30 December 2006

The one about the sunset in Wilderness

Braamie and I visited Denise in Wilderness to watch the sunset from her clifftop garden. My cellphone photograph does not do justice to the magnificent view.

20 December 2006

The one about Aggie's cleaning services

My parents make use of a specialised kitchen cleaning service. Aggie and her crew (I think it is her brother) pitched up at lunch time to make sure the kitchen floor is 100% clean. After pecking their way through the kitchen, they politely left without leaving a bill.

19 December 2006

The one where Abraham is not impressed

Abraham's impression of the Garden Route Mall.

The one where we are on route

Abraham is back from Iran. For good, this time. (Do I hear a communal sigh, "Finally"?) On our way to George, for our first holiday together, we visited Andrée's grandparents in Montagu. We were shown how the irrigation channels worked (unfortunately the water only arrived the next morning and we only saw slimy green gunk) and inspected their very impressive and extended vegetable and fruit garden. Good cuisine is in the van Zyl genes. Deon (Andrée's father) is a kitchen guru and now I know why.
We left Montagu to continue cruising down the R62, past Ronnie's Sex Shop (we were too early for a beer), and over the Garcia Pass to join the N2 at Riversdale. We arrived in George just in time to experience the yearly traffic jam in York Street. I am also sad to report that the beautiful geelhoutboom at the end of York street has died and has been replaced by a fancy Christmas pyramid. Viva George!

The one with a photo of Lion's Head

Another shot taken with my Nokia 6800 : Lion's Head as seen from my kitchen window.

15 December 2006

The one about the last concert of the year

I am free. No more concerts for 2006. This photo was taken by a clarinettist and feautes the bass section of Windworx. I am off to George and plan to expose myself do dangerous levels of sun light on Vic Bay for the next two weeks. But, alas, will the weather play along? As they used to ask in George: "What happens after two days of rain? Monday!"

The one where I am a gastrowhimp

When invited to dinner by Ushma, I asked her if (1) her mother is critical of her cooking, (2) if she can cater for people who cannot tolerate spicy food and (3) if she was aware of the fact that I am a critical bastard. She replied YES! to all three. In her invitation to dinner she stated that dishes for both "gastrowhimps and cement mixers" will be on the menu. In typical JS style I phone to apologise for being late - only to realise that I was actually 90 minutes early. I picked up some flowers, wine (The Italian Job) and Tamara. We arrived late but was the first to arrive. Helen was already there, but since she was staying with Ushma, that didn't count. The rest of the guests included Rudi, Jerusha, and Karen (the birthday girl).

I started with the milder dishes, but later could not resist the tempation to peck at the forbidden cement-mixer dishes. Melissa's provided the Belgian chocolate tart. After refrigerating the "to take home" left overs for 24 hours, I ate the vegetable curry cold. It was amazing to experience cold food that heat itself on the way down.

10 December 2006

The one where I regress

Today is Phumla's birthday. We planned brunch with three of her friends, Thenji, Pumza and Samela. I waited for them at Vida reading my book and took this picture of the Seattle Coffee Co. After brunch at Green's (I again had the Welsh Rarebit) , we drove to Mouille Point for some ice cream. This was my second visit to Greens within 12 hours. I had a drink at the bar after the Windworx concert last night. The bar is really comfortable and not too busy. The music is unobtrusive and you can actually have a conversation without developing a hoarse throat. They also stock single malts whiskies and I enjoyed ye olde dram tot of the Glenfiddich. Did you know that Glenfiddich has a South African web site?! During my last Highlands fling I ventured South to visit the distillery near Dufftown. I have very fond memories of Scotland. When you leave the distillery, there is always as sign at the gate reminding you to drive on the left side of the road.

09 December 2006

The one about Rosa's Bakery

Saturday started with a 1km swim. Having lost all my guilty feelings about straying from my diet, Janman introduced me to Rosa's bakery on Kortmarkstraat. For breakfast Jannie had two berry-filled Danish pastries and I had the pizza baguette and a chocolate croissant. This is the kind of bakery that even my mother would approve of. Jannie bought a loaf of Rosa's legendary rye bread and I will report back later. Bon appétit.

08 December 2006

The one about the picnic at Zevenwacht

The staff of the Lipid Clinic at Groote Schuur went for a picnic at Zevenwacht wine estate. The manor house was built in 1800 and is surrounded by lakes and sprawling lawns. The picnic baskets were well stocked and the food was delicious. As we were finishing our meal, mother duck and her gaggle of ducklings arrived. She skillfully directed them through the picnic basket obstacle course ("Watch out for the [duck] liver pâté!" and "Isn't that lettuce leave a bit too big, dear?").

07 December 2006

The one about Andrée's first day

Andrée van Zyl was born this morning. She was delivered via Caesarian section at 03:45 at Vincent Pallotti Hospital. She weighed 4.2kg. It's weird that this is the kind of detail people always want to know.
On my way to visit the proud parents at the hospital, I stopped at the Woolworth's near Great Westerford. I couldn't make up my mind which flowers to buy and asked the lady browsing the Christmas goodies in the opposite isle. She recommend the bright orange flowers in the sensible pot. And the reason: they would last longer. Now that is the kind of detail that I like to hear.

03 December 2006

The one about the white Christmas party

Marinus's White Christmas Party invitations were hand written and delivered via snail mail. No sms, no quick email: this man has style. The instructions were simple: wear white and bring a handmade Christmas tree decoration. I did manage to wear a white shirt and, in a last minute scramble, was able to find an incense holder and some incense in the kitchen cupboard. These were probably remnants of an earlier cohabitation era.
On arrival we were presented with alcohol soak fruit kebabs and a glass of punch. Our host then showed us the handmade (not by his hands, though) Christmas tree. The whole room was filled with polystyrene snow. Our flammable gift was then well isolated to avoid a potential disaster. We were truely amazed at the number of men who own (and wear) white pants.
Although, I do not enjoy parties, I met some interesting people and, for the first time, had to opportunity to wallow in snow.

01 December 2006

The one about Eunice Majali's last day

Eunice Majali has been my house keeper since moving to the city. She has been the angel responsible for my domestic sanity. Now her husband is rediscovering his tribal roots and Eunice is not allowed to work any more. She is a modern, independent woman and I believe that this is an injustice. But Eunice has a plan. It is all on the QT.

30 November 2006

The one about the Cape Town World AIDS Day Concert 2006

Tomorrow is World AIDS day. The Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management will host a gala evening with ''Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.'' as their theme. Let me be the first to admit that I am extremely skeptical about celebrating AIDS achievements. However, according to Music Industry Online, the aim of the event is to reinforce the goals of the UNAIDS-driven World AIDS Campaign to energise and support an effective and sustained response to HIV/AIDS; and to appeal to governments and policy makers to ensure they meet the targets they agreed to in the fight against the pandemic under the UNGASS Declaration of Commitment.
Contrary to statements in the press, tomorrow night will not be the launch of Jimmy Earl Perry's CD "Power of the Dream". Before starting the rehearsal this morning, Prof Perry informed us that the CD was launched at a club in town last week.

The band is awesome - with more "ex-Americans" than you can wave a baton at. The lead guitarist was imported from Los Angeles. The arrangements are superb. The next rehearsal is tomorrow morning at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The bad news is that we have to find and pay for our own parking... OUCH!

27 November 2006

The one about my my Monday in George

I caught the red-eye to George this morning. It always amazes me how long the check in and security checkpoint cues are. Being early has always paid off. Today I was seated reading my book at the boarding gate within 10 minutes of arrival - how did this happen?

Arriving at George is always one the best experiences. It is a home coming like no other. The warm, humid air smells of heather. There is water and green, garden of eden green, every where. The airport has been revamped since my last flight (probably September 2005) and the new arrival hall is quite impressive for George. After seeing the patients at QdotPharma, I met up with my parents before catching the flight back. My mother has been baking Christmas rusks filled with chocolate, nuts and candied fruit. Walking into her kitchen makes me want to move back home. Like: immediately.

26 November 2006

The one about brunch at Lazari

It looks like I will never publish anything about Kloof Street!
Perhaps, I avoid the 'hood due to the influx of tourists.
Some of my favorite restaurants are in Vredehoek. The gang met at Lazari Food Gallery for brunch. I spoke Afrikaans to an obviously English-looking waitress. She answered back in a beautiful weskus aksent and suggested a protein rich breakfast.

The one about the concert with Philippe Graffin and the Hout Bay String Project

The HBSP concert, performed in the chapel of Bishops, was a huge success. The Vivaldi concerto (soloists Phillipe Graffin, Anele Mhlahlo, Nkedikhaya Tungiliswe and Aviwe Buwa) broke the ice. Somehow we launched into the Bach double concerto at a frightning tempo - but survived! The slow movement (soloists Phillipe and Anele) was, in my opinion, the highlight of the first half of the program. It was tender without being too delicate.

The basses were perhaps a tiny bit on the heavy side, but as my bass teacher, Peter Guy, used to say, "You can never have to much bass."

The one with two photos of Kloof Street

Two snap shots of Kloof Street on this sunny Sunday afternoon.

25 November 2006

The one about Faikah's engagement

Faikah and I shared an office for nine months. She invited me to her engagement. This was my first visit to Mitchell's Plein. A moslem engagement is quite something. We ate. The Imam arrived with 10 men representing the groom and requested permission from Faikah's parents and then from Faikah for the proposed marriage. The groom's father then placed the ring on her finger. Then we ate some more. The groom's party left and we ate some more. When we couldn't possibly eat any more and started to leave, the groom himself arrived to accompany his future bride to his parents house. We were given some more food to take home.

The one about the the black and white kitten

Coming home from Jennifer's 30th birthday function, a black and white kitten was waiting outside my front door. It insisted on visiting me and exploring my apartment. At the moment it is watching me type and spreading is claws on the keyboard. Perhaps it will stay for a while.

Remember when Phoebe though the cat that jumped into her guitar case was the reincarnation of her mother, Lilly?

22 November 2006

Philippe Graffin

The Hout Bay String Project is performing Bach and Vivaldi with Phillipe Graffin on Sunday evening in Cape Town. I have been teaching double bass to Mfundo and Odwa from the informal settlement in Hout Bay . Mfundo is playing in the string ensemble and I have decided to join them for the consert on Sunday. Philippe spent three hours coaching the young players this afternoon. He brings a depth to the music that even the children who could only play a few notes appreciated. It is indeed a privilege to teach these kids and to play with them. Bach has never been more fun!

21 November 2006

Mischa Maisky

The first Cape Town International Summer Music Festival is running until 7 December. It was Jannie's birthday last week and, as a birthday gift, I bought tickets to the solo cello recital by Mischa Maisky. He played 3 of the Bach solo cello suites. What an awesome musician! Mr Maisky captured the audience with his first note. The solo suites are challenging to the performer and the audience and the audience was enthralled. After each suite, there was a quick costume change - Jannie sneered, but, having played the suites on the double bass, I know much sweat you work up performing them. The tempi were furiously fast and I appreciated the subtle humor in the faster dance movements.

Seated next to us was an apparently sweet elderly lady. Unexpectedly, she started humming ("Nothing you can't hum there!") and making the weirdest noises that I could only attribute to her tongue tapdancing with her dentures... After interval Jannie moved to an empty seat one row down to escape this audience member from hell and, without him buffering her noises, I suffered the full cacophony. During the thundering applause she also prevented me from trying to take a photograph of Mr Maisky with my cellphone camera.

Bless her soul - she prevented me from committing a terrible crime...

17 November 2006

The week that was

South Africa became the fifth country in the world to legalise same sex marriages but I will be cautious before rushing out to buy that wedding dress you never thought you would be allowed to wear. Just imagine: I can now invite my friends and family to attend my civil partnership union celebration (CPUC).

I attended the launch of a book "Table Mountain to Cape Point" at Groot Constantia on Wednesday. Seeing the ancient vineyards bathed in the golden sunset almost brought tears to my eyes. The photographer's sister, Helen McIlleron, is a colleague in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and my PhD supervisor.

On Thursday my personal trainer (Sport Science Institute) destroyed my glutes and thighs. My myalgia is beyond description. It is embarrassing to walk and I have to descend stairs like a crab. I refused to do lunges but this was to no avail...

11 November 2006


Abraham and I met up with Tamara and Ingrid at the Cookie Factory. We mingled and watched all the pretty people. The MCGP stand was playing Balkan music. Mmm... We shared a belgian waffle. After attempting a swim at Bikini beach, we visited Carla in Wedderwill. She was discharged from hospital early during the week and is looking great. We headed south on the N1 and stopped at Willowbridge Mall. I noticed this interesting message in the entrance to Wordsworth. What does it mean? Is their spellingas bad as mine?

10 November 2006

Chocolate baklava

Limnos Bakery on Kloof Street is open late. Despite a howling South Easter, we were quite comfortable sitting outside. We inspected the confectionary on offer and I noticed a dish containing a rich dark brown liquid hidden in the right hand corner. This turned out to be chocolate baklava and, although I do not like baklava, the owner convinced me to try. And OMG, this is the most delectably sinful culinary experience! It is almost impossible to describe but imagine dark bitter chocolate mixed with sweet honey and crunchy pastry. You just have to experience it yourself - as you can see, Abraham was quite sad that I didn't want to share.

08 November 2006


Some things never change. Yum remains my favourite restaurant. The food is amazing and the prices date from the 1990's. I have been raving about their roast pepper and tomato risotto for years and finally managed to invite Alicia, a colleague and culinary wizard, to have dinner with me and Abraham. Yum allows you to bring your own wine and tonight we drank one of my favorites, the Tamboerskloof Shiraz. You can find this wine at the wine boutique in the Kloof Lifestyle Centre or email the vineyard at admin@kleinood.co.za. I was tempted to have the risotto as well, but decided to try a special dish, a designer fish and chips: seared tuna. The fish was perfectly seared and tasty. Abraham ordered the risotto with rump and mascarpone. The total bill was R219 (including a R30 corkage fee). A visit to Yum is essential when visiting Cape Town.

02 November 2006

Smugg & Mean

My dad is visiting for a few days and I skipped lunch to leave the office earlier to meet up with him. We walked down to Kloof Centre to buy groceries from Woolworths and to order "The Cave" by Saramago from Exclusive books. I have no idea why I suggested that we get a bite to eat at Mug & Bean. Both my previous visits were really disappointing. Perhaps I should blame my hunger or perhaps its proximity to the bookstore. Two cups of coffee, one muffin and my "Fiesta" platter cost ZAR 80.00! The fiesta platter is anything but festive: on a plate they display six small corn chips, a small volume of oily red past (salsa? - I didn't bother to find out), a dollop of sour cream on tasteless guacamole, four deep friend chicken nuggets, four even oilier chicken minituare wings, and four small wedges of quesadilla. My arteries clogged up immediately and I could just feel the free radicals racing through my system.

After recovering, I walked over to the service station to pay. On the computer screen there were these sad little yellow faces. On asking, a waitress explained that a sad icon indicated that a customer has been waiting too long. It didn't seem to bother her that there was a crowd of little sad faces.

On returning home, my dad had to go to the chemist to buy Gaviscon®. I didn't bother to ask why.

01 November 2006

Carla's accident

Carla, my italian colleague, was involved in a car accident on Monday morning. Her car spun off the wet highway and, as she got out to phone her husband, another driver had an accident at the same spot and crashed into her! She survived but her right tibia and fibula was shattered. She is recovering from the open reduction and internal fixation performed Monday evening.

I plan to visit Carla over the weekend to cheer her up. Carla is a regulatory pharmacist and almost never uses medication. I will introduce her to the world of analgesics. Both my tibias and fibulas were broken 5 years ago, and I can give her some very personal insights in what to do and what not to do. Controlling the pain, for example taking tramadol, is one of the things you have to do.

31 October 2006

Oldest unupdate website

What a day! Planning to go to the gym really early, I arrived at Wembley Square just after sunrise. The coffee from Vida e Caffé tempted me skip the gym and to have a skinny latté (double shot) and a hazelnut croissant (from Knead next door). Et voila... no exercise today.

After work (a whole blog on its own) I met a guy from Spain. He was cute. And a nurse. I met a cute nurse from Spain. Kewl. He has been touring for a year and stayed in Brazil for six months. Lucky Brazil.

My plan was to walk down Kloof Street in search of a good brew but ended up visiting Hermien and Matthew. Hermien and I wrote the biostatistics II exam yesterday (Masters in Public Health at UCT) and I explained the concept of confounding to her partner, Matthew, who is an architect. As an example, I used the associations of gender and travel to estimate the likelihood of visiting a prostitute. Now, this we did not cover in class.

Matthew claims to have the oldest "unupdated" website in the world. He wouldn't give me the URL...

30 October 2006

Table Mountain

I took this photo from my apartment on my cell phone on 23 July 2006 - about five months after the devastating fire.