Featured

Giving up the pleasure and the privilege of eating meat for 40 days of lent … 44 to be exact but who was counting :)

For 44 days I went off meat cold-turkey. I say cold-turkey because when you’ve been eating meat ever since you were introduced to solids – every day of your life – I kid you not, your relationship with the food group goes from being one of nourishment purposes, to addiction.

So this year having recently jumped back on the wagon that is my tumultuous relationship with my Christian faith – I decided to lent (used in a verb form). Mind you I’ve never observed lent before even when things with God were still good.

Inspired by Jesus who went without food for a whole 40 days – I decided that a disciplined abstinence from meat, along with alms giving would be my small contribution towards honoring my savior during the holy time.

In true Thina form I rashly made the decision last minute.com. Exactly on the 1st of April I gave up one of my ultimate pleasures for the next 40 days. Where the faith said Wednesdays and Fridays we could eat fish, and Saturdays and Sundays we could go to town with our menus, I chose the extreme route – no meat every single day.

I was never ready for the withdrawal that ensued.

Now you have to understand – as I said at the beginning, I’ve been eating meat every day for as long as I’ve been eating solids. So from around a year old, til’ this ripe old age of none of your business J I have not gone one day without meat. I was raised by parents who ate meat once or every two months during their impoverished childhoods. Cabbage, wild spinach and maize meal alternated in making appearances at suppertime. So as soon as they could afford to – they went to gout town: Mutton on Mondays; Chicken on Tuesdays; Beef on Wednesdays; Pork on Thursdays; fried Fish & Chips on Fridays; Sausages on Saturday – a spread of two to three meats on Sundays etc. etc. Mind you in between the meat madness – there were sub-meats: burgers, bacon, fish-fingers, ham, meaty spreads, Russian sausages, nuggets, viennas, polony, KFC, you name it, we had it.

In case you didn’t quite get the level of the carnivorousness of my life in the picture I just painted – the fact that I’m of the Zulu tribe should give you some indication.

Our appetite for 2 legged, four legged edible beasts is legendary. In fact a cousin of mine one came up with quite the eloquent saying which sums up this reverence – he said “ A man is made of meat and therefore meat he must eat.” He would usually say this to the sounds of my scolding aunt after he decided that it was perfectly acceptable to have an Eishbein for breakfast. Is the carnage-like pic getting a bit clearer for you?

So, it was inevitable that giving up meat for Lent 2017 would be one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. Although I’m related to a vegetarian -1 of only 4 black vegetarians that I know in this world – 2 of them being Hollywood celebrities, I was completely clueless about how to go about life without eating meat.

I was so entrenched in my eating that hearing about the racist incident at Spur, and the possibility of having to boycott the chain in solidarity gave me anxiety attacks. Where else could I be served many types of meat on one plate and eata-them-all at once lol? I’m so much of a meat eater that being served a veg meal often has me making a bee-line for the fridge , hunting at least a vianna or worse a slice of polony.

But I survived 🙂

Although I thought about meat EVERY DAY for all 44 days, and at some point Nandos and KFC adverts seemed to literally be following me. I made it. To be honest I cheated a bit, by eating gravy from meat stews (sans the meat) to avoid completely falling off the wagon. And I made it, with quite a radiant complexion too to boot.

Towards the end, when the wheels looked like they were really about to fall off completely, I discovered Frys products. I bought the soy sausages and I have to say they weren’t bad at all. If I was transitioning to vegetarianism – which will NEVER happen, I would definitely stock them up.

Lent passed – as all tough times do eventually, and Easter Sunday arrived on a sunny autumn day. After church – it was time to celebrate the best way I know how 🙂 Man I love me some meat.

Featured

Takin’ it back to the beach.

take it back to the beach

My title just about sums up what this blog is about. Borrowed from the title of a track that BURNED the airwaves this summer 0f 2015 / 16, “Takin’ it back to the beach” has been sort of … a prophecy of my life life right now. You see, the release of this track just serindipitously happened to coincide with a notable event in my life – moving back to my home city of Durbs after not living here for most of my adult life.

Why a move back to Durban from SA’s ca$h capital JHB? A myriad of deep reasons which I prefer not to get into. That and – because I can, so wtf not!

Over time, destiny has somehow always managed to drag me kicking and screaming to the forefront of many events, and right now I believe it’s perching me on top of yet another crest of a wave (pardon the seaside puns). I believe Durban is on the come up and right now I’m being positioned for when it blows up in spectacular fashion. To quote a saying that has since become a motto of mine, and a crutch that keeps me propped up during those challenging times – “LIFE DOESN’T HAPPEN TO YOU IT HAPPENS FOR YOU”

I don’t know this city much – I left (read as ran away from my parents oppressive rule) as soon as I could muster a legit decision to do so, so I’m going to make getting reacquainted a bit of a project of lurrrve – hence the somewhat dubious title of my blog – PLEASURE SEEKER *sideyes self*

After years of living life like a character in the Diesel “Live Fast” campaign, in Jozi, the plan is to start taking time to smell the roses; blow the dandelions, sip good wine while catching the sunrise lol; Intoxicate myself with the fresh seaside air and actually take barefoot long walks on the beach; discover Durban’s best kept secret dining spots; hunt down the bargain buys and just let the pleasure of rediscovering the city of my birth really sink in.

Here’s to “Takin’ it back to the beach” and letting the pleasure seeking begin 🙂

Give us the dodgiest South African taxi any day!

PicMonkey Collage (1) (1).jpg
Enter a caption 
My friend & I in a DalaDala, the Zanzibari equivalent of a minibus taxi lol. Let’s just say, it was quite an experience 🙂

This is a photo of my friend & I in a stationary DalaDala in Zanzibar.  For all of Zanzibar’s heavenly scenery, it sure has some really rough sides. The sides they never show you on the brochures. These are the sides you soon discover if – like us – you’re touring on a very ‘toit’ budget.

We had to find a way to travel from Stone Town, to coastal Kiwengwa, when they told us that by cab it would cost us a ridiculous amount of shillings – the currency used in TZ. We then asked if there were any alternatives, & we were directed to a mode of transport called a Dala-Dala. To put it simply it’s a truck! A truck, which they’ve installed a roof on – and on the roof that’s where your luggage is piled-up & bound. To redeem the Dala-Dalas’ direness, they spruce them up with some groovy designs details, but that does not erase the fact that you are being transported the same way sheep & goats are transported back home in SA. On scorching hot 40 degree Zanzibar days the DalaDala is perfect because of its natural ventilation (read as – no windows). The downside however are rainy days. I learned about these from a waitress who spends 2 hours of her life traveling via Dala-Dala to work, EVERY DAY.

At this particular moment our DalaDala was experiencing a slow business day. So while waiting for other passengers to arrive, we started doing what Tourists do best in the midst of quirky experiences – we took selfies baby! Much to the amusement of the muslim men who were waiting with us. They must’ve thought, really! all this excitement for being in a taxi!

Happiness is a 4 letter word

12304411_959657320795458_2080283505052488875_o
Image borrowed from “Happiness is a 4 letter word” Facebook page.

“Delicious.”

That’s how I would describe Happiness is a four letter word… in a word.

Delicious cast; scrumptious script – I’m no film school graduate so I won’t start getting technical, talking about videography etc. What I will say is that the whole film with its beautifully lit and picture perfect quality looked good enough to eat. Just delicious!

Recently my #PleasureSeeking escapades led me to the Movie theatre. Now if there’s one thing you need to know about me is that I DON’T go to the cinema. Or at least, I haven’t gone in like 10years or so.

I was scarred for life once at the Sandton Ster-Kinekor where I was told to pay what – based on my judgement – was an obscene amount for a ticket. And it wasn’t even a 3D film! Mind you this was before I’d bought popcorn and the other must-shovel-in-your-mouth movie-watching-must-haves. It put me off movies for a loooong time … until last Saturday. When I was coaxed out from under my rock to experience – what I feel is easily one Mzansi’s best ‘chick-flicks’

Happiness is a 4 letter word … Wow 🙂

The movie is about the much-explored, but can-never-be-exhausted theme of relationship quandaries between men and women. Think Girlfriends, and the movie version that we crossed fingers for, or the subsequent season of the series that never came.

The story lines of rich women who cheat with toy-boys; free-spirited emotionally unavailable women who finally meet their love match; and women who find themselves having to choose between money and love are as old as men & women have been relating. There’s just something so seductive and beautifully ‘black’ about the way Director Cynthia Jele has presented them in this film.

I won’t get into the movie much and spoil it for you but I will definitely say it’s worth watching, and then proceeding to buy the DVD afterwards because it is a piece of history.

For me it feels like a breakthrough of sorts for the South African film Industry. Seeing everyday black women being portrayed by women and men who look and sound like us is something we’re starved for in the S.A film circuit.

And speaking of looks, ok I might be telling a fib when I say  the actors are everyday looking people because OH EM GEE! God bless the casting agency! The last time I saw a collection of such delicious brownness was in a box of Chocolates or the Lindt store.

12671811_1003979186363271_8850853613088006171_o.jpg
Image borrowed (with no intention of return) from the “Happiness is a 4 letter word” Facebook page.

THE MEN! Sisters, they will make you say AMEN, and not in a church kinda way. Gorgeous, milk chocolate and bournville types with bodies and smiles that had the Cinema silence incessantly broken by the collective sounds of mmmmmh, if not hawemaaa! (I watched it in Durban if you must ask)

The ladies are equally gorgeous, high-caliber S.A actresses and oh Cynthina I can’t thank you enough for the diverse beauty representation. And I can’t thank Mmabatho and Renata enough for being who they are – so regal, so proud to be their beautiful, brown, naturalista selves, AND JUST SO CONSISTENT. Queen Khanyi too. She killed that role, and yeah man – who isn’t fascinated by that woman!

I’m not sure if this film is still at Cinemas. If it is HURRY and go watch it pleeease and then buy the DVD afterwards (and I’m not talking about the ones at the robots please!)

I’ve never owned a Movie DVD. I’ve never understood the concept of buying a DVD of a film you’d already watched … until now. For the first time – ever – I’ve watched a movie that will continue to be a part of my #PleasureSeeking nights on the couch, with wine, or coffee, or chocolate, or a Thomas / Chris lookalike  when I get that DVD 🙂

THANK YOU MS JELE!

Bushfire Drama #Trips

IMG_2554

They say the craziest experiences make for life’s greatest, most pleasurable-to-tell stories… or something to that effect.

Above is a photo of me and my buddy D-money  as we arrived at our holiday destination in Swaziland, for the Bushfire festival. We thought camping for the first time; in a ‘foreign country’ and mixing with hippies from all corners of the globe in the name of partying to international sounds and consuming copious amounts of sweet local beer Sibebe would be our big adventure. Turns out that the real adventure would begin when the festival ended.

IMG_2580.jpgBushfire happens over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and unlike our smart colleagues who also attended the festival – Dumile (D Money) and I didn’t think to take Monday off. It was only at 4pm on the Sunday, when The Soil – the group I’d especially gone to see, came on stage. There was no way I was going to leave even though we were already running late.

True to form the group delivered a performance I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest day-dreams. I was drunk and high with awe: singing along, dancing, applauding and simply losing my mind – oblivious to the ticking time.

“Oh sh**! those were the first words out of my mouth when I finally came back to planet earth and realised how late we were. Dumile was contemplating our boss’s offer to leave on the Monday at the crack of dawn. I on the other hand was so over the communal showering and sleeping on the hard ground. Come hell or high water I had to sleep in my bed and in my flat that night! I eventually convinced Dumile that we had to trek back to Jozi and off we went.

To catch the long-distance taxis to Joburg we had to go back to go forward. We endured a 45 minute taxi ride to the Manzini national taxi rank which was in the complete opposite direction of where we were going. The taxi was filled with church-goers returning from worship and there we were, dusty, clumsily carrying big bags and honing of alcohol which – judging by the amount we’d consumed – was probably seeping through our pores. The taxi took forever to get to Manzini, dropping off everybody and only getting to our stop at the very end.

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

The sun had set already and my sixth sense was telling me things were not going to be good. And just as I predicted when we got to the rank we were told that the last taxi to Johannesburg had left 15 minutes prior to our arrival. I don’t know whether it’s common practice for Taxi drivers to be so kind and helpful in Swaziland but I really take my hat off to the guy who attempted to help us. He started calling around to find out whether the taxi had passed the border, maybe it could wait for us at there, but alas it was not to be. He advised us to take a meter taxi to the border & then hike from there.

We bargained and bargained with the private cab driver with the assistance of the taxi driver who found him for us, and negotiated him down from E250 to 200 Emalangeni – which is equivalent to R200 rands.

We got into the taxi and drove for +/- 2hrs to get to the border. Our consciences wouldn’t let us get away with paying the negotiated fee. I kept thinking that for a trip like that in Johannesburg I could have easily parted with R5/600, so we topped him up with another E150, bringing his fee up to E350.

After the border things got even more interesting. It was time to hike and believe me nothing brings you down to earth quicker than people looking at you like you could be a highway robbery couple, or just scum. Initially I was choosy, I would only put my thumb out for big cars like Twin Cabs, while Dumile flagged down anything that moved. Some of the dodgier Cressidas & old Toyotas would stop, only for us to find out they were only going as far as Mpumalanga or at most – Heidelberg and not Johannesburg.

With my pride bruised, from being unsuccessful with the fancy rides I eventually surrendered and also started flagging down anything and errrthang, and finally Corsa van stopped. I was still wrestling with my feelings of snobbery, even though I knew my pride was fighting a losing battle. Dumile asked the two guys in the van where they were going, they said Pretoria and we threw our luggage overboard and pleaded with them to drop us off in Jozi. They obliged and off we went in a canopy-less van with two complete strangers. I was comforted by the fact that they played Gospel music, which meant there was little chance of them turning out to be serial killers.

We sat in the back of the bakkie; the car driving at 120+/h on the freeway with the wind howling up a storm. Luckily we remembered that we both had blankets from the camping. We also remembered that hey … we had taken so many beverages to to Bushfire that we had leftovers of wine and whisky. We figured if we died from the speeding car overturning, or if we froze to death, being drunk would be the best way to go out.

After a couple of shots entered the bloodstream, the situation became less of a crisis and we started seeing just how funny it was and we relaxed.

We realised we were hanging out under a jewel scattered sky, the kind of one never got to see in Johannesburg courtesy of the pollution. At some point I think we passed out because before we knew it, it was 3 hours later and we were back in Johannesburg.

We made it. Alive. In two pieces – he in one and me in the other 🙂

This story never fails to get its share of ‘WTF’s or ‘were you insaaaane!!!’ reactions from everybody I tell it to, so it will always feature high on my list of adventure stories which I look forward to telling.

The photos in this blog don’t really correlate to the article, but you best believe this a definite must-add event to your pleasure bucket list 😉