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2summers

Oriental Plaza Instameet winners

The Oriental Plaza Instameet: Winners Announced

This is a quick post to announce: 1) The first-ever Oriental Plaza Instameet happened on 3 December and it was awesome; and 2) We’ve chosen the winners of the Instameet photography contest. The contest winners amidst a sea of Oriental Plaza holiday shoppers. From left to right: Andile (@may_i_take_a_picture), who won first place, Dominique (@dominiqueinthecity), second place, and Kevin (@kevinspired365_), third place. The Instameet was great. About 40 people came and everyone got into the spirit of the event, roaming around every corner of the Plaza and taking pictures of the shops, the food, and the people. Here are a couple of my […]

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Woven mats from Elelloang Basali

Must-Have Christmas Gifts From the Maluti Mountains

I went to Lesotho last week for a work assignment. I was in a rush on the drive there, but on the way back I took my time, winding through the Maluti Mountains and visiting some of my favorite places. The Maluti Mountains on the South African side of the Lesotho border. As a travel writer, I’m always trying to discover new things. I rarely visit the same place twice. But there are a few places that are magical and special enough to draw me back again and again. The Elelloang Basali Weaving Centre is one of those places. The Clarens Blanket […]

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Herding cows in the Transkei

Four Tips on Car Hire in South Africa

When I moved from America to South Africa, cars were the most difficult adjustment. Everything about cars and driving is different here: Cars drive on the opposite side of the road, car parts have different names (windshield vs. windscreen, horn vs. hooter, trunk vs. boot, AC vs. aircon), all the cars are manual (which Americans call stick-shift), etc. And don’t even get me started about registering a car in South Africa. The same goes for car hire, which Americans call car rental. I worked for a car rental company in America, way back in the day, and I thought I […]

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SA Dirty Laundry underwear exhibition

SA’s Dirty Laundry: A Must-see Exhibition in Maboneng

Enough is enough. Dirty underwear hangs along Fox Street as part of the “SA’s Dirty Laundry: The Things We Do for Love” exhibition. Yesterday I went to Maboneng to see an art exhibition that included thousands of pairs of dirty underwear draped over the streets. Lots and lots of underwear, in all shapes and sizes. I went mainly because I thought it would be cool to photograph so many pairs of underwear. And it was. After wandering the streets for a while, I went into SoMa Art + Space, the gallery that is putting on this exhibition in recognition of […]

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Oriental Plaza Instameet infogram

News Flash: The First Oriental Plaza Instameet (With Prizes)

I first visited the Oriental Plaza six-and-a-half years ago, on 18 August 2010, 12 days after I moved to Johannesburg. I know this because I wrote a blog post about it the following day. The first photo I ever took at the Oriental Plaza, in August 2010. I’ve been to the Plaza at least 50 times since that first visit (read about other visits here and here and here), and the place still awes and delights me every time. It’s always at the top of my list of recommendations for things to do in Joburg. So imagine my joy when […]

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People studying at Joburg library

Long Live the Johannesburg City Library

I keep reading articles about gentrification in downtown Johannesburg. These articles — usually written by foreign journalists, or Capetonians — proclaim the city of Joburg remains blighted, crime-ridden, and poverty-stricken with the exception of a few pockets of upscale hipsterdom, like Maboneng and Braamfontein. I dispute this proclamation. As proof, I present the Johannesburg City Library. A typical Tuesday morning at the Johannesburg City Library. The Johannesburg City Library is a huge, beautiful building on Albertina Sisulu Road (formerly Market Street), overlooking Beyers Naude Square (formerly Library Gardens) in the center of the Joburg CBD. Originally opened in 1935, the library closed […]

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Read This: Jozi’s Five Best Bookstores

I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things post-Trumpocalypse. I know that blogging about Joburg is the best thing I can do to pull myself out of this mental morass, but the struggle is real. For the first time in a while, I woke up today with no idea what to write about. In desperation, I opened up a list of potential blog topics I made several months ago when my brain was less encumbered. There, I found my inspiration: Jozi Top Fives, bookstore edition. Joburg has tons of great bookstores — new bookstores, used bookstores, small bookstores, huge bookstores — […]

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Shepherd and his beaded hoopoe in Melville, the best antidote to the Trumpacolypse

Melville: The Trumpocalypse Antidote

Perhaps it’s the combination of jet lag and grief, but I am not recovering well from Trumpocalypse. I tried to put on a brave face with my gratitude list, but the truth is I’m horrified and I’ve lost a piece of my identity. I often remark upon the fact that when living in South Africa, the first thing everyone notices about me is my American-ness. This has never really bothered me. I’ve always been more or less proud of my country. I’ve been happy to be known as an American in Quirky Johannesburg. But now, suddenly, my relationship with America feels like a relationship […]

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American flag at Dulles Airport

My America: A Gratitude List

It’s 1:36 a.m. and I’m at my desk, staring at my computer. This never happens. The reason it’s happening now is because: 1) I’m jet-lagged; and 2) I’m sad. I doubt I’ll be sleeping for a while so I might as well do something useful. Two days ago I caught a flight from Washington D.C. to Johannesburg. It was the night before the American election. I arrived in Johannesburg a day later, Tuesday, while the election was still in progress. I couldn’t stay awake late enough to see the results — South Africa is seven hours ahead of the American east […]

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White and purple jacarandas on Herbert Baker Street

The Quest for Pretoria’s White Jacarandas

I’m in America right now and I had really been looking forward to seeing the fall leaves here. I came home at exactly this time last year and the leaves were spectacular. Alas, it’s been a warm autumn on the East Coast and that seems to have slowed down the color change. The leaves have only just begun their transition in Maryland and Virginia. Not to worry though. While I don’t have any good fall leaf photos yet, I do have good pictures of white jacarandas in South Africa. The white jacarandas of Herbert Baker Street. Two weeks ago I went to Pretoria […]

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Anti-Trump signs

2Summers Reporting From Washington: A Trumpkin Halloween

I’m in the United States just in time for Halloween, and also for the peak of American presidential election madness. (Don’t worry, I’ve already voted. I dropped my absentee ballot safely into a U.S. Postal Service box last Saturday.) It’s quite a circus. I’ve been watching CNN for the past hour and other than commercials, there hasn’t been a single second of anything other than Donald Trump coverage. When my dad called this morning and told me Donald Trump was appearing at his new Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C., I grabbed my camera bag and hopped on the Metro. […]

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Blogging at Frankfurt Airport

Another Chance to Attend #2SummersBlogClass

Here I sit, in the Frankfurt Airport at 11:00 a.m., blogging. This airport offers excellent free wifi and I have a few hours to kill before my connecting flight to Washington D.C. How fortunate that I have a blog. Otherwise I’d be really bored right now. This is where I’m sitting, right now, and this is my blog. Would you too like to have a blog of your own, to pass the time during endless airport layovers? If so, you should attend my #2SummersBlogClass on 19 November at Bridge Books. I held my first blog class back in July, and I […]

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