Wanderlust

From that moment I step foot on that plane,the feeling of excitement and adventure started oozing in my being. Yes, this holiday was planned ages ago and the departure date greatly anticipated. Thailand? Yes, I’ve been there before but with a renewed sense of discovery we set off.

Amazing how second time around you start exploring more, started tasting more, dared more. The food is more fragrant. The ginger more pungent and the curry more decadent. Thais are extremely friendly and the whole experience (apart from getting sun burnt) is life changing.

So, my list of “to-do’s” when you’re in Thailand are:

1. Stay in the ‘not-so-touristy’ hotels.

2. Venture inland and and shop at the markets away from Patong (not far from the Central Festival Mall). Cheap merchandise and great street vendor food. Worth the ride.

3. Use Tuk Tuks. Be sure to negotiate the fare before you hop on. Don’t use the first one, compare pricess. We got Mr Nasry’s number and used him every time.

4. Cocktails are expensive and so we enjoyed local beer as it’s ice cold and super affordable. Ask for Singa or Chang.

5. Food per meal averages between 99Baht to around B300. Thai Green Curry is the clear winner in my books.

6. When going to the beaches, USE SUNPROTECTION and stay hydrated. Only buy bottled water.

7. Currency is the Thai Baht. The bills come in B20, B50, B100, B500 & B1000. When shopping at markets, keep smaller bills handy. Also when traveling by Taxi or Tuk Tuk, have the correct cash payment ready. When drawing from the ATM, a B200 fee are added per transaction, so keep that in mind.

8. Tourist Sim cards is a must. I bought a Dtac sim that gave me 15 days unlimited data that is good for Facebooking, whatsap and checking mails. Paid B600 for it. They have a 7 days unlimited data deal available as well.

9. Language can be a challenge. Be patient and learn the Thai thank you and greeting phrases well in advance. It will score you points when you bargain for your purchase at the markets.

10. Be wary of renting scooters, jet skis and other mechanical equipment. Make sure you have enough insurance should something happen.

Thailand is a sensory overload at times and is fun amplified. Risk a bit, taste a bit, engage with the people a bit, rest a bit, tour around and shop around for the best deal and you’ll not be disappointed.
With this I sign off and will share some more on my experience in my next post.

Secret Sunrise Pretoria

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So every now and then this thing called “Secret Sunrise” popped up on my Facebook feed and I would stare at it, think a bit about it and then scroll down.  So my boss and some of my colleagues actually attended the Halloween edition here in Pretoria.  The reviews were mixed.  To some it was a moment where they could let loose and just have fun, to others it was a tad too strange.

Well the question is:  How many times do we do stuff that are strange?  My lovely friend Viljoen and I decided we must definitely give it a try.  We rallied the troops and booyaaa, we had tickets.  We showed up, kitted out and readied ourselves for this new experience.  Upon arrival we were treated to a complimentary yoga session.  It was hard….. I’m going to say it again… it was not easy, you need to know your yoga-ness to get it perfect.  Even if you are a real novice like myself, it will be lots of fun and (apparently) it’s good for you. Hehe!

The Secret Sunrise part:

After the session, you go get your earphones put them on and this is where the magic started.  The voice over your earphones welcomes you and then the music starts.  If you close your eyes you could be in a club in Ibiza.  Imagine, close to a 100 people jumping up and down in silence, energized and having a good laugh.  These are the strange things we need to involve ourselves in regularly.  You see, our lives are so routine that we tend to stick to what we know.  We are so closed off and selective in our social spaces that when we experience something so out of the ordinary, that barriers instantly are broken and a stranger becomes a friend for that 45 minutes.

Next time when you are scrolling through Facebook and you see the Secret Sunrise event peeking out at you, buy that ticket.  Yes it’s weird, yes you need to let go yourself a bit, yes it’s going to mean you have to interact with strangers….. is it going to be fun? Hell yes!!!!! Thanks friends old and new …. total awesomeness.

 

 

Hipster….to be or not to be!

bicycle-hipsterCall it hipster, call it trends, in fact, we can call it exactly whatever we want.  The thing about us humans, is that we can so easily jump on a bandwagon and just as easily jump off it.  Last night I attended an amazing cocktail party and I started snapping away on the hors d’oeuvres that are served.  From the side my dear friend commented:  “Ai you hipsters”.

That brought me to a point of questioning how I view myself.  The question was hanging…. Am I a hipster?  No I don’t think so.  No wait, maybe I am?  What exactly is a “hipster”?

Well, hipsters obviously belong to some kind of subculture and this meant that I belonged to an obvious subculture.  What is my subculture then?  I have a beard…. I snap my food because I love it…… I don’t have hair, so I can’t be THAT hipster (giggling while typing this).  Researching the meaning and found it’s probably a pejorative for being pretentious? Eina! (means ouch or pained in the Afrikaans language).

Hipster is all about being the first to dive into a new trend.  Whether it’s beer cultivating, a wearing a man-bun or is it called a top knot?  Suspenders, wooden watches and spectacles, speciality cheeses, artisan breads, fashion, dining, the list can surely go on and on.  Are you a hipster?  Do you belong to a subculture?

Surely when you find yourself in some kind of social environment, everyone of us can identify with some kind of subculture. Mine has EVERYTHING to do with food.  Talking about it, enjoying it, sharing it, making it, enjoying it in places with a view and yes.. SNAPPING it benefitting my cyber life.  No longer is this about being hipster, but rather a ‘self’ moment where introspection and inner volition to do the things we love are questioned.  Happy Hipstering! Own it!

This food (ooh) bandwagon of mine…


img_2507Always when people comment about my dining experiences I feel the tuck of embarrassment on my shirt, no, this isn’t the tuck of REAL embarrassment, but rather my swelling belly that are suffering under this thing I just looooove.  Food.

No, my world do not revolve around food, but my world revolve around experiences and yes, sometimes there happen to be food in the picture.  Food is necessary to sustain yourself to live life.  Food is also the social ‘glue’ that makes new friends, that sparks conversation and yes in some cases you can have a fight with (I will not recommend the latter).

The culinary universe is much more complex when we look at our dining experiences.  To some, a quick trip to the trusty establishment is the utmost of comfort.  Knowing what they are going to get, what it will taste like and what they are going to pay for it.  I applaud your loyalty and I always say, if it works for you….. go for it.

Some friends of mine (that I made with food by the way) once said that we should NEVER do the same restaurant twice!  I thought about this long and hard and I agreed to disagree. You see, I love my trusty establishments that serves a great pizza the way I love it but yet, there is this explorative side to my dining regime.

My food review journey started exactly the way my friends said…. trying to not do the same restaurant twice.  This led me to a culinary adventure, a unspoken food-rule that aligned me to experience something new, something great, sometimes something just plain out bland and bad, but almost every time a new experience was ready for my tastebuds.

Your journey with food is most probably way different than mine, yes, I cook up a mean Fillet Mignon if I have to, but mannnnnnnn, that moment you set foot into a new restaurant and you smell the scents and your eyes feast on the decor, that’s when you should be ready for this new taste adventure. Waiting for that plate to arrive is almost a foodie-russian-roulette because you never know what you are going to get.

So I urge you now, as my friends urged me.  Don’t be embarrassed about your food journey.  Enjoy it, keep moderation in mind and be ready to experience the decadencies, flavour, aromas, ambience and most important part to this, the friendships! “Bon Appetit!