Ghostly Gallivanting

“I’ve got quite a vivid imagination and I’m easily overwhelmed by sensations and things that are beautiful or scary. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ghost – I think I’m probably haunted by my own ghosts than real ones” – Florence Welch

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I don’t believe in ghosts and stuff but I do believe that they exist. There is a paranormal world out there but if you don’t mess with it I don’t think it will mess with you. I am an adventurous soul who enjoys the beauty life has to offer. And when I say beauty, I don’t only mean the beautiful things, but also, the scary things that form a part of the beauty of life. Like cemeteries, for example, are one of the most enticing places on earth. There’s a stunning cemetery down the road from my house, lined with delicate trees that blossom in the spring time, with light pink and red leaves. Taking a drive through this cemetery during the day is fascinating and calming and allows one to appreciate the little things in life. It’s almost indescribable.  

I don’t know what possessed me (excuse the pun ;)) to go on a mystery ghost bus tour of Johannesburg. But I’m glad I did! A friend and I decided to scare ourselves a little and take a night-time tour of the haunted places around the city. It was a 5 hour long tour, with stops at some of the most haunted places in Jozi, where ghosts are still seen today. I don’t want to give too much away so you can enjoy the tour with surprises along the way. But I will say that we ended off the tour just after midnight, in a cemetery!  

The bus was full, with around 30 people. Each of us were given a set of metal rods – which are used to pick up electromagnetic signals (either paranormal activity or frequencies from old or unused mines). As we walked around the cemetery, the rods moved in places it picked up signals. It was scary and exciting at the same time. Once again, it was the company that made my night. My favourite part of the tour was definitely the cemetery but I did learn that cemeteries transform into almost completely different places at night. It was saddening to hear about the tragic deaths of many people whose souls are unable to rest. The tour not only teaches you about the different types of ghosts (such as replay ghosts, revenge ghosts, interactive ghosts etc) but also provides you with history about the places you visit.

A must do for people in Johannesburg! The tour is also offered in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. Look out for the Halloween mystery ghost bus tours coming up!   #LessonSeven – Beauty takes many forms.

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Plant or ghostly long fingers?

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All Dressed in White

(Not the wedding kind 😉 )

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Animal faeces or human faeces? I’m still not sure. What’s a fun night without at least one funny story to remember right!? Of course it had to be mine. My friends and I waited not so patiently in anticipation for the Sensation Innerspace party in September. Being the eager beavers we were, we purchased our tickets in May and spoke about it all the time. The night had finally arrived.

Sensation. This party (argued to be second best to Tomorrowland) was expecting 17 000 people and was held at the Dome in Northgate for the first time in South Africa. To avoid the hassle of finding parking, walking really far and worrying if our car would be safe surrounded by bunches of drunk youngsters, we decided to hire a safe cab for the night. The driver called to say he was outside, and the excitement had just begun. We opened to front door to a taxi (yes – a South African white mini bus) with the taxi driver waiting patiently. Shocked is not the word. We giggled in awe and the excitement grew knowing that we’re taking an actual taxi to Sensation. Josiah, our taxi driver, was a charmer who drove nothing like the Jozi taxi drivers we know and love (not so much).  

After the standard McDonald’s stop, we arrived at the Dome, all dressed in white, tickets in hand. While waiting in the line to get in, I noticed some mud on my freshly cleaned sneakers. Being the tomboy that I am, I bent down and wiped it off with my hand. Seconds later, a gag-provoking stench surrounded us. Yes, it was shit on my sneaker. Yuck. Once we got in I cut the snaking bathroom line to rush in and scrub for about 15 minutes. And I still don’t know what species waste remained in the cracks of my sole. A funny story it was, since that’s the first thing my friends bring up when we reminisce about that night.

In terms of the actual party, there’s not much I can say. We drank energy drinks (which I am not a fan of – at all!), ate sushi, danced and laughed. There were colourful lights and people all dressed in white. With the random group of people who wore masks and weird stuff. It was not all that we expected it to be but the night was epic! When the party was over, we got into pj’s, shared our sensation stories over pizza and had a good laugh.  I had the perfect end to the night when we watched the sunrise from the boot of the car. It just goes to show that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, it’s who you’re with that really matters. This was exactly the break I needed from the stress of honours. Unfortunately, the best moments are not always captured on camera.

#LessonSix – The best things in life are free. And don’t wipe mud off your shoes with your bare hand.

Harries Pancakes

“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity” – Voltaire

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It seems as though appreciating good food has become a big part of finding the balance for me. Being an honours student makes it really difficult to eat properly. It’s just easier to indulge in fried chicken, burgers and anything considered junk food or unhealthy – because it’s easily accessible and great for on-the-go.

Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve found myself going out to restaurants more often and kicking fast food to the curb (kind of LOL). I’ve been taking the time to go out and explore good food because that makes me happy.

The thought of driving to Pretoria for a meal had not crossed my mind once – until a friend told me about this charming little place that made pancakes. Being a dessert junkie obviously meant that I was in the car with my seatbelt, smile and shades on ready to go to Pretoria!

I think it’s fair to say that I have never, in my life, tasted pancakes as delicious as these! Soft, warm and fluffy doesn’t even begin to describe the insanely tasty pancakes at Harries Pancakes. I tried a savoury pancake with sweet potato and butternut, and two sweet pancakes – dark chocolate mousse and peppermint crisp (don’t judge – I wasn’t going to drive all the way to Pretoria to have just one pancake ;)).

A meal is not just about the food (even though it’s a huge part), but it’s also about the company. It gives us a chance to talk about our day and enjoy the little things in life with the people we care about. Harries Pancakes offered me this experience with stunning decor and beautiful food 🙂

#LessonFive – “I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them” – Oscar Wilde – The Importance of Being Earnest

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Beauty and the British

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to afternoon tea.” -Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

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While the idea of afternoon tea may have originated in France, it is no news that the British are famously known to enjoy the ceremony of afternoon tea. Not only have I mastered the British accent (seriously, I’m bloody brilliant at it, so much so that I could have played one of the Patil twins in Harry Potter), but like the British, I enjoy my cup of tea in the afternoon. It’s usually because by that time of the day, I’m ready to take a break from the crazy rush that is my life and like to indulge in something warm and comforting. Tea is my quick fix for everything. When I’m happy, when I’m sad or when I just crave tea! My current favourite is peach infused Rooibos. It changes, say, every week or so, depending on my mood.

Due to my love for sugar, spice and everything nice (yes, I just thought of the Powerpuff Girls too), I was excited to attend a Lindt  high tea that I was invited to by my friends. Pleated skirts, chiffon shirts and chocolate – what more could a girl ask for?! (And yes, that was a rhetorical question because there are much more [non-material] things I can think of asking for).

Enjoying the calming effects that tea has to offer is one thing, but eating, laughing and catching up with the girls over a pot of tea is something else. We enjoyed a great selection of tea, savories, pastries and desserts. While women tend to enjoy high tea ceremonies more than men, there are those men who enjoy it just as much. It really is something for both the girls and the boys  🙂 Attending a high tea was a Sunday afternoon perfectly spent. Some well known hotels and restaurants in Sandton offer high tea between 14:30-16:30.

#LessonFour – I was British in my past life, no joke.

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“We Ride Together, We Die Together”

“The G-force when you take big corners is like someone trying to rip your head off. You hit the brakes, and it feels as if the skin is being pulled off your body.”  – Jenson Button

Ready, Set, Go

Formula one driver Jenson Button perfectly encapsulates the rush you get from driving at a speed that is illegal in most countries around the world. While I do drive 60km/h in a 60 zone, 120km/h in a 120 zone and never go beyond the speed limit, I must admit to the butterflies that are not only in your tummy, but actually rush through your body when driving without a speed limit (in a controlled environment). Bruises still fresh from my paintball adventure, and off to the go-karts I went. When I said I found the balance in my first post, I wasn’t kidding!

This was the first time I went go-karting that I can remember, and didn’t realize the control and game one requires! It’s nothing like driving a car as one may assume. It had different rules to the road which made it all the more exciting! Twenty minutes, four friends on the track and it was game on! We had to wear hair nets (greatly to my dismay, as if helmet hair wouldn’t have been bad enough LOL) and got to choose our helmets. I went for the Batman one, well, because I like Batman. And it was sexy 😉 As you can see in the picture, it was black which added to the lean and mean image I was going for ;). Half the fun of go-karting was actually being all kitted out. We all started at different spots but the goal was to see who could lap the most rounds in the time given. It took me a few short laps and getting over-taken many times to get comfortable with my kart but once I got to know it, it was game on! The winner could enjoy standing in the centre of the podium which represents first, second and third place rankings.

I was in a group of four friends, two boys and two girls. Once again, the boys believed they had the upper hand and didn’t consider us girls as competition. While we kicked ass at paintball, they may have been right this time 😉 Finishing in fourth place, my excuse was, and remains that “I am a safe driver, incapable of speeding and being reckless on the road”. The roar of the tyres and skidding tyres made for an incredible and real driving experience. When I was thirteen, I watched a live F1 race for the first time, and while racing my go-kart, couldn’t help but pretend I was Michael Schumacher.

Ranking fourth, there was obviously no spot for me on the podium. But, having the amazing friends that I do, they allowed me to take pictures on each step of the podium. So, actually, I finished first, second, third and fourth (my true ranking). Although the actual racing time wasn’t very long, the whole afternoon was great fun. After working up a killer appetite, what better way to share a meal with friends but to try out the new Tastes of the World Mexican burger from McDonalds.

There are many go-kart tracks in and around Johannesburg, mainly in the Woodmead, Rivonia and Kyalami areas.

#LessonThree – Sore losing is for suckers

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All Guns Blazing

“I guess if you’re stupid enough to join the army without thinking about getting shot at, then you really are a fool” -James Blunt

Ready or not

Ready or not

So I’m sure we all have, at least once in our lives, thought about joining the national defence force. I sure did. Training hard (getting fit and losing weight – bonus!), trying something outside of your comfort zone and serving your country. Why wouldn’t you wanna join, right? Wrong!

I thought I would be the perfect soldier until I held a gun in my arms, with my bullet proof (boob-protecting) vest snugly wrapped around my chest. I felt as if I was ready for anything. Soldiers surrounded me, perfectly camouflaged against haystacks and blinding metal barrels. The feeling of not knowing who, when or how many times I would be attacked frightened me. And then I had an epiphany – if I were to join the army, I would most likely experience this heart-racing, fist-clenching and all round nerve wracking fear of getting shot at.

Ok, so I was beginning a game of paintball with some friends. So, not the same thing, but I had never thought about the getting shot at part of joining the army. And as James Blunt would call me, a fool I was. Once that realization had sunk in and I accepted that I could probably never join the army, I was ready for all the colour, surprise and excitement that was on its way. We were kitted out in old clothes and overalls. Obviously, the boys wore more layers than the girls with the fear of getting hurt. Sounds cool doesn’t it!? It was!

Being one of three girls amongst a herd of boys obviously meant I was the “easy” target. But boy, did we show them! Us girls fought hard (the guys may beg to differ). While I did execute a few great shots, I got shot too. And have the bruises to prove it! The shots came from nowhere, unexpected and stung like a bee (I wouldn’t really know as I’ve never been stung by a bee but you get it :)). Both times, I froze for a second, felt the sting as the paint ball impacted on my body and responded with a delayed and slow “ouch”. It was quite funny now that I think about it.

We played four games on different playing fields which was such fun as each game had different rules. Some were “one shot and you’re out” and in other rounds we played until it was game over before we moved on to the next round. There was a new structure and different props on each field which made it exciting as every round was different. There were two teams – the yellow team and the red team. I was on the red team which apparently lost the most rounds, but you get so caught up in the fun of it all that you honestly forget who were the winners and the losers. Teams of about eight a side are a great size – not too big or too small. What a fun-filled afternoon it was! There are many cool paintball arenas in Johannesburg, especially in Fourways.

#LessonTwo I could never join the army.

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