Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I recently did a post about my 25th wedding anniversary where I mentioned all the countries I have travelled to.  A few fellow bloggers have asked what my favorite country was so I thought I would blog about it.

These are the places I have been to in a bit more detail and I have tried to keep it short and sweet (in no particular order):

Mozambique

Hubby and I stayed at the Indigo Bay Resort on Bazaruto Island a few years ago.  We never had a honeymoon 25 years ago so this was the closest thing to a honeymoon.  We were only there for a few days.  The resort was great and we had some amazing barbeque’s on the beach.  There was not much to do and we spent 3 days reading.  We missed the kids on this trip as they somehow keep you amused.  We took a little plane there from Vilanculos in Mozambique – one of those planes where there are no seatbelts or luggage hold – you just chuck your luggage in behind your seat (and cross your fingers).

Brunei

Hubby, I and Son no 1 and 2 lived in Brunei for 2 years back in 1994.  We were on contract to a company specializing in the development of entertainment venues for the Sultan of Brunei and his family.  It was back to basics here with no entertainment for the general public – not even a cinema.  But they have the most amazing beaches and rustic restaurants.  We had the best food I have ever tasted here.  We met some great people here from all over the world and it all makes for great memories.

Malaysia

While living in Brunei, we had the opportunity to travel to nearby locations.

We stayed at the Tanjung Aru Resort in Kota Kinabalu a few times which was fabulous and we have many fond memories of this resort.  The first time we went, we stayed in the honeymoon suite with Son no 1 and 2.  I remember the first time we used the Jacuzzi with them and they were scared shitless of it.  The honeymoon suite was being offered at a good rate and obviously accommodated the 4 of us very comfortably.  We went scuba diving on a nearby island and I loved it – one of the few occasions Hubby has managed to get me on a boat – as a general rule – I don’t do boats!

We also stayed at a resort in Kutching – don’t remember it much so it could not have been very memorable.  I do remember taking a combi from the airport and it being the bumpiest 45 minute drive ever – and Son no 1 slept through it.

Labuan

This was also a stone throw away from Brunei so we spent a few days in Labuan.  Labuan is a tiny island off the coast of East Malaysia.   I remember taking a very old plane there which was very suspect.  Again I don’t remember much about the resort.

USA

Hubby has been to the USA a few times but I managed to persuade him to take me with him to an exhibition to Las Vagas.  We went to the LDI Exhibition and also did the backstage tour.  This is where you get to do a tour of the backstage areas of some of the theaters in Vegas.  This is one of my best memories.  I spent just over a week with my mouth open in utter amazement at some of the technology.  We also got to see loads of shows as part of the tour.  Unfortunately I did not see or do everything I wanted to do in Vegas so this is definitely on my list of places to go back to one day.  I would also like to see more of the USA. (Route 66 on a Harley is on my bucket list)

UK

I have been to London a few times.  London is not one of my favourite places but it is one of the cities you have to experience.  Hubby and I have stayed in some of the smallest hotel rooms you could ever imagine and been in some of the smallest hotel elevators you could imagine.  In fact we were in London during 9/11.  I remember it clearly as we were in a little gift shop in Leicester Square just before seeing a movie and we saw the twin towers collapsing on the TV’s in the gift shop.  We were stuck in London for an extra day due to the panic which followed.  We will be taking the kids to London sometime soon as I think it is one of the cities you do need to visit – perhaps we will make the effort to go to Paris as well.

Mauritius

We went to  Le Coco Beach Resort (Which has since been revamped into the Long Beach Resort) back in 2000.  I was 7 months pregnant with Son no 4.  Son no 3 was 3 years old and he learnt to swim here.  Son no 2 also broke his toe the day before we left for Mauritius and he was on crutches.  We had an amazing time – but as Hubby says – the world’s most expensive swimming pool.  Kids generally hate the beach and sea so we find ourselves laying next to the pool everyday.  There was very little TV in English and I remember watching The Thomas Crown Affair in French about 20 times (I don’t speak a word of French!).

Singapore

We have been to Singapore many times and this has to be my favorite place in the world.  Everyone is very friendly.  You feel extremely safe.  And there is loads to do.  My sons are all computer geeks so we always spend hours in Sim Lim Square.  The food is amazing.  The last time we stayed on Sentoza Island and went to the aquarium, the zoo (day and night time version) and many other attractions.  Kids absolutely love the science museum and they have a Tesla generator there which is amazing to see in action.

China

World Expo 2010

Hubby and I spent 10 days in Shanghai in 2010 to see the World Expo.  Hubby has been lobbying the South African Government to bid for the World Expo in 2020 so we went to experience it ourselves.  You have never seen so many people in your life.  People queuing for 6 hours to get into an exhibit.  People were all very friendly and eager to communicate – even if there is a language barrier.  Shanghai was very efficient in every aspect.  I would have liked to see more of Shanghai but there was just not enough time.

Hong Kong

We spent a few days in Hong Kong on our return from Shanghai.  I know so many people who have said that Hong Kong is amazing.  I found it very hot and humid and there were far too many people.  We found it difficult to do anything without fighting through thousands of people – all carrying umbrellas!  We went to the aquarium but saw very little – there were just too many queues and in the end we gave up and stayed close to the hotel.

Dubai

Hubby’s brother and family have lived in Dubai for the last 18 odd years so we have close ties with Dubai.  Son no 2 is now also based there.  The first time we went to Dubai was back in 1994 and I remember lots of desert.  Now it is all built up so it is a very different place.  We lived in Dubai for a year in 2008 when we decided to expand our business there.  Unfortunately the economic crisis hit at the end of 2008 and we had to come back home to South Africa. You do feel very safe in Dubai and there are some great shopping centers.  Living in Dubai was an experience.  You only have to read Martin Fullard’s blog to find out what a weird and wonderful place it is.

Hopefully this is not the end of my travels and I hope to have many more countries to add to this list in the future.

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Braai Day

Finally things have calmed down for me. Next event is in November and I am now back to the mundane day to day CAD drawings and paperwork to concentrate on.  

My anniversary was great – Hubby gave me a gorgeous Winnie the Pooh themed card – I loved it. Kids think I am nuts because I love the card so much – just goes to show – us women are not all hard to please.  
 
Braai Day
It is a long weekend and not much going on. Tomorrow (the 24t)  is Heritage Day here in South Africa – also known as “Braai Day” (Barbeque Day). So sticking with tradition, we will be having a braai with the family. Means I will be up bright and early making my famous potato salad and egg mayonnaise. Went shopping early this morning and got some meat so we are all set for tomorrow. Only thing missing is Son no 2 and his girlfriend. 
I have no idea what heritage day actually means or stands for. It seems as though white South Africans have been left without any form of heritage to celebrate. I could expand on this but I make a point of not getting worked up about politics. We live our life as best we can and smile! 
Son no 2 was thinking about moving back to South Africa. It left me in a bit of a turmoil. I was in two minds about whether this was a good thing or a bad thing and to be perfectly honest, I probably felt it was a bad thing. He has a good job in Dubai and will get so much more opportunities there than he will here. The company he works for eventually persuaded him to stay and I must admit I sobbed myself to sleep the other night when he told me he would not be returning home. I still can’t help feeling my life is not complete without all 4 of my sons being nearby.  
We are still struggling with finding work here. Although we are working, we are having to work 3 to 4 times harder for the money. We are having to lower our fees on everything and charge clients what we were charging 10 years ago. At least we are surviving though which is more than a lot of others are doing. There is still no sign of us coming out of the recession and the recent mining strikes don’t help either.  
My Pool
Summer is finally here. The pool is still not warm enough to swim in yet and we are looking forward to having an afternoon swim everyday in  in a few weeks time.  It took us 2 weeks to clean the pool after the storms a few weeks back.  But it is back to looking sparkling again.
Hope you are all enjoying your weekend as well.

25th Anniversary


It is my 25th wedding anniversary today.

Hubby and I were working at the Wild Coast Sun near Port Edward (Natal, South Africa) when we got married 25 years ago today.  It was one of those “shall we get married” type of conversations we had and 2 weeks later we were married by the local magistrate in Port Shepstone (about a 20 minute drive from Port Edward).  So we celebrated by stopping at a KFC on the way home and getting take-out.

Our friends and colleagues threw us an amazing party that evening and it is still remembered as the best party ever by our dear friends.

Hubby and I met whilst working at Sun City many years earlier.  In fact I was previously married.  I was crazy enough to get married at the age of 17.  Needless to say, the marriage did not last and we were divorced within a year.  I met my current Hubby and we were married 3 years later.  Our first Son was born 11 months later.

And I have had the most amazing life since then.

We have lived in South Africa, Brunei and Dubai.  Although Hubby is British, South Africa will always be our home.

We have travelled to:

  • Mozambique
  • Brunei
  • Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak)
  • Brunei
  • Labuan
  • USA
  • UK
  • Mauritius
  • Singapore
  • China
  • Dubai

We have moved around South Africa and have lived in our current house in Johannebsurg for the last 16 years.

There have been times where I have been tempted to put a teaspoon of arsenic in Hubby’s tea every morning.  But somehow we have survived the bad times and are lucky enough to have shared some wonderful memories.

The best thing our marriage has produced is our 4 sons of course.  They are the most amazing children and we could not have wished for anything more in life.  And hopefully we will be blessed with some amazing grandchildren in a few years time.

So dear Hubby – here’s to another 25 years!  

Married couples who love each other tell each other a thousand things without talking 
– Chinese Proverb

Beautiful blue sky – or is it…….

I have just finished setting up for an annual outdoor concert I have now done for the 9th year in a row.  I somehow got asked to set the chairs up for this event 9 years ago and it has become my job to do it each year since then.

It is not a terribly important job from an event perspective and it is one of those jobs that I swear I will not do again the following year, yet each year I feel obliged to do it out of loyalty to my client.  I am very fond of this client so I have a soft spot for her.  I also usually cut my fees when I work for this client but this year I charged my normal rate.  The client had a little bitch about it but then gladly agreed to it.

For 9 years we have been lucky with the weather and we have not had any rain so it is usually 2 days in the sun having fun with my crew.  I always refer to it as the start of my summer tan.

This year was different though – rain was predicted.  So I have been watching the weather closely for the last 2 weeks and virtually hourly since Wednesday.  On Wednesday I sent out an email to my client requesting additional crew and for 2000 Black Bags.

What are the 2000 black bags for?  Well I thought putting a black bag over each chair may stop them from getting wet.  The chairs are like miniature camping chairs made out of canvas.

I was checking the weather hourly on Thursday – loads of rain expected on Friday – 97% chance of rain.

So yesterday we arrive on site fully prepared for the rain – we have the black bags, I am dressed suitably warm, I have “condoms” (plastic consumable / throw-away raincoats) for my crew and 3 extra crew members.  The only thing missing is the clouds and the rain!

We start setting up and it just gets hotter and hotter.  I am sweating my ass off.  My hair is a mess, I am covered in sun tan lotion (I got really burnt last year so I was extra careful this time).  Crew are being extra competent for a change.  I keep looking at the sky and of course it is the most beautiful blue sky you could possibly imagine.

I then make the decision mid-afternoon to put the black bags over each chair anyway – just in case it rains overnight.  We have never done this before and it is a real pain the the ass.  You have to tear each bag off the roll, find the right side to open the bag – spend 5 minutes trying to open it, and then slipping it over the chair.  We finished in record time and we called it a day – everything else will be done this morning.

So I get home last night – and the clouds come over and before I know it, it is hailing and the wind is howling.  All I can think of is that these chairs are probably blowing away, especially with the bags capturing some of the wind as well.

I resign myself to the fact that there will be a lot of work today and there is nothing I can do about it until this morning.

I get up this morning and the weather is dreadful.  It is damp and cloudy.  I get to site and it is raining. We put our “condoms” on and these are just annoying.  They are blowing around and it is very difficult to work in them.  Lucky the stage crew were not in yet as we took refuge just in front of the stage under the overhang of the roof trusses.  Here I was able to unpack my boxes with the row and seat labels.

I instruct my crew about what needs to be done – they have to make up teams of 5 people as follows:

1 person to lift the back of the chair up and take the black bag off the chair,
1 person to hold the chair number on the back of the chair,
1 person to clip the number on (we have funny little clipping mechanisms that attach the number to the chair),
1 person to put the black bag back over the chair and then put the back of the chair down.
1 person running backwards and forwards getting more numbers and little clip things from myself

Usually I need 2 people in a team:
1 person fills the clip mechanism while the other one lifts all the backs of the chairs up in a row
Then one holds the label while the other clips

I usually go along and put the label on each chair seat so they just need to pick it up and clip it on.  I can’t do this today as the bags are wet and the labels would get wet.

The crew started off really slowly and it took us almost 90 minutes to do the first block.  But they soon enough found their rhythm and we managed to get it all done by noon.

My client is in a flat panic as the event is looking rained out.  The ground is muddy, the hospitality area is looking drab under the gray skies and people keep phoning her and asking if they can get a refund for their tickets.

I was quite happy to say good-bye at that point – my hands and feet felt like ice and I must have looked like a drowned rat.  A huge part of me felt very guilty for not staying on but I’m not sure I would have been any help.  Short of staying on for moral support, I probably would have been in the way.

I got home and had a nice hot bath and am now sitting comfortably in a warm lounge blogging – and feeling very guilty for not being there offering my help and support.

Vaj What?

So I was reading a recent copy of the Marie Claire magazine this evening and there is an article about “Vajazzling“.

In case you don’t know what this is – it is the art of bejewelling your privates with Swarovsky crystals.  (Feel free to look it up.)

So of course I was tempted to look at some pics on the web (my curiosity has no bounds!).

Now as you know – I have a fairly open mind.  But this is really one of those things you can only do if you have an amazing body – a body good enough to be able to lay there in the buff in public and let all and sundry appreciate the “art”.  It would look great on a stripper for instance or one of those ladies who lay on sushi bars and the members of the opposite sex eat off them (I am sure there is a name for them).

Not sure why a normal person would want to do this – it is not as if men are actually bothered about what you look like down there – believe you me – once your pants are down they are thinking about loads more than your crystals.

I suppose you could say it is the same as waxing.  But I would disagree – I wax everything down there because it is more comfortable – not because it is going to get me laid any better or easier.  I can’t see how bejewelling yourself will make you any more comfortable. In fact I imagine it is quite irritating and scratchy.

The worst is that it only lasts for about 5 days – so this is really something you do for a special occasion – like your wedding night and you do something like this…..

But hey – if you are not going to leave anything to the imagination – you may as well just have this applied:

And of course there is even a male version called Pejazzling …..  I am sure you all know how to Google it

Awkward Moments and Crappy Weather

Apologies for not posting for awhile.  Been a rather hectic week and I have also been in a shitty mood so have not felt up to writing.

As you know I did an event late last week.  I need some down time to recuperate after an event.  I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hips, so after an event I usually need to have 2 days off my feet and on the couch letting the inflammation calm down.   I was hoping to relax last weekend but didn’t get much chance to do that.

Last weekend was spent supervising a plumber of sorts who was trying to fix our water booster pump system.  He has managed to get it up and running again but it is still not perfect.  I won’t bore you with the details.

Monday was back to work and as I had not rested properly by then, I have struggled through the week not feeling particularly well.  I have not been in pain with my hips but have not felt particularly mobile or comfortable.

Sex Education

I collected Son no 3 from school on Monday.  Now usually when I collect kids from school and ask them how their day was – I always get the same reply: “Fine”.  But when I asked him how his day was, he went on to tell me about his SEX Education class.  He was quite happy to tell me all about it – ” you know Mom – if you masturbate and then finger a girl she can still get pregnant” ………….. and on and on he went about things.  I of course was felling just a little awkward.  I encourage open speech with my kids and I am proud to say that we are able to talk about anything.  But there are always those conversations that make you feel a little awkward when discussing them with your kids – and this was definitely one of those moments.

Hubby and I went out for dinner to an Indian Restaurant with an old friend on Tuesday night.  The food and company was excellent.  Hubby didn’t eat – spicy foods make him sick since his gastric bypass.  Other than that we had a really good evening.  It was great to get out for a change and socialize.

Hubby asked me to come to a meeting at 10am at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday morning.  The stadium is a 45 minute drive-away which meant my whole morning was booked against it.  He then asked if I wouldn’t mind going to the Soccer City Stadium first which is where he spends a lot of time consulting at the moment.  He needed my help looking at the CCTV system.  That meant I had to leave for the stadium/s at 8am.  The weather also took a dramatic turn during the night.  We woke up to a day of rain and wind.  Not the best time to go to a stadium!

Soccer City Stadium

So there I was walking around the Soccer City stadium feeling like I was being blown apart – freezing!  We then went on to Orlando Stadium for the 10am meeting.  By then I was feeling really bad – my hips had still not recovered from the previous week, I had not rested them properly and here I was walking around stadiums.  I ended up checking a few seating layouts and doing some measurements for some drawings I am doing for the stadiums and then we left – I assume the 10am meeting was cancelled as it didn’t seem to happen.  So I was very confused.  I couldn’t be bothered to ask why as I was just grateful to get out there and back to my warm office.  I got back to the office to an inbox full of emails and an ADSL line working intermittently.

Thursday was still pouring with rain. We had major thunderstorms all night.  Our ADSL line was down more than up.  Hubby was also in the office.  He has a cold so it is literally like being in a room with a bear with a sore head.  The fact that our ADSL line was not really working just made things worse.  I was trying to install a wireless device driver so he could get internet access via  a 3G router and his PC was not having any of it.  So I was in a bad mood, he was in a bad mood and anything IT related was not going to cooperate with either of us for the day.

I eventually talked him into going out to buy a new laptop for him (hoping he could  would work elsewhere on days like this in the future).  So I spent Thursday evening setting that up until about 10pm.

I had a 9am meeting with a client on Friday which was cancelled at the last minute.  Hubby was still not feeling well, weather still bad – so it was another day with hubby in the office.  Hubby was in gung-ho mode – he got out of bed in the early hours of the morning and went straight into the office.  So by the time I got there, he had a whole list of things he wanted to get done by me.  I was still feeling crappy.  But I played the martyr and did whatever he wanted – just not worth arguing about it.  I was in a bad enough mood and it is not worth pissing him off as well and then having him snarling at me all day.

A client called late yesterday afternoon requesting that I do a site visit today for the annual NIKE We Run Jozi Race.  They need some plans drawn up for the event to present to the VOC on Monday.  So I spent today on site walking around with the client (hmmm – wonder what those titanium hip replacements cost nowadays).  The client was umming and ahhing about where we could put marguees, VIP’s, media, stages, generators, busses, parking, food and beverage stalls, kitchens, ambulances, fencing, LED screens etc etc.  Of course the client wants all this drawn up by Monday morning.

This afternoon was spent trying to clean our pool which looks more like a mud bath after the storms on Wednesday and Thursday.  There is a 2inch layer of sand and muck at the bottom of the pool we are struggling to suck up.

And tomorrow we are going to the movies to see the Expendables.

I am doing the seating for another outdoor event next weekend – hope the weather improves as it is an outdoor event.  I will tell you all about this in  few days.