Thursday, 24 February 2011


I read in a (bridal) magazine that you could lose 6lb in 6 days by going to the Viva Mayr Clinic to learn to chew slowly. You would be taught the "philosophy of chewing" and spend a week turning your food into pulp in your mouth before swallowing. All for a mere 2500GBP.

Honestly, what other money-sucking ploy are they going to invent? Squeezing your bum every time you take a mouthful (with a bum squeezing session and philosophy course included)?

That said, this chewing thing has been on my mind. So, yesterday, as I sat next to two slim Chinese ladies on the plane, I decided I would eat at their pace and see if their skinniness had anything to do with chewing -as opposed to their genes, which I can obviously do nothing about.

So I watched them out of the corner of my eye, and only took a mouthful when they did... It's never taken me so long to eat a -sorry, half- a tiny plastic bowl of noodles in my life.

They took the smallest bites on earth, and sometimes to my deepest annoyance, they would start to chew a bit of noodle off their fork, and then put it down with the noodles still on it, and take a sip of tea. Then came the fruit. Instead of wolfing it down and letting the juices drip down their chins, they carefully and slowly opened the little saucer, sniffed the fruit, prodded it, put it down and then had about a third of a slice of watermelon. At which point they must have been full or bored, as they put the fruit aside, sipped their tea, leant back and proceeded to sleep/touch up her makeup.

That's 6lb in 6 minutes, baby!

Please send 2500GBP directly to my Swiss bank account.

Friday, 18 February 2011

South Africa Part III

Sorry it's taken me so long to post the final post of this South African trilogy. I got eaten by wedding dresses and flower arrangements.

So, where were we? Ah yes, leaving Cape Town and heading for Stellenbosch. As we left Table Mountain behind us, the scenery quickly changed from the dry, yellow bush of the Cape Flats, and its now much-visited-by-idiotic-tourists townships, to estate after estate of vineyards, with the backdrop of breathtaking mountains behind them.

We went to Vergelegen for a slap up lunch with much wine. After which we recovered in the shade of the camphor trees.

We then headed over to our guesthouse - the nicest place I could find that didn't cost 600USD a night - no, that's not an extra 0. It's called Lovane, and it's on a lovely wine estate, which was started up a few years ago by a mechanic. Odd. Anyway we thoroughly enjoyed it.

In addition to drinking and eating like thirsty game by a watering hole, T decided that we needed to do some exercise. My fave. So we went running up through the vineyards which caused me to almost died of exhaustion and T managed to get a hole in his head with a branch. Not one of our most successful excursions.

View from our room. Add this pic to the top pic, and you get the full picture

One of many vineyards

Navigating the SA section of the wine list just got that much easier and tastier.

We'll be back!

Info for foodies: if you're going to Terroir or anywhere pretentious, book well in advance. Give the Big Easy a miss, unless you want to eat Texan food in South Africa. In Franschoek, go to Ryan's Kitchen for a minimalist lunch with South African food gone foamy.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

South Africa Part II

After Kruger, we headed down to Cape Town. It was at this point in the holiday that T decided to break the news that yours truly would be the designated driver-as-some-of-us-had-lost-their-driver's-license-in-Paris-or-somewhere.

Now, those who know me from Barcelona, will remember that my driving was shaky at best. Well, that was the last time I drove. years ago, not including the odd stint on the open highways of the US with nothing to get in my way other than Bogangles and Dunkin' Donuts. So, you can just imagine how excited I was to get behind that wheel again and drive...on the wrong side of the road and in a country where J walking seems to be a much favored pass time.

Anyway, we survived my driving and I got to show T the sights and the sights (aka gran, aunts, uncles, god parents) all got to see T.

One of many views from table mountain, which you get to enjoy after being whisked up on the cable car at break-neck speed

View from Chapman's peak. A much needed stop for our driver who can't-drive-and-look-out-the-window

Mile upon mile of beaches

Cape Point - the end of the world, where dragons feature on maps

In case you didn't believe me..

On our way back from the end of the world, we passed Simon's Town and its resident penguins

After having successfully gone up the mountain and driven round the Cape peninsula, we decided to take T windsurfing in Langebaan, followed by a stroll on Clifton beach.

T adding another country to his list of windsurfing spots (while I read Hello, Heat, Now, Cosmo Brides and Vogue)

Romantic walk along Clifton

The next day was spent at the Garden Centre with Gran, her local haunt, where she knows everyone by name and says jokes like, "you though I'd died!" when people mention they haven't seen her in while.

She's also quite friendly with the pharmacist who she had a lengthy conversation with, calling her Rose throughout. As we left, she held my arm and said "Her real name's Mary, but I prefer Rose. She doesn't mind."

We also skipped over to Kirstenbosch botanical gardens where we didn't take any pics for some strange reason.

All in all in the Cape, much time was spent with friends and family, where T was aired, we caught everyone up on weddings and Hong Kong, people exclaimed I looked thin (yay), and much alcohol was consumed by all - except the driver - no comment.

Sunset view from Bantry Bay

More to come on South Africa soon, once T has sent me his pics.

Tips on Cape Town:
Eat: Twelve Apostles for crocodile carpaccio and breathtaking views, River Cafe for wine country delicacies, Friday Island for fab views and crap food for windsurfers in Langebaan
Drink: La Med for drinks over the beach, Camps Bay for South Beach Miami vibe
Tea and Coffee with Gran: Cassis for French pastries and coffee, Mount Nelson for slap up high tea

South Africa Part I

After all the snow in Japan, we thought now would be a good time to go to South Africa. Warm up, spot some game and feed T to the lions, I mean, my relatives.

Our trip started in Kruger Park, which had had unprecedented rainfall, and so there was much looking-through-the-tall-grass-and-hoping-to-see-an-animal.

We hired a guide, who provided us with interesting morsels of information - did you know elephants talk to each other in a secret low frequency language through their diaphragms?, served rusks and tea for breakfast and slap up braais for dinner, and suggested that taking pictures of each other next to lions would most definitely result in death.

Chinese tourists have been known to try it. Rather unsuccessfully.


Prey watching the sunrise

Thai massage

More camouflage

Anyway, you get the idea. Lots of bush and wild animals. Not too many herds though. Must have coincided with a conference or something, as watering holes were empty and leopards and cheetahs were not to be found.


For those of you thinking of going to Kruger:
August and September are when there are no animal conferences, so you'll see the most animals
Wild Wings Safaris are reasonably priced, give good tours and feed you well (we did the 3 day quickie safari)
Don't pee in the bushes. You won't live to tell the story.