Archive for July, 2012

For 16 years, I have worked in and out of townships, including almost 2 years exclusively in one of the most dangerous ones during a very volatile time in our country. So the thought of going to one for an evening out didnt sit well with me.

But I went to Soweto, the largest township in South Africa on the outskirts of Johannesburg, housing  a few million people, and stayed in the 4 star Soweto Hotel. Nicole had been given this night by the sales manager, due to the work being organised through her company.

I was very apprehensive and scepticle, purely due to my past experiences in there and other townships. We went to Vilikazi street, and went to Mandela’s house, where he had stayed before his arrest and subsequent 27 year imprisonment. The house, was just another low cost house no different to any other in the area. Inside however, was interesting. Not the structural part, but rather all the pictures and memorabilia depicting his life.
The hotel was surprisingly very nice. Outside looking like a dingy war town building, but inside, a typical elegant hotel you expect out of a 4 star rating.
Situated on the freedom square and we walked across to the location where the freedom charter was signed.

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                                                                     The huge wall explaining what each part of the square represents

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The South African version of the American Declaration of Independance. In the centre, was where the freedom torch was lit.

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Unfortunately, there is alot of the charter which not only has not been achieved, but has regressed to what it was and even worse. Especially when the current President blames the lack of textbooks on a President, albeit one of the biggest perpetrators of the apartheid era, who died in 1966.

I only hope that the country takes note on what the Freedom Charter represents and actually makes an attempt to truely have a democratic country, which we very far away from.

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The hotel is famous for their monthly jazz festival.

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                                                                                           an old battered saxaphone

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                                                                                          the buffet table a nice combination of old and new.

I have a habit, you can even call it a superstition, which is so overpowering, I just have to succumb. It sometimes causes embarrassment to my family and work colleagues, but sometimes, and in my case mostly, you got to just accept the urge and reliquish control.

Recently my CEO and COO were witness to this occurance, and thankfully, they both shook their heads and laughed. My whole family and close friends prepare for it, and would be bowled over it it doesnt occur.

What is this horrific habit that embarrasses all around?

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CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKES!!!!!!!

Every restaurant I go to for the first time, I HAVE to try their chocolate milkshakes when ordering the first drinks.

Some restaurants are not phased, and take the order  as per any other. Others however, I am faced with raised eyebrows and aghasted looks. One 5 star restaurant waiter, dressed in black tie and tails, looked appalled. He stated in the queens English ” we do not serve milkshakes here sir”. Now, a comment like that, well, is just not acceptable to me.
After explaining the consequences of me not receiving my chosen beverage, which included raising my voice so the other patrons could hear my distress, I received, with out a question, one of the best milkshakes I have tasted.

Those that know me well, wait in anticipation. Why?… Because if the milkshake is not good, I will not eat there, and wont go back. And I will not accept variations either. I am not fooled by Bar-One milkshakes, as the caramel distorts the taste.
I want, and expect, and normal,  old fashioned chocolate milkshake.

It must be thick and creamy, full of smooth ice-cream, and rich in chocolate. Better yet, when made with quality chocolate ice-cream. It must not be milky and runny. If I wanted that, I would have ordered chocolate flavoured milk!

I know it sounds silly to some, but it is my test of a restaurant. My theory is this…. If you cannot take the time and love to make a simple delicious chocolate milkshake, then your cullinary skills, no matter how allegedly good, will go completely un-noticed to me.