Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Driving in Dublin

If there is one thing you should know about the inner city and suburbs of Dublin, is that majority of roads are all single lane, so you are going nowhere in a hurry!!!

It's Single lanes, with a cycle lane to the left - Cyclist are a law unto themselves, but then again so are pedestrians and Motor Cycles - oh and then there are the buses and taxi's.

Let's first talk about Cyclists!!!

So in the last 3 - 4 years, cycling has become more and more popular with people choosing this mode of transport to get to work and back.  There is the considerate law abiding cyclist (that are few and far between), they wear the high viz jackets, stop at every Red traffic light, look back to see if there are on coming cars before overtaking another cyclist.    Then there are those that just don't do any of these things, and think they are invinsible because they know that if they get knocked over, it is always the drivers (motorcar) fault.   Oh and don't get me started on the recreational cyclists who ride 1, 2, 3 or sometimes even 4 a breast.



Then there are the Motor Bikes

Majority of these are very good at sticking to the rules of the road, however there are those Novice drivers who insist on driving in the cycle lane??????   Do they not know there is a reason it is called a cycle lane ... what is with that?

Pedestrians 

Oh lordy lordy where do we begin, there is obviously no law against jaywalkers, I remember being in Pleasanton in California a few years back, and jaywalking is totally illegal, pedestrians are scared of the cops and just DO NOT jaywalk.  Well Dublin, Ireland - firstly no-one is scared of the cops, secondly it's very hard to find a cop at all. (But that is a whole othe post).

 Pedestrians know they have "right-of-way", so if you knock over a pedestrian be prepared to go to court, because they will sue you, no matter if they were wrong in the first place!

I just found this on the Internet :  “Ireland actually has a ‘jay-walking’ law, even if hardly anyone knows it is there and enforcement is unheard of.” Says Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. “If you are within 50 metres of a pedestrian crossing then you must use that crossing to cross the road. Theoretically. In reality anyone who has ever been a pedestrian in an Irish town will tell you that the rules are completely ignored. Tourists often think we are insane and they may be right as our behaviour crossing road is dangerous.” 

Some days you will find 50 pedestrians jaywalking at one time in all different directions, especially around St. Patricks Cathedral!



Buses 

Well they just think they own the road and can pull out at anytime, I must say they are not as bad as cyclist, motor bikers and pedestrians or even taxi's, and after all they are providing a service for the public, those that don't drive or cycle.

Taxi's

Again a law unto themselves, they are allowed to use the bus lanes and ALWAYS do, they wizz past traffic using the bus lane and then just push into the traffic, where and when they feel like it.  They stop at anytime and anywhere and don't give a hoot if they are creating a traffic jam!

The Horse and Carraige

These can be found all over Dublin City Centre and especially rond the tourist attractions.  I don't mind them so much because I think they are a novalty, however they also cause traffic jams and don't give a damn about anyone else.

Runners

I almost forgot about the runners, who think they are doing a marathon on a daily basis, but then again most of them are not too bad!

So if you are new to Dublin or a tourist, honestly don't drive in the City centre it can be very frustrating!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Was Rene Zellweger abducted by Aliens and an imposter taken over?

 
 
I just think there is no way someone can change their looks so drastically, even the eyes are different and normally when someone changes their face, you can still recognize them from their eyes.
 
Has she perhaps been kidnapped and held hostage while someone else claims her fame?
 
 
Was she abducted by Aliens?  From the photo above, even the neck bones seem different - has anyone done a DNA test to ensure it is her?
 
 
What do you think ?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Why people leave South Africa ....

Note: I am not writing this post to stir up a hornets nest or to be hung out and lambasted because of what I say, these are just my own thoughts on leaving South Africa. I am not a proffessional writer and my thoughts maybe all over the place.

Before I go into my reasons that I think people leave South Africa I have to go back to where we came from.  I am still and always will be a patriotic South African but I don't see myself living there again, at the age of 51, I don't want to start over again.  So here are my thoughts ... 

I often wondered where my origins started as my mothers family had been in South Africa for a couple of hundred years before I came along.  They were or could have been part of the French Huguenots that landed in the Cape in 1687 or they may have arrived at a later stage.

So when we were visiting Paris recently and of course my mothers maiden name which is "Marais" seems quite prominent in the districts of Paris - Le Marais is the closest you will get to the feel of medieval Paris and has more pre-revolutionary buildings and streets left intact than any other area in Paris. A glance at some of the beautiful buildings and houses indicates the wealthy status of the former residents. After the revolution, much of the area was abandoned by the rich, and poor bohemian types moved in. 

My mothers Mother maiden name was "De Villiers", so I had to ask why and how did they come to South Africa, I tried doing the whole genealogy thing, but there were too many Marais and too many with the same first name, so I really just gave that up.  So lets just concentrate on the French Huguenots arriving in South Africa. 

Who were the French Huguenots?

The Huguenots were French Protestants most of whom eventually came to follow the teachings of John Calvin, and who, due to religious persecution, were forced to flee France to other countries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Some remained, practicing their Faith in secret. 

The Protestant Reformation began by Martin Luther in Germany about 1517, spread rapidly in France, especially among those having grievances against the established order of government. As Protestantism grew and developed in France it generally abandoned the Lutheran form, and took the shape of Calvinism. 

The new "Reformed religion" practiced by many members of the French nobility and social middle-class, based on a belief in salvation through individual faith without the need for the intercession of a church hierarchy and on the belief in an individuals right to interpret scriptures for themselves, placed these French Protestants in direct theological conflict with both the Catholic Church and the King of France in the theocratic system which prevailed at that time. Followers of this new Protestantism were soon accused of heresy against the Catholic government and the established religion of France, and a General Edict urging extermination of these heretics (Huguenots) was issued in 1536. 

Nevertheless, Protestantism continued to spread and grow, and about 1555 the first Huguenot church was founded in a home in Paris based upon the teachings of John Calvin. The number and influence of the French Reformers (Huguenots) continued to increase after this event, leading to an escalation in hostility and conflict between the Catholic Church/State and the Huguenots. Finally, in 1562, some 1200 Huguenots were slain at Vassey, France, thus igniting the French Wars of Religion which would devastate France for the next thirty-five years. 

The Edict of Nantes, signed by Henry IV in April, 1598, ended the Wars of Religion, and allowed the Huguenots some religious freedoms, including free exercise of their religion in 20 specified towns of France. 

The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in October, 1685, began a new persecution of the Huguenots, and hundreds of thousands of Huguenots fled France to other countries. The Promulgation of the Edict of Toleration in November, 1787, partially restored the civil and religious rights of Huguenots in France. 

Since the Huguenots of France were in large part artisans, craftsmen, and professional people, they were usually well-received in the countries to which they fled for refuge when religious discrimination or overt persecution caused them to leave France. 

Most of them went initially to Germany, the Netherlands, and England, although some found their way eventually to places as remote as South Africa. 

 Considerable numbers of Huguenots migrated to British North America, especially to the Carolina's, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. 

Their character and talents in the arts, sciences, and industry were such that they are generally felt to have been a substantial loss to the French society from which they had been forced to withdraw, and a corresponding gain to the communities and nations into which they settled. 

Here is another link with interesting facts about the Huguenots 

If you think about it, it is so similar to what is happening today, people in the middle East and Africa fleeing their countries by the boat load on a daily basis in search of a better country, only these days they don't encounter open spaces to settle, but are faced with incarceration in a detention centre some for a few years before they are re-settled in a country in Europe.   But that is a whole different post, especially in light of over population in the world today!


Facebook 

There have been a lot of debates on Facebook recently with people wanting to leave South Africa because of the crime, and of course some slating them because of their choices.  I am sure hundreds of years ago when people were fleeing France because of persecution, people were probably doing exactly the same.  

If any of you have been following my blog or my interview on the expats blog you will know that I never left South Africa, we decided to go on a working holiday and somehow we just never went back, not that we did not think about it all the time as our plan was only to spend 5 years abroad and then go home.

In our case when you finally realize that there is no going back, mainly due to our situation it stirs up all those emotions that people who decide to leave for good have.   The depression, the anxiety, the loneliness.

People have been migrating from Europe to South Africa backwards and forwards for centuries.  I am sure not all the French Huguenots stayed, some of them must have returned.  

So why do people leave South Africa

This is a choice a personal difficult choice, when they find that they can no longer live in a country that cannot guarantee their safety.  That dictates to companies who they can and cannot employ.   When friends and or family are being attacked and murdered and you fear your own safety, when you feel that you can no longer live like that.

I have read some horrific stories on Facebook recently, the debates are endless, back in the 90's at the end of apartheid when people were leaving in droves, the called it "the chicken run" and yes I was one of those as well, when my friends and their parents were leaving for Canada and the UK, I said they were on the Chicken run.

But one day I sat back and spoke to my best friend who was born in Scotland and I said to her, why don't you leave you have a passport, and she said I love South Africa, I love the weather and if the Sh!t hits the fan, the British Embassy will protect me as I am a british subject, if there is war they will fly us all back to the UK.    

Where did that leave me, I was South African through and through for the past 300 years my family had been there, we were so mixed in culture, from being solely from a French background on my mothers side, I then found out that my mother's grandmother was German and there was Dutch somewhere along the line too.   My father destroyed all his papers and although we thought he came from Australia there was hints of Scotts and Irish too, so if I wanted to leave I had to do it on my own, with No help from the family tree.  


Our New Home 

We have been in Ireland now for 14 years, my daughter was born here it is the ony home she knows.  She loves South Africa and she knows it was our home, but she has said that she never wants to live there.  She loves the fact that she can climb on her bicycle and ride down the road to Girl Guides on a Friday or ride to her friends house.  We do have a burgler alarm and there is crime in our area, but it would be classed as Petty theft if you lived in SA.  

There are a few murders, but most of these are drug related and unfortunately there have been a few murders because of mistaken identity.  Recently we have had a few car jackings, but very very seldom are people killed, tortured or raped.   My aunt was raped in SA while she was visiting her late husband's grave to put flowers on the grave.

For now I choose to be here in Ireland but who knows this may change in a few years time, we just wait and see.  

Priceless things my Daughter has said over the years ..... #Emily

Emily recently celebrated her 12th birthday and I was thinking about priceless things she had said growing up and here are a few.

#1.   When we lived in an apartmet block in Milltown on the 3rd floor and she was about 3 years old, I asked her to go and call the lift which was right out side our apartment door, she went out and called "Lift, Lift", it was so adorable.

#2.  When showing her how to put her runners on, I said before she laces them she need to pull out the tongue, my adorable 3 year old, stuck out "her" tongue!

#3.  We have a picture of a lot of famous Hollywood actors and actresses hanging on the wall, her father used to carry her up to the picture and poing out Elvis and say that's daddy and then poing out Marilyn Monroe (I wish) and say that's Mommy, so first year at school she told everyone her father was Elvis - poor child was mocked! (Never do this to your kids).

#4.  I was rescued from a sinking ship *The Oceanos* back in 1991, I was telling Emily about it at some stage, when a few years ago they were doing The Titanic at school, she told her teacher that her mom was on the Titanic! (Face in Palm, shake head).


Loving Summer...#Summer 2015

I thought I would share some photos of our climbing Rose bush in our back garden, it always seems to be in full bloom at the beginning of June when it's Emily's birthday.





Yesterday we played badminton in the garden and it seemed to have even more Roses than when I took these photos on Emily's birthday, will have to take some more! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Statue Debacle

In South Africa at the moment the locals seem to have a problem with Statues that represent "Apartheid" or anything that is not African, I know this can spark many debates but as a new Irish person and still a South African Citizen I just need to voice my opinion on this.

My question is "Why", many of the statues are from pre-apartheid, and are of people who helped build South Africa to what it is today.  If Jan Van Riebeeck and all the discoverers had not landed on South African soil, where would South Africa be today?

I don't agree with Apartheid or any of the wrong doings that people have done, but surely to have peace and reconciliation, the past should be left in the past.

Ireland for instance was occupied by Britain for over 800 years and yes statues that represented the occupation have been removed "civilly", Queen Victoria for one, the statue was removed from it's position in front of Leinster house (parliament) and sent to Sydney where is now stands in front of the Victoria shopping Mall.

So Why do we need to be barbaric and burn or decapitate these Statues in South Africa, if the ANC government insist on removing them, then do so - maybe Holland would like the one of Jan Van Riebeeck.

Most people that came to South Africa were seeking a better life and trying to escape persecution, which is exactly what is still happening today.  People from all over Africa are trying to escape persecution or hardship in their own country and are coming to South Africa.  Just like the Zimbabweans.

I can't believe that the ANC government welcomed Robert Mugabe with open arms when his people are doing everything to get into South Africa because he has ruined his country so much so that his people are starving.

Why not move these statues to the Apartheid Museum or to the Voortrekker monument so that people can see who the "evil" orchestrators of apartheid were, but burning and decapitating that's just barbaric.

I just get so Angry with what the ANC allow to happen in it's beautiful country, and I worry for my friends and family still there, what does the future hold.  Since leaving in 2001 I have always dreamt I would one day go back, but with events unfolding in front of me and being and outsider looking in, will I ever go back now?  I don't know.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ex-Pat Blog Comments

I haven't for a long time gone back to the interview I had with the Expats Blog until today.  I found many people had left comments which I only found out today, my apologies for not getting back to anyone of you with regards to your questions: -  Unfortunately I don't get notified when anyone leaves a message for me on the Expats Blog, so here I am going to just go through some of the comments that were left.

                       Maria Roll wrote 1 year ago: Rose and Derrick Have the right attitude.They decided to immigrate, got there.. embrassed, respected and adapted to Irish living, unlike some people that immigrate to another country and demand the host country to adapt to them. Good luck Rose and Dirreck you are doing SA proud whatever your future plans are.

Thanks Maria, miss you tons!!!

                      Susi wrote 1 year ago: Hi guys. I'm new here and just wanted to say Hello. Loved reading this interview. I have always wanted to visit Ireland and one day that dream will come true. For now I'll just enjoy reading about it! Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for the great message Susi!

                    Catherine wrote 1 year ago: Hi Guys, Thanks for your blog, its amazing how far you've come, I admire you so much for this. My husband & I are planning on moving to Dublin,Ireland. My mom & dad live in Germany & is a citizen there, but she also wants to join us there to live in Dublin. My parents are pastors of a church in Germany, but want to move cos of church ministry purposes. My husband is in the Building Management Business & we are finding it a bit difficult finding jobs in Ireland while we are here. Most applications come back saying we need to be there in order for consideration. Please can you give us some advise on steps to take & how to go about moving. thanks so much. regards Catherine

Catherine - please send my your email address and I can mail you

                    Ilze Heydenrych wrote 11 months ago: I loved reading the blog. Took me quite a while, as I went right back to the beginning! I am also in IT and came across the blog and this site when I researched the possibilities of finding a job in Ireland. I desperately want to move to Ireland! Any ideas or advise? Regards Ilze

Ilze where are you from?  There are loads of IT jobs in Ireland at the moment so long as you have a European passport, what do you do - the company I work for are employing!

                    Dennis Mkhulisi wrote 9 months ago: Hey Rose\r\n\r\nThanks for a fresh insight on the expat life. Am a medical officer and tried once to \"recharge\" my batteries by working in Canada. Age cut-off (50yrs)and family commitments made me shelve the idea. However, it\'s good to know that we have to appreciate things that we take for granted (eg a good banking system, the weather etc).\r\nAm 58yrs old now and cherish the hope of travelling the world on a working holiday-staying in a country, work thrice a week for nominal pay, board and travel a bit... Wishing your family well. Cheers!!

Thanks Dennis for the comments I hope it all works out for you :)

deStijl Hotel - Gariep, Karoo, South Africa

While writing about my trip to Paris and various highlights I remembered that I was going to do the same with our trip to South Africa but have not done it yet.

For those of you who follow my blog, we spent 3 weeks in South Africa in December visiting friends and family and having a holiday too.  Our trip started in Jo'burg and we drove down to Kimberly, Outshoorn, the wilderness and Cape Town, and then on the way back we stopped just outside Colesburg and back to Jo'burg.

While I was looking for accommodation for the way back, most of the really nice hotels and B&B's were just so expensive especially as all you really want is a bed to lay your head on. 

I found the deStijl Hotel in the Karoo - Gariep, most of the time I don't read the review and go on instincts but this time I did a bit of research, some people liked it some people didn't but I thought we would give it a try.   We arrived late in the evening in December just before Christmas and the hotel was packed.  Some idiot in a big SUV had parked over 2 parking spaces and of course one of them was ours, however the hotel soon found the person and got them to park properly.

All I can say about this hotel is WOW it's like a 5 star haven in the middle of the desert, the cost for one night accommodation for 3 of us was R1,370 about €100 bed only.   For this we got a clean apartment type room, with a "mini" kitchen, two super king size beds and a beautiful bathroom with a rain shower, a humungous balcony that overlooked the Dam.

Not since our holiday in Zimbabwe have I seen so many Stars, there was nothing I could fault this hotel on, the food in the Restaurant was outstanding, the rooms so comfortable and the view just breath taking, I wish I could have stayed longer, I wish I could live there in this quiet peaceful haven.  I will go back and when I go back I will stay for longer. 

So if you are looking for somewhere to stay between Cape Town and Johannesburg, my recommendation is The deStijl Hotel, Gariep - but don't just stay for one night, stay for 2 or more and discover what the Karoo has to offer. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

BLACKLANE TAXI

I mentioned in a previous post that I arranged a taxi from the airport, as this was our first time arriving in Paris and late at night we weren't sure how the buses, trains etc. ran so I did a bit of internet research and found the Blacklane Tax service, it was the best thing I had ever done.

I received update text messages from the time we left Dublin to say that the driver would be at the airport to pick us up and to let them know we had landed.  We landed early and as they had our flight details they were constantly checking on our flight.  When we came into the arrivals hall, our driver was waiting for us with a Tablet with our name on in Big bold letters.

He helped with the luggage and took us outside to where our Black Mercedes Benz was waiting.  Em and I sat at the back, between us was an arm rest with cup holders which contained a bottle of water and a glass of sweets, much to Em's delight! 

It was about a 25 minute journey from the Airport but so smooth riding in style.  Our driver found the place with no problem at all.  Once he helped us with the luggage he drove off.  All payments were taken directly from the Credit card about 2 days after the event.  I will definitely use them again as they were so professional  The trip from Charles De Gaul Roissy Airport to the Republique Metro cost us only €52.00 including a tip, whereas friends of ours paid over €70 with a normal taxi from the same airport.

So if you are ever in Paris do it in Style and take a Blacklane Taxi!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Moulin Rouge Birthday Treat

So Thursday was also my birthday and I had long wanted to see the show at the Moulin Rouge, we managed to get tickets for the 11PM show which were a lot less than all the other show, it just meant it would be a late night especially for Emily.


We took the Metro to Blanche and were surprised when we came out that the Moulin Rouge was right there.  We then went and had a bite to eat and headed over about 10:30 the queue was already down the road.  When I booked the tickets it said that the dress code was no runners, jeans and men should wear a suit.  I guess maybe that is the dress code for all shows except the 11PM show as most people especially the men were in Jeans and runners.  But needless to say, my man was wearing suit trousers, good shoes and a tie.  (He was not very impressed).

The show was 2 and a half hours long and what a show, it really felt like you were back in the 50's, it was very retro.  I am so glad I saw it as the first time I visited Paris I did not have the money to go to the show, so this was a real treat for me! 
 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Thursday .... still Paris and sore feet

So we left the apartment rather later than normal - I was intending to visit our Paris office after a visit to the Louvre, however after Skyping J-C he said it's better for us to come early.  So off we went to the Metro 9 and out at Rooseveldt Franklin Station where we came out at the Champs Elysees right by the Disney Store and the Citroen shop and our office is literally round the corner.

It was so nice to meet the guys that I work with and Nicolas who I had not seen since we attended a training course together in London in 2013.  After a coffee and a chat we headed over to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa.

I was really disappointed not so much with the fact that the Mona Lisa is not very big, but the fact that the Louvre do not have any organization, they should have a roped off area where everyone can file past, but it was just total Chaos, I thought I was at a Rock Concert with everyone trying to get to the front to see the artist. 

And of course they have put The Mona Lisa behind glass because everyone just ignores the rules regarding flash photography.  There is so much to see in the Louvre, we really only touched on it and saw the Spanish and Italian section and a few statues.  And of course we went upstairs and the rains came down, so we headed over to my favourite lunch place "Pret-a-manger" for a prawn and crayfish sandwich and a cappuccino.  At least you can get away having a really good lunch with soft drinks, coffee and sandwiches, including crisps and apple for €20.00 and everything is really fresh.

Lafayette

After lunch we head over to Lafayette to see the inside of the shop, wow is all I can say, I will post photographs here later.   It looked like a theatre inside, really really awesome and of course every known designer brand and perfumery you can think of, and the prices ..... well we won't go there!  We headed up to the top floor (8th), to see the view but because of the rain we could barely make out the Eiffel tower through the clouds.





We then headed back to the apartment for a rest as it was going to be a late night, but did not have too much of a rest.

Judging from the Queue for personal shopping at "Chanel" in Lafayette, the Chinese have all the disposable income as there was no one else in the queues except them.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Paris Hop on Hop Off bus and free coffee in Paris ...

Wednesday: We went over to the Big Bus company near the Opera to fetch our hop on hop off tickets for the day, which comes free with the Paris Pass - the lady wasn't very friendly first thing in the morning, but we did find out that we could have picked them up the previous day and she could have validated them for any day our Paris Pass was valid for.

Couple of things about those Hop on Hop off buses that I always forget, if you sit upstairs it is going to be cold, especially on a chuking filly day that we had, although it is the best way to see the "most" of Paris remember to take Scarf / hat / Gloves/ thermals etc. or otherwise sit downstairs - but of course you don't get the view down stairs that you get upstairs.

We first did the full route that takes you past all the tourist attractions including:

The Arc De Triomphe
The Eiffel Tower
Along the Champs Elysees
The Louvre
The Opera House
All the Palaces and famous bridges

But you can see the route here

How to get a free coffee in Paris:

Once we had done the full route, we then got off at the Opera and headed down to the Lafayette to "Pret a Manger" for some lunch, we discovered it on Monday when D and I went to Printemps to see the view.   They always have nice sandwiches, pastries and coffee.

After Lunch we had to go to the Lindt store to get Em an ice-cream (of course) and then I saw the "Nespresso" shop, there is a Nespresso machine in the apartment and I have been wanting to get myself one for ages, so after talking to one of the sales men I purchased 10 capsules for €4.50 he then told me to go downstairs and get a coffee, so I called D and we both headed down for a FREE cup of coffee, the reason I go on about it is because a small coffee in a Parisian Café costs between €4.50 and €5.00 a cup, so to get 10 capsules and a free coffee is a real bargain.

And apparently you can do this in any City where there is a Nespresso shop, so long as you are buying something in the shop, you get a free coffee.

Later:  The Opera House and the Eiffel Tower

We headed into the Opera House, however all the English guided tours were finished for the day, so we just did our own thing.  Looked around took loads of photos and then headed for the shop and exit.  Will post all my photos later.

We then got back on the Hop on Hop off bus and headed out to the Eiffel tower.  Although it was windy and cold on the bus, when the sun came out it was really nice and warm.  We got to the Eiffel tower and once again had to queue and that cold wind from the snow on the alps was cutting right through us.

What a majestic structure, it was well worth the wait in the cold to get on the vernacular and go up to the 2nd level and then from there to head up to the Summit, we saw some awesome views and the one that really struck me was from the 2nd level looking towards the Sacré Cour.  The view from the Summit was just as awesome, but I was glad to get down to the bottom where it was much warmer.
 
 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Paris

So last year I had a big birthday and two of my friends each bought me a gift voucher for Aer Lingus which is our national airline here in Dublin.   I used one of the vouchers on a business trip to London and the other I decided to book us a week in Paris - because of course a week-end is just not long enough to see everything.

We took the late flight out on Saturday night and arrived in Paris at 20:30, as a surprise I had organized an executive taxi service from the airport Blacklane who were just brilliant, they cost less than a normal taxi from Charles De Gaul airport.   I received a text message saying that the driver had arrived before we came out, and there was our driver in his suit with an iPad with our name on it.

The Black Mercedes was parked outside with all kinds of treats in the taxi.  It was so well worth it, we drove in comfort for 40 minutes to our apartment in the heart of Paris.  Our drive was really quiet but very friendly.

Sunday:  On Sunday morning we got the Metro over to Opera from Republique - If you are reading this and intending doing a trip to Paris, we are 2 adults and an eleven year old child.  On Sunday I asked for a family ticket and they told me that children were a special price on a Sunday but the tickets still ended up costing us over €25.00 where on Monday we got 3 Adult day tickets for in and around Paris and it was only €21.00. 

We met Bran and Laurie at Starbucks close to the Opera House and from there we walked, and walked and walked - we walked past the Opera to the Lafayette Shopping centre which was closed, as will as Printemps, but it was lovely looking at the windows and the fashions for Spring.   We then headed over to the Chámps Elysées and walked up the Chámps Elysées to the Arc de triomphe and then over to the Eiffel Tower, it took us all day but then it was a long way.  We also did not rush and stopped in at the Citroen shop so that the "Kids" could go down the slide, look at the link, it's quite a weird thing to have in a Citroen shop.  We also had lunch at an Italian Restaurant - don't know how they get away with charging €5.00 for a cup of coffee or a Coke, it's just ludicrous.

After the Eiffel Tower, Bran came back with us as we made plans to meet him and Laurie at the Chatelet Metro, as they were taking Em to Disneyland for the day.

Monday:  Up at sparrows fart, to get to Chatelet by 8:30 a.m. once D and I dropped off Em we headed back to Opera and over to the Printemps department Store.  It only opened at 9:30, so we went over to the coffee shop across the road to try and get some breakfast.  Breakfast consisted of a cappuccino, Raisin Danish and apple for me, a cappuccino and a banana for Derrick, but still worked out to the cheapest meal we had in Paris yet.  The Printemps departments store has a restaurant on the very top floor which overlooks the whole of Paris and was the only reason I wanted to go there.   There is a nice write up here about it.   D and I took some great photos and then headed down to use the luxury public toilets on the 1st floor for a cost of €1.50 (and really not so luxurious), but at least they were clean, although I have found Paris to be mostly clean.

We then headed back to the Metro to get the Metro out to the Pére Lachaise cemetery as D wanted to see "Jim Morrison's" grave which is in the same cemetery as some other famous people like "Oskar Wilde" and "Frederic Chopin" and many others including "Edith Piaf".   We left there after many hours of walking through rows and rows of dead people.   We stopped for lunch close to the Metro at Café Richard and then took the Metro to the Rex Cinema to go and fetch our Paris Pass and then home.    After doing a bit of shopping, Bran called to say they were on the train headed back from Disneyland, so we hopped on the metro again and of to Chatalét to meet them all.  From Chatalet we took a metro to "Olympiades" to go and check out "Bercy Village" a quaint little village with loads of places to eat, we had dinner at "Chai 33" which was very elegant and the food was very very nice.  

Tuesday:  Today we lazily got up after 9:00 a.m. we then went off to fetch our hop on hop off bus ticket, but abandoned that idea after they told us we would have to use it today, so back we will go tomorrow for 9:30 in order to get an all day use out of it.  So we then headed off to Notre Dame to meet up with Bran and Laurie for the last time, before they headed back to St. Tropez to the day jobs on a luxurious yacht!

I can't believe how many tourists there are in Paris, every where you go is mobbed.  So we went into Notre Dame after queuing up for what seemed hours, it was very beautiful inside, but what gets to me is the lavishness and money spent on the catholic churches.  Surely when poor people see how much money the church has they must wonder about religion.

After Notre Dame we found somewhere for lunch, where I had "French Snails" in Garlic butter, they were very nice!  And they were still in their shells. After lunch we left Bran and Laurie as they headed off to catch their train, we walked over to the "lock" bridge, this is the bridge with all the "love locks" - we heard the next day on the bus tour that this started as a fad in 2006 where lovers would lock a key to the fence on the bridge and then throw the key into the Sein River, after the last episode of "Sex in the City" where Big comes to Paris to fetch Carrie and propose to her, it became even more popular to do this.  There are places all over Europe where these locks of love can be seen, I remember we saw one on the bridge over the Danube in Vienna, and in a park in Budapest. 



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Am I the one who holds all my friendships together?

I don't make new years resolutions, but at the start of the year I decided that I would not contact any of my friends and see how long it took them to contact me first.

I have been in my adopted country now for 14 years and have made many friends, mainly from companies I have worked for, so who long did that last - well I broke down in February when it was Bob's birthday and called him, he didn't answer, I didn't leave a message - but he called back and we had a really nice long chat.

So now it's just past St. Patrick's day and of the old crowd that I always organize the "Get togethers" - I have spoken to Bob and Trsh who I happened to bump it at my favourite Coffee shop, who hadn't replied to any of my email or text messages, but was thrilled to see me ... or was that just a put on?

Maybe my expectations of my friends is just too much, we're not all the same and perhaps we outgrow each other and don't feel the need to see one another or talk to one another that often anymore.  I was told by a friend in South Africa that she sees me on Facebook all the time, so it feels like she is in contact with me all the time, is that just an excuse for not making actual contact with someone?  Have we become reliant on our Social Media to feel close to our friends? 


On another side frenimies that I have not kept in touch with for reasons other than I have been too busy, have suddenly crept out of the woodwork.  I bumped into my ex boss on a flight back from London, she pretended not to see me, was so funny as there is a story there.  Then Pete who came to visit us in Dublin about 3 years ago and then dropped off the face of the earth, called.  I got a weird email from the mother of one of  Em's frenimies who hadn't spoken to me since last year August, I replied but heard nothing since.  And then an old work colleague phoned and started asking really rude personal questions about our finances, so I cut him short .... I think I have become so less tolerant in my more mature years. 

I guess at times you discover who really are your real friends.  

I guess once again, I am going to be the one to pick up the phone and phone all those people I haven't spoken to in ages, make arrangements to see them and then see once again how long it will take before they contact me again, or will I just be the one who reaches out all the time?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

South Africa - December 2014 - The frist 5 days!

We've just returned from a 3 week trip to South Africa, which I spent all year planning and looking forward to, and now I can't believe it is over.

We had the most amazing wonderful holiday, stayed in some really awesome accommodation and overall had a wonderful time seeing friends and family and reconnecting. 

This time there was only one thing that pissed me off and that was the fact that whenever people mention the fact that you are travelling on Euro's and because the exchange rate favor's the Euro we are so rich, well firstly people don't seem to understand that unlike everyone else I have not had an increase since I came to this country almost 14 years ago now.  

In that time South Africa has become so expensive, accommodation, eating out etc.  After I have spent most of my money on Airfare, accommodation, gifts - I cannot afford to pay for your meal, also it would be nice to be treated seeing as we made the effort to come over and spend our well earned vacation time with you.

But besides that little gripe, most of our friends and family were most hospitable and we are grateful to them.

After flying 6000km's to Johannesburg, we then did over 4000km's by road our trip was absolutely amazing.

Day  1:    Arrived in Johannesburg and as it turned out due to load shedding, we could not get through to Fourways where we were staying to we did a detour past the South where Sylvia was hosting a party for all the kids in the South.

Day  2:    Met our friends and family members at the Indaba Hotel for Breakfast, Thank you Gwen, Shemila, Larissa, Trevor, Kirsten, Paul, Denise, Joe, Carla, Carol, Shannon, Daniel, Candice and all the Rowe Family.  After Breakfast we took a drive through to the folks and then met Gwen and John at Monte Casino for dinner.

Day  3:    Drove through to Kwandabele to see my old mom Johanna and Monde - we tried to get her some shopping but due to power outages, the shops, banks and everything was closed.    We stopped in Pretoria on the way back hoping to see my Niece and Paul and Elliott, we met up with Paul & Elliot in a shopping centre for coffee, always good to see them.  We then met the family for Dinner at Tony's in Randparkridge.

Day   4:    We left at 10:00 on our journey to Cape Town, we negotiated our way out of the city and onto the highway, glad to leave Johannesburg and her load shedding behind us and the city and head to the open Country.  This was a road I had only ever travelled along as far as Klerksdorp, which was also a very long time ago.  So it was exciting seeing new scenery and seeing all the old mines, some which I had been to and some not.   Travelling through Wolmaransstad was quite a challenge as we hit a major downpour and could not see 2 feet in front of us.  Jhb - Potchefstroom - Klerksdorp - Wolmaransstad - Bloemhof - Christiana and finally Kimberly.  Our first stop Kimberly the town where Diamonds were discovered in 1866.  We were staying in the Protea Hotel which over looked the "Big Hole" It was great to get out of the car, Emily went for a swim and we sat and had a drink at the pool!   We had a good old South African Braai, with Pap and sous and as much meat as you could eat.

Day   5:     We had breakfast in the dining room which was a bit of a rip off at R130 per person, but we had to eat and we wanted to get to the "Big Hole" and the museum before leaving for the next leg of our journey to Oudtshoorn which was a good 800 km drive.  We headed over to the museum and then managed to leave by 11:00.   The Kimberley road to the Cape was very good considering it was only one lane traffic either side.   We stopped at a little side road café to replenish our drinks and buy some Biltong, a road trip is not a road trip without biltong.    We finally arrived in Oudtshoorn at about 7PM, thank goodness it was still light.  We checked into the Protea hotel where our room was a Rondawel next to the hotel and headed out to the town in search of somewhere to eat.   We found a lovely restaurant / beer hall and I had a wonderful "Ostrich Salad" which was to die for and then back to the hotel for a good nights sleep.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What Year was it ...?

When I was 17 ...

Lady Dianna Spence Married Prince Charles
Simon and Garfunkel performed the Concert in Central Park
The first American Test Tube baby was born
John Lennon was killed the year before


Music

Betty Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes
  • Endless Love – Diana Ross / Lionel Richie
  • Lady – Kenny Rogers
  • (Just Like) Starting Over – John Lennon
  • Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield
  • One That You Love – Air Supply
  • Tide Is High – Blondie
  • 9 to 5 – Dolly Parton
  • Queen of Hearts – Juice Newton
  • Kiss on My List – Hall & Oates
  • Being With You – Smokey Robinson
  • Celebration – Kool & the Gang
  • Tainted Love – Soft Cell


  • People Who Died

    • Bill Haley (b. 1925) – One of the 1st American rock & roll musicians – His group Bill Haley & His Comets had the hit song “Rock Around the Clock.”
    • Joe Louis (b. 1914) – Heavyweight boxer – nicknamed “The Brown Bomber”
    • Bob Marley (b. 1945) – Jamaican singer / musician – “I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “Jammin,” & “Redemption Song”
    • Jenny Maxwell (b. 1941) – Actress – played Ellie Corbett alongside Elvis in Blue Hawaii
    • William Wyler (b. 1902) – Movie Director – Mrs. Miniver, The Best Years of Our Lives, Ben-Hur, Wuthering Heights, The Little Foxes, The Heiress, Roman Holiday
    • Vera-Ellen (b. 1921) – Actress / Dancer – Known for her dance partnerships w/ Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly & Donald O’Connor – Appeared in White Christmas
    • William Holden (b. 1918) – Actor – Golden Boy, Streets of Laredo, Sabrina, Love is a Many-Splendored Thing, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Casino Royale, The Towering
      Inferno, S.O.B.
    • Jack Albertson (b. 1907) – Actor – as Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Ed Brown in Chico & the Man, John Cleary in The Subject Was Roses, Manny Rosen in The Poseidon Adventure, Vic Davis in Top Banana, & Dr. J. Wilson Shields in Man of a Thousand Faces
    • Natalie Wood (b. 1938) – Actress – as Susan Walker in Miracle on 34th Street, Anna Muir as a child in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Judy in Rebel Without a Cause, Maria in West Side Story, Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy, & Maggie DuBois in The Great Race
    • Hoagy Carmichael (b. 1899) – Composer / Actor – Wrote melody to “Stardust” & collaborated with Johnny Mercer on “Lazybones,” “Skylark,” & “In the Cool, Cool, Coll of the Evening” and acted in To Have and Have Not, Young Man with a Horn, & The Best Years of Our Lives.
    • Hans Adolf Krebs (b. 1900) – German physician/biochemst who won a Nobel Prize for identifying 2 metabolic cycles: the urea cycle & the citric acid cycle aka the Krebs cycle.
     

    Friday, September 19, 2014

    "Speak like a Pirate Day"

    Yes today the 19th of September is "Speak like a Pirate Day" Aye!!!!

    What an interestin' time it must have been when t' pirate's were around! "

    Clew Bay in Ireland was a safe haven for many a pirate, did you know that?


    Clew Bay
    The west coast of Ireland might not seem like prime pirate territory, but in the 16th century the rugged shores of Clew Bay served as the stronghold for of one of history’s most formidable lady corsairs. During a time when Ireland was ruled by dozens of local chieftains, Grace O’Malley defied convention and emerged as the leader of a seafaring clan who controlled the coastlines through intimidation and plunder. From her base of operations at Rockfleet Castle, O’Malley—also known as Granuaile—commanded hundreds of men and some 20 ships in raids on rival clans and merchant ships. She also ran afoul of government officials, who made repeated attempts to curb her activity. When a fleet from Galway besieged her castle in 1574, O’Malley led her pirates in a counterattack and forced the ships into a retreat.

    O’Malley was captured in 1577 and spent several months behind bars, but by the 1580s she was once again stalking the seas surrounding Clew Bay. Her hands-on style of leadership earned her a reputation as a ruthless fighter—a popular legend states that she once gunned down a Turkish buccaneer only a day after giving birth—but she also showed a keen understanding of politics. When English colonial authorities eventually captured her son and impounded her ships, O’Malley petitioned the Crown for redress and then set sail for England. During a historic 1593 meeting with Queen Elizabeth I, she personally negotiated her son’s release and even secured the return of her fleet.

    So practice speaking like a pirate

    Pirate Phrases

    Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! - exhortation of discontent or disgust
    Ahoy! - Hello!
    Ahoy, Matey - Hello, my friend!
    Ahoy, me Hearties! - the same as saying "Hello, my friends!"
    All hand hoay! - comparable to all hands on deck
    Avast ye - stop and check this out or pay attention             
    Aye - yes
    Batten down the hatches - put everything away on the ship and tie everything down because a storm is brewing
    Bilge-sucking - insult
    Blimey! - exhortation of surprise
    Blow me down! - expression of shock of disbelief akin to "Holy Crap!"
    Blow the man down - command to kill someone
    Booty - treasure
    Buccaneer - a pirate
    Bucko - a buccaneer
    Cat O'Nine Tails - a whip with nine strands
    Cleave him to the brisket - to cut across the chest, from one shoulder to the lower abdomen
    Corsair - pirates in the Mediterranean Sea
    Crow's nest - small platform atop the mast where the lookout stands
    Cutlass - short heavy curved bladed sword used by pirates
    Davy Jones' Locker - fabled, mythical place at the bottom of the ocean where the evil spirit of Davy Jones brings sailor and pirates to die
    Dead men tell no tales - phrase indicating to leave no survivors
    Doubloons - other coins or found in pirate hoards and stashes
    Feed the fish - will soon die
    Hang 'im from the yardarm - punishment of those captured in battle
    Head - the pirate ship's toilet
    Heave Ho - give it some muscle and push it
    Hempen Halter - a noose for hanging
    Hornswaggle - to defraud or cheat out of money or belongings
    Jacob's Ladder - the rope ladder one uses to climb aboard a sloop
    Jolly Roger - pirate's flag including white skull and crossbones over a black field
    Keelhaul - punishment in which a person where dragged underneath the pirate ship from side to side and was lacerated by the barnacles on the vessel
    Lad, lass, lassie - a younger person
    Landlubber - big, slow clumsy person who doesn't know how to sail
    Letters of Marque - letters issue from governments during wartime to privateers endorsing the piracy of another vessel
    Man-O-War - pirate's ship outfitted for battle
    Me - my
    Mizzen - third mast from the bow of the ship on ships that have three or more masts
    Old Salt - an experienced sailor
    Pieces of eight - coins or found in pirate stashes
    Pillage - rob, sack or plunder
    Poop deck - the part of the ship farthest to the back, which is usually above the captain's quarters. This is not the bathroom.
    Privateer - government-sponsored pirates
    Rum - pirate's traditional alcoholic beverage
    Run a shot across the bow - warning shot to another vessel's captain
    Savvy? - do you understand and do you agree?
    Scallywag - mild insult akin to rapscallion or rogue
    Scurvy dog - the pirate is talking directly to you with mild insult
    Scuttle - to sink a ship
    Seadog - old pirate or sailor
    Shark bait - will soon join Davy Jones' Locker
    Shipshape - cleaned up and under control
    Shiver me timbers! - comparable to "Holy Crap!"
    Son of a Biscuit Eater - insult directed towards someone you don't like
    Splice the mainbrace! - give the crew a drink!
    Thar she blows! - Whale sighting
    Three sheets to the wind - someone who is very drunk. One sheet is mildly drunk and four sheets is passed out.
    Walk the plank - punishment in which person walks off a board jutting over the side of the ship while at sea. The consequence is drowning and a visit to Davy Jones' Locker.
    Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen! - pull up the anchor and the sail and let's get going
    Ye - you
    Yo Ho Ho - cheerful exhortation to demand attention

    Thursday, September 18, 2014

    Lake Kariba - Zimbabwe October 1986






    I get so Angry ...

    It's coming up for Budget Time in October, the budget for 2015 and there is so much on the news about how well the country has done in the last year and how much tax they have collected.  There is talk of helping those on Social welfare, but nothing about the Middle Income earners who have been footing the bill for the Banking Crisis and the mistakes made by the previous government!

    It's times like this that I want to be heard, I want to march into parliament and show those idiots how much we are hurting, how much more they are going to take from us now that they are bringing in water charges!  It has to stop, we just can't give anymore.  Everything is going up, but the wages still going down.

    Oh South Arica dear Land ....


    Last year I was lynched for writing a tongue in cheek blog post about the Jo’burg hop on hop off bus, I won’t go into detail about what I said, but where my blog never gets read by anyone or commented on, I suddenly had about 50 very harsh cruel messages for writing the post.  I guess sometimes I think that I only write to get stuff off of my mind and not that anyone will read it, and then when people do read and even worse leave mean, nasty comments – I suddenly feel like my privacy has been invaded, which is wrong.

    I am not the best writer, and sometimes when I am just writing my thoughts I don’t realise that the person reading the post may read it in a totally different way to which I wrote it.  So my tongue in cheek post, maybe taken up by some person as being derogatory instead.

    Anyway since then I am very careful about what I write, for fear once again of being chastised – however I do belong to a few South African pages on Facebook and I can’t believe the negativity that comes from ex-pats and people living there, it’s no wonder people get “gatvol” of reading and listening to people running down their country.

    I am at the stage now though, where I hate hearing people run down the country I live in that has adopted me as one of their own, and I also hate hearing people bad mouth South Africa.   The worst I think are people who have decided they need to leave South Africa because of the crime, and go to their chosen country and run down South Africa, like it is the worst place on earth.  I want to take these people and put them in the middle of a shanty town in Columbia, Palestine, Lebanon or any poor African country.  Then to top it all after living in their new country for a few months, they start running down the country that has given them a new home, a new chance of starting a fresh.  Inevitably after a year or so these people return to South Africa with their tale between their legs, they missed their family and friends too much – but not half as much as they missed the Maid, Nanny, Gardner and all the other cheap labour they had in South Africa.

    In order to leave your home country whether it is South Africa, Ireland, the UK or any country in the world, takes a lot of guts and bravery and most of all its HARD, emotionally, physically, mentally it is so damn hard.    You are torn between your “HOME” country and your new Country.

    No country in the world is Perfect, Ireland certainly isn’t and neither is South Africa.   Yes South Africa has changed in the last 20 years, but it has only “righted” itself after all the wrong that the government did to its people.    Growing up I was always taught to be proud of my country which I was, but unfortunately we were brain washed, we never knew what apartheid meant and I don’t think we even heard of the word.  Yes we knew there were curfews for the Native people, and we had a maid but so did everyone else.  I grew up in the South of Johannesburg and went to an English school, so we had kids from all different nationalities in our school; we probably represented every country in Europe both East and West, parts of Africa and even Australia.    You just took things the way they were, and did not question, as soon as you started questioning the government, you would have been branded a traitor and siding with the Enemy.

    We could talk about that forever, I always believed it wrong, so when I was old enough I could vote for a party that was looking for change, which I did.   And each time there was a vote to help the majority I voted for them, so why did I leave South Africa?

    When I tell people now I think it sounds quite cheesy, I had been married 5 years and all my husband’s colleagues were taking up jobs overseas, this was round the time of Y2K – making loads of money and coming back to South Africa and buying a house cash.  Our plan was to do the same, come over for 5 years, enough time to get a foreign passport as you always need a plan B if South Africa became like Zimbabwe and we are forced to leave, not that I ever think that would happen, but you always have to have a plan B or as they say plan for the inevitable.

    But I guess the advantage that his colleagues had, was they went with very little, stayed in a house share with like 10 other people, they were very frugal lived on Baked beans and toast and saved every penny they made, did not travel, use public transport or enjoy themselves.  I guess that was our first mistake, we found an apartment in a good area, and it’s not as simple as renting in South Africa all the utilities are then placed in the name of the renter, and things are by no means cheap! And of course being that far from home we wanted to travel, and then before we knew it I was pregnant and we had something else to take care of.  So now it was just a means of being able to survive, enjoy life and take care of our family.   The Foreign passport was still the number one priority, but unlike the UK it took 9 years to achieve, by that time we had bought a house, the housing market had crashed, we were living in Negative Equity, had a daughter who spoke her mind and was not willing to leave Ireland as this was the only home she knew.   So I guess those were the factors for us not leaving or returning to SA, and by God there were numerous times I would have packed my suitcase and gone to the airport and climbed on the first flight out of here!  Especially after I was made redundant and it was so hard to find a job.  Jobs were for Irish people, they didn’t want foreigners, even if you did have that Shiny new passport that said you were a citizen of the country and you no longer had to stand in queues at the department of Immigration waiting for a work visa.

    Did you notice I totally deviated off the point of this post!

    Even though I am living in Ireland now, South Africa is still my HOME and will always be, I never ran away, circumstances just led us to not returning, we’re happy, content, get frustrated with the government and the laws, there is lawlessness here too – People go through RED traffic lights (Robots), they hardly EVER stop at STOP signs, the only thing they do well here is Traffic Circles, they know how to use them and don’t treat the like 4 way stops which they do in South Africa, don’t know how many times when visiting SA I have nearly had an accident at a traffic circle! 

    They like to Protest, Strike just like they do in South Africa, the government is somewhat corrupt and plenty of people getting very rich on tax payer’s money.  There is an element of people who feel they don’t have to work because they can get everything for nothing, house, utilities etc.  What really gets to me is when you see people who live in council estates driving brand new cars.  Young girls fall pregnant so they can benefit from the State Welfare system!  But here people aren’t branded by colour.

    What really gets to me when I read comments on Facebook and News24 is it doesn’t matter who you are or what you say, but if someone doesn’t like it you are branded a racist …. Lol. 

    Suzi:  I went to the store and the woman behind the counter took ages to serve me because she was chatting to her friends.

    Mpho: Well aren’t you just a racist expecting to be served straight away, why don’t you just leave the country.

    Conclusion:  Mpho assumes that Suzi is of a different colour to the lady serving in the store, and assumes the lady serving in the store is the same colour as he is, so therefore because she is making a statement that is not positive she is racist! Ké???? 

    This is just a made up stupid comment, let me see if I can find some real ones.

    But what I guess I really wanted to say is that I believe in South Africa, I believe that this beautiful country will still be the heart of Africa in 100 years’ time.  I believe that it will go from strength to strength, and like every country in the world will still have an element of corruption, crime and lawlessness, but South Africa will always be in my heart and will always be one of the most beautiful countries in the world.   South Africa has a uniqueness that you will not find anywhere else, the smells, the sounds, the colours, the people – its diverseness and Rainbow nation for everyone to be proud of.  I am now even more proud of being a South African citizen than I ever was in my life, I can honestly say I am an ambassador for SA, encouraging people to visit and discover MY beautiful South Africa.

    South Africa has its dangerous parts where tourists should be aware of their surroundings but so does Ireland, Australia, UK, America and every single part of the world.

    All of this is debatable though and of course everyone is going to have their own opinion, this is just my opinion of course, and just something I wanted to get off my mind.   I know that South Africa is still 2nd in the world for the most murders (according to the Huffington Post), 1st by the way is Columbia, but you can see the top 10 list here.

    South Africa doesn’t even feature in the top 10 countries with the highest crime rate.

    In my opinion I think South Africa’s biggest problem is immigrants, not those that contribute to the economy of the country, but those that come to South Africa with the intention of committing a crime and getting rich on unsuspecting people.

    Once you have been to Africa it is always  in your blood.  

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    What's with the Beards Lads?





    It seems to have been going on for the past year now, the more facial hair the better.  Although I don't like a man with a beard, it seems to be growing on me ... lol, no not literally! 

    I remember seeing photo's of guys in the 60's and 70's with beards it was the hippy era - but then it went away and only guys with skin disorders seem to grow beards, or old men who wanted to look like Santa.


    Now days every one is doing it, and I must admit a ginger bearded man seems to be so much more sexier than just a man with ginger hair, is it just me that thinks so?

    I first met a ginger bearded man when I worked for my first software company in Ireland and he took it to extreme's, I used to think of him as Rumplestiltskin and I think I blogged about him before.   This was back in 2010, and he looked like something out of ZZ Top.

    The beards these days tend to be neater - so why are men doing it, do they want to look older?  Are they just following a trend? Maybe you are a man with a beard reading this and can comment, I would love to know.
     

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    Pilots in Indonesia

    Last night I was watching a documentary on TV about pilots in Indonesia, one of the pilots had to fly to some really remote places where the tribes had built a run way just so that they could have supplies flown into them, they live on top of these really high mountains.

    The pilot has to test these runways to ensure they are safe enough for landing and taking off, one of the places was close to where 2 missionaries had been killed and eaten in 1968, I couldn't quite comprehend that there was still cannibalism less than 50 years ago.  Although nothing surprises me lately.

    This is a really interesting website http://www.papuatrekking.com/cannibals_papua.html there was even a family eaten in 1974. 
    "The last cases of cannibalism were only recently recorded. In 1968 two missionaries (Australian Stan Dole and American Phil Masters) were chopped and eaten. During Christmas 1974, four Dutch families were killed and eaten by aborigines in the Jayawijaya Mountains. The last known case was a killing of a priest and his twelve companions. It allegedly happened because they tried to ban the aborigines from hunting for skulls and they burnt their fetishes. This tragic event happened in 1976 almost in the end of the twentieth century. This is a very recent history of the New Guinea Island."

    Although with seeing these photos here, I think it may be one of my bucket list now to visit Indonesia :