Category: whatever

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Rusch to Glory

I’m currently reading “Rusch to Glory” by Rebecca Rusch. 50 pages in and I am completely and utterly captivated.

 

Extract from the novel,

“Though I have some great scars from climbing, mountain biking, and paddling. I got my favourite scar while rebuilding that truck. It’s on the front of my left thigh, halfway between my knee and hip, a straight, thick line across the quad. On that day I was using a heavy handheld rotary grinder to prep the inside of the truck bed for painting. Filthy, sweaty, and holding a big power tool, I felt supercool. I turned the grinder off and stood back to admire my work. Funny thing about grinders – they continue to spin even after you turn them off. My proud moment was interrupted by the smell of burning flesh. The grinder had buzzed right through my Carthartts and seared the flesh of my thigh. The heat of the blade had cauterized the skin so it wasn’t even bleeding, but I now had a big, deep burn on my quad.”

 

Comrades

The Comrades Ultra-Marathon is less than a week away. I’m not going to say anymore than that in case I fail.

 

Fish fingers

My niece is still adorable.

Yesterday, I asked what she was doing and she replied, “Peeling my fish fingers.”

And she proceeded to peel her fish fingers. Like an orange.

Rusch to Glory

InstagramAugust
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Left to right, top to bottom:

  1. Cape Town International Airport. Taken before my flight to Durban.
  2. Sea Point, my favourite place in Cape Town. Clouds reflected in rock pool, yacht in the background.
  3. Lone girl, wrapped up in green blanket, engrossed in a novel. Mountain in the background.
  4. Spring flowers on Table Mountain.
  5. Japanese Garden, San Francisco.
  6. Selfie after a half-marathon. It would appear that I love the colour pink.
  7. Setting sun, Monterey Bay.

And it’s the end of August. And I feel like I’ve accomplished absolutely fuckall for this month. I haven’t scaled the highest peak in Africa, I haven’t run an ultra-marathon, I haven’t set any new PBs, I haven’t won a travel scholarship and I haven’t created something beautiful. The sum total of my accomplishments for this month can be summed up in four sentences:

  • I submitted my tax return forms. And got a grand total of two cents back from the government. Drinks on me.
  • I bought a coffee table. And holy crap, I am excited for its delivery! A coffee table! This kids, is what adulthood looks like. You get excited over things like a coffee table.
  • I ran one half-marathon and I didn’t even do that very well. It was a flat race and I finished in 2:05. I was also in considerable pain after the race.
  • I’ve also eaten a LOT of chocolate. Now some people might say that consuming chocolate isn’t much of an accomplishment, those people would be wrong.

 

Even though I sound disappointed in myself I am quite enjoying being back home. I’m enjoying getting back into a regular routine. I’m enjoying my evening runs with my dad. I am enjoying cooking for myself. I am enjoying nesting – buying cute, little items for my home. I am enjoying reconnecting with old friends.

 

My goals for September are:

  • Continue being awesome.
  • Make awkward conversation with members of the opposite sex.
  • Train for the Winelands Marathon.
  • Lose four kilograms. It would seem that all those pastries and chocolates have had an impact.

IMG_3154Photo taken in Istanbul.

Nicole recently sent her “No BS club” a end-of-the-month template. The template allows readers to quickly reflect on the past month and commit to future goals or projects. Here’s my review of the past month.

 
The three things I’m most proud of from this past month are:
When I first read this question I thought, “Erm …” I’ve spent a great chunk of this month travelling: Istanbul, Fethiye, Durban and California. This doesn’t feel like much of an accomplishment. Accomplishments aren’t FUN. Accomplishments are BIG. They take months of training, hard work, require strict schedules and end with a medal to prove your worth. But after giving this some more thought, I’ve decided that there are a number of little things that I am proud of.
– I am a proud of entering my first photo competition. Believing that you actually stand a chance, that I am good enough, THAT takes courage.
– Asking strangers if I could take their photograph. There have been many moments where I’ve met interesting individuals and wanted to capture their adorable faces on film. Unfortunately, I’ve never had the chutzpah to ask. This year I spoke up. 
– Being a little braver each day. There are many moments during my Turkey trip where I was a little nervous. But glad that I didn’t allow fear and nerves to get the better of me. 
 
The three things I’m most grateful for from this past month are:
– I am immensely grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been granted. (I’m currently in the California for 5 weeks on a partial scholarship).
– I am grateful for parents who placed a huge emphasis on education, and that they had the funds available to send me to university.
– I am glad that money isn’t a concern. I’m not rich, but I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about where I am going to find the cash to fix my car.
 
The most impactful lesson I learned this past month is: 
Ask. Ask. Ask. If you’re unsure of something, ask, even if you think it’s a silly question. If you’re curious about something or someone, ask. Do not bottle up your questions and curiosity. It could lead to something beautiful.  
 
Nicole’s template had a number of additional questions related to our goals and aspirations for July. I didn’t answer those questions. I plan to spend this month exploring California and taking it all it. I plan to eat as many interesting dishes as possible (as long it’s vegetarian or halaal), meet strangers I befriended on the internet, AND capture it all on film.       

My dad
Last night, I accidentally introduced my dad to YouTube. And when I say accidentally, I mean that I was sitting in my parents’ living room, eating their free food and using their free WIFI to watch THIS awesome video of Beyoncé  and Jay Z’s Paris tour, when my dad walked by. (Please note that my dad thinks Beyoncé  is Britney.) After watching the clip twice, my dad said, “Play some Nicki Minaj. That one where she sings about her boom boom.” (He was of course referring to Super Bass.)

My “niece”
My one-year old “niece” can say a few words. In her vocabulary is “charger” and “money”. I can’t take credit for teaching her that, but I do plan on teaching her to say “wifi”.

Homeless man
A few days ago, I was having lunch at Amy Bun’s place when a beggar rang the doorbell.
Me: We don’t have anything.
Him: Can I speak to the boss please?

Housewarming
A few weeks ago, I attended Dizzy* and Juan’s housewarming party. At some point during the evening, a friend of Juan’s told the group that he’d heard this pick-up line and would like to share it with the group. Being the fun loving bunch that we are, we enthusiastically agreed to hear him out. We soon regretted our decision.
Him: Do you have pet insurance?
Group: Erm … no.
Him: Because tonight your pussy is going to get a pounding.

Weight

On Eid, my brother looked at me and said, “You’ve lost a lot of weight. Did you have diarrhoea?”

Books

I’m still busy reading “Gulp” by Mary Roach. Here’s another delightful quote. This one is taken from Chapter 12:

“One of the earliest flatus studies on record was carried out by the Parisian physician Francois Magendie. In 1816, Magendie published a paper entitled “Note on the Intestinal Gas of a Healthy Man.” The title is misleading, for although the man in question suffered no illness, he was dead and missing his head.”

Running

I’ve signed up for a 16km trail run and the Cape Town Marathon (42km) …

Travel

I am going to Mykonos. I am going to Mykonos. I am going to Mykonos.  

Club Mykonos, not the town in Greece after which the club was named. Club Mykonos is a seaside resort, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Besides swimming, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep us entertained – paintballing, horse riding and archery. And OH MY GOD, I don’t think I will ever be bored there.

And yes, I know that I’ve been incredibly lucky with regards to travelling this year. I’ve spent the first day of the year ziplining from a fort in India; I’ve flown to Johannesburg to watch Joss Stone perform live and cuddled some lion cubs; I’ve run the last 20km of the Comrades Marathon with my dad and cycled along Durban beachfront; I’ve been appalled by service in Cameroon; AND now I’m going to on a paid vacation to Club Mykonos. That’s right someone else is footing my accommodation bill. And before you jump to any conclusions, Fahiema won a weekend’s stay at the resort and she’s taking me along!

Photography

Here’s a link to the 2014 National Geographic photographic competition winners. Spoiler alert: I am not one of the winners.

Guys, enjoy the weekend. Be safe and be kind. 

Rising sun from my apartment

If I had to update my twitter bio, it would read, “Lover of sunsets, coffee and Mary Roach novels.”

Mary Roach is a brilliant writer – she makes science sound fun and accessible. I am currently reading her novel, “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal”.

Below is an extract from chapter 11, which explores the use of the rectum for storing contraband. The term employed for smuggling contraband into the rectum is called “hooping”.

“The preference in California prisons for rectal smuggling is a little surprising given the preponderance of Latinos and African Americans – two populations that are, taken as a whole, somewhat less comfortable with homosexuality. Prison, I’m guessing, is a place where extenuating circumstances erode the stigma that otherwise attaches to extracurricular uses of the rectum.

Rodrigues speaks freely about the situation in Avenal. Rather than antagonize gay inmates, he says, gang leaders tend to employ them. “We call them ‘vaults.’ If they’re reliable, the homies will approach them – ‘Hey, check it out, you want to make some money?'”

Everyone else has to practice to get up to speed. Rodriguez recalls his “cherry” assignment – the blades – as extremely painful. He says gang underlings are made to practice. I picture muscular, tattooed men puttering around the cell with soap bars or salt shakers on board. Lieutenant Parks showed me an 8 X 10 photograph of what he said was a practice item, one that landed the apprentice in Medical Services. Deodorant sticks had been pushed into either end of a cardboard toilet paper tube and wrapped in tape. “As you can see,” he said in his characteristic deadpan, “it’s a rather large piece.” (Rodriguez says that it was hooped on a bet.)

“To avoid anal laceration, dilation may have to be performed progressively over a period of several weeks or months.” This quote comes from a journal, but it is not a corrections industry journal or even an emergency medicine or proctology journal. It’s from the Journal of Homosexuality. A corrections or even a protology journal eould not have gone on, in the very next sentence, to say, “Rowan and Gillette (1978) have described the case of a man who derived sexual pleasure from inflating his rectum with a bicycle tire pump.” (As I did not pursue the reference, I remain ignorant of this man’s fate and whether he exceeded the recommended PSI of the human rectum.)”

I’ve spent the last 7 days in Buea, Cameroon, attending a regional workshop. While there I had the opportunity to fraternize with some of the locals. Each of those interactions left me bewildered. Here are some examples:

 

The taxi driver

One night a few of us went out to “town” for supper. After dining in the only restaurant in town, we hailed a taxi driver.

Taxi driver: You would like to go back to your hotel.

Us: Yes.

Taxi driver: How much will you pay me?

Us: 500 Francs.* That’s what we paid the other taxi driver to drop us here from the hotel.

Taxi driver shakes his head vehemently and drives off, leaving us stranded in the rain. There was no bargaining, just a simple refusal to assist us.

 

The hotel receptionist 

On the last day of my stay, I walked down to the receptionist to settle my bill. After 30 minutes of sorting through paper bills, it was determined that I owed 700 Francs. I paid with a thousand Francs bill.

Receptionist: I don’t have any change for you.

Me: Okay …?

Receptionist: I don’t have any change for you. If you come back later, I might have change for you and then I’ll give it to you. If I don’t have change** for you …

Receptionist shrugs her shoulders.  

In the end, I never got my change.

 

The bus driver

On Wednesday, 7 May, while the rest of my country was voting, I along with fellow workshop attendees went on an excursion to Limbe Wildlife Sanctuary and Limbe Botanical Garden. We went in two buses. On our way from the gardens to the wildlife sanctuary, one of the buses broke down.

Canadian trip coordinator to bus driver, after he’s dropped us off at the sanctuary: Are you going to go back to pick up the others?

Driver: No. That wasn’t part of the arrangement.

Bus driver switches off the bus. End of discussion.

 

*The currency for Cameroon is Central African Francs. 1 US Dollar is equivalent to 450 CAF. 

**Obtaining change in Cameroon seems to be a major issue. No one seems to have change readily available. 

Cameroon life
The above photo was taken in Buea, Cameroon.

Art, elephants, colour, India

Doors - Blue City

Jodhpur walls

Blue City

Boy feeding the raptors

The above photos were taken at the Mehrangarth Fort in Jodhpur. The Mehrangarth Fort is where the latest Batman movie (The Dark Knight Rises) was shot. The Mehrangarth Fort is where I spent the first day of 2014 – ziplining across dams. The Mehrangarth Fort is where I watched a young boy feed dozens of raptors (eagles?) pieces of meat. *Sigh*. I only wish I’d taken more photos to capture the exquisite moments.

Grainy photo
The above grainy photo was taken with my cell phone. I was too afraid of taking my DSLR with me, as I ziplined from one to the other.

I’ve spent the last couple of days in Klapmuts, teambuilding. Our teambuilding activities involved watching TEDx videos, and acting out skits that featured Pik Bothalia from the Naturalist Party (NP) and Julius Mari-na from the Environmental Freedom Fighters (EFF).

My highlight of THIS year’s teambuilding session was Mad Phoenix’s description of dolphins. Most individuals (including conservationists) perceive dolphins as cute and friendly creatures. This perception was shattered when Mad Phoenix proclaimed, “Santa Claus doesn’t exist and dolphins are rapists. Google it!”

A few days ago I wrote a blog post on the highlights of my trips abroad. I that post, I proudly proclaimed that the only thing I loved about Paris, was the Louvre. Seconds after posting that, I stumbled on THIS blog post. And now I’m all, “Ooooh pretty. Perhaps I was too hasty. Perhaps I should give Paris a second chance?”

Anyway, here’s part 2 of my travel highlights.

Garden Route (2010) – Watching a woman get stabbed in Jeffrey’s Bay, for daring to steal another man’s alcohol. Ha, I kid. I didn’t actually see her get stabbed. I just saw her prone, bleeding body in the street. Nah, I think that the highlight of this trip would be the treetop zip-lining.

Bali (2011) – Running through streets of Bali during a thunderstorm. It was frightening and exhilarating and I’d never before experienced anything like it. The other highlight of my trip was experiencing my very first earthquake.

Lombok (2011) – Snorkelling. I suffer from claustrophobia. I freak out in tiny dark spaces (and yet I did an underground tunnel tour of the city), and hate having a mask cover my mouth and nose. Preparing myself mentally for the task was the best decision of my life. I swam above a turtle and saw so many incredible looking fish. I tried to memorise the colours and shape of each and every fish. I wanted to describe each fish in detail. It was just such a wonderful experience.

Kula Lumpur (2011) – Eating authentic Indian food off a banana leaf.

New Orleans (2011) – The ghost and phantom tour. Our guide was a comedic genius and I loved every minute of the tour.

Washington DC (2011) – The Lincoln Monument. There’s just something so majestic about the statue. It might just be its size.

Washington

 Photos taken in Washington DC.