Last night I had dinner at the Darkie Café. I’m writing about it because:
1) The Darkie Café is smack in the middle of downtown Jozi, in the mining district — one of just a few restaurants in that area that are open at night.
2) The Darkie Café has decent food, and it’s fun.
3) The Darkie Café is called the Darkie Café. Only in Joburg will you find a restaurant with such a name. I like it. Continue Reading
As a Melville resident and passionate lover of all things Melvillian, I have an inferiority complex about the nearby suburb of Parkhurst.
I’ve ranted about this before so I’ll keep it brief. But basically, many Joburg residents are under the mistaken impression that Melville — once a Utopian gathering place for bohemian intelligentsia and hotbed for Jozi fun — has now deteriorated into a rat-infested drug den. Even some Melville residents fall into this trap, glorifying the old days when Melville had the Bassline and Soi Restaurant, and bemoaning the fact that today’s Melville isn’t more like Parkhurst, the bustling neighborhood to the north.
Don’t get me wrong — I like Parkhurst just fine. It has lovely restaurants and coffee houses, trendy shops, and a charming village vibe. Parkhurst even has a rad tattoo parlour. It’s a bit…shiny for me, and on weekends it’s overrun with preppy students and drunk 20-somethings. But other than that I have nothing bad to say about it.
Except for one thing: Parkhurst isn’t Melville. Continue Reading
I’m in a food rut.
I used to enjoy food-shopping and cooking, but since I’ve been on my own I can’t be bothered. I love eating out, but I’m on a budget and lately I’ve been too lazy to leave Melville. And as much as I love my suburb, I’ve become slightly weary of the Melville dining scene. Don’t get me wrong: There are several Melville hangouts where I love to eat and drink coffee. But I need to expand my horizons. Jozi is full of quirky suburbs, each with its own set of quirky dining establishments. Time to start discovering them.
When my friend told me about a café in nearby Parktown North that serves the best croissants in town, I insisted we go there, pronto. We went to Amamus Café Bakery the following weekend and I’m glad we did. Continue Reading
Nearly two years ago, soon after I moved to South Africa, I ate at a restaurant in Melville called Café Mexicho. I wasn’t impressed, and I actually got sick the next day. I named the ailment “Mexicho’s Revenge”.
I wrote a blog post about the experience, called Where Not to Eat in Melville.
Café Mexicho, August 2010. From back in the day when I didn’t care what my photos looked like. Continue Reading
My birthday is all about 7s this year. Lucky? I hope so.
Light fixture at the Liberation Café, Melville. (Photo: David Penney)
My birthday is actually today, Sunday 8 July. 8/7 or 7/8, depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re reading this from. But I decided to celebrate on Saturday, 7/7, on Melville’s 7th Street. Continue Reading
A fellow Melville blogger, Chuck V., recently referred to me as “the Melville American”. I was flattered; it’s fun to think of myself as THE Melville American. (Although I suspect all the other Melville Americans — and there are many others — might object.)
Photo by Jon.
Chuck’s post got me thinking about one of the things I find strangest about being an expat, especially an expat from America. When you’re an American living in a foreign country, your nationality is the first thing people notice about you. Continue Reading
Yesterday I attended the Founders Day ceremony at St. Stithians College, a Joburg prep school. I was invited by a wonderful lady named Debbie, whose children go to St. Stithians. Before yesterday morning I only knew Debbie through her 2Summers comments, and on Facebook. Now Debbie is a friend. This is why I love blogging.
Jon graduated (or “matriculated”, as they say here) from St. Stithians in 1984. He and I drove past the school many times but never visited together. Jon wasn’t the type of person to be nostalgic for his school days — adolescence was a difficult time for him. But I do know that he had some good times at St. Stithians and the years he spent there are part of who he was. I’m grateful to have had the chance to visit the school on such a special day. Continue Reading
Last night I found myself in the back of a taxi — a legit South African minibus, minus the filth and missing floor panels. The taxi driver’s name was Shadrack. I nodded to the rap tunes blasting from the sound system beneath my feet as we hurtled out of Joburg and toward the Cradle of Humankind.
It was dark. I couldn’t make out the faces of the seven other taxi passengers, which didn’t really matter because I’d never met any of them before (except one, who I’d met once several months ago). I didn’t even know anyone’s name yet. It was difficult to talk above the sound of the stereo.
I wasn’t worried though. We would get to know each other soon enough. Shadrack’s taxi was transporting us on a journey back in time. Continue Reading
Jozi dogs have been finding their way in front of my camera lens lately.
Last weekend, in addition to photographing a friend’s dogs on the Melville Koppies, I also met a very special guard dog at a café in Northcliff.
Amiga, guard dog at the Indulgence Café.
I hate using clichés. But the Indulgence Café epitomizes the term “hidden gem”. It’s a quirky establishment in one of a long row of nondescript strip malls along Beyers Naude. (It’s actually one strip mall over from the famous Thunder Gun!) Continue Reading
I didn’t give much thought to internet access when I lived in the United States. American broadband internet is cheap and easy to get. Just about every home has it. And as far as I know, internet in the United States is always unlimited.
I had never heard of a “data cap” before moving to South Africa. I didn’t think of internet use as “data”, and didn’t realize it could be “capped”. But in South Africa, most internet plans come with a data cap. You pay for a certain number of gigs (gigabytes) of data per month, and when those gigs run out, you pay more. The more YouTube videos you watch, the more photos you download, the more skype calls you make, the more gigs you use. Continue Reading