sunset, sea point, cape town, sea point promenade, africa, south africa, travel

Ice Cream sandwiches in Sea Point

I’d heard about ice cream sandwiches before, but never really paid them much attention.

The picture I had in my mind was that ice lolly you buy when you can’t afford the big guns – Magnum and Mega and even Fruttare: a rectangular slab of vanilla ice cream encased in two crispy wafers. Relatively uninspiring, but icy and creamy enough to suffice as a substitute for deliciousness on really hot days.

So, when my cousin, Nikola called me up one afternoon to ask whether I wanted to go for an ice cream sandwich at Crumbs & Cream, this new place in Sea Point, I was slightly skeptical.

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A short list of things I saw on the Sea Point promenade lately that made me smile

The other day I felt a little cooped up in my flat after a long day of working from home and decided to go for a walk along the sea. I also happened to have had an awfully ‘fat day’, so the intended stroll snowballed into a spontaneous jog-walk combo (to my surprise), measured in landmarks – from the Winchester Mansions Hotel to the seal-shaped bench {walk} from the far side of Three Anchor Bay to the big glasses {walk} etc.

While huffing and puffing along, I somehow still managed to catch snatches of conversation, pretty scenes and poignant interactions that made me smile (and even cry a little bit on the inside) at how very saturated with life those ephemeral moments in-between are.

I’ve written about my love for the Sea Point promenade once before, about my deep-seated fascination with the unfiltered expressions of humanness that play themselves out there and decided it was time to share some of my most recent observations.

So, here’s a short list of the things I saw on the promenade the other day that squeezed my heart:

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Living the little things

the-simple-things-are-also-the-most-extraordinary-things-and-only-the-wise-can-see-them-paulo-coelho-1024-768-free-wallpaper-download

The other day I was walking along Sea Point Main Road on a mission to draw money and get face cream or hair conditioner or some such mundane toiletry from Clicks, when I found myself captivated by a series of completely ordinary slice-of-life scenes playing themselves out around me.

The wind was pumping, sending flyers, sweet wrappers and leaves into colourful whirlwinds on the pavement.

Outside a Chinese takeaway shop, two bright red and gold paper lanterns were being bashed to and fro, their long tassels tangling and untangling in the wild dance. Underneath one, a wooden ladder had been set up and on the ladder a man – maybe the owner, maybe a manager, maybe just a good friend – squinted into the oncoming gust. He had a pair of scissors in his hands, and in the split second it took me to walk past, I saw him ascend the rungs and start to trim the tassels.

I suddenly realised that this was a first: I had never seen someone trim the tassels of a Chinese lantern outside a takeaway shop before and wondered at the sight. It was entirely ordinary. Nothing I had ever thought about, let alone, hoped to one day witness myself. Yet there was something poetic in the moment that caught the breath in my throat and made me feel glad I had been a passer-by just then.

A few steps further, I saw a family huddling around a table in KFC. The kids in their swimming costumes looked wild-eyed and elated, while the adults seemed wind-swept and exhausted. One little girl stood on the sill of the large window, leaning against the glass, swaying from side to side, holding an ice cream in her right hand. She momentarily lost control of her momentum, sending the ice cream hand smashing into the window pane and leaving a sticky white smear in its wake. Turning to the scene of the crime, an expression of horror flickered across her face, but almost immediately settled back into dream-like serenity when she saw the ice cream was still pretty much intact.

Shooting her mother a glance, she quickly started wiping the mess she had made with her other hand, probably hoping that no one had noticed. I giggled to myself and longed for the simplicity of ice cream cones and swimming costumes and hiding from the wind on a summer’s day.

Later that evening, while attending a show in Stellenbosch, I found myself zooming in on a guy in the band’s back line, playing the tambourine with all the seriousness of a heart surgeon doing a triple bypass. I was completely mesmerised by the way he seemed to snatch the rhythm up from somewhere mid-air and shake it out with a snap of his wrist, his eyes pinched closed in musical rapture. He was pouring his very soul into the menial task of playing the tambourine and it was beautiful.

Mulling over each of these random occurrences now, I can spot the golden thread stringing them all together like semi-precious stones.

It’s something Guillaume and I talk about a lot and, I guess, it comes down to ‘ living the little things.’ Appreciating the moments between moments, because they are, after all, what life is really made up of.

Just before I started writing this, I got a notification that someone had favourited one of my tweets… a tweet I had sent way back in 2012 (who knew I even tweeted back then – haha!). Serendipitously enough the favourited tweet ties in perfectly with ‘living the little things,’ linking to a post on Letters of Note about an astronaut Dad writing to his one-year-old son.

The quote I shared said: “Basically, I miss the elemental things of Earth that we are blessed with each day on the planet but often take for granted.”

This is preceded by said astronaut dad listing a bunch of things he was homesick for:

fresh air blowing in my face. Green, green grass and swaying trees. Birds chirping. Tulips popping up in spring.

Taking hot showers. Lying on the couch. Falling asleep with two big pillows surrounding my head. Diving into the swimming pool after a long, hot run.

Tinkering in the garden. Looking out over the lake as the sun sets. Feeling the warmth of the sun. Gliding across the water in a kayak with fish jumping in my wake.

All tiny little things we hardly take note of, but no doubt enrich our lives.

Living in an era where we practically have the world at our fingertips and on our doorsteps, it sometimes feels like if we aren’t living an epic life, we’re really not living at all.

So, we update our Facebook feeds with glittering ‘Life Events’ – far-flung travels, anniversaries, degrees, engagements, births, weddings, starting dates of dream jobs.

Our profiles become an unrealistic shining resume of epicness, odes to our greatest moments, while we conveniently gloss over the in-between.

While I’m a big fan of celebrating the big things, I don’t think it should be at the cost of the little things.

In a piece titled, ‘What happens when your epic journey ends and all that changed is the scenery?‘ Chris Colin says if he could give his younger self some tips about travel, the first thing would be:  “stop looking for epic crud.”

He continues:

Travel seems big from the outside — epiphanies, transformations, the radical pffft of the mind blowing. But up close it’s just a bunch of tiny stuff. When’s our train again? How come American money isn’t this colorful? Huh, the squirrels look weird here. Turns out tiny stuff is what life itself is made of.

So, here’s to the little stuff, the moments between moments, the pillows under our heads, the morning cups of coffee, the smiles between strangers, holding hands while crossing a busy road, watering the garden, walking the dog, goodnight kisses, laughing at silly jokes, eavesdropping on conversations in the bus, taking pride in our tiniest tasks.

5 things I hate (to love) about yoga

yoga instructor

I was lying on my back, spine pressed flat against the floor, legs raised straight into the air, a wooden block squeezed between my thighs, hands interlaced at the base of my head and elbows pointing to the ceiling when I suddenly realised how much I hated yoga.

We weren’t even 10 minutes into class and already I wanted to burst into tears and give up.

“Squeeze your thighs together, lift the sit bones, suck in your stomach and on the out breath reaaach over to your left knee,” the instructor said… as though this was all completely natural.

On the ‘out breath?’ Lady, I have breathed in and out about 10 times in the eternity it took you to describe (or maybe rather prescribe) that movement.

And frankly if I raised my sit bones and sucked my stomach in any further my spine might cut right through my mat and leave an indentation on the wooden floor… which would hopefully distract everyone from the majestic fart that has been building in my bowels and will surely erupt with even the slightest added effort.

Controlling-farting-during-yoga(Image: theempoweredmomma)

This was it, I decided. Never again. I’d sell what remained of my year contract to some unsuspecting seeker of suppleness and turn my back on yoga forever. A decision I happened to have made the day before and the day before that… and frankly every day since I started yoga in October last year.

But before I knew it, the class was winding down and the teacher uttered the magic word: savasana. Corpse pose. The pose of total relaxation.

I lay on my back once more, this time feet flopping comfortably outward to the edges of my mat, arms spread wide, eyes closed, breathing even and calm and suddenly I loved it.

nap time

(Image: Yoga Haarlem)

I guess I just have to accept that, like most other newbie yogis and yoginis, I have a love-hate relationship with yoga.

Although I’ve dabbled in the practice for a couple of years, mostly attending the odd session at gym, I felt inspired to take it to the next level sometime last year and decided to join a studio instead.

My friend, Marli, was on a similar mission, so we set out on a grand studio search… which eventually led us to an unassuming little entrance squeezed between a Chinese restaurant and an estate agent, with a supplement shop close by and an upmarket shopping centre across the road: Hot Dog Yoga.

It is at this stylish, yet cozy, affordable, yet quality, serious, yet fun, strict, yet friendly second floor studio in Sea Point that I have started gaining insight into the gut-wrenching, limb-twisting, mind-stretching, balance-enhancing ancient discipline of yoga.

And also here that I am finding out new things about myself.

For instance, these 5 tings I simply hate to admit that I love about yoga:

joy-updog

(Image: Flyingyogini)

1. Yoga pants. I LOVE yoga pants. Certainly my own yoga pants, although they are pretty boring in black and grey. But mostly those groovy ones the instructors and cool yogis wear. The ones with pastel galaxies or neon aztec prints. I’ve promised myself that one day when I manage to do a headstand I might treat myself to a pair… and a floaty top to match. But that might take forever, so let’s settle on doing a proper crow pose instead. Okay? Okay.

2. Downward Dog. The classic yoga pose. And one I’ve detested for the longest time, because, well standing like an a-frame with your butt pointing to the ceiling, your legs like arrows, your spine like a poker, your head dangling down and your arms stretched strong in front of you is not really comfortable. However, the more you practice, the easier it gets. I’m finally at the point where I actually ENJOY getting into it. Weird.

#namaste #elephant #cute #yoga #yogaworks #valencia 🙏

A post shared by Yw Val (@ywval) on

3. Those damn instructors. They’re wacky and weird and far too flexible to be trusted… but they’re just so NICE! Never a raised voice, never a mean word, always encouragement and compliments… even when you strongly suspect your bird of paradise looks more like a crooked Karoo windmill.

4. The challenge. I have never been very good at seeing challenges through. I often find myself backing out of things just as the going gets tough. Not a good trait, I know. But yoga is changing that. It’s teaching me to ENDURE the pain and the awkwardness and the loss of balance and the strain, because there WILL come a time when I will be able to ENJOY the fruits of my effort and rock a handstand while floating on a surfboard. Obvs. Maybe not soon, but eventually.

5. Sweating during hot yoga. Yes, it’s pretty gross, but I get a major kick out of feeling little sweat drops trickle down my back and face during hot yoga classes (I even wrote a Pablo Neruda-inspired elemental-ode-esque poem about it once). It’s like detox made visible. Totally fascinating. Is that weird?

Do you practice yoga? What are your loves and hate?

P.s. If you’re looking for some motivation, check out Rachel Brathen aka Yoga Girl’s Instagram account. Who doesn’t want to be gorgeous like her?!

Snippets: Sunset cycles in Sea Point

They always say that at the close of a day, it fades. But in Sea Point, just the opposite seems to happen. Instead of gently waning, the day seems to reach a surreal crescendo of saturated blues, stark salmon pinks and oranges the tint (or is it tone) of ripe summer citrus.

It’s this seductive sky that always beckons, winking, calling me to come out and play. So I do. And so does everyone else.

The serious joggers with their sculpted arms and calves, and the beginners in their ill-fitting gear – plaid shorts, flapping shirts and skating shoes. The tired-looking new moms pushing prams filled with wriggling bodies, waving arms and wide awake eyes. A dad strolling patiently as his pint-size, pink-clad little girl with her bobbing ponytail and flower in hand chats happily away – probably giving mom an end of the day breather.

 

The dogs, all rushing about in a multi-sized confusion of wagging tails and tongues, flapping ears and glazed eyes, some picking out an almost invisible ball among the grass and diligently dropping it at a far-off owner’s feet.

The lovers, blissfully unseeing, unaware of the carnival playing itself out all around. An occasional old man staring out to sea – unreadable emotions etching themselves ever deeper into the lines around his squinting eyes.

Then there’s the intriguing couple at the bus stop whose uncanny punctuality, not to mention dress code, always makes me reel with a Truman Show type of Dejavu: a clean-shaven middle aged man wearing a dark button-up shirt tucked into tight black bootleg jeans, a pair of boots short only of a shiny pair of silver spurs and to top it all off, a velvety black, gold-trimmed cowboy hat; next to him, his lady friend (or maybe wife), a Liza-Minelli-lookalike perfectly groomed in a tight-fitting top-to-toe ensemble of rich fabric and dark colours. Which bus and where to? I can’t help but wonder.

But of all the people on the promenade, there is only one pair I would actually shuffle my schedule to see: the frail-looking old man playing his inconsolable bagpipes while his ever-adoring consort watches from a bench close-by, a pair of faerie people, more ancient than they look or maybe indeed much younger than we’d even know.

Whisps of tragic notes wafting on the wind had led me to them on that first fateful dusk, but even when the music was resonating loud and clear, so close I could feel it rattling in my bones, they were nowhere to be seen. And then I caught a glimpse. Through the holes in a hedge I saw him on the corner of a lawn, pouring heart and lungs into his nostalgic song, and she sitting serenely on a nearby chair, eyes closed head lifted just so.

No such shyness tonight, however, as I came across them in plain sight: him standing tall and proud next to a Palm Tree and she on the wooden park bench with a little brown blanket arranged across her knees. I watched him play for a while, letting the notes penetrate my chest and rise up to my head. I watched her watch him. And watched how when he stopped playing she got up, shawled her shoulders in the throw, and met him half way. Then I watched as her arm hooked into his, and they slowly edged their way back home, as if time were irrelevant and night held no threat.

This weekend I…

Sea point main road - on our way to Posticino

1. Enjoyed a luxurious evening at the Premier Hotel Cape Manor with my mom. She’s been working really hard and I like to think I have too, so we decided to treat ourselves to some well-deserved relaxation. Although I’m more of a rough and tumble camping type, the 4-star hotel treated us well with nice fluffy pillows, duvets and an extensive buffet brekkie. Supper wasn’t included in the deal, so we made our way to one of Sea Point Main Road’s most charming offerings – Posticino pizzeria. It comes highly recommended!

Although I felt like the ultimate tourist taking this photograph, I couldn't help myself - that's how purdy the clocktower is!

2. Went to the Waterfront with Lisa to see if we could have a closer look at the magnificent Queen Mary II which had docked in the Cape Town harbour on Friday. But alas… we couldn’t even catch a glimpse! :(. She must have docked a bit further along… a lady of her stature probably needs her space. So I just took a photo of the Clock Tower instead.

My beautiful blue Kaftan... Gypsy slash Mexican slash Hippie. I LOVE IT!

3. Bought a dreamy blue kaftan-type-tunic-type top from Accessorize. There were sales galore at the Waterfront on Saturday. Although most items were still not cheap, as such I spotted this beauty and just had to have it. I picked it up for a cool R180 and as I was paying found out that it had originally cost R600! I do love a bargain… now waiting for a suitable moment to wear it!

Rusty in a very rare moment of peace...

4. Looked after Rusty, Imar and Tamara’s super cute and crazy kitten, while they had a much needed weekend away (what with me living in their spare room and all – hahaha). He’s wild and very funny, but we did manage to chill out together once or twice for a few minutes!

5. Watched this movie with the BF… I found the romantic combo of David Duchovny and Demi Moore rather unconvincing. Not much chemistry there methinks. Apart from that the movie deals with an interesting theme, as this ‘family’ of four moves into a new neighbourhood with the sole intention of selling their lifestyle to their less glamorous neighbours.