Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Some of the advertising from the old times is kind of risque, don't you think? And this was for a celery (selleri) drink! And was the drink X-rayed? I wonder if Pepsi-Cola got its name from Pepsi-Cola. Pepsin is a digestive enzyme in your stomach.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I have been reading the book HEAT by Bill Buford, about his time working in famous chef Mario Batali's Italian restaurant in New York. The book is a bit uneven, hard to follow, but funny, and probably a rather honest look into a restaurant kitchen. Mario is going through the garbage to see what the chef's are throwing out and gets upset when he finds celery leaves, "the best part of the celery!". ) (Personally I can't stand raw celery, but when cooked it is OK. It is something genetic.) There are also descriptions of restaurants in Italy, especially small family-style places with handmade, fresh pasta, and amazing sauces. On these stamps you have some of the best Italy has - Roma tomatoes, saffron from crocus, prosciutto ham, parmigiano cheese (a lot better than the Swedish 'Rivosto' I grew up with, which can be characterized as plastic-tasting dried bland cheese powder in a plastic jar or later a thin plastic bag), chile peppers, olive oil, wine, and of course pasta. In the book Bill declares his amazement that something as good as pasta can come from just flour and egg. It is amazing indeed, and thanks to all italians for inventing it! Guess what we are having for dinner tonight?
Monday, November 17, 2008
On our last day in South Africa we went on a little roadtrip to four wineries. You can visit the wineries themselves, taste the wines (sometimes for free), and then they hope you will buy a case or many. The area we visited was around Franshoek, an old French-inspired villages nestled in a valley, and around Stellenbosch, another old colonial-looking cute town.
My favorite winery was Fairview Estate. They had the best wine (Viogner, mmm!) , incredibly amazing cheese made by them and sold in their cheese shop together with balsamic glaze, fruit jams, and marmalades. In the middle of their garden at their entrance they had their signature feature - a tall tower for the goats to climb up on. This is a wonderful place, you have to go here when you visit South Africa.
We also went to Graham Beck Estates, which is housed in a long modern building with a lot of black, leather, sharp angles, and stainless steel inside. Behind a full-length glass wall you could see the conveyor belt of bottles being washed and labeled. Two bottles fell off and broke while we were watching. The wines weren't as good, but still good, except for the Merlot that I didn't like at all.
Tokara Estate is situated on a hill, overlooking rows and rows of olive trees and grape bushes. The view is absolutely fantastic, and they have the best restaurant I went to in South Africa. Here you could see the giant stainless steel fermentation vats, and by this time I didn't want any more wine, but I tried their amazing olive oil. I should have gotten some oil to bring home, but I already had too much weight in my bags.
At the last stop, Spiers, we didn't even go into the wine tasting place, but headed for their area where they keep cheetahs. Spiers has a giant parking lot and is a tourist trap with a craft market, play ground, a little zoo, and is not really my kind of thing. But the cheetahs were fun - they are part of an endangered species program. We saw them being fed raw chicken pieces, and they crunched through the bones like it was tooth picks. It was worth a visit just to see the cheetahs.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Cape Town is a true cosmopolitan city. It is influenced by its history shaped by the San people, Portuguese, Dutch, Germans, British, Americans, blacks, and today by the Swedes of course. The harbor was filled to the brim with Volvo and Ericsson signs because of the worldwide Volvo Ocean Race - Life in the Extreme. It is strange to go to a place on the other side of the Earth and hear Swedish (skånska) at the breakfast table next to you.
The craft market at the Green Market is amazing. Lots of jewelry and baskets, bowls, fabrics, prints... Many animals and things made out of recycled material, strings and beads. The mosquitos on the table are made from recycled insecticide cans, DDT maybe?
For the rich tourists there are carved ostrich egg lamps. In the aquarium you can see giant spiny sea urchins.
The kelp forest in the aquarium was impressive and dizzying, but hard to photograph. The starfish photo is especially for AREA. They had a giant tank with sharks and other fishes too. The aquarium is at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, the old harbor area which was dilapitated and run down years ago but now has been turned into a tourist and shopper's paradise. Not much for the locals here, just fancy shops and pricy restaurants.
This man tried to sell me a homemade wire radio, but it would have been turned into a wreck in my suitcase. I bought a mosquito and spider from recycled material instead. What do you think about the drapery? All made from recycled plastic bottles, lids, and so. If you look on Flickr, you can see the closeups.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I am back home in the US after my South African adventures. Finally I can post some more photos! I had a wonderful trip, and I strongly recommend South Africa as a destination. I only saw the Cape Town region, but at least that part is wonderful. More on details later, now I just want to indulge you in some more photos from the Cape of Good Hope.
In order: Sunset rays at Hout Bay. Everlasting flowers (eterneller in Swedish). Wild zebra. Yellow flowers on the cliffs at Cape of Good Hope (Cape Point's lighthouse is in the background). Ostrich at the beach at the Cape, see the baby chick? (The floatings things are kelp, seaweed.)
UPDATE: More photos can be seen on Flickr, at this link.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Ouch, my son broke his arm on Tuesday this week. He´s not as happy as this guy on the picture, it´s been a hard week for everybody but especially for him. I myself broke my arm when I was seven and I still remember the feeling, very vividly too.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Sorry guys - here is the video again:
I removed it because I misunderstood a comment and thought it was offensive, but now it is back, with my deepest apologies. I couldn't watch it here in South Africa because of the slow internet connection, so I didn't really know what it was about. Once again, I am sorry AREA and PP.
My mood was just destroyed by some stupid asshole but it just confirms that this country is full of "morans" as they would say.
A joke just told to me by a co-worker(who is now dead to me)
"Did you hear they are going to change the name of the planet? Planet of the apes!
wow, can you imagine how much this says about a person to say this joke? This is the same person(people) who was overjoyed at the the world series win of the Philly baseball team who have several star African American players, and is also a huge Philly Eagles football fan whose team is largely black.
he can't get enough of himself..new joke showed to me on his cell phone sent by his wife:
The statue of liberty has to be changed so she is holding a fried chicken leg.
this is just totally moronic...and I feel like walking out of here and never coming back
Posted by PP at 9:53 AM
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
This is it! A new morning, The times they are a-changing, Tangled up in blue, no more Masters of War, Don't think Twice, it's all right, Every grain of sand, and I am the Girl from the North Country that voted for Obama!!! I am so happy, so incredibly happy!
Monday, November 3, 2008
"Candidates collected delegates according to the countries won (just as America's electoral-college system allocates delegates by state), and Mr Obama ended with 9,115 delegates, compared with just 203 for Mr McCain." (from a poll by the magazine The Economist, send to me from Olle, sorry can't find the link.)
This is from a poll made by the Economist... let's keep our fingers crossed. I will blog more from South Africa about the US election and what people say here, but right now I need to sleep. But the consensus is that I have not yet met one McCain supporter and all the papers all talk about Obama, Obama.
Yes, I voted by mail, in my first US election ever.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I am a land of unique fynbos flora, horror-filled racist history, and magic vivid scenery for the first time in my life. We will only visit the area around Cape Town (Kapstaden), and since South Africa is much larger than you might think, there is a lot that I won’t see. No elephants, lions, and Kalahari for example. But here at Cape Town the Cape of Good Hope Peninsula and National Park is very close and that is where we spend today. It was amazing, and I wished all of you in my close and extended family had been there to see everything. I am going to try to upload photos here too but this connection is very slow, so we will see how it goes.
The Cape of Good Hope and its sister Cape Point, are the most southwestern points of Africa. South of it is just water and the Antarctic. At the airport there was actually a departing flight listed with destination ‘Antarctica’; I have never seen a whole continent been a flight end point before. But back to Good Hope.
This peninsula is famous for its winter (June-August) storms and hundreds of ships are wrecks along the coast. It is rugged, dramatic, and windy. The peninsula has large mountains covered with the typical fynbos flora with geraniums, proteas, and ericads (blueberry relatives), and we saw lots of flowers in all colors. There are giant bird cliffs with black and white-breasted cormorants, seagulls, and Cape Fur seals, sea lions, and giant white sharks in the water. We actually saw a giant shark fin in one bay, swiveling around on the surface of the water. Our hole day was spent on shore, not in the boat, but we also saw at least 10 southern right whales, big plankton eating peaceful monsters that were blowing air and water, diving, frolicking by laying on their backs and flipping their flippers, and a few times we saw them breaking, which is when they come from deep below and cut straight through the surface and up in the air, with nearly ¾ of their giant bodies above the water for a short time. None of the whales were very close, but with my great binoculars (I am so happy I brought them) you could see quite a lot.
We also visited a penguin colony, where the penguins were totally unafraid and in their molting phase, so all they were doing was sitting still for three weeks until their old feathers had fallen off and the new ones have grown out. It is strange to see penguins in the wild, it was like a zoo. Down in the national park we saw an ostrich family along the beach, Mommy Ostrich, Daddy Ostrich, and about ten little ostrichlings. The beach and ostrich in the same view was not what I had expected. Not zebras either, but they were also there, as well as antelopes. We saw a Rock Dassie, a kind of hyrax which is a small animal related to elephants (but without trunk, tusks, and tail). Black lizards with fat bellies were skittish.
The flora is so different from anything else I have ever seen. Giant-flowered proteas are everywhere, as are geraniums and Aizoaceae (ice plant family)plants, from one of which they make Sour Fig Jam, and I bought some to have at home with cheese and crackers. There are lots of bushy Asteraceae (sunflower family), and we also so a parasitic mistle toe. Small bushes were flowering with everlasting flowers (eterneller in Swedish) with papery-thin and papery-dry petals.
Lunch was at an outdoor terrace looking out over False Bay, and I ordered Cape Malay Seafood Curry, a fantastic dish. They have lots of good fish and seafood here.
When I was standing up by the light house at Cape Point and looked out over the treacherous seas I was thinking about my grandfather who must have rounded the cape at least once during his years as a merchant marine in the 1910s to 1920s. I should ask Dad about when my grandfather was sailing here on his steamships, and if he ever visited Cape Town. It is strange to be in places nearly a hundred years after one of your relatives was there. I had the same feeling when I visited the Botanical Garden in Rio de Janeiro, where he also walked the paths and even bought a little guidebook I now own. Tomorrow we are going to Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, which is supposed to be one of the ten best gardens in the world. It will be botanical overload and ecstasy, I am sure.