Thursday, April 29, 2010

The raaaaaaain in Spaaaaaain

Dar has transformed into a water world as torrents of rainwater turn streets into rivers, parking lots into lakes. Helloooooo rains! It is quite lovely (when enjoyed from the comfort of your home under a blanket with a good book), but a little inconvenient when it comes to the fashion department.  My pants are drenched with that slow, wet, upward creep and negotiating puddles in my slip slops leaves them ruined and my feet muddy and cold.

And so it is that today I will go in search of a pair of gumboots! This prospect has me really excited; because it’s the closest I’m going to get to winter fashion (which I love). Boots paired with stockings, boots paired with coats, boots paired with anything really! And now, gumboots paired with shorts and floral frocks.

SO I’m off the local hardware stores along Kimweri River, or maybe to Lake Oyster Bay. I’m thinking Kanga or Kitenge gumboots would be beautiful…I feel a design idea coming on…Maisha, ek en jy gaan nog hieroor praat! 

Happy day everyone! x


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Nicest Place in the world

You know those days, we all have them, when dusk settles in and you start feeling that desperate longing. The white pillows on your bed start serenading your hair, and your feet feel that urge to rest on your duvet? It really doesn't matter what the content of your day was, how green or blue or soft or bumpy, the nicest place to be is in your bed.
Good night, sleep tight,

Saturday, April 24, 2010

wedding in the boland.....

Nothing more beautiful than a wedding in the Boland on a wine farm on a PERFECT autumn day...

My friend, the wine maker, is getting married to another friend, the apple farmer.....

And together they'll create....

While I was doing my hair (which doesn't really happen on a regular basis) this morning, I read an article in a magazine about what you would like to have/see/want/need in your future husband.  I must admit, I had a good chuckle to myself at some of the "requirements". Anyway, someone said the most beautiful thing and that'll stay with me forever:

" hy moet my soen dat my asem wegslaan"  

roughly translated into:  "he must kiss me with such passion that it takes my breath away" 

My dear friends, may this journey be awesome and may it be filled with love, fun and laughter!

~ desert rose ~

Thursday, April 22, 2010

There's always a moment

The best thing about being in South Africa is catching up with old friends. Last night was such an encounter. The reunion took place in the academic town of Stellenbosch where this friendship started many long years ago.

The 1st time I met Fernando was at a friend's wedding, where he mistook me for my sister - the latter he tried to woo at a previous matrimony. This happened during what I fondly refer to as my "depression" years (dark and twisty ala meredith grey) but Fernando made me laugh and we danced the night away.
I accompanied Fernando to his wine club's end of year function where, very appropriately, I was introduced to Floors.
Remember - "There's always a moment"...(from the movie Closer), which became an infamous wedding quote?!

What followed was (in no specific order) card tricks in De Akker, Romulus and Remus in Rome, the Nederburgh Auction, smokey jazz bars in Prague, Hidden Cellar party crashers, Elvis in Paris, cultural nights at Dorpstreet theater/Oude Libertas, Botticelli in Florance, Chianti in Italy, lectures and debates on love, woman, men and Isis, Isis, Isis...

My two great friends both found the love of their lives in Londres...the grey city that holds so much promise. It was in Paris where Fernando and I sat on a bus behind Floors and the beautiful M and we knew - our friend is hopelessly in love.
Fernando followed M(II) back to Cape Town and when she lifted the skirt of her creamy wedding dress to reveal cheeky red shoes, I knew for sure she was the perfect match for him!
Floors and M have just settled in the picturesque Paarl with their little boy, whom I am dying to meet! From what I have heard he has his dad's mischievous nature...little ladies beware!

And that is how we found ourselves last night having a drink together after many years and a few life changing events. Much has changed and little has changed and it was good.
This post was requested. It is not easy to compose under the scrutiny of two such gifted writers. So the less said the better. To Floors and Fernando, to France and Firenze...


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The IN-BETWEEN world...

I recently read The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, not really something to write home about but for some reason the title keeps on popping up in my head at this time in my life. Because at the moment I exist in the IN-BETWEEN world of Maisha.

The decision have been coming for a few months now, I have decided to leave this amazing place I have called home for 3 years. I resigned, have booked a ticket and have started packing three years of memories and moments into boxes. It is scary how much one can accumulate in just 3 years. Sorting through receipts and old plane tickets I couldn't help but shed a few tears for some broken dreams and laugh at some amazing moments.

Life can sometimes be extremely confusing and change tend to do this to me. I am leaving a life of three years heaps of memories and good friends, a good job and a house behind and going back to no job, no house and my old student car(craziness I know but I have friends and family that will make it all worthwhile). Hence the feeling of existing in-between worlds sort of like a nomad.

But I am fine with it for the moment although some moments of mild panic attacks do appear where Rescue Remedy is popped by the lid full. I know this is right path for now, and as a good friend advised;

'Jump, you will build wings on the way down'

Fingers crossed it doesn't end in a splat!

So this is Maisha writing from the in-between world.

Hoping I will be finding myself firmly in one soon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

From the balloons' pocket...

Leonardo da Vinci once said: “ For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.

I would not believe this true of sitting in an airplane, but it certainly is of the hot air balloon ride I experienced on my Easter trip with Serengeti Balloon Safaris.

Waking up at 2am under a blanket of stars with the bush babies calling (…alright, I am trying to make this sound lovely, but no one likes waking up this early so fast forward the three hour drive to sunrise over the central balloon launch site…) Huddled tightly in our basket compartments the propane gas spews hot golden flames. The roar is immense. Lazily the gold and green giant fills its belly with warm air and we begin rocking, lazily tipping upright to reveal silhouetted acacias before us.

Slowly rising above the dewy grass, we stood up excitedly to look over the endless plains from our spectacular vantage point. Shadows danced behind the trees as we rose with the sun. We passed over trees by a few feet, waking a secretary bird on its perch and greeting a vulture that left its nest revealing two eggs. Further on we passed over dozens of hippos waking up in their leafy pools below, whilst a herd of impala dodged two raucous males jousting for supremacy. A little early we laughed. To the left a reedbuck raced as she thought she was being chased by our shadow.

Apart from the occasional burst of flame to lift us a few hundred feet and excited whispers, it was quite surreal.

After an exhilarating landing we were treated to champagne and then ushered to breakfast under an umbrella acacia in the middle of nowhere. The delicious food, more champagne, and chatter around the breakfast table concluded our adventure in the sky before we set of for the days driving…and I will turn my eyes skyward, where I have been, and where long to return…


Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Musers do The Beach

Location: Ras Kutani, Tanzania (paradise? I'm afraid it's as good as it looks.)
People: mothers, sisters, daughters, lovers + 1 patient photographer.
Aim: Well-... Kind of-....I guess, it's-.... very different for all of us. I reckon I could have picked a slightly worse place to say goodbye to, though, it certainly didn't make leaving Tanzania any easier after such a sensuous rich weekend...

So..... what exactly are we doing?
What, on the beach, or generally, or here in Tanzania?
Well, any of the above.
Mmmm. Not sure really.
(photographer): I dont know, doesnt she know?
Nope - she thought you knew.
What about her?
I dont know.
Oh. Well - lets do it together, whatever it is.
Mmkay. Like this?

(photographer shouts): ladies, as much as I love you, you're driving me crazy
hold the dresses down and jump up - now!

(post jump) ooh. That was far too exhausting.
Would've been easier with less wine at lunch - or maybe it was the gin and tonic?
God no - those were the best for me. I do love gin. Really love I mean.
(chorus all) Me too.....
Gin anyone?
(all) Mmmm - for Gin.
(someone, not sure who) : And for Mangotree Musings. We do love our blog.
Like gin love I mean.
(all): For musers, we love.

We love.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Easter Extravaganza

Living in Tanzania comes with lots of perks, one of them being loads of public holidays! Easter is one looong weekend that need to be taken advantage of! Zanzibar stays a fabulous destination and how could we resist the beach and blue skies.

Bluebay Resort and Spa is located on the Eastern side of Zanzibar. Wide stretches of white sand and turquoise water is what you could expect of this gem. The food is amazing and the beach bar definitely the place for a good book and a glass of chilled white wine.

Lots of activities like water aerobics, windsurfing and a proper diving operations will keep you entertained.

And if you are a bit old school a good dhow race attempted with buckets full of enthusiasm will do the trick.

It being Easter monday and having decided quite late on this trip all flights leaving Zanzibar was full and the only other option was taking the ferry a 90min trip if the posters where to believed. (turned out to be more like 3hours...)

Taking the ferry gave us the opportunity to see Stonetown and...

Dar es Salaam in a completely different light!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Taste-bud tantalizing BOBOTIE!!


OOHHHH oohh Bobotie!

None of you have had a proper good, wholesome meal until you’ve had “Bobotie en geelrys met rosyntjies” (yellow rice with raisins). 

We went to a friend the other night for supper. And I tell you, my mouth started to water when I heard we were going to have Bobotie. She of course had a great East Africa twist to it and we had coconut rotis with the bobotie – oh my soul!!  (Will have to beg her for the recipe!)

I would dare to say that many Afrikaans-speaking South Africans could say that this is their “national” dish…… Well, I certainly think so. 

Bobotie is a tastebud-tantalizing meat dish that contains curry power, turmeric, lemon, raisins, apples, almonds and various other lovely ingredients. To tell you where Bobotie comes from, I quote from “The spices are the contribution of South Africa's Cape Malay population, descendants of Indonesian slaves brought to the country by Dutch traders in the 17th century. As cooks for their Dutch masters, the Malays melded European and Asian cooking techniques, helping to create South Africa's culinary melting pot.” 

Here is one of my best Bobotie Recipes – ala Erica: 

-       1 ½ thick slices white bread without crust 
-       ¼ cup cream/milk 
-       1 ½ tbsp oil 
-       1 ½ tbsp butter 
-       3 cups beef mince 
-       1 onion finely chopped 
-       2 garlic cloves finely chopped 
-       1 apple and 1 carrot peeled and grated 
-       2 tbsp curry powder 
-       1 ½ tbsp turmeric 
-       3 tbsp apricot jam/chutney 
-       2 tbsp almonds roasted and chopped 
-       1 tbsp raisins 
-       3 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
-       salt and pepper 
-       ¼ cup cream
-       ¼ cup plain yoghurt 
-       2 eggs beaten bay leaves   

Soak bread in ¼ cup cream/milk 

Heat half oil and butter and fry mince until crumbly and dry, remove 

Fry onion in rest of oil and butter and add apple, curry powder and turmeric – stir for about 1 min 

Add this to mince and add apricot, almonds, raisins, lemon juice, salt and pepper – stir thoroughly 

Add bread and soaking liquid 

Spoon meat into greased oven dish 

Whisk cream, yoghurt and eggs and pour over meat 

Press bay leaves into meat and bake for 45 mins until golden brown on top 

Serve with rice (you can add 1 tsp of turmeric to your rice and it will go yellow)  and sambals 

SAMBALS: (I just mix it all up – it’s the best. Make it just before serving otherwise the banana will go brown) 

1 banana diced
2 tomatoes deseeded and finely diced 
½ onion finely chopped 
2 garlic cloves finely chopped chopped coriander 
1 tsp brown sugar (taste) 
2 tsp red wine vinegar or lemon juice 
2 tsp olive oil salt and pepper to taste

Enjoy enjoy my fellow foodies!      

~desert rose ~  



From Dar, with love...


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

a few of my favourite things in SA

Friday, April 2, 2010

Notes from the Universe

About 6 months ago (actually, more, but I cant bear to face how far along in the year we are...) I signed up for Notes from the Universe. Intrigued by what would pop into my mailbox, I have thoroughly enjoyed receiving the coolest craziest conundrums of words everyday. Okay, so its all about positive thinking and all that malarky, but they are really really cool.  I think the word "cool" was invented for them.

'There can only be a need for forgiveness, mangotreemusers, when first there is a blame.And there can only be blame, when first there is misunderstanding."
Kung fu,
The Universe

(And often, musers, misunderstandings arise for one of three reasons: not enough love, not enough sleep, or not enough chocolate)'

Go get your