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March Madness

     March was a slew of visitors.  Our futon was a revolving door to the flea ridden, the diseased.  Andrew’s parents visited for two weeks!  Faye, a friend from Northwestern, came for a week of research/fun! A surprise visit by megastar of stage and screen, world-famous Monkey Christina Anthony! She was flown first class and was put up in a luxurious hotel suite downtown to film a commercial here in Cape Town. These visits have allowed us to experience, and most importantly taste, the finer sides of Cape Town.  Including no fewer than 3 visits to high tea at the Mt. Nelson Hotel.  Fancy.

    

     We’ve eaten at La Colombe (one of the top 12 restaurants in the WORLD) TWICE: First with the Browns (+1), then with Faye and Mbongeni to celebrate Easter and Passover.  We napped in the family’s fancy hotel room and took photographs galore (see forthcoming posts). And yes (!), for all those concerned, we finally went to see some animals (not just eat them). We trekked to Inverdoorn Game Reserve and got up close and personal (cue Celine Dion) with the Big Five. Okay, we only saw four of the five because leopards are super evasive and shy, y’all.

              

     In the few days we didn’t have guests last month, we took a work trip up to Joburg for a conference on LGBTI refugee issues in South Africa.  To make the trip special, we traveled by train on the way up – we are unfortunately too poor to do it both ways.  We traveled Premier Classe, meaning we got our own private room, beds made up all fancy for us, and all of our meals in the dining car.  It was by far one of the nicest ways to see the stark South African countryside.  We felt like prim and proper British colonists taking in the grounds.  And let us say, colonialism is GREAT. We now understand why they did it.

              

         To recap: we tasted great wine at Groot Constantia, Christina ate wildebeest, we visited the beach in Simon’s Town with Andrew’s parents on a good day with no sharks, Faye did a fashion shoot in Bo-Kaap, and Andrew and I still seek out streaming American television online. Enjoy the pics in the next few posts!

 

Love from here,

AnD

You Guys! It’s 2013!

Y’ALL!! We’ve done so much since our last post! Let’s begin anywhere!

Well, the Christmas and New Year’s holidays were very odd for us in the absence of snow, but we’re not complaining. We are as concerned about protection from the sun as you all are about protection from the snow. In any case, we got a little tree from the nursery and a strand of multi-colored LEDs from the R5 shop and viola! Christmas tree! The tree will grow to a height of 5 meters which means we’ll leave it to be planted in the front yard in honor of all snow-less Christmases to come.

We planned on making Christmas dinner so we went to Woolworth’s and bought a fancy gammon (ham), ingredients for peanut butter cookies w/quartered Reese’s cups (D made them with his nieces and nephew a few Christmases ago, still hooked on the junk), and a few other comforts. We rented a few movies and couldn’t wait to just relax. Well, in the spirit of doing only things that pleased us, dinnertime rolled around and we were having no part in dinner-making! We did snack on cookies we’d made the day before, but other than that we were on the hunt for fast food. On Christmas. Cut to us finding burgers & fries and not feeling guilty about it.

For the New Year we treated ourselves to a weekend at a nearby spa!  Neither of us has ever felt so luxurious.  We got to be float in 3 tons of Dead Sea salt, scrub down with medicinal earth mud followed by an indoor rain shower, get a seaweed wrap, and otherwise fancy massages, facials, etc. and we’ve been drinking lots of water since.  We look 10 years younger. 

Did we mention that D was in a fire-theatre show for which A was wrangled in as stage manager? “Dans van die Vlammes: A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was a full-length fire show adaptation in which D played Oberon and learned to spin fire in two weeks! It happened at the Taalmonument (a futuristic/desert inspired phallus of oppression…a monument honoring the Afrikaans language) in Paarl.  All kidding aside, the space was beautiful, overlooking the glowing lights of Paarl and the surrounding mountain ranges. ‘Twas awesome.  We’ll hopefully perform it once or twice more before it goes to the Grahamstown National Arts Fest at the end of June.

Speaking of Grahamstown, A has submitted a proposal for the Arts Festival too! A will write/direct a piece that will be a culmination of his work here with lgbti refugees and their stories, titled “Home/Affair.” D will play the part of stage manager/choreographer/music guy. That’s all we know so far…go-go-gadget creativity!

 

Love from the Mother City!

More soon (for reals),

AnD

Thanksgiving Recipes

Hey y’all,

Thanksgiving is upon us and we need to impress our South African friends!  We’re hosting a small dinner and want to serve America’s finest delicacies.  So, if you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe, please send it to us.  You can post as a comment or email either of us if the recipe is long.  And, we’ll do our best to honor the recipes with our erratic electric stove, bar fridge with no freezer, and bare bones knowledge of South Africa equivalents to things like…brown sugar, turnips, cranberry sauce…you know.

Also, we moved into our own little flat!  We’re still sorting out some loose ends, but will post a tour soon. :)

With love from here,

AnD

Joburg Pride 2012

Well as some of you may have heard, at the beginning of the month we took a trip northeast to Johannesburg for the 23rd Joburg Pride Parade and celebration!  

     

To avoid any run-ins with airplane barf bags, we took a bus.  A 19 hour bus.  A 19 hour CHRISTIAN bus ride (see below).  Luckily we both enjoy road trips and this bus was particularly luxury…double-decker with seats that recline 150 degrees, foot rests, movies, a journey that took us through breath-taking mountain ranges (cue Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away”) and farmland…and what better way to get acquainted with the rest stop food options of a foreign country?  Now, about that Christianity:  They said a prayer over the intercom before each trip and all of the movies, music videos, and movie/music reviews they played on the trip were Christian - reminding us of the fact that the apocalypse is nigh and the witchcraft of Julia Roberts is the devil’s work. This is all laid out on their site and everyone who travels with them knows the deal, but apparently some still complain (says their CEO). Now we’ve had our fair share of Christian upbringing and knew what we were getting into so we were smart: we brought headphones. iPods & N8s, TedTalks & WireTap.

However, every now and then I’d find myself watching bits of the movies, though I was listening to something else. The movies that caught my attention were Hallmark’s “Safe Harbor” & a SA movie called “Hopeville.” I liked these movies didn’t look like Last Supper reenactments and were family friendly, rather than beating you over the head with the Bible. The movie/music reviews however are PRICELESS. Here are two of my faves: "Mirror Mirror" & "Braveheart".

Pride: We entered pride behind two queens walking bowlegged in their heels, sinking into the grass.  When they changed into birkenstocks within the first five minutes, needless to say, we were nervous for what we were about to behold.  However, we were quickly   (and happily) swept up in the movement of the parade.  Literally.  One of the biggest differences between prides we’d experienced in the US and Joburg Pride was that anyone who wants to participate can - no temporary fencing separating marchers from observers.  Instead we walk together, stepping to the side to observe and picking up somewhere else along the line, sparking impromptu conversations with fellow marchers, hopping on floats when too tired, and weaving our way through traffic, interrupting busy intersections, disrupting flow.  For us, it felt much more public, a group of people choosing to move together, rather than a parade contained, put on display for ourselves, and dismantled at the end of the route.  This is not to romanticize.  As in the US, there are frequent critiques of the Pride Parade, which recently moved its route from the gristling downtown of Johannesburg to the polished, fenced suburb of Santon often walking by a scant handful of observers and concrete wall.  This year’s theme, “Protect Our Rights,” seemed almost in direct response to such critiques of pinkwashing, celebrating rather than protesting, and the segregation that results from relocating to an upscale neighborhood.  Still, we really took heart in being able to participate, join in, and take a stand for ourselves - for a community, but also actively as a part of a community.  

This tension played out this year around the One in Nine campaign - a movement to recognize the violence towards black lesbians throughout the country (and the exclusion of this group from such community events as Pride).  Their protest set up a blockade of bodies to stop the parade and get it’s message out there.  Unfortunately due to lack of communication with the Pride Committee, their action was mostly met with confusion and, sadly, disrespect, which has since blown up as a recent controversy in LGBT politics here.  For an interesting, complex video on the matter with footage of pride see:  here.  But, we also recommend you follow up that viewing with a look: here.

The parade culminates in a huge gathering in Zoo Lake Park, where we congregate for the afternoon and into the evening watching:  queens onstage LIVING for Celine Dion’s “River Deep, Mountain High” (is it ‘96? Love it!!), found new musical love in Flash Republic , eating, getting tested, you know.  The event is like a free, open-air after party that anyone can attend.  Perhaps for this reason, Donnell and I remarked how diverse the crowd was not only racially, but also in body types, gender expressions, and age as well.  Our friend later commented that the notion of Joburg pride as an exclusive, white event was finally undone this year.  

After the party it’s the after party.  And after the after-party it’s the Fireman’s Ball.  One of the largest after-after parties, the Fireman’s Ball involves neither firemen, nor a ball.  Discuss amongst yourselves.  This year’s “ball” was held in an underground car park (which was much ‘cooler’ than it sounds) and boasted Swedish Super Star Ola live.  We had no clue who this guy was and apparently none of the South Africans did either.  It was a great party.  We had fun.  We’re tired of writing now and you’re probably tired of reading. Now, look at our fun pictures.

Love from here,

AnD

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