Taking my Adidas Climachill Cosmic Boost shoes on safari in Africa

I am still totally in love with my Adidas Climachill Cosmic Boost shoes but, tragically, they are now officially finished.

Finito.

Dead.

Khatm.

Well, that’s if I choose to believe the doleful message from mapmyrun.com received 2 weeks ago :

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I ignored them, continued with my #dailyrunning and now I’ve clocked up 720km, meaning I am technically “in the red”, as it were :

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But, as an aside, not half as much “in the red” as I am with my alternate shoes, my “old” Adidas Energy Boost:

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Yikes –  546 km OVER the recommended usage…time to go shopping, quite clearly.

But, yes, back to Africa.

We have just got back from a brilliant trip to South Africa, where I ran ever day, and where my shoes had a couple of fun moments.

We stayed at a friend’s game farm, about 4 hours north of Johannesburg, and since the farm does not have lion, elephant or rhino, it was deemed safe for me to go running in the bush, which was stupendous.  Watch out for rhino, I was told.  And leopard.  But otherwise, no problem.  And so I went for long solitary runs through the bush.IMG_3301

One morning, as we all set off in the Landrover for our early morning game drive, my running tracks from the previous evening were still clearly visible, and so our host suggested we try and identify the pug marks of the wildlife that had walked down the same track after me.   So we all hopped off the Landie and started spotting.

Here, you can clearly see the Adidas logo, and that a blade of straw has found its way on top of my footprint.

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Enough critters had wandered over my footprints…impala…baboon…wild boar.

All pretty exciting.

And then…no, that couldn’t really be a leopard’s pug mark, could it?

Yes it most definitely could 🙂

How exciting to think that during the night a leopard had walked in my footsteps.  Actually, he had walked over my footsteps.IMG_3356

But my shoes’ African adventures were not yet over.

The next week saw us in a friend’s fishing estate in the hills around Lydenburg.

Joy of joys, the estate manager has a tame meerkat, who is cute as a button and super friendly.

And this lil chap fell seriously in love with my shoes.

All that webbing!  He sniffed and poked and clawed away –  in the wild, they grub for food with their long (sharp) nails, so my shoes presented lots of temptation for him.

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Some times, we sat in companionable silence, while he rested from checking out my shoes.

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Another day, he checked out my socks with great interest.

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And yet another morning, when I knelt down to try and take a low-level photo of him, he pounced upon the soles of my shoes with great glee, since things do indeed get wedged in the holes, and I could feel him happily scratching and scraping away.

After a while, perhaps tired from all that exercise with my shoes, he scrambled onto my knees, and settled down for a nap.

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One thing is for sure –  all this African excitement sure beats pounding the streets of Delhi every day.

JENNI BUTTON – classic, elegant South African clothing

On a recent return visit to Johannesburg, South Africa, where we lived for many years, I was looking for Western smart formal wear for my daughter. We now live in India, and office appropriate Western clothing isn’t always easy to find.

I was pointed in the direction of Jenni Button, and found a shop where I could have bought just about every item of clothing, so elegant and so smart and so classic are her designs.

How is it possible that I lived all those years in South Africa, in ignorance of this talented designer?

Ah well, better late than never is my mantra.

Loved the look and feel of the shop in Sandton City, with the colour co-ordinated displays.

Ms Button has simple formal wear and cocktail dresses, for example, all hanging together, by colour, tempting you to mix and match.

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As an aside:  I found small size clothes difficult to track down on my earlier not very fruitful shopping trips through the better known stores in SA.  I needed Size 6, and very few stores had this size on offer.  Jenni Button did.

Personally recommended.

I didn’t tell the staff in the shop that I blog or review.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tsonga. Fabulous South African shoes

I have been a devoted fan of Tsonga shoes for years now, ever since we lived in South Africa. Their shoes are, without question, the most immediately comfortable shoes you will ever buy.
Let me explain.
I now live in India, in New Delhi.

In late May Delhi is hot.

As in 46C hot.

And when I stepped out for a day long shopping trip and wandering around with a house guest who likes to visit in the heat, I put on a brand new, never-before-worn pair of Tsonga sandals.
“Foolish woman,” do I hear you cry?
“Blisters guaranteed,” do I hear you mutter?
Not a bit of it.

These sandals (below) felt as comfy as slippers, the second I put them on, and after a long (very long) and hot (very hot) day wandering through Delhi, my feet felt just great.

No blisters, no chafing, no soreness.

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I don’t know how Tsonga does it, but every single pair of their shoes, loafers, sandals that I have bought over the years has been like this – comfortable from the very second you slip them on.

And it’s not just womens’ shoes.  My husband is also a firm believer.

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It was this claim that I used to persuade friends on their first ever visit to South Africa to buy at Tsonga in Dullstroom, and they reported back enthusiastically.
I shopped, as usual, on my trip earlier this month to South Africa, and came home with yet more Tsonga loafers.

Red ones, this time, to make a change from my standard blacks and navy blues.

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A part of my Tsonga collection (below).  An investment, say I…

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They are not cutting edge stylish – no killer heels, ladies –  but for traditional, classic, elegant loafers and brilliantly comfy sandals, Tsonga is your place.  They also had fab looking boots in their Dullstroom shop, but I had absolutely no justification for buying any, sad to say.

Personally recommended, without hesitation.

I have never mentioned in any of the shops visited over the years – Cape Town, Dullstroom, Hazyview –  that I blog or write reviews.

Where to find excellent coffee in downtown Johannesburg

On a recent holiday in Johannesburg, where we used to live, we went wandering through Braamfontein, a part of town that was hardly on our radar screen when we lived in Joburg, because it was downtown and perceived to be unsafe.

Fast forward several years (oh dear me, how I miss living in wonderful Joburg) and a brilliantly highveld winter morning, and we were headed to Braamfontein to meet up with friends and to explore the newly revitalised part of town.

Father Coffee is a small, elegant coffee bar and, as luck would have it, it was celebrating its first birthday that morning, hence the cake.  This cool little haven is partly owned by the son of our friends-  here he is busy at work :

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I loved the feel and pared down space :

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Outside is equally cool :

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My cappuccino was delicious and very reasonably priced.  I’m told the espresso was perfect.  Ditto the birthday cake.

They sell their Africa sourced coffee beans.

What’s not to love?

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Personally recommended.

I didn’t tell the staff I blog and write reviews until we had finished and after I asked permission to take photos, which was graciously granted.

Lovely place.

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The Sidi: Indians of African Descent

Calling all Delhi-walas/visitors to Delhi.

There are 2 photographic exhibitions at the National Gallery of Modern Art that you absolutely don’t want to miss. Both exhibitions cover minority communities in India, but communities that are poles apart, socially and educationally. The juxtaposing of these exhibitions makes a visit even more thought provoking.

Ketaki Sheth’s stunning black and white photos of the Sidi community is fascinating.

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One knew, of course, that there were the descendants of African slaves and sailors and travellers living along the Konkan Coast. I remember once, on a day trip out of Bombay (as it then was) to visit an old fort, seeing a man in a village who looked completely African.  I wondered, researched it a little in those far-off computer-less days, and then forgot all about him.

But until I visited this fabulous photographic exhibition, I had no idea that the Sidi community numbers some 70,000 (more than the Parsis…more anon), and that they have been in India for centuries.

Ketaki Sheth’s images are hauntingly beautiful, and very sympathetic to her subject. You never for a moment feel that the camera has been intrusive or exploitative. You just instinctively know that her subjects cooperated with her. These are definitely not grab shots, the kind we are all guilty of, but rather lovingly and sensitively composed portraits.

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What strikes one is the intrinsic African-ness of these villagers, who, despite bangles and dupattas, look every inch as though they are sitting in a dusty village in Botswana, say.

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I used to live in South Africa, and miss the continent enormously.  Visiting the exhibition with a South African friend who also lives in Delhi, we were both struck at how – well – at how African the photographs looked.  The faces and vignettes of village life could have come straight from a dusty “kraal” as opposed to a dusty “gaon”.

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Gorgeous images, which made me deeply envious (and deeply admiring) of Ms Sheth’s commitment to black and white, in a world where Instagram and iPhone selfies otherwise rule.

Highly recommended.

 

Gallery Timings:
Opens daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Closed on Mondays and National Holidays.

Entry Charges:
Indian: Rs: 10/-
Foreign National: Rs: 150/-
Student / Child: Rs: 1/-

 

Seriously, NGMA, seriously ? Rs 150 for foreigners vs Rs 10 for locals…

Where to source excellent tea in New York

Now I may well be teaching granny how to suck eggs here, but on a recent visit to New York (after far too long, but that’s another story) I discovered TEAVANA.

What a delicious shop, full of temptations galore.

And who knew there could be so many delightful sounding teas on offer?

I went in to buy what I described rather vaguely as Japanese rice tea, and the charming, knowledgeable shop assistant knew exactly what I wanted (is that what they are still called, by the way,  shop assistants ? Or is that a painfully old-fashioned term ?)

He showed me 2 kinds of genmaicha, and sold me a tin (which was another $7 – bit steep) :

But the tin is air-tight etc etc, and it did come with instructions :

Some of the teas in their catalogue sound heavenly – Lavender Dreams, anyone ?

If I’d read the catalogue then (as opposed to now), I might well have succumbed to Slimful Chocolate Decadence :

Ooh does that sound good or what ?

Less sure about the Rooibos Chai, even though it does skilfully blend South Africa and India, 2 big loves of my life, so who knows…

Loved the stylish decor of the Lexington Avenue shop (below) :

 

Personally tried and tested (and even tasted !) and therefore recommended.

 

BELLA Restaurant JOHANNESBURG

 

Bella on Rivonia Road in Johannesburg is a perfect place for lunch. Airy, friendly, relaxed staff, serving easy on the palate light food, which is consistently good, with a wide choice of specials of the day. It is very much the place for ladies who lunch.

Safe and ample parking.

Outdoor heaters to supplement the winter sunshine.

The fare is light bistro-esque. Quiches, salads, delicious fish-cakes, chicken pies in winter, generous open sandwiches, and delicious in-season puddings.

It’s not cheap, to be honest, but the food is good – although crab-cake and a small side salad at R 90 did strike me as a tad pricey.

Lunch for 2 with no alcohol, no pud, just a main course, fruit juice and a coffee each cost R237.

I have eaten at Bella about 5/6 times over the past 2 years.

Bella
66 Rivonia Road
Sandton.

Tel : 011 883 6665
info@bella66.co.za