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.