29 March 2006

We give advice by the bucket, but take it by the grain.

Working with guys from our London office who do nothing but work and sleep! Work till latish almost every day- which is fine by me coz I can clock all the overtime for future leave, which I’m most definitely going to need;)

Fri Nite saw an interesting discourse with Altikriti, followed by communal, emotional, spiritual and at times egoistic outbursts! All highly insightful albeit entertaining, something which needs to happen more often! There is, and has been for a long, long time, a serious breakdown in communication between various sectors and members of our community. For there to be positive change and progress, communication of this sort, between various levels in the community, needs to happen much more often- the idea that the pulpit is achieving any of this is nothing short of a fallacy that must be addressed..

The following session saw a discussion that went like:
‘What you guys doing tomorrow? Wana go to Kruger Park?’
“Kruger Park! That sounds good. Let’s leave now..”
‘Now! Its 12pm on Fri night! Ok, guess it’ll be cool to reach the park by sunrise tomorrow!’

And thus the recipe and beginning of an unforgettable journey:
- from the epic Long Tom Pass with breakfast (water, bread & crisps) above the clouds (literally- the clouds were below us!)
- 2 giraffe, 3 rhino, buffalo, buck, buck & buck of all sizes and shades, couple elephants and the highlight: a shaky brit being charged by an angry rhino!
- exceptional hospitality from a White River family, matched with equal unfriendliness from the local head honcho!
- round off the weekend with an impromptu swimming lesson and a refreshing dip at Mac Mac Falls…
Leave for 48.5 hours with 2 accountants, an engineer, a doctor + cameraman! = HUGE:)

By now you’ve probably detected that this is way shorter than what you’ve hopefully grown accustomed to:)
Busy, busy, busy:(

22 March 2006

Tell me your friends, and I will tell you who you are.

Is there such a thing as magic? Investec had a JACKASS [Joburg Article ClerK ASSociation] function with a ‘magician’ doing his stuff- after careful observation I figured out how most of his ‘tricks’ were actually illusions, but there one or two I just couldn’t get… Swift movements, innocent looking accessories and possibly a covert accomplice are all you need to be a magician!

What a great week! Every week should be so short- that I can live with. With the end of supper fast approaching, it only seemed right to spend time with some sun, sand and surf! Awesome stuff- if only the beach was closer to Joburg;( Campus seems to have changed quite a bit- all your typical Indian Bcom(ers) have been moved to UDW so the dynamic at Howard College now has a fresh joie de vivre! Change is good- helps you appreciate what you have/had…

Racial confrontations: don’t think this would even qualify for such an analysis- guess a bunch of white goofs just messing around with a homeless kid sleeping on the beach is just stupidity and has nothing to do with racism?! But had the homeless kid been white would they have still burnt him on the head with a cigarette? Or, had we been white guys who confronted them, would they still have picked a fight? I guess they would have coz their actions seeped with foolishness and stupidity and those goofs probably did not even have the brain matter or lucidness to be racist..

On that note, fear is an amazing phenomenon: at times it makes one do utterly stupid things that would inevitably end in injury, and when one want to do something ‘fun’, like kloofing (jumping off cliffs into a river), it virtually paralysis some;p Where does fear of that sort originate? In the days of youth, one rarely caught a whiff of the thing and now it seems to pump through the veins more vigorously than adrenaline! At least for some of our more medically inclined friends it seemed that way:)

From the movie Syriana.. worth seeing (Tanx gogs!)

“Corruption charges…corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulation. That’s Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the street. Corruption… is why we win.”
-Tim Blake Nelson as Danny Dalton to Jeffrey Wright as Bennet Holiday

17 March 2006

The most excellent Jihad is that for the conquest of self.

Chapmans Peak

The Argus- it I did! All 108km. Yah, I know I’m going on and on about it- but I’m really thrilled with myself;p
My official time was 6 hours, 14 minutes and 30 secs. (Beat Aads by 5 minutes and 26 secs;p) I also beat a grand total of 64 other people in my group. We were the last group with a 10h30 start- next year I’m going to try and start earlier.
Yes, I’m going to do it next year and everyone is invited to come along for the ride. And + next year I’m going to train! It probably makes a big difference if you actually train for such a gruelling encounter; nevertheless it was still soo amazing.

At some points you ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this?’, but a few minutes later, when you reach the peak and you literally flying downhill, the wind in your face, your hands in the air, flying like a bird, the strikingly blue ocean glowing to one side and the magnificent rocky peaks on the other! That’s when it’s ‘worth it’! Worth those good few dollars you invested, and worth the intense, albeit temporary, pain that you endure! God bless Taren at the 53km stop- and God forgive me for He surely knows I needed that massage soo desperately!

And what a great day it was- it didn’t end there! We were treated to a spectacular game of cricket at the hospitality suite at the finish line- guess it didn’t look too good from the start coz someone on the roadside had a sign that said, ‘You think Chapmans is painful- try watching the cricket!’ Well done to the boys in green- I’m sure the rumours of Norris helping them are probably fabrications;p

Newfound respect I have for the big rocks in the peninsular- ok, not the flat one but the peak is a bona fide devil! Never, I repeat, never try to hike up there with kamikaze, ‘no respect for footpaths’ hikers! Vertical ascent foolishly seemed fun at first, but descending should really have featured higher on our agendas;) Views from the cave led to a contemplating discussion on the similarities between this highly urbanized metropolis in today’s terms, to what some argued was also probably an extremely developed Meccan city 1400 odd years ago..

Sceptical of the Sufis I have always been, but I take my hat off to the great work a Senegalese movement is doing in the Mfuledi township near the Mother City. (Join them if you reside in the neighbourhood!) Nourishment of the spiritual and usual kind was dished out to a crowd of youths (and us) under the combined light of moon and streetlight, right in the front ‘yard’ of a cgi sheet shack! Epic! Led to a woman taking the faith- God Bless..

Visited a good acquaintance now living in the plains of Mitchell’s Flats- or flats of Mitchell’s Plein! Take your pic- either way it’s strikingly worlds apart from the not-so-humble abodes just over the mountain! Every social ill imaginable infects these often subjugated neighbourhoods, and efforts to liberate often seem futile.. Hope should be sought in inspiring youth who overcome secularist, materialistic distractions to spend the wee hours empowering themselves with the tools that can bring change!

Had an interesting, albeit disappointing, encounter with a mutual foe- having my daybreak dose of caffeine at vida e and I look up to see [guess who] also getting his fix:
‘Good morning. Howya doing?’
“Good morning. Very well thank you!”
Polite and cordial with a friendly smile, until he notices the Palestine band on my hand!
‘Can I ask you a question?’
“Sorry, I’m really in a big hurry!”
‘Don’t worry, it will be very quick. What do you think about Hamas wanting to visit S.A?’
“Oh, you will have to contact the DA’s foreign …………. on 08xxxxx.”
‘Thanks for the number. I will do that. But what do you think about it?’
“You know, we have been so busy with the Cape Town elections, I haven’t had a chance to apply my mind to that yet! Thank you. Good Bye!”
‘Bull#@%$ (sneeze;p), Thank you very much Mr Tony Leon, Head of the DA, Thank you very much!’

Cape Town rocks!
Try Stardust on Main Rd for good violin!

14 March 2006

Cape Argus!

I did it! The whole 110km, give or take a few, in just over 6 hours- a beautiful ride, pleasantly manageable, visually stunning, spirituality inspiring(“,) and the best bit- no pain! Well, just a bit immediate rear end numbness, but on the whole I now feel great!

08 March 2006

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.

Stunning black & white of Drakensburg by EbV..

Honesty is very important. Especially being honest to oneself- I no longer claim that I’m, ‘Doing the Argus!’ No, after attending a pep-up session with the Tshwane lads, a whole team of energetic riders, and watching their video of the route I decided that this year, ‘I will be attempting the Argus!’ I mean it is a really beautiful ride so it’s seems senseless letting the minor fact that I didn’t adequately prepare myself, stop me from embarking on the 110km + 7 hour on the most amazing bicycle race in the world!

And after witnessing the mind-boggling speed at which the Armstrongs from Pretoria change their tyre tubes, I think it may help if I try practicing that! I wonder what are the odds of me getting another flat? But maybe I shouldn’t take chances.. Did about 40km this week (would have done more if it wasn’t for the weather!) and it felt quite good. However riding around in icy, backbreaking winds did cause a bit of unwanted illness which hopefully goes before the contest on Sunday!

Leaving for Cape Town today so that I can acclimatise- it’s essential. You know, the thing about bicycle racing is that you need to get to the venue early so that your body can adjust to the elements:)

And while it’s still on my mind, I would like to recommend Tsotsi- Well done to them for winning an Oscar! Funny to think that most of you who will watch this movie, will get to see only on the cinema screen what is literally in our backyards. Entertainment hey- all in the name of entertainment! What causes such behaviour? Is it not the legacy of Apartheid? So then what- Apartheid is over and life goes on, so let’s just wait for things to settle down?! Let’s get on with our lives as if we play no role, albeit indirectly, in what goes on in this dichotomised society of ours! Lets just study, work, and go cycling into the flippin sunset, oblivious of what others are forced to endure in our very own backyards…

Your thoughts?!

03 March 2006

One is never more on trial than in the moment of excessive good fortune.

Sterkfontien Dam is unbelievable- the largest dam in the world! (Have you seen a bigger one?!) It even has little waves- like a small ocean. Complete with its own islands it can easily be mistaken for part of the sea! Swimming in it is like swimming in the calm ocean and the water is so clean you can drink it- well if I catch Bilhazia then discount that statement! There was some swimming competition on and groups of youngsters were swimming around- looked real easy but after trying I’m glad I didn’t attempt the Midmar without training. The thing about swimming is that you can’t just stop and rest- unlike the Argus!

The Drakesburg Mountain Range- a stunning three hour odd drive from Joburg and Durban. Such amazing beauty right in our backyard. The Cascades hike at the Royal Natal Park is slightly strenuous but well worth the effort- an icy, thunderous and stunning Tiger Falls greats you at the end! Not for the feint-hearted but an almost backbreaking waterfall massage really hits the spot! If you hike with a bunch of radicals, make sure they take you along the river on your way down. Its fun walking through semi-rapids in your jeans and hiking boots: a real sense of adventure, especially if you discover secret waterfalls hidden behind precariously balancing boulders of elephantic proportions which the valiant climbed under;p

The ‘Mighty Two’ took a real beating on the muddy roads- not a good idea to take a ‘Mayfair Cleva’ type vehicle into the wilderness- rather leave it to brave the lanes of Fordsburg! But it did us proud and came out looking like quite the off-road junkie- lets hope there’s no permanent damage though!

Good night and good luck- an interesting account of how the media brought a US senator to task. Interesting in the sense that it shows how the powerful use their influence and might to deceive the masses. But what was more interesting and I thought could relate quite well a bit closer to home, is how when a person who challenges those with a bit of power and influence and brings them to task for erroneous actions, the pseudo-powerful use whatever dirt they can find to discredit their challenger and in the process sweep the whole issue on hand under the carpet… get my drift? Well, what I learnt: it’s flippin important for an independent and objective medium, be it the media or others on a smaller scale, to look out for the truth and have the guts to disseminate it adequately…

The Argus thing seems quite jinxed- had a puncture after doing about 20kms on my first day of proper training! Well, what’s the worst that can happen? I’m pretty confident that I will be able to complete the race but the days following may turn out to be quite excruciating! Wish me luck*

Think I’m getting the hang of this photography/art fad- check out the blog for this week’s piece! The 3rd in a row.. Taking suggestions now- thanks to MJ for pointing out that the first quote did not acknowledge Rumi or whoever it was, but I wasn’t sure who said that. I have enough pics- need some inspirational/motivational quotes…

For those who didn’t vote, I ask you, ‘Why’? Your not voting has a more negative effect than making a flawed yet educated decision. You live in this country, you enjoy its’ benefits- if you don’t like things, pack your bags and get the hell out! But if you have a conscience and hope for good, stop whining like a donkey and start taking smart and practical steps to ensure that this change happens in out lifetimes…