Friday, July 30, 2010

The size of hurt

Hurt has been on my mind or should I say in my heart a lot lately. I am sure everyone can relate, be it the loss of a loved one or a broken relationship.

I am a very visual person, I can’t remember the words of a song but the logo of the band I can redraw. Thus I try to visualize things in my life.

Having gone through something quite painful recently I was wondering what hurt would look like and if with time the size of hurt would change.

My amazing grandmother always told me in anything in life, wait three days…you will be amazed at the improvement. So, I waited three days and as she promised it didn’t hurt as much anymore. As the days passed the hurt seemed to shrink and become a small throbbing sore somewhere in the back of my consciousness, some days even sub consciousness.

But then, one memory or a dream brings the hurt in its full size to the front again and it feels like all progress has been lost.

I find its almost like that old favourite teddy bear that we all had. We put it away at some point. But nothing can erase the memories. And when we open that cupboard again and take it out it is the same size, smells the same and feels the same as it always did. And all the memories flood back.

So maybe a hurt is always there and doesn’t change in size. Maybe it is something that becomes a part of you. Something you always carry around with you. Some days it’s just further from your consciousness than others.

I am still new at the hurt thing, so if anyone has had another experience some advise will be appreciated…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nick Brandt: On This Earth

So work is picking up and I am so grateful because it’s a much needed distraction.

We are busy brainstorming another African country’s tourism campaign and have to think of new ways to show for example and elephant.

Just google ‘African Elephant’ and you get about 2,900,000 results. Yep the  African elephant has been done over and over a million times and strangely they all look the same…

Doing all this wildlife photography research I remember a day that we walked past A novel Idea at Slipway and saw a book by Nick Brandt in the window. Its called On This Earth: Photographs from East Africa.

Now I am sure everyone has moments like this that stay with you forever. The cover of the book had the most amazing and moody photograph I have ever seen.

I am not a big coffee table book fan, having spent so many hours at strange peoples house while the parents ‘braai’ paging through another version of ‘THE AFRICAN KINGDOM”. But this one stayed with me. Ofcourse as fate would have it they we sold out when I went back.

According to you shouldn't talk to Nick Brandt about his life with the stars. Making video clips with the likes of Michael Jackson and Moby is all in the past. But he remains grateful for his pop successes because they have financed his current obsession - photographing Africa’s disappearing world of animals.

Brandt has reinvented himself as a serious photographer - and a very successful one at that. His portraits of animals in repose are haunting. He has an affinity with his subjects. His photographs are a bridge to a lost Eden, a fast disappearing world of amazing creatures.

Luckily we live in the age of credit cards and online ordering and his book is available on Amazon for a small fee of $26.40. Definitely worth it!

Nature is amazing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The heart of the Traveller

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

This saying has never rung so true as when I went home to South Africa for a month recently, taking a little time out of Dar for some work and play. This time, something was a little different from my previous experience of returning home. It smelt different, it looked different and it sure felt different!

The soccer world cup was just beginning and we were hosting thousands of people from around the world…The streets were bustling, everywhere around me people were speaking in different languages, I could smell the distinctive Grahamstown Festival air, and there was an electricity and pride amongst all South Africans that was so tangible, it was something to behold.

My trip on the Gautrain was one of my highlights. I felt like a kid about to go on a rollercoaster; taking pictures, minding the gap and entering nervously. It’s everything that it was meant to be - convenient, safe, clean and very comfortable but mostly its just plain AWESOME! A great public transport system is coming into place, it looks hot and everyone who was and is still involved (the assistants at the ticket points are very helpful, as certain people in their excitement don’t yet know how to charge cards uhm) is doing a fantastic job!

Something a little less manifest however, was how I was slowly becoming more aware of the way I understood what ‘home’ to lacked and possessed. I began to see what I had taken for granted before… simple things like being able to drink water out of the tap (I phoned Maisha in a flat panic because I was so thirsty and there was no water in her fridge), a constant supply of electricity (although I would not give up late-night dark chocolate indulgence on our  under the stars on our breezy rooftop), a media that informs and educates, more than adequate health care facilities and access to medicine…These are some of my daily preoccupations here, which at home I accept as the norm. I feel like I had a little more time to think…

…And traveling most certainly opens up one’s heart… Friendships and relationships I have found are much less stratified according to age, occupation or status etc.  It is a gift to share ones experiences with such a dynamic group of people, who constantly challenge me and who are a constant source of delight.  One is surprised, disillusioned, delighted and educated about people, religions, cultures, and mostly yourself.  And I think that’s what’s changed since I last went home, a gift that I have received from my travels and my stay in Dar: self-reflection. And with that comes an awareness of ones’ environment.

It was really amazing to be home, to spend time with my mom and to see the country that I hold so dear, in a slightly different way... And its just as awesome to be back in the heat!!


Konyagi Country

Konyagi is the infamous white spirit synonymous with Tanzania. It is a mix between a Gin and a Vodka and is made from sugar cane with some Juniper berries thrown in there somewhere. We love Konyagi! The perfect local alternative to have with some tonic and lots of ice!

And now we love Konyagi even more as that is the name of the new man in my life…my cat! Not even the scary pictures of old maids living with 20 cats could prevent me from falling in love when I saw this little guy at the vet. She found him and his brother when they where one week old and hand reared them until I laid eyes on this bundle of grey fur and took over all parenting responsibilities. He has about doubled in size since I got him but has still managed to creep firmly into the hearts of all of those living around me. And because Konyagi loves to hunt my toes at night, this is convenient since he has sleep overs with the neighbours every once in a while. Like a real mom on her night off I then relish my 8 hours sleep! He has large inquisitive eyes, 4 white paws and is the new king of the house!

The king does have some mommy issues though...he sucks his own nipples?!  Does anyone know if this is normal?!  It is freaking the hell out of me and Frangipani!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

scotland here we come

i'm leaving behind my dearest darling little angel and i'm going on tour with my hubby...... to Scotland
goodness, let's see what this next two weeks have got to offer!

~desert rose~

The Starfish Story

adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977)

"Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

One of the things I have always proudly pointed out while driving tourist around Dar, is the fact that the beggars in Tanzania usually do not have arms or can’t walk making it physically impossible for them to generate an income. A comparison between all the beggars on the South African streets and the physically disabled usually ensues. One glaring difference between Tanzania and South Africa is that we actually have a winter, and quite a cold one at that. So where in Tanzania the beggars can find a nice warm spot on the beach in South Africa they have to face minus degrees.

It is scary how blind we have become to other peoples suffering. Do we not turn a blind eye when someone limps to our car or act like we don’t see them through our sunglasses? I sometimes think that my heart is too soft and it hurts to much to think about it.

I am sure everyone driving the same road to work everyday has a similar story. About a month ago, after being jozi for like two weeks, we had a black frost. I have never heard of it before but it left us with minus tempartures and iced windscreens.

One afternoon after work at about 6 I was sitting in my car with heater on and thinking how I couldn’t feel my toes and that my hands where freezing on the steering wheel.
Stopping at the red light on Rivonia I saw HIM, a smallish young black man…with no shoes and desperately fearful eyes. He was hunched against the cold and was pleading from car to car for some kind of food. Ofcourse the usual reaction kicked in and I turned a blind eye. Driving away I saw him in my rearview mirror, dejected and staring another minus temperature night in the face…with no shoes.

Lying in bed that night (still almost frozen) I couldn’t help but think of that poor man in this cold with no shoes. This leads to all kind of thoughts of where did it all go wrong for him, maybe it was a life of crime or maybe a mother dead of AIDS.

I know a lot of people have the attitude of if I give money to one I have to give money to them all, but even a smile, as one person remarked the other day, can make someone feel human and worthy again.

Back to the story of the starfish, I collected some warm clothes and socks and food for this man. Because even if its small, to him it will make a huge difference.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tears are words the ♥ can't express

Alfred Lord Tennyson famously said; 

" 'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

Life walks funny paths with us and sometimes it's difficult to keep believing in THE PLAN. Jury is still out on Alfred Lord Tennyson's quote, give me another year or so. 

But for now I am surrounding myself with love, I have created a ♥ wall. Now those people who know me will know I am not the fluffy pink bunny type so a ♥ wall is not in character for me. But I am collecting ♥ in the form of hearts from different places with stories and hanging them on a wall (yes, the wall a TV usually goes).

Beaded word Love from the green room
For now, the ♥ will have to hang on the wall and hopefully it will come my way again soon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Starters and Changes

The past year...
From the askari peppered streets of Dar, to the seriously manicured plains of the Serengeti, to the mountains  in the cape, and this evening to looking after a sourdough starter.  I was recently in absolute dire need of bread preparation - sour dough bread in particular.  Finding myself with a bit of time on my hands, I began the long journey of sour dough bread making.  This, it seems, is only for the faint hearted.  Anyone with a bit of gall and guts will get seriously frustrated with the starter (in bread terms - a flour and water mixture that is the living stuff that makes it rise).  They are incredible things, alive and all that.  But they are a bit wussy-like too??  I feel like I have to pussy foot around it - lest the bubbles stop.  And then, after nursing the starter for a few weeks I expect a teeny bit of give back - in the form of a loaf of bread (sorry, I am not asking for a lot here... not quite turning water into wine...).  So for two days, I slog over the dough-making (intensive labour, this part not for the faint hearted) and then leave it to rise.  Only thing is: the bugger doesn't rise!  A tired bubble here and a minute bubble there and thats it.  Nada.  Nothing else.  I turned on the under floor heating for crumbs sakes?!  I'm a little out of love at the moment... and just wonder whether sour dough starters should harden the fuck up???

It's a debate - feel free to disagree (she smiles hoping that few MTM followers will be sour dough bakers).  I will make sure there is more information on the new blog, and so will let you know of the progress (God willing there is some) in the next couple of weeks.

So Hibiscus will be quiet for a while as I hope to open up my own little page somewhere out there, and as always when one something ends it's a certain good time for reflection.  And a glass of wine.

Over and out

~ hibiscus

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The SWC in pictures

Fireworks at the Final for more...

Christmas in July

I know, although its freezing in Jozi (0 degrees this morning) it must be sweltering in Dar! So the thought of having Christmas in July must be preposterous! But yes, I am already doing Christmas designs and while doing research came across these innovative ideas to bring some Christmas flavour to your house. 

I must admit, I am not a big fan of Christmas and always on the look out for new ideas to get into the spirit. Please add some if you have any more!

freezing maisha out of Jozi

ps. Frangipani is visiting and went on the Gautrain for the first time yesterday! Look out for her post on the experience!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I am Woman


Gotta love it – these woman is brilliant! Dar es Salaam-a-la-Sex-and-the-City-2

We got invited to the “Premiere” – excuse me – of Sex and the City 2 in Dar es Salaam! A couple of us girls, put our heels on and off we went to the Cinema.

Firstly – to get to the Cinema it took us about an hour as they opening started at 18:00. Or so the ticket said…. True Tanzania style – we got there at 18: 39 and they were still setting up! Hie hie!

But it looked great – pink carpet, pink drapes, pink cupcakes and best of all – PINK BUBBLES! JC le Roux was launching their new Le Fleurette Rose Sparkling Wine and they did a great job at it! No better idea than to bring bubbles to such a great movie!

It was honestly hysterical – and Samantha was the cherry on the top!
She was excellent! 

I have to mention the clothes, oh the clothes, oh the beautiful, interesting, funky, weird, creations that came on screen! Goodness, whoever has got that job – they are great and shocking at the same time! I guess that is what they want – the shock  and wow factor all in one!

Ladies – round up the troops, dress up and go and see the movie – it’s fun!!!!

~desert rose~

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oranje Blanje Blou

Must be why they are doing so well! Full story

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Barbeque/"Braaivleis" Dar es Salaam Style

Our favourite local restaurant for mishkaki - which is like a meat kebab
Watching the soccer - Obviously!  This was the game that sent England "Out of Africa"
Handogg washing his hands - this gets done before every meal as a knife and fork does not feature in this type of establishment.
Mmmmmmmm...nice pink tomato sauce!  But we go back for more every time!
Washing hands after the meal.
The uninvited guest that accompanies most meals in Dar es Salaam - this mozzie met a sudden end at the hands of Handogg - no pun intended!

It does not beat a good old "skaap tjoppie" (lamb tjop) and "braai broodjie" (toasted sandwich) on the South-African braai , but it sure is damn tasty!