Aging is Not Lost Youth..

So, the dinner that I was a little too excited about blew me away. It was phenomenal and way beyond my expectations. For once, I had an outfit co-ordinated (by myself, of course) with Purity Ring and Oscar & the Wolf as my background music.

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I arrived 9 minutes late. Fashionably so. My best friend organised such a beautiful affair! The dinner and drinks was at S43 in Umgeni. Quite the hipster place to be.

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I knew straight away what would be on my dinner plate – there was only one vegetarian option. That’s good enough for me! A giant-sized chickpea and spinach burger. They also have a banting diet option where the bun is replaced with large portobello mushrooms. There is something for everyone to enjoy.

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A cosy, friendly ambiance. A beautiful evening at S43 followed by a nightcap at a local pub to watch the Rugby World Cup 3rd Place Play-off.

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Biggest stoked face – thank you, thank you, thank you! I would not have had it any other way.

Also, I l o v e sparkles 🙂

With love from a 25 year old, x

Markets. Sushi. Gardens. Family..

What a beautiful weekend filled with laughter, dances, Thai spring rolls, sushi, family braai, a walk with monkeys and Hadeda Ibises and a relaxing Sunday.

I started off the weekend with a catch up at the Musgrave Roof Top Night Market. I have moved away from just eating Falafels. I have discovered amazing Thai Spring Rolls with glass noodles! What?! So. Good.

My Saturday started off quite mellow. I didn’t really want to get out of bed. I did. Otherwise, Nick would have been bleak with me.

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I bought sushi from my local take away spot run by three young Chinese guys who have asked me out on a miso soup dinner date.

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A feast more than a light picnic. Go big or go home, eh?

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We pretty much could not move for a while. All we could do was lie flat on our backs, look at the sky and listen to the birds sing.

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When we had been bitten by enough mosquitos, we decided on a walk around the Botanic Gardens. We have always had this place available to us but we just do not visit it often enough. It is the best picnic spot in Durban. Also, seemingly the place to take wedding photos.

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A walk with Hadedas and monkeys in the heat seemed like the most perfect moment. All life living in harmony.

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After the lazy stroll. It was time to see my family for a late afternoon/evening braai. It is always so lovely to see my cousins. We literally sit outside, have beers and talk utter nonsense. For hours! It is the best!! 🙂

I would not have had this weekend any other way.

“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like & celebrating it for everything that is.”

With love, x

Munkay in Town..

“I am here for a good time, not a long time.”

Yes, I did just quote a hip hop/rap song. It’s quite catchy and so true. Better make the most of it, right?

This has made me realise, once again, that this year has been rather wonderful. Gratitude is all I can offer at the moment; I am so ridiculously thankful of how things have turned out.

Thursday morning, I received a “I’m on my way to Durban to see you” text from one of the world’s best human beings! So, there I was thinking, “weekend made!”

Unfortunately, I could not clear my calendar as I had a traditional family ceremony that was coming up on Saturday. We had some major preparation to get through. So, family during the day, Joel in the evenings. It worked out well.

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We enjoyed a cosy candle lit dinner with two other mates (thank you Piro for such a lovely dinner and for making a special vegetarian meal for me!) The image below shows that you really are royalty 🙂 Your hospitality and generosity – you truly deserve a chair fit for a king! Straight outta Benoni! Haha..

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Wine. Great conversation. Durban fast food (Johnnies Roti’s which are the size of an arm! An entire arm!). And, meeting a beautiful black Great Dane named Pieters.

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What a treat. What a pleasure. What a beautiful send off and I did not want to see you leave so soon. This is when I also realised how darn short weekends are!

“Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won’t have to hunt for happiness.”

With love,

x

Her Heart was a Secret Garden..

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I decided to take a walk. Just before I could take an afternoon nap last Saturday, I stopped myself; I decided to go to the Durban Botanical Gardens. I was an hour late for a meeting that would have been held there and I thought it would be pointless to join the team that late. I had a little conversation with myself, flipped coins in my head and I decided, “why not?” I took a lovely walk around the gardens, saw many happy faces picnicking and many more weddings. I stopped to watch a rather huge Hindu wedding at the amphitheater. It was such a colourful, bejeweled festival; it looked absolutely stunning! Before people thought I was a creep peering through the woods to see what was going on, I decided to move along swiftly. A lovely afternoon spent walking about. Laughter, cackle, birds singing, drums beating in the distance.

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This was better than taking an afternoon nap.

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

With Love,

x

Green Fingers and Dirty Hands..

I enjoy being outside, as you may have figured out. Beautiful Saturday morning at the Green Camp in Umbilo, Durban. Naturally, being a hippy.

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This space is the epitome of the recycling concept! The building itself is recycled! It is an old dilapidated house that has been transformed in to a homey, relaxing space. A place for artists to gather their thoughts, for avid gardeners to grow their own vegetables, for inspiring meetings and a home.

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Everything here is recycled or upcycled. The clothes and pieces that are gathered from people all over Durban will soon be on sale or available to swap (still an idea!) to uplift the area. It is such an incredibly happy place. I felt at ease here; basking in the sun and playing the Kalimba poorly.

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Personally, it is Durban’s best kept (free) secret. Everything grows so wonderfully. It is a great concept that is still being revised and improved as they go along. A little bit of trial and error.

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I will be visiting this place a lot more. Share some ideas on how we can turn this in to a self sufficient zone. We spoke of having a solar training where we can learn how to make our own solar generators, recycle zones, making our own grocery bags, etc. There is just an endless list of ideas.

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Or, you can just relax under a beach umbrella and read.

With love,

x

 

 

 

 

 

Chilly Ferry Boat Ride to Buyukada, Prince’s Islands..

The morning I decided to go to the Prince’s Islands, it was a little gloomy and really, a normal person could have postponed it. I was adamant though. I was set on going so I did. I should have dressed more appropriately, you know. Warmer clothes and the likes.

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I met an American (originally from Khazakstan) who was on this trip with his uncle. A gentleman and a great distraction from the sad short stories I had been reading.

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I took a ferry from Kadikoy (I quite like saying the towns with a Turkish accent) to Buyukada (the largest island). If I had all the time in the world, I would have stopped at all four islands. I was not expecting the colonial architecture. Actually, I have never been in New Orleans before but from all of the documentaries and photos I have seen, Buyukada’s architecture and set up is similar to that of New Orleans. Strange observation.

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I took a walk to the park, which is situated towards the peak of the island. I chose not to hire a bicycle (to save money, and it was all uphill to the peak). I also chose not to take the horse carriage. Mainly because the horses were in such an unhealthy state. I saw one with a bleeding foot, some with their horse shoes coming off and others looked a little malnourished. The horse poo smell grew on me. I got used to it.

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I enjoyed some really good elastic ice cream on the walk. I forgot to mention that on my way to the ferry, I decided to get a cheap lunch from the cafeteria. It was flavoured bulgur rice with vegetables in a tomato based ratatouille form. So, as I arrived at the park, with my muscles all worked out, I found a bench to enjoy my 4TL lunch and a gorgeous view!

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There are different shades of stray cats on this island. And, various modes of transport.

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A day beautifully spent. A cuppa tea at the peak. A wonderful walk.

With Love,

x

End of the Affair..

This is quite over due. As I have been travelling about, it has made me even more observant, become a better judge of character and enjoy the company of those that are genuine. The next couple of months are yet to be exciting. Can this year get any better? Yea, I hope so. It’s about to.

I could not have said this any better:

The end of the affair
The weight of the world
The kindness gone to bed
The way of your laughter
Alive in the halls
Did he hear, did he hear
The fumbled words you said

Living without her
Living at all
Seems to slow me down
Living forever
Hell, I don’t know
Do I care, do I care
The thunder’s rumbled sound

Now I watch her
Running ’round in love again
Now I talk about you
When I’m with our mutual friends

The end of the affair
The weight of the world
The kindness gone to bed
It’s free of your laughter
Alive after all
Did he hear, did he hear
The fumbled words he said

Living without her
Living at all
Seems to slow me down
Living forever
Hell, I don’t know
Do I care, do I care
The thunder’s rumbled sound

Now I watch her
Running ’round in love again
Now I talk about you
When I’m with our mutual friends

Now I watch her
Running ’round in love again
Now I talk about you
When I’m with our mutual friends

This is it
This is just it
Go to him
What the hell, love?
What the hell?

This is it
This is just it
Go to him
What the hell, love?
What the hell?

I suppose, summer is all the fun then you deal with the consequences in winter? Have you ever noticed? Strange how it all works out. Hope needed a humble hand, I suppose. Because, I would have never plucked up the courage to do many things that I have done. And, I don’t wanna beg your pardon, I don’t wanna ask you why. I will go my own way and I am not too sure if I will have to pass you by.

With Love,

x

Istanbul: Belgrad Ormani, Long Bus Rides & Tea

Before I left for Istanbul, I had asked my host for any hiking spots nearby. His response, “Istanbul is hilly so every day will feel like a hike…or, you can go to the Belgrade Forest.”

I was sold as soon as he said forest! Who doesn’t want to speak to the ents in the forest! Historically, this is an important forest in terms of the water supplies for the city. I whipped out my map and figured that this would be a 45 minute bus ride to northern Istanbul. I took off with some water and steady feet.

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IMG_0998The forest is quite a distance from the city centre so I did not see any tourists. Locals hang out here for mangals (braai/BBQ) and cycling. It was refreshing; a hike, fresh air away from the busy city centre, no tourists or English – some peace and forest sounds to read under a tree (many trees!!).

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Every day did feel like a little hike, though. I would walk from Osmanbey to Taksim and it felt like a hike. I enjoyed it! Actually, I pretty much walked everywhere. I even walked from the New (modern) Istanbul to the Old Istanbul. I thought this was alright until I could barely feel my toes.

Anyway, back to the forest. There was a really good looking security guard that tried to help me out when I was lost but he did not know English and stupidly, I did not learn direction phrases in Turkish. He offered me a cup of tea though. This, I understood because I had been offered tea a couple of times. I kindly declined and carried on about my business. He really looked like he could be a Baywatch cast member. But, for security guards..

After my refreshing hike, I decided to take a walk around the quiet town to find some food. I went to a local bufe and had a rather salty omlet and a cheese tost. I thought it would be a good idea to stop by at a little bakery/coffee shop/cafe. Really lovely shopkeepers, gave their recommendations.

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I often have Gloria Jean’s delicious cakes when I am in Durban so it was a pleasant surprise to see the umbrellas with the Gloria Jean’s branding.

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A lovely treat! Great tea, beautiful sunny day, what more could a girl want? It was time to get the bus back. More stares, more confusion. I was falling in love with this city more and more.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

With Love,

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Istanbul: View from the Galata Tower and Sultanahmet

As you may have gathered, this was my favourite spot. I stopped by around the vibrant galata tower or walked passed it every day! This time, I decided to give up that 25 TL and take a trip to the top of the tower to see the breathtaking panoramic view of the city. It was worth it. Getting in to a tizz with the security officer because he didn’t hand me over my ticket and he claimed that he did and he was calling someone for confirmation? Uhm? I suppose it was the guy in the camera room? For a ticket. Anyway, I smiled and waved when he gave me my ticket and he sure felt like a noob after that.

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Sultanahmet was an absolute treat. My airbnb host took me there; lovely lad. I suppose it was great that I ventured out with a local because I did not spend four hours trying to find the place. You know, I am normally amazing with maps but, the tiny roads and alley ways… I got a little confused. This was by pure luck and I am so glad it happened: we arrived at the Blue Mosque just before the 13:00 prayer time. The azan (call to prayer) in front of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia gave me goosebumps. It was breathtaking! There are just some moments in life that restore your inner peace.

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Walkabouts with Levent — Old Istanbul on our way to Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

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The mighty Hagia Sophia.

We took a walk around the Grand Bazaar. So many glittery stores that look like they are made of gold and glass. Walking through the Bazaar sounded like recordings of men saying, “Sorry ma’am, this way..” You would almost think you’re going the wrong way. But, it’s to get you in to their shop. Also, every second person was asking me where I am from. Well, the thing is, I am black and I pretty much stick out like a sore thumb in Istanbul.

I also thought it would be a great idea to stop by at the Sultan Family Grave Site. I mean, the area is named after the family, they had lived in the Topkapi Palace. Most of the history of the area revolves around this family. Creepy enough, there were so many stray cats gaiting about. A black cat was on one of the tomb stones and I won’t lie, I was a little creeped out. These tombs date back to the 1500s!

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Entrance to the Topkapi Castle
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Gulhane Park

We decided to take a little breather at the Gulhane Park. Many happy little faces playing about and couples taking a stroll. I was busy taking a photo above when a woman rushed to me, happily shouting, “Photo! Photo! Photo!” Well, naturally, I thought she wanted me to take a photo of her and her family. Alas, she wanted me to be in the photo WITH them. They touched my arm and my hair and were quite delighted that I agreed to take the photo with them. We got some curious looks from the people around us. They may have thought I was a famous person. Haha! Or, not…

On our way back, I had finally decided, “When in Istanbul…” I am vegetarian but I have been seeing these stuffed mussels everywhere! Popular street food. I decided to try it out! It was a m a z i n g 🙂 These mussels stuffed with spicy rice and a dash of lemon juice are known as midye. Great treat after a long day of walking!

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What an absolute treat! Walked until my feet were ready to give up.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” — Mark Twain

More to come.

With Love,

x