A magical weekend in Biedouw Valley (near Clanwilliam, Northern Cape) to see the beautiful Spring Blossoms “gouwsblomme” that come out after the winter rains! Flowers, new friends, Potjiekos…. no better way to spend the weekend! :D
Check out the Clanwilliam Flower Routes:
The flowers are in full bloom! When are you planning a trip up the Flower Route?
Do you ever find yourself wrapped up in the spinning ecstacies of everything happening around you, so much so that you lose focus and stumble down the wrong fork of life?
I think that’s what happened in the past two months.
Before starting this blog, I told myself: If you are going to try this, you gotta give it your best and WRITE - at least once a week!
Of course, life got in the way. Admist all the packing, unpacking, traveling, family, friends, birthdays, farewell parties, work, business trips…. there were so much I wanted to post about (and still do, have a running list of “I shall finish writing up on this restaurant/ event/ light-bulb moment when….”), somehow they were lost amidst the craziness.
September is going to be a restart, BOOM.
After a refreshing trip to Namakwaland, sitting amongst the beautiful Spring Blossoms or “gouwsblomme”, as I have learned from my Afrikaans travel buddies, I felt re-energized. I even posted photos from the trip within 24hours!
On the bus trip back to Cape Town, I realized that every moment in our lives are truly unique, once-in-a-lifetime moments. You will never be able to replicate a single moment, even with the same people, same cars/buses, same location, same time of the year…. heck, even down to the minutes! We can never recapture the beauty, or the pain, of any single moments in our life…. There are too much beauty in this world, too many interesting people, and TOO MANY LIFE LESSONS that I am learning every day.
This is why I have to keep writing. Time to pick myself back up, and get back on track!
It is great to be back =)
Life has been quite hectic for the past 2 weeks: moved into a new flat, packing & unpacking all my boxes, meeting new people, saying goodbye to old friends, packing again to visit family back home (Taiwan!), writing up mid-year reviews at work… lots happening in a very short time!
Just as life gets busy & out of control, my sister forwarded this great article to me - and I couldn’t agree more! “Visionmaking should be a daily activity” , how can you go forward when you can’t see the path?
I hope you will enjoy this article, as much as I did!
One of the most important responsibilities of every leader is to envision the future. Visionmaking should be a daily activity … and deal with practices of inventing the future, a future that frees us from the quagmire of the status quo and allows us to enter a “field of possibility.” Possibility is the geography that supports individual and collective growth, development and achievement.
Every leader has an enemy … and that enemy is the status quo. The status quo is defined as “a state of stasis where there is neither motion or development and where there is no hope of change.” It is common knowledge that in business, as in life, we either advance or decline and there is nothing in between. The status quo disguises decline. We are seduced into the false sense that things remain exactly the same, when we’re actually heading downhill but so slowly that it is virtually imperceptible until free-fall occurs. By the time we recognize we’re falling, it’s too late.
Wise leaders see that the status quo is the breeding ground for organizational inertia, the inability or unwillingness to move or act. Once this condition arrests an organization, team or individual, the result is lethargy, apathy and disinterest. These are the signposts of decline…and an announcement that leadership has been abandoned. Sir William Ostler, the father of modern medicine, suggests that such conditions can be formidable in their ability to undermine our energies and jeopardize our preferred future: “By far the most dangerous foe we have to fight is apathy — indifference from whatever cause, not from a lack of knowledge, but from carelessness, from absorption in other pursuits, from a contempt bred of satisfaction.”
Carelessness, distraction and narcissistic pre-occupation undermine a chief resource in leadership — the practice of reflection. Reflection is the act of turning the eyes from the outer world to the inner landscape of our aspirations, dreams, and possibilities and opportunities. This is the domain of the future and vision is fashioned in the silence of careful contemplation.
— Patrick O’Neill, from “Envisioning a Preferred Future”
“So… is Long Street the only main road in Cape Town?”
“No Mom, that’s just one of the busiest streets in the city center!”
This was my Mom’s comment after her first day in Cape Town. Having lived in metropolitan cities all our life, Cape Town did appear smaller on first glance. What I’ve grown to learn and love about Cape Town is exactly that - it can be as small as you want to make it, or LARGER than you can ever imagine!
With colonial buildings lined Long Street, palmy Camps Bay beaches, it is easy for locals (or transplanted locals, like myself) to stay in the comfort of City Bowl & Atlantic Seaboard! But there is so much more to Cape Town - Northern Suburbs like Tableview & Blouuberg, Southern Suburbs like Claremont & Constantia, further south towards Kalk Bay, Simonstown and more!
Here’s an example of changing landscapes you can experience, within half a day drive from Cape Town!
View from Seapoint flat - you can see the promenade!
Century City Mall - where it’s summer all year round and waaaay too many shops to experience…!
Picturesque Muizenberg - surfer dudes unite!
Chapman Peak’s drive! It took 17 years to carve out this scenic route from the very mountain it hugs up against!
The Wharf at Hout Bay - find the freshest seafood from markets/stores directly from the ocean!
Driving back towards city bowl - sunset hikes & sundowners on Lion’s Head is a guaranteed local favourite!
Night view of foreshore… did you know the old coastline of Cape Town ended at the Castle of Good Hope?
Beauty of Cape Town - Day 1
Having lived in Cape Town for about 7 months now, I am so used to seeing amazing murals throughout the city that I hardly take notice of them any more. I was pleasantly surprised by the contagious excitement from my latest Couchsurfers (from Germany, Wales & Canada) from their walks around the city, where they snapped up beautiful pictures of murals around the city!
“The grass is always greener on the other side”
Human have short term memories, where we cease to appreciate the awe & excitement we first experience as we encounter something beautiful. Moving to a new city, picturesque drive along the coastline, first skydiving experience, homecooked meals, new lover…. how can we be reminded of the first time? When our heart flutters and a warm fuzzy feeling ooze up from our tummy?
Here’s my mission for the week: Rediscover the beauty of Cape Town!
I will be sharing photos, quotes, thoughts, people, food, anything that strikes my fancy this week! And I invite you to do the same - What’s beautiful in your life?
Photo Reply functionality now engaged!
I can’t wait to see what everyone has to share!
Cook Franschhoek, Saturday 11/06/2011
Center stage, Franschhoek valley.
Sunshine showering through French windows on either side of the kitchen.
Chefs, freshly chopped ingredients, steam rising from pans.
Audience, mesmerized by the splendid creation happening in front of their eyes, seated.
Light humming of wine pouring into crystal glasses.
The kitchen comes to life!
It is always amazing to witness the creation of art, beauty, and divine indulgence in front of your eyes. As your senses are engaged, artists share their passion with an explosion of colours, smell, texture, taste, and the ancient art of storytelling.
Stunned by the rich Autumn colours as we turn off the N1, driving through Franschhoek Valley, Tom & I slow down to 40km/hr to take in the breathtaking sight in front of our eyes. This is what most tourists miss when they visit Franschhoek in the summer! The grapevines form a tapestry of burgundy, orange, hints of magenta and the thousand shades in between!
Arriving fashionably late (oops!) at the 22hectare Holden Manz wine estate, we were greeted by the friendly staff from the gate-go! Driving through the vineyard, we reached the Cape Dutch manor, home to the Franschhoek Kitchen where the weekends’ magic happens.
Monneaux & Glenwood: Chef Louis Jansen
Chef Louis Jansen & his team from Monneaux had just dished up twice-rolled omelette with oyster mushroom, smoked salmon, dhania, watercress, toffeed ginger and balsamic reduction. We were too late! But Hoden Manz’s barman, John, ushered us over and pointed out DP Burger with GlenWood Vineyards – and we had our first taste of the 2008 Shiraz.
Chef Louis Jansen has the philosophy to infuse Cape classic cuisine with local produce, delivered by local farmers in the morning. Inspiring a fantastic curried lentil salad, vegetable atchar served with a rack of lamb with minted Bulgarian yoghurt on top! The curried lentils surely packed a kick!
Monneaux will be serving up a new Winter menu in late June/ July, I am looking forward to sample his new creations!
Café Bon Bon & Haut Espoir: Chef Chris Erasmus
After a short break, we were treated chicken and cashew nut curry and savoury rice with Chef Chris Erasmus at Café Bon Bon! Chef Chris Erasmus had made a fantastic Lemon Meringue on Friday which looked simply divine! I was blown away by his savoury curry even more – demystifying the common misconception to pan fry chicken before drowning them in curry, he slowly simmer the curry with all herbs and spices to infuse meats with maximum flavours. Rob Armstrong from Haut Espoir was ready with his range of handcrafted wines, complementing our curry with a hint of sweetness!
As a newbie to Indian food, I always wondered about the best method to make Basmati rice! Adding cumin and other spices IN the rice was the secret! As the room filled up with exotic scent from the Far East, our stomachs began to rumble… Thankfully, the chef welcomed the spectators to a second serving!
Food & Wine pairing notes
I have recently learned from Michael Gabagas, wine specialist at WineCops & Hoodwinx about the specificities for food and wine pairing. More than what meets the eye, both chefs and sommeliers will pair a selection of wine with raw ingredients to find the ideal balance in acidity, which will be perfected after the ingredients are combined, cooked and served. This helped me appreciate both demonstrations and take note of the different flavours one can experience, having the food and wine separately and together!
Welcome Bienvenido 歡迎 Welkom Bienvenue!
These are the 5 languages I can speak! Or at least try to communicate in =)
Before moving to Cape Town in Oct 2010, I’ve lived in cities in Asia, North America, and South America! I have been very fortunate to start traveling at a young age, and always immersed myself in the culture of foreign lands.
I grew up in Tainan, the historical capital city of Taiwan, with pebble-lined streets, bustling night markets and so much more! Because of the vibrant culture and unique blend of urban/rural landscape, I truly appreciate food, music, cultural events, and just exploring what my home city has to offer!
Since leaving Taiwan, I’ve lived in cities across 4 continents! From one month to 8 years, it’s been truly amazing to integrate these different elements into my life! I have realized that I am a very hands-on person - I learn best from living the experience! No matter where I am traveling to, I always seek out the BEST of the city a.k.a. the hidden gems! From restored Victorian cafes to off-the-map beaches, authentic kitchens serving organic cuisines to community-run Rastafarian B&Bs, you name it!
Through the people I meet on my journeys, my mind has been expanded immensely! I love sharing this experience with my friends and family, and always give shout-outs to my personal networks!
During my time living in Chicago, USA, I started “Yelping”! Yelp is a social media website, connecting people in various cities where users share reviews on local businesses! It’s really anything (& everything) under the sun~ Best thrift vintage stores, Vinyl records collections, wedding venues, Chiropractors, even Chicagoan’s favorite bus route! And I loved the idea! What better way to get non-endorsed, REAL review from REAL people! Local businesses really have to pull their weight, because every customer can be a “mystery shopper”! Not to mention the great community of people Yelp brings together, I found my dentists & chiropractors here!
With this fresh in mind, I moved to Cape Town, South Africa in October 2010. I fell in love with the city from the moment I stepped off the plane - fresh, crisp air with a blend of exotic spices, magnificent mountains lining green hills, surrounding vineyars and neighbouring oceans! And the SPIRIT of the people! Wow! I made amazing friends within the first month, and I continue to learn something new about this city every day! Being me, you will find me proactively seeking new events, sampling chows at local restaurants, and rubbing shoulders with people from all walks of life!
One of my favourite South African saying is to collect memories for your rocking chair. But with the fast pace of life, we don’t always take the opportunity to sit down, relax, and gather our thoughts to paint the memory into our minds! This combined with many friends’ comments that “you are always out and about! It’s about time you share it with the rest of us!” have led me to starting this blog!
I look forward to sharing my stories of Cape Town, and other cities in South Africa with you! I will be Twitting my adventures, as well as what’s happening around Cape Town real-time! Follow me @bestcapetownSA! If you spot any events/ venues / stories that intrigue you, be proactive! Make a booking, take a friend, and see it for yourself!
Get ready for new adventures around Cape Town!
*Follow me on Twitter!! @bestCapeTownSA!