Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Sarah Hurwitz Art Exclusive

Illegally filmed at the eye lounge earlier today. The latest Hurwitz show "Fearless."

The show focuses a large painting representing a forest of fears, and an alphabet of fears. Her fears seem to range from completely normal phobias to oddly humorous personal ones. I am a big fan of P, I, and the ever popular O; O is for Opening the door in an airplane and getting sucked out. Also, interesting are the hundred or so hand drawn bugs on the wall in random order. Like a bug scavenger hunt you can locate the midges (1293 & 1294), a species of whip spider? (1297) or common cockchafer (1187). If you can't make it to the show you can still learn her alphabet of fears from the book. video

Soweto the other half of Youth Day



I had a chance to see DJ Cleo during the Nike Pitch Perfect X Fader party at the Soweto training center, in South Africa. On the roof actually, quite cold too.

Party like a Zambian

Monday, August 9, 2010

Nane Nane 2010

Originally, I planned to write about my 6 day trek up to the summit of Kilimanjaro, but last night changed that decision. Instead I will regale you with the true story of what happens when you go with the flow. Upon returning from Kili with my two fellow trekkers Lyderick and Micheal, I quickly checked in with family took a shower and returned to my dorm room to separate all the terribly dirty laundry from the slightly cleaner items. Lyderick, Micheal and I had made plans to meet for dinner and some much needed drinks (Kilimanjaro beer) later in the evening. Minutes later I was informed that I had a guest downstairs who "had an appointment" with me. That guest turned out to be the cook, Muhammad from the trek. Unknowingly I must have planned to do something with him. So I went downstairs and met him along with L & M to discuss what we were to do. In his broken English and my poor Swahili I determined he wanted to take us out to bar, with a garden. There was definitely something mentioned about big banana trees and mangoes. Now the cook is a nice fellow but we were all pretty sure he had been drinking his afternoon away, probably with the tips we gave him earlier in the day. I convinced my French comrades to join me on the adventure. We then quickly walked up the main road of Arusha to a Dalla Dalla rank (FYI: a Dalla Dalla is a shared van). We waited for one that had a couple of seats available and then crammed in like sardines. I was perched over the back of Micheal leaning against the side window with my back wedged into the roof of the van for stability. As the driver tore through the streets of Arusha I felt a little more space develop out of nowhere. Followed by a "pop" and the sight of broken glass hitting the pavement with a crash as we sped along. Yes folks, my ass popped the side window out of the van. At which point I said with a smile to all the passengers "damn my ass is big." Smiles and giggles persisted throughout the next five minutes or so til we all had to pay. At this point I generally sit and watch as others pay in order to figure out the "local price." It was 200 TSH, but they tried to get 500 from me. I handed the attendant 300 TSH and insisted for the next three attempts that I already paid him. Traffic got worse as we headed out of town and into one of the burbs. Hundreds of people were walking in the direction of town with inflatable animals, plastic flowers and much more. Finally the driver simply turned into a parking lot and we made a mad scramble to get out of the dalla dalla while others fought to get in. Literally a little boy no more than ten pushed an old lady aside to get into the van. Once out we continued our walk against the stream til we arrived at some gun metal gates. Tickets were needed for entrance. So we paid for our cook, ourselves and of course his mysterious friend who showed up and followed behind us like a guard pushing us through the crowd. Inside was a festival of grand proportions which included live music, shopping, NGO's and much much more. We wandered through the crowd after Muhammad warned L & M to hide their man bags under their shirts. We danced briefly and hit a 2nd floor open air bar after passing a big banana tree which Muhammad pointed out to prove he wasn't lying to us before. We drank a couple of beers and bought a plate of meat. Steak pieces really with a side of cooked bananas each accompanied by a pile of salt. It was delicious and we were the only Muzungos (gringos, foreigners, whatever) around, which made it even better. I figured out that this was a two day festival celebrating "Farmers Day" and it is called Nane Nane. Unfortunately our late arrival coincided with the closing of the festival so we eventually left and got into another dalla dalla, this one being a safari van with an open top, so people could actually stand. Muhammad the player that he was even allowed a large black woman to sit on his lap instead of stand after both Lyderick and I used Swahili, to get her attention. "Karibu Mama" Muhammad was quite please though she seemed more interested in Lyderick. Later another sexy black lady sat on Muhammad's lap but held the hand of Lyderick behind her back until she departed. We arrived in town not far from our hostel when one passenger tried to get out of the dalla dalla without paying. An argument then a fight ensued, ending with the driver using a belt or a rubber baton to slap the man silly before telling him off and driving away. That was when I turned to Lyderick and said,"Remind me to pay, and I think I will pay 500 this time." Instead of dropping us off at our hostel we arrived across the street from another bar. Prices increased as they tried to charge us 2000 TSH for a beer despite the fact that there was a large sign directly above me which said 1400 TSH. Soon we were knee deep in waitresses, heck it was a Sunday night. Waitresses would come up to you with a bill they just wrote out in pen and ask for money. At one point Muhammad (who by now had told us his real name was Buyit) told us we could have sex with anyone of them for money. We each politely declined and continued to drink. Later one of the waitresses passed another bill to us which read "1 = 1500 TSH" and pointed to a girl next to Lyderick. The girl had nothing, not a drink and hadn't spoken to any of us. So Lyderick and I refused to pay and then got our own sheets of paper and each handed a separate waitress our own bills (his was 3500 TSH and mine was 4000 TSH). Needless to say none of us paid the extra bill. By closing time we were dancing with locals who came by to check out these strange muzungos. We walked back to our hostel after insisting that we would not buy Buyit (great name for a salesman) another drink since he was trashed and we had already supplied his liver with enough for a night. We arrived just in time to get more beer from the upstairs bar at the hostel which will remain unnamed. A beautiful Canadian lawyer joined us, and spoke of her canceled Kili trek problems including a police inspector who asked her to call his wife to explain why he was still at work. After stocking up on beer we sat around upstairs drinking together. That is until we decided to see if we could "break into the bar." That quest was a complete failure but during the search I realized the kitchen was open. Drunken, tired and hunger trekkers are quite persistent. So we crawled into the kitchen and made sandwiches, cheese and mustard. Swiped some apples and a bell pepper. Ate french fries which were still out. Eventually we cleaned up and crawled out. Just in time to avoid the staff who sleeps in the room connected to the kitchen. We pretended to have some idle conversation until Lyderick in a stroke of genius pretended to notice for the first time the staff member asking them if he could order some more beer. By this point it was well after 1:30 in the morning and we all decided to call it quits for the night.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Another good SA band

Freshly Ground with some political commentary on the region.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tanzania

Hello world. It's been awhile since I last wrote on this blog; I was still in SA. If I only had the motivation and time I would have written about a fantastic garden route road trip, Jeffrey's Bay ( the SA surfing Mecca), a fantastic 3rd v. 4th place match, the Karoo, Kimberley diamonds and more. Instead you get to read about my safari in Tanzania. Anyone who has been on an African safari knows the thrill of seeing you first wild animals. Baboons walk across the road and your guides urge you to close your windows when departing the jeep as those crazy baboons will gladly reach in and swipe your things. By day three of the safari baboons are like minus points, you don't even mention them to the others in the jeep. Other animals that lost their luster include gazelles, storks, monkeys and more gazelles. My favorite safari spot the Serengeti! Classic Africa and a lot like the lion king. Damn Elton John song was in my head for many days. The Serengeti plains are grassy and yellowed at this time of year. Despite the excellent camouflage of the animals we still saw lions, cheetahs and one very surprise leopard. Heck I was surprised too, it was merely a few feet to the side of me when we drove by around dawn. Later we noticed the Thompson gazelle that the leopard drug up the tree to save for snacking later. About 35 feet up the tree, there it was a dead animal limply hanging. That was as close as we got to seeing a kill. Though our group was blessed with following some stalking lions slowly in a caravan of other jeeps. Eventually the lions laid down and relaxed like all lions do... for oh about 20 hours of the day. Ah to be a lion, lying around. Expect more infrequent posts as I soon leave to try and conquer Kilimanjaro.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Capetown

I must say that Cape Town is far superior to Jozi. There is an active nightlife for locals and tourists based on and around Longstreet, the bourbon street of Cape Town. I have spent the last couple of nights with friends from Rosebank lodge including: Tim an American who took the effort to try and understand cricket last night, Chris the German/Portuguese Canadian in transit to a job in Oz, Tyler a Harvard grad who somehow still has collared shirts which look clean and pressed, and three British lads Dan, Scott and Silver; travelers on a shoestring with great humor and clearly up for the adventure. All of which I originally met in Jozi. This instant group of friends has made life easier and enjoyable. During my days I have been trying to see the sights and have seen many. The Castle of Good Hope was interesting though it lacked the grandeur of a European castle, it is more of a fort than a castle. I watched the key ceremony and "traditional guards" fire a cannon, though the cannon was maybe an unimpressive 10 inches in length. Table Mountain was also a pleasure, and quite a work out. I was about to kick myself halfway up because I was too cheap to take the cable car one way! The views are spectacular even with the low visibility that was present when I was at the top. Fortunately, I survived and am considering going again. It was the first real exercise I had in a month aside from constant walking. Robben's Island was a must see for me, and I worked my way onto a full ferry by purchasing a ticket from a tourist who had too many. The perks of being a lone traveler. The island itself is nothing impressive, but the stories present in the cells are worth the visit alone. My favorite being the one about a prisoner who actually created a master key and unlocked his cell at night, only to realize he had trouble locking it again. Thus he spent all night trying to lock himself back in his own cell. Needless to say I recommend Cape Town, like all the travelers I ran into before I got here. Soon, I will be heading to Port ELizabeth or PE for short to enjoy the 3rd and 4th place match, with Camilo and Ivette (two more Rosebankers; more about them later).