, all accompanied by the food of the gods – butter naan. We tried desserts (some good, some immediately forgettable), and attempted to remember that paneer was a kind of cheese and aloo was potato. And when a bill showed that a large, satisfying meal had cost us an average of R25-30 each, we smiled.

  • I did not eat salad. I did, however, eat fruit on the second-last day because, ironically enough, I ended up suffering a little from the exact opposite of Delhi Belly for the entirety of my trip. Yes, too much info – it’s my blog and I’ll gross you out if I want to. I gave in and ate a few custard apples, which were absolutely delightful. Kind of like a creamy mild granadilla in flavour. New fruit makes me happy.
  • I did not take gumboots with me. I did, however, eagerly leave behind the old pair of sneakers I brought with to Mumbai, specifically to tackle pavements commonly littered with human faeces, dog faeces, horse faeces, half of a pair of shoes, trash and other unidentifiable substances. Despite regularly offering each other one million US dollars to lick the undersides of our shoes, neither my sister nor I could be tempted to do so. In fact, a hobo wouldn’t even accept them when I tried to give the shoes to him. Granted, he was raving something unintelligible about “his brother” at the time, so perhaps his behaviour was less about the shoes and more about the crazies.
  • I did not drive in India. In fact, I’d sooner lick the underside of my shoes after a day out in Mumbai before I’d drive there…maybe. There’s no way to describe this spectacle accurately. Perhaps the closest is to imagine being stuck in the parking lot of the biggest stadium you can imagine after a Michael Jackson concert. Everyone is leaning on his/her horn while trying to create new, impossible lanes for traffic. Multiply that by about 100 000, and that’s Mumbai traffic. Taxis, auto-rickshaws, scooters, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians all jostle for space to move in what is, at times, a non-moving city. Unbelievable until you see it.

There is so much more, but as I said initially, I am not entirely sure how to write it all. So, I’ll leave it there for now, with some pictures I took with my phone that I thought were damn amusing/bizarre. I know I should explain them but if you don’t understand, drop me a comment and promise to do my best. I might put up some decent ones from the camera once I’ve uploaded them.

India is astonishing. Mumbai (and Goa) are places that need to be seen to be believed, and I am now a believer. Loved it!  A lot.

Soon, my pretties…

13 01 11

… a post will be a-coming.