Friday, July 24, 2009

Welcome to my humble home!

Mr. Condescending requested (in a rather demanding manner) an invitation to my house during one of his comments on my blog this week. At first I thought it was my charming personality and spectacular looks that attracted his attention, but I was clearly mistaken. He is merely interested in my South African heritage and the peculiarities it might entail. Nevertheless: I hate to disappoint and decided to show everyone around.

Now: my apologies in advance for the pictures. I'm not a professional photographer as I don't stalk people from behind and snap away to put it on my blog later (wink wink, nudge nudge) but I gave it a good attempt and if you don't like it: GO TELL SOMEONE WHO CARES!

For those of you who doesn't know this yet: I love the Sopranos. Maybe because it was something my brother and I used to do together which didn't happen often as he's ten years older than I and a male at that. It wasn't cool having the baby sister around combing your friends' hair while you're talking about, you know "guy" stuff. In my defence though: his one friend had really nice thick black hair that just begged to be combed and loved and I was happy to answer that call.

I digress. At the beginning of every episode of The Sopranos that super fantastic song starts playing and you see Tony Soprano drive past all the landmarks on his way home. That was the inspiration for my version of Be my guest and yes, I know I'm bending the rules a bit: so sue me!
As some of you may know by now, I'm from sunny South Africa: where crime is as high as a hooker's mini-skirt. Our transportation system is a little bit different than some of the countries abroad as we have no Underground. We used to have this train, but then people started taking it apart for scrap metal and decorations for their houses and now the train has no more doors. So passengers started pushing other passengers off the train and unless you really don't feel like getting to work that day, you walk or steal someone's bicycle.

Luckily, for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the government decided to design a new train called the Gautrain (it's just the province in which Johannesburg is located) to make us not look like total backwards bastards, but we're not allowed to use it yet. It's like saving the birthday cake until everyone else arrives when you just want to put your face in that vanilla icing and EAT!

We also have what we call the "taxi." It's not like a black cab from London (it's WAY cheaper) or a yellow cab from New York (it's WAY uglier). No: it's the "Coffin on Wheels." I'm not a racist (as I've caught a ride on one before just don't tell my mother!), but only black people make use of this transportation method. You have the newer model and don't be fooled just because it looks like a normal mini bus:

and then there's the dodgy version of a taxi:

The rest of us just drive cars and try to avoid being killed by these skilled drivers.
Please note that those dark marks on the blue taxi are actually not dirt, but mere dents. They drive like they own the road and honk at you when you dare use sign language.

As I was taking this picture in Dodgeville the driver was busy walking back to his taxi when he saw me and started waving his arms. He must have thought I was there to steal his valueble ride.

On the way to my house you will drive past the "Makoekoes" otherwise know as the "Location." This is part of the not-so-nice South African culture that tourists don't always want to or get to see (except for Soweto, of course). I guess it's almost like the ghettos abroad, but no white people or Mexicans (!) stay there and if you have a Makoekoe, it means your house doesn't have any brick walls or a proper tiled roof. That's where those train doors went.

It's extremely hot during summer as some of the Makoekoes have no electricity and thus no fan and in winter it's ball freezing cold. Let's move on to happier sights.

This is the sign you'll see as we enter my town: we're all excited about next year (the men mostly because they're trying to legalize prostitution).

Football is not really a well supported sport in South Africa as most males here started a tradition of their own when it comes to rugby: biltong and booze. It just depends on what team you support because you can't watch them lose when you're sober. Since the Confederations Cup we hope the support situation has changed as South Africa or better known as Bafana Bafana did pretty well.

As you enter town there will be a slipway to your left and if you take it you end up at the Bunny Sanctuary. I made a special stop there for Mr. Condescending:

To my utter dismay I could not spot a single bunny yesterday morning as I suppose it was too cold for them to go near the water. You got lucky, Mr. C. The Bunny Sactuary is just a place people take unwanted bunnies and leave them on the island to breed and feed while imagining they're in the wild. As bunnies can't swim, the municipality thought it was the perfect solution for the breeding problem. Heartless pigs.

About 5 kilometres from my house there is a lion park which I used to visit quite often because they allow you to hold the cubs and play with them. But lately I just don't feel like going there much. The lions don't roar that often anymore. I think they're sad. I made a quick stop anyway to show some of you a real lion and eliphant and because I know the owner really well. He accompanied me inside the cages to have a proper shot at both the lion and elephant (keep in mind I have an EXTREMELY good zoom function):

(Clearly I was twisting the truth as these pictures were taken earlier this year because of all the green schrub. Just checking if you're still awake.)

Let's fast forward to my house:

Welcome to my humble home!

DON'T mock the sign! My nieces made it for me with much love and care and as a good and proud godmother, I will crack you if nothing but a compliment for their artistry comes out of your pie hole.

But please come in! It's very chilly outside this time of year and I don't want you to catch a cold and sneeze all over my things.
This is my doorbell.

Meet Jane. She's a real barker, but a proper lady as a simple scratch on the chest makes her heart warm and leaves her wanting more and more and more and more; you'll be stuck petting her for the rest of the evening. She's ready to go party though as she's wearing her Princess outfit.

This is my bodyguard.

His name is Rupert. Don't let that smile deceive you: he's a real ferocious killer this one. Many a man's heel has been clenched by his razor sharp teeth. He's extremely possesive and hates it when any man comes within sniffing distance of his mommy. Note that he's not wearing his jersey (yet) as he's a big boy and hates being dolled up (I didn't want to embarrass him on camera).

Here is a small section of my book collection. I'm quite the collector as old books and all words fascinate me beyond measure. I don't like buying new books because it feels like they have not yet had time to grow a certain "character"; it's hard to explain but I like the feel of a book that's had a couple of miles on its back, as though it's been places and some of that magic that has been captured in its pages is now lying at the tip of your fingers, ready to be explored. It's a funny thing, I know.

As you can see most of the books are in Afrikaans because that is indeed my mother tongue. It has to be a really good book for me to read it in English but I have a few favorites like The road to Mecca by Athol Fugard, Joseph by Mervyn Jones (which is about Stalin), Picasso by Norman Mailer, Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee (Nobel prize winner and South African at that!) and anything concerning Russian literature. I like the heavy stuff ;)

If you glance to your left you will find my DVD collection. I have to admit: I'm a never-give-backer. If you bring it to my house, it stays in the house. It's almost like Hotel California except you can go by all means, but leave the nice things you brought with behind. Nice things ranging from wine to books to boyfriends, I'm not fussy ;) Most of these DVD's are what friends brought over to watch and was either too drunk or too tired to realize it was mine now when I shooed them out. Except for my 3 Ché Guevara DVD's, The Weddingsinger (which William and I killed by watching it so many times), Schindler's List and the Tarantino box set (which is further left). I vaguely remember buying those in London last year.

Let's move to the place they call "the kitchen". This is where the magic doesn't happen.

On the menu for tonight: freshly bought McDonalds :) We don't have Burger King or White Castle or Gordon Ramsey or any of those fancy and foreign things you people take for granted. I like to go out to my favourite restaurants more than having take outs because it's about the dining experience. When I want a home cooked meal, I go to my mom's house or get a friend to come over and cook.

I have many cookbooks which my mom and other worried females bought me. They probably hope and pray that it will inspire me to actually follow a recipe accurately and not burn the house down like my last failed attempt, but sadly I will not give in to these manipulative gestures. However: I do bake. In fact, I love baking. I love cakes and tarts and anything sweet.

I've actually made the recipe on the left and twelve glasses of water later I felt much better. It's a very rich and moist cake, but worth the heartburn 100%.

Where are my manners: you must be swallowing your tongue of thirst by now! I know I am from all this talking. I didn't have time to go out and buy any new liquor so stop bitching and just take the glass! I apologise for the set up: I used to have a wine rack, but the bottles looked so uncomfortable in there and it was just another place for creepy insects to rest so I decided to put everything in the kitchen underneath the glass shelf as I'm all for easy access ;)

Very similar to Australia: when you are invited to a person's house, you take your own liquor and when they say it's a "Bring and Braai" (braai = BBQ) you have to take your own meat as well because we are cheap bastards and meat is bloody expensive these days. Thus: I never keep any wine on the shelf as people have such varied tastes and I can only please so many men, sorry, guests at once.

I hope you enjoyed the show. It was lovely having you over. After you've helped me clean up the mess I've made, you can leave.
Oh, I almost forgot about Lucy! There she is with her baby Molly. What, did you think I have a REAL giraffe in my backyard?! We're not in the bloody WILD, man! It's only Africa.


Gorilla Bananas said...

It's a pity you didn't read this post into an audio file so we could have admired your South African accent.

ladytruth said...

I'm afraid the admiration would have turned into sheer laughter or maybe confusion as the South African's accent is a bit flat to the foreign ear.

When I was in Paris last year I ended up sitting next to an American guy as we were on our way to Givenchy and in an effort to avoid watching our death draw closer with the driver's crazy driving attempt we started chatting about golf (of all things). I explained that my friend is Fulton Allem's nephew, but he just couldn't make out what the hell I was saying. After a fourth attempt he started ignoring me. I suspect he heard something totally different and my untame imagination suspects it was not something about golf.

Mr. Condescending said...

Goeie dag! Hoe gaan dit?

Well I really don't know where to start, my visit to your place has been giving me restless nights waiting since you mentioned you would do it.
South Africa always intrigued me, even though I know so little about it.

SWEAR TO GOD the sopranos song was stuck in my head as I was driving when I got your email telling me about your post! Love that show although I've only seen maybe half the episodes. How do they kill the gay mobster btw?

Those taxi vans look f*ckin shifty!
And those ghettos? Wow, the crime is horrible huh?

The bunny thing is terrible, I loved the lion and elephant pic, loved the dog, the grey goose, but now I have to bring my own meat!? Lol!

Eric said...

What a great post, I can tell you worked hard on this! Someone showed me last year that they sell flame throwers for under your car so you can discourage carjackers there. I think I want one of those in Texas just on the principle of its inherent coolness...
Fantastic liquor selection, and super cute hounds!

Sami said...

GO WORLD CUP!! I would love to visit South Africa and see the games, that would kill two birds with one stone. But alas, I am poor! Have to wait for another day... :)

LOVE your pics, especially all the lovely animal (domesticated and not, LOL) ones.

Madame DeFarge said...

Great post and great photos. All it needed was a picture of a cake you'd baked and I'd have been delirious.

ladytruth said...

Mr. C: "Dit gaan goed, dankie, en self?" Thank you for the Afrikaans! What a pleasant surprise that was :)

Of course you have to bring your own meat; I don't have a slaughterhouse in the garage.

Oh and Vito, the gay guy? They find him and then pop him. You really have to watch the end of the series though! Get's to a nail biting stage with Tony.

Eric: Whatever you do: just say NO to the flame throwers! Next thing you know they'll be selling you fur on the dash with those wobble head puppies. Around here we call them "bokslagters." Rougly translated: hillbillies.
Thanks for the compliment on the liquor; life is too short to waste it on cheap booze ;)

Sami: even poor people can afford to come here, hell: even poor people can survive here! Seriously though: if you know the right places, a trip to South Africa is any traveller's ultimate fantasy.

Madame D: Thank you and thank you very much. It's nice to see appreciation for the pictures as I risked my life taking half of them. (Just kidding!) =)

the girl with the pink teacup said...

Ladytruth, this was one epic post. Thanks for all that effort! I feel all special - like I flew halfway across the world to see you. Is it strange if I say that I've always wanted to visit South Africa? After this post, I want to visit even more!

Those taxis made me laugh so much! A friend of mine has recently returned from spending a year in RSA, and she caught a few Coffins On Wheels every now and again. She said she'd never be able to look at vans the same way again. Could be sort of fun in a scary "oh my GOD, I'm going to DIE!" kind of way, right?

Loved your pictures of the local 'wild life' - you've really got to watch out for those white fluffy bodyguard types, don't you?

And if I spoke Afrikaans, I'd be borrowing your blooks in a heartbeat if your choice of English titles is anything to go by!

Count me in for a space on the floor for the 2010 World Cup, sexy lady - I'll remember to bring the booze (Australians and South Africans are so awesome like that, aren't we?), if you forgive me for not bringing any meat ;)

Lots of love to you, beautiful one :)

the girl with the pink teacup said...

And of course, by 'blooks', I mean books. I can't even speak English properly! What hope is there of me ever understanding Afrikaans??

Organic Meatbag said...

Awwwwww! Cute doggies! And hey, great booze collection! Hahaha!

ladytruth said...

The Girl: thank you for your always kind words! I'll never let you sleep on the floor and will even allow you to use my precious, close to my heart Victorian bath when you do decided to ever visit my charming country :)

Organic Meatbag: Thank you for the "awww"; I'd rather not tell my (fluffy) vicious, killer dog that as he might find it offensive and demand another picture be put in that one's place.
As for the liquor: thank you once again. My mother will be so proud.

otherworldlyone said...

I thought I'd already commented on this when I read it a few days ago. Obviously, I didn't. Eh...I'm ok.

Great post. Great pictures. And I loved hearing about a place I knew nothing about.

ladytruth said...

otherworldlyone: I had to come up with something good (like a life threatening ride of your life-vehicle) to top that porch of yours, because I've actually decided to get one of those for myself someday. I'll take the picture to my architect friend and say: "This is what I want, make it happen. Now." It'll probably cost a fortune, but I will pay him with love? No, I don't do love. A Sunday roast? No, I don't do cooking. Lots of horny, steaming and mind blowing sex to which all past and future partners will look pale in comparison? I can do that :) My architect friend will thank you someday!