Cdnpearly's Blog

Pearl's musings

Tourists on the loose! November 2, 2014

IMG_3483Our final few days in Cape Town we were 100% tourists.  Instead of opting for in-depth, one-on-one experiences like our Table Mountain hike and the Cape of Good Hope excursion, we opted for the Double Decker Hop-On-Hop-Off bus!

With trusty maps in hand, cameras slung around our necks, and copious sunscreen applied, we ventured onto the big red bus. Cape Town has several routes canvassed by the HOHO* Bus.  Our first stop was the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.  It’s a beautiful property, showcasing many specialized florae.  Paths meander through native species, trees, historical plants and medicinal/traditional flora.

Since it was early springtime, many of the trees and plants were not in

Jonkershuis

Jonkershuis

bloom–likely in a couple of weeks it would be spectacular.  Still, we really enjoyed our stroll through the garden.  Cape Town and Santa Barbara seem to share a similar climate in that we observed Jacaranda, Coral Trees, and many succulents we see here at home.

Jonkershuis

Jonkershuis

From the garden we rejoined the HOHO Bus route to the legendary Constantia Wine Estates.  This region is as rich in history as it is in its breathtaking scenery.  Groot Constantia has been an important vineyard since 1685, with connoisseurs like Napoleon (he had cases of Constantia wine shipped to him whilst in exile on St. Helena!)

Tasha and I enjoyed a tasty lunch at Jonkershuis–recommended by Albert.

Camps Bay

Camps Bay

Next day, we took advantage of the HOHO Canal Tour–it was a leisurely cruise through the very ohlala waterfront area, home to many celebrities…alas we didn’t see any.

Back on the HOHO Bus, we hopped off at incredible Camps Bay.  You’ll recall that we saw Camps Bay from the peak of Table Mountain earlier in the week, but really to appreciate its beauty, you need to be at sea level.  It has a Malibu feel to it–beautiful ocean, beach and people, great restaurants, high property values etc.

Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap

Our final stop was at Bo-Kaap.

Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap

This historic neighborhood was my favorite part of Cape Town.  Our HOHO tour guide lead an informative and respectful tour through the cobblestone streets and brightly colored homes.  He explained that the homes were originally built for slaves.  Dutch settlers brought Asian slaves to South Africa and gave them homes–so slaves could live as family units, separate from their masters.  After slavery was abolished, these former slaves painted their homes with bright colors as a statement of

Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap

freedom.  Houses in this enclave maintain these hues as an historic homage to their residents’ story.

Tasha and I both felt somewhat uncomfortable walking through neighborhoods, taking pictures** etc.  However, our Uber driver assured us that residents were very proud of their homes.  They never dreamed that their neighborhood would be of any interest to anyone.  The driver had first hand knowledge of this since his grandparents and parents were born and raised in Bo-Kaap.

Happy Anniversary Pauline & Graham!

Happy Anniversary Pauline & Graham!

We also had the great fortune to meet up with our dear friends Pauline and Graham!  We celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary at Karibou.  Congratulations!  And more about Pauline and Graham in the next post!

GOLD!  At Albert’s excellent

Gettin' Down at Gold!

Gettin’ Down at Gold!

recommendation, we spent our last night in Cape Town at a wonderful restaurant called Gold. Per Albert’s suggestion we

Gold Drum Teacher

Gold Drum Teacher

arrived at 6pm to take in the drum lesson.  As super keeners, we were the first to arrive and sat in the front row, center to take full advantage of the instruction!  30 minutes of bliss!  Our teacher was AWESOME!  We were remedial amazing talented fun students!

Following the drumming, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner featuring a tasting menu of African dishes from all over the continent.  Tasty!  Even with my precious Canadian taste buds!

Tasha & "Friend"

Tasha & “Friend”

The pièce de résistance was the troupe of singers/dancers that circulated throughout the restaurant.  I think you would have to be a hunk of wood to not resonate with that lively music!  So, as I chair danced to the rhythm, the troupe pulled me up to join them in a dance.  Full disclosure:  I am a terrible dancer!  However, I gave it 100% effort and as a result, I was invited up a second time!  Tasha was singled out by an admirer!

Albert!  We had the best time and it was the perfect finish to our Cape Town experience!

*HOHO = Hop On Hop Off

** Our tour guide explained that we were all welcome to take photos of the homes, but if we wanted to take pics of the residents, please ask permission first–fundamental manners, really.

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The garden is exploding! July 26, 2010

Well, not literally, but it’s really producing!  This week my new recipe used the lemon grass I planted a month or so ago…Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken.  Holy cow!  Was it ever good!  Even our 8-year-old enjoyed 3 servings of it!  A couple of changes:  I used a little less than called for curry (due to “precious Canadian taste buds”); swapped 3 chillies for a few light shakes of red pepper flakes (due to aforementioned taste buds); I tossed in a few sugar peas–shells and all–at the last-minute.  They really worked with the whole dish.  I served it over brown rice.

I also experimented with a couple of new jams–taking advantage of the abundance of my garden and my neighbor’s orchards.  First, peach/passionfruit.  Whoa!  It rocks!  Early in my blog I featured some photos of the passionfruit in blossom–quite unusual and beautiful flowers.  Now they are ready to harvest.  Sooooo good!

I made some peach/plum/kumquat jam last night, with kumquat courtesy of Lisa; peaches thanks to Rhonda; and plums were a gift from Heidi!  I mashed up the kumquat since they can taste a little bitter.  Mashed, however, they fill out the flavors of the peaches and plums without shocking chunks of bitterness.  The color is also remarkable.  I might be done with jam for now…unless I can hook up with some fig people!

Additionally, the ginger is taking off.  I’m not sure if we can eat the roots or not–but the flowers are glorious!  These orange ones are not as fragrant as the white ones are, but still, very showy. The mini dahlias are also blooming currently.  So pretty!

One of our orchids is fairly bursting!  Photos of blooms will follow, likely  next week:

I spent a glorious morning mosaicing with Melissa.  I was able to cover a 10″ terra-cotta pot…the glue is curing presently.  I’ll grout and seal this week and share the results here.  I went with a blue and white theme, utilizing broken plates from our kitchen over the past year.  I scavenged the local thrift store for some red dishes…next project will definitely include red!

We enjoyed 2 beaches this weekend too–Hendry’s Beach with our dog.  Later, Goleta beach.

So, summer goals are well underway.  Hope yours are too!

 

First recipe of the week… May 31, 2010

Filed under: Books,cooking,santa barbara,Uncategorized — cdnpearly @ 8:15 pm
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3 summer goals started this weekend!

I finished book 1:  The Help.  Excellent read.  I’d give it a 9.5/10

Recipe of the week: Beef-Tenderloin-with-Roasted-Shallots-Bacon-and-Port

My sister-in-law from Boston selected the recipe.  We got the tenderloin at Costco.  Extremely tasty!  Our guests rated  it 10/10.  The only improvement would be to not use watercress.  It seemed clunky, and the taste did not enhance the tenderloin.  I would definitely make this again for a special occasion. Oh, we also substituted flour for rice flour to accommodate  the gluten-intolerants in our group.  We served it with roasted baby potatoes,  green beans and salad.  Brownies for dessert.  Oh my!

And, today we enjoyed the perfect beach day at Hendry’s beach.  The planets aligned for the ideal seaside experience…parking spot!; dolphins performing like they were auditioning for Seaworld; children playing together happily; moms catching up without interruption; no flies; no fog; not too hot/not too cold; carb filled lunch (sandwiches and CHIPS!)…

Could you ask for anything more?  Well, maybe just “when can we do this again?!”

Still to tackle:  the garden, mosaics, geocaching…

I hope your long weekend was as successful and enjoyable!  Let’s hear all about it!

 

Summer goals May 25, 2010

Victoria Day/Memorial Day = the official start of summer.  From this vantage point it always feels the summer stretches on forever.  And yet when Labor Day hits, I find myself wondering “where did summer go?”

So, I decided to set some goals that I hope to achieve over the next few months.  Writing them here will (hopefully) make me more accountable.  In no specific order:

1.  I will read 8 books!  I already have several lined up.  Currently reading “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.  So far, it’s an amazing book.  My sister says she will be sad when she’s finished reading it.  High praise indeed!  Next up is “My Life in France” for my book club.  I can’t wait for the dinner that goes with this book selection!  I have saved “An Echo In The Bone” by Diana Gabaldon for summer reading.  After these 3, we’ll see what drifts across my bedside table!

2.  I will resume geocaching!  It feels like months since we’ve hunted for treasure…well, actually, it has been months!  The close of the NFL season meant that there was less incentive to get out of the house on the weekend!  However, I miss it!  And I miss my geocaching buddy.

3.  I will attempt a new recipe each week to change up the usual fare (read food rut) that I cook regularly.  Each recipe will be graded on a scale of 1-10.  Anything less than an 8 never gets made again!  I’ll share those that attain 8.5 or higher so you can all benefit from my successes!

4.  I will go to a beach at least 6 times over the summer.  Sadly I won’t be making my annual pilgrimage home to Jack’s Lake and the summer cottage (stupid economy!!!–but that’s a blog entry for another day).  In place of the Canadian Shield, I plan to enjoy summer right here in paradise.

5.  I will create 2 large or 4 small mosaic art pieces.  With pottery on hold for the summer, I want to nurture the creative element that is vital to me.  I’m delighted with the mailbox I created last summer.  However, this year I think I’ll make something less practical…we’ll see what muse inspires me!  Photos will surely follow!

6.  My garden will thrive and flourish!  AND I vow to rid the world of at least one gopher a week.  I’m up to 6 so far–sad to say it’s hardly made a dint in the gopher condo that is our yard!  😦

Well, that’s the start of my summer list.  What do you have planned?  Let’s make it a great season!