Yesterday I went to Rosebank for coffee and donuts. I waited 40 minutes for two Krispy Kreme donuts and 90 minutes for a Starbucks frappucino. At Starbucks with my donut and frappe. (Photo by Wimpie, one of the friends I made while waiting in line outside Starbucks.) It was worth the wait. Not because I’ve never had a Krispy Kreme or a Starbucks coffee before, and not because I couldn’t wait another minute to sample these over-hyped, all-American treats now that they’ve finally arrived in South Africa. It was worth the wait because waiting in those lines was a fun way to spend […]
Last weekend I was invited to spend two nights at Walkersons Hotel and Spa in Dullstroom, a holiday town halfway between Joburg and Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga Province. I had been to Dullstroom briefly once before, and while I found it quaint I wouldn’t have considered spending a weekend there. Dullstroom is known as a fly-fishing destination and I don’t fish. A man fly-fishes at sunset on a dam at Walkersons. (Photo by Ray) However, I’m not one to turn down a weekend at a five-star hotel. So I went to Dullstroom and brought Ray with me. In the end, […]
I travel a lot. I also shave my legs. (Don’t hate, feminists.) When it comes time to pack for a trip, I toss my razor into my well-worn cosmetic bag along with my toothbrush, tinted moisturizer, lip gloss, dental floss, etc. I hate packing that razor though. I have an irrational fear that, after a particularly long and exhausting journey, I will carelessly thrust my hand into my cosmetic bag and cut myself on the razor. Also, women’s razors take up a lot of space. But the razor always gets packed. And that razor is always a Venus. I’m currently visiting my mother […]
Shockingly, my whirlwind trip to Ghana was nearly a year ago and I did a few things there that I still need to tell you about. My visit to Hakim Jewelart in Accra is one of them. I’m not sure how my friend Michelle, who I was visiting in Ghana last August, originally discovered Georgette Hakim. But I’m glad she did; our visit to Georgette’s unlikely jewelry-making operation was one of my most memorable experiences in Ghana. Georgette — who was born in Lebanon but spent her entire adulthood in Ghana — has been selling handmade jewelry in Accra for decades. Georgette is close to 80 […]
Several months ago I wrote an article featuring my top ten favorite quirky places in Joburg. Kalahari Books wasn’t on the list because I didn’t know about it back then. But if I had, it totally would have been. Kalahari Books. Kalahari Books has nothing to do with Kalahari.com, the South African online shopping giant. Kalahari Books came into existence long before Kalahari.com did; in fact Kalahari Books came into existence long before the internet did. Richard Welch, Kalahari Books’ owner, can’t remember exactly how long ago he started the business but he thinks it was about 30 years ago. (When you […]
Yesterday evening, as one does, I found myself in the posh office of a Sandton City diamond dealer with four lively ladies from New York City. I’m not much interested in diamonds, although I was intrigued by the tanzanite and semiprecious stones. I’m still thinking about a pair of purple-gold amethysts that I saw, toying with the idea of an early birthday present to myself. But I digress. As the lively ladies from New York City inspected the diamonds with discerning eyes, I wandered out onto the balcony and watched the sunset. It was pretty. Sunset from the balcony of Bryna the […]
Fifth in my series of Sandton Snapshot posts, leading up to the publication of SandtonPlaces. Read posts 1, 2, 3 and 4. For years, the weekly flea market at the top of the Rosebank Mall parking garage — the Rosebank B&B Market — was a go-to Sunday afternoon outing for Joburg families. The market was the only one of its kind in Joburg and had hundreds of stalls selling crafts, antiques, food, and countless other locally made products. I never got around to checking out the Rosebank B&B Market. I kept putting it off because I figured it would always be there. Until, suddenly, it […]
I dropped the ball on my Melville Snapshot series. I wrote the first post in the series six weeks ago, promising to publish a new Melville Snapshot every week or so. I’m just now getting around to post #2. Oh well. Better late than never. Anyway, today’s Melville Snapshot is from Yada Yada, a clothing/gift shop on Melville’s 7th Street. The interior of Yada Yada Gifts and Clothing.
If you live in Joburg, you know that the most popular beaded animal of 2013 is the rainbow giraffe. Beaded rainbow giraffes. Beaded giraffes are nothing new in South Africa, nor are beaded animals in rainbow colors. But this particular design — the giraffe with a super-long neck, loveable face, and bright, blocky horizontal stripes — appeared earlier this year and has taken the beaded animal world by storm. Every beaded animal artisan in town is churning out rainbow giraffes, and they’re selling like hotcakes. I can see why. It’s impossible to look at a rainbow giraffe and not smile.
Fashion is not really my thing. I don’t buy many clothes and don’t keep track of what is and isn’t fashionable. Fashion is not something I ever gave much thought to at all. Until I moved to Joburg, that is. Joburg has a wacky, unpretentious, Africanized, anything-goes kind of fashion culture that I love. Park yourself on any downtown Joburg street, on any given Saturday afternoon, and within a few minutes you’ll see a man wearing a bright red suit, giant plastic glasses, and white patent-leather shoes (or some combination thereof). You won’t blink an eye because the man will […]
From the Melville Cat: I really like living on the Lucky 5 Star Commune. There are nice people around here who pet me and tell me I am a beautiful cat. (Of course I know this already but it’s nice to hear it repeated.) I get lots of good cat food and milk, and there is plenty of game-hunting on the property. My most recent hunting success. It’s either a large mouse or a small rat.
I’ve written several times about Joburg’s Oriental Plaza — a giant Indian shopping mall in Fordsburg. “The Plaza”, as locals call it, is one of my favorite spots in town. So when my friend Anita called me up on her birthday and invited me to go to The Plaza to pick up a rabbit fur coat, I dropped everything and complied. I know what you’re thinking: Anita’s birthday, The Plaza, a rabbit fur coat? WTF? Anita, Johnson, and me at The Plaza.