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February 2007So, here we are back from an incredible trip to the Far East!
Singapore was beautiful and relaxing and it was great to have a daughter who lives there to show us around and who looked after us so well!
Bangkok was an eye-opener. I have never seen so many roadside stalls and cookeries as we saw there. It seems that everybody just eats all the time.
I must say that I stopped myself at the look of some of it although I promised myself that I would try everything once.
Singapore was different. Very much first world and with it’s own beauty. There is so much to do and see that you can keep yourself busy for weeks without a problem.
Singapore is a multi-ethnic city with a population of about 4 million people, many of whom are descendants of immigrants from China (76%), the Malay Peninsula (14%), the Indian sub-continent (8%), and Europe (2%).
While there, and leafing through some books on Singapore, I saw the graph for the yearly temperatures. Virtually a straight line of 31C average!
The town has a couple of very distinct areas and we could be found in any or more of them most of the time!
First of all there is Orchard road.
Buildings such as Ngee-Ann City and the Paragon are a shoppers’ paradise with all of the designer shops such as Chanel, Prada etc. etc. next to the most exquisite restaurants.
Of course there are other shopping centers as well in other parts of the town. Some of them have over 1 million square feet of retail space!
Then there is China Town with its narrow little streets crammed with tiny shops, road-side food stalls and small “restaurants”. We had breakfast there once in Smith street. I had a typical Chinese breakfast consisting of two boiled eggs (1 minute only) and bread with butter ladled on it. A runny business!
Another area is Little India. There we found find myriads of Indian eateries and shops as well as a huge, block long, four storey shopping center called Mustafa’s. This is a 24 hour shopping Mecca for anything from the latest in electronics to a bar of soap.
Before I forget I must mention Funan Digital Center. This is a 5 storey shopping center just for electronics. You must see it to believe it!
Then there is the Colonial part with all its old colonial buildings dating back to the 1800s. That part of town with its long esplanade and beautiful rolling parks is a little haven in the middle of the hustle and bustle that is Singapore.
The first night we had dinner in a Banana Leaf Restaurant. Your plate is a banana leaf. I had the curried fish head which is a ‘must’ when you visit Singapore. Just as much as the Singapore Sling in the Long Bar at the Raffles hotel!
The Raffles Hotel is also typically colonial and very, very pricy!
One of our favourites was to visit the “wet markets”. These are long halls with stalls where wet foods are cleaned and sold. Food such as fish, prawns, frogs and squid are just a couple of the normal things we saw there. I won’t mention some of the others. (Gag!)
Next to a “wet market” you will find a food court where you can get anything and everything. My favourite was the suckling pig but I passed by the “Intestine Soup” place. I guess that I was just not cut out to have soup made from pig liver, bladder, stomach and such. Rather give me some frogs then!
But, back to what is normal for us ….
Just South of Singapore is Sentosa Island. Sentosa is full of hotels and entertainment for young and old. One of the most impressive was the undersea aquarium.
This stay gave us a welcome break from all the sightseeing and shopping we had been doing!
The lighting is something out of a 1001 nights!
And then there was Bangkok ………
Very, very much third world but with incredible temples and palaces. Everything is very inexpensive. So we would sit in a river side restaurant for about three hours just nibbling on prawns at just R 9.00 (that’s not a typo) or 90 Euro cents per plate!
Taxi’s cost around 2-4 Euros and the Tuk-Tuks 1-2 Euros.
Once again there were the China Town and Indian sections and the rich center of Bangkok with the largest shopping center I have ever seen. Siam Square.
My preferred mode of transport was the Tuk-Tuk, a three-wheeler scooter (like a Vespa) with a seat for two or three (small people) behind the driver. Have a look on the left and click to see the picture big! (She’s not picking her nose!)
June was a bit wary to start with but soon got the hang of it. They are everywhere and they charge nothing. For a couple of Baht (the monetary unit) one travels from place to place. Noisy and a bit scary at times but very quick and convenient.
The water taxis were something else. Through large parts of Bangkok you will find canals. On these you have water taxis. These are long boats that move at an incredible speed over the water. They stop at the “stations”, just like at a tram or railway station but then next to the river of course.
People scramble on board and off it goes like a speed boat. The “conductors” who collect the fare (typically around 15 Euro cents) wear crash helmets lest they connect with a low bridge. They walk along the side of the boat like acrobats.
These things must move at 80km per hour. Even I found it little scary. I won’t tell you what June thought about them.
We stayed in a little boutique hotel called the “Old Bangkok Inn”. This was very conveniently situated in the old part of the town where most of the sightseeing is done. Excellent service although a bit small. It only has eight rooms. We stayed in the “Lemon Grass” room.
The Royal Palace (Wat Phra Kaewat) on the river was incredible. The King does not live there any longer so one can visit every corner of this sprawling building. Actually that is wrong. It is not one building there are dozens of buildings. The most impressive was the Wat Phra Si Rattanasatsadaram , the temple of the “Emerald Budha”.
We have seen the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican and now the temple of the Emerald Buddha. I honestly cannot say which is the more beautiful of the two.
And that is exactly what I did.
And so we are back home.
As I am sitting here typing away I look outside and see that it is snowing “cats and dogs”! Just the other day June said that we had not really had a winter yet. The temperatures have been so mild that at times I could work outside in the garden in a T-shirt!
Now, as I am sitting here many countries around us have been put on high alert. In Holland the trains will not be running during the day and in the UK they expect more than 3 000 schools to be closed!
Everything is as white as you can imagine and it is beautiful!
Thank goodness I don’t have to go out today so I can just sit and watch from the inside out.
That leaves me with very little else to say so I wish you all of the best and we’ll speak again next month.
Cats don’t come when they are called.
They take a message and get back to you later
If a man says something in the woods and there are no women there, is he still wrong?
Why men are happier people
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire; and where there’s fire outside in the gigantic deep freeze that is Boston in winter, you’re still likely to find a South African or two connecting with their roots, huddled around a hot grill. It might just be my wife, who is also South African, and me. Or we might include friends we’ve made since moving to Boston almost two years ago.
The word braai has many meanings. It can refer to the act of grilling (“please braai the meat now”); the equipment used (a grill is a braai to many South Africans); and the social occasion (“you’re invited to a braai“).
For many of us, it is a rite of passage.
I learned quickly that it’s more art than science, as is apparent by these tips dad shared with me at an age when I could barely see over the top of the grill. First of all, he taught me, the heat should be spread evenly over the whole grill area. Second, a good indication of the correct heat is to hold your hand over the grid and count to 10. If you have to pull it back before then, it’s too hot. Any later, too cold. Third, you can always regulate the temperature by moving the grid up or down. It’s best to start high and move down as the coals become cooler. And finally, put the chicken or meat that needs to cook the longest on first. After the steaks are put on, add some thin pieces of wood to braai them in the flames. Vegetables such as potatoes in foil, onions, and squash are placed under the grid in the red-hot coals.
The “bring and braai” is the most popular kind of gathering and certainly Dad’s favorite. Similar to a potluck party, this is a grand social event where family and friends converge on a picnic spot or someone’s home with their own meat, salad, or side dish in hand. Meats are the star of the South African braai. They typically include marinated chicken, pork and lamb chops, steaks, sausages of different flavors and thickness, and when someone has really splurged, a rack or two of spareribs. Fish is also popular.
While the fire is lit and tended to, the kitchen (or makeshift kitchen) bustles with preparations: Vegetables are chopped or grated for salads, a large pot of cornmeal bubbles into “Krummel Pap,” and its accompanying Tomato and Onion Sauce slowly stews. (See recipes.)
As the meat comes off the fire, it is placed in a metal or ceramic roasting pan to stay warm. When all the meat is ready, the salads and side dishes are placed on tables and the feast begins.
At every braai hosted by the writer’s family, this traditional South African dish appears on the buffet table.
‘Krummel Pap’ (Crumbled Cornmeal) With Tomato and Onion Sauce’
Tomato and Onion sauce
The South African Meat Industry Company,
Samic has very nice meat cutting charts.
Just click on the banner below for lots of interesting information.
Our Home Biltong makers have given many of our customers much joy and happiness and have brought many of them a little of “South Africa back in their homes.
It is so easy to make your own Biltong and it is ever so cost effective. In fact it only costs you just a fraction of the price you pay in the shop and, what is more important, you can make it just the way YOU like it.
Please read what these people had to say.
COMMENTS FROM BILTONG LOVERS AROUND THE WORLD!
Just a quick e-mail to say thank you for designing such a wonderful, compact machine.
Hi Biltong Team,
My wife bought me a 5 kg biltong maker and some Safari Biltong Spice for Christmas.
I also want to thank Lo for his patience in answering all my questions about making biltong and for all the advice and help he has given me.
Hello Biltong Makers,
I received my Rockey’s 5kg Biltong Maker last week and everything arrived in perfect condition.
Hi Biltong Team,
Well, where do I start!
Thanks for everything
And so more and more people keep on telling us how fantastic it is to make your own biltong! You can read loads more of what people are saying (we only started keeping records in 2001) on our customers comments page.
So, to all of you who have not tried it yet, now is the time!
ESPECIALLY WITH THE SPECIALS WE HAVE THIS MONTH! (SEE BELOW!)
Details on ROCKEY’S 5kg Home Biltong Maker can be found by clicking on this link.
You can have a look at the BILTONG BUDDY here.
We are running a bit low on the Rockey’s 5kg machines so make use of this opportunity!
Until the 15th 28th of February 2007 (or until present stocks last) the following pricing will apply:
Click here to go to our on-line shop.
There is a new phone service in South Africa called SKAAP.
All the information is on their website www.skaap.com
All you do is dial 084 198 0000 from any cell phone or land-line, wait for the voice prompt and then dial the international number you require with all the codes – for example 09 44 …….. for the UK.
Please allow us to very quickly introduce you to Talking Point, a new product being introduced to South Africa by VoIPLus.
There is not going to be a huge market blitz; that’s why we can keep the prices so low. So we are relying on you to put it on your cellphones as a speed-dial, to tell all your friends (don’t tell your enemies – let them continue paying huge amounts for their international calls – grin!)
Tell your boss, your colleagues and your customers; tell your office manager so your telephone least-cost routing system can be re-programmed, and if you have a company website, pop a small notice on there too.
If you would like to contact us about anything, please feel free do do so via email at CustomerCare@voiplus.co.za.
South African Meat Cutting Charts
Below you will find three meat cutting charts.
These are displayed with the compliments of SAMIC.
English Meat Cutting Charts
These charts you find here are very detailed also showing what you can do with the different cuts.
They come from EBLEX
They have a fun web site at www.beefyandlamby.co.uk with loads of excellent recipes to boot!
To see all upcoming events please click on South African Events in Europe web site. There are loads of things happening!
If we have not given an answer and you can help these people could you please mail them?
(Please copy us in on your mails @ email@example.com
so we can help other people who might have the same questions in the future)
Could you please inform me why there is no fan in the Biltong makers for home use?
Ek is opsoek na skaapkop gildes resepte – en hoe maak jy hom gaar. Hoop julle kan help met n website of iets.
A lot of our customers ask the question if our spices are allowed in to Australia. We have had one instance years ago where an Australian customs official asked for a written list of the contents of the spices. After this was mailed through to them the spices were released without a problem.
The questions is:
Please let us know so we can assure future customers.
It’s not that difficult to laugh at ourselves
By James ClarkeTo be able to utter a good insult – and I mean a really good one – is, like muesli, good for you.
South African journalist, Dr Sarah Britten, has come out with a fascinating book – The Art of the South African Insult (30° South Publishers) which is a hilarious analysis of our national heritage of great insults going back 350 years.
Among the gentler ones: “You know you’re in Kakamas when you have no idea where you are.” And Josef Talotta’s description of Johannesburg’s Northern Suburbs: Kugel National Park.
I liked Britten’s frontis piece showing two Hottentots watching an approaching Dutch galleon. One is saying, “Shit!” which, in a way, is what followed.
The Hottentot’s expletive probably wasn’t this country’s first interracial insult. I fancy it began when Mrs Ples watched the more-upright-than-thou Homo habalises move in next door with their la-de-da talk about the etiquette of serving grandma’s leg, left over from the weekend roast, to guests without at least warming it.
Some South Africans are quite brilliant at insults. Britten says, “The average bergie in Cape Town comes up with better lines during one morning of sorting through the dustbins in Obs than a star on the bill at the Montreal Comedy Festival does in a month of snorting coke”.
South Africans, she says, are very good at calling each other names for “we are, after all, a bunch of Dutchmen and Souties, Charras and Hotnots, Shangaans and the Xhoza Nostra, Bushies and Afs, Goms, Porras, Lebs, Crunchies, Zots, Mlungus, Japies…” The list goes on.
“It’s what defines us a nation,” she says.
Strangely she misses out “Hairies”, but the list is worthy of Roget’s Thesaurus. Britten’s book, frivolous though it might sound and hilarious though it is in parts, is an important piece of Africana.
There’s a glimpse of how the 17th century Dutch settlers viewed the locals. In 1652 somebody wrote, “They all smell fiercely, as can be noticed at a difference of more than twelve feet against the wind.”
Britten comments, “The smell must have been impressive, given that the European visitors themselves were hardly poster boys for personal hygiene.”
This is no cheapo collection of insults whose variety becomes tedious like a book of jokes. It is a very readable 314 page book, written with delicious humour, about the way we have traditionally insulted each other.
It’s the kind of book that compels one to constantly disturb one’s partner’s reverie with, “Hey, you’ve just got to hear this…”
In a chapter on the historical course of ethnic insults she quotes from a 1927 copy of the Sunday Times, this being 25-years after the war between the Blerrie Rooinekke and the Stupid Dutchmen.
The newspaper pleads for reconciliation saying how pleasantly surprised the two “races” would be if they just tried to make friends.
This, says Britten, whose irreverence is always near the surface, was when the Rainbow Nation was still in black and white.
One section titled “We didn’t invent racism, we just perfected it” reminds us how official notices in the apartheid years created there own brand of breathtakingly callous insults.
In 1959 Jan Smuts Airport (as it was then) changed the signs reading “Europeans” and “Non-Europeans”, to “Whites” and “Non-Whites” – it was to avoid confusing incoming Americans who considered themselves “Non-Europeans”.
The New South Africa gets an equal drubbing: “You know you are in South Africa when the police are the first on the scene for most major crimes, without being called.”
It’s sometimes difficult to laugh at ourselves and you’ll sometimes cringe. But mostly you’ll be amused – that’s what it’s for.
Your shopping list
They were the most disreputable bunch of “car guards” you ever saw, staggering around drunkenly and commenting obscenely about one another’s mothers.
Most of them had acquired from somewhere luminous yellow, if grubby, bibs.
“Don’t worry, boss, we’ll look after your car,” one of them called, as we walked through the low dunes to the sea at Muizenberg’s Sunrise Beach. It was just after 6pm and we were having a quick bathe before going on to friends at the Marina da Gama.
When we emerged from the water, our towels were still on the beach but my hat, spectacles and car keys had vanished. So, naturally, had the car.
“Is your car gone?” screeched a woman guard. “I knew it was your car. I said to those boys, it’s not your car, it’s that other gentleman’s car, but they just drove off. They’re a lot of skollies, man. Ag shame, now you haven’t got a car. Better phone the police.”
Instead we borrowed another family’s cell phone to call our Marina friend, who picked us up and drove us to Muizenberg police station. I had difficulty engaging the constable’s attention.
It’s always difficult without spectacles, when you can’t see far enough to catch a person’s eye. I also felt, wearing only a costume, I wasn’t dressed for the occasion.
Finally a policewoman sympathized with our predicament: “Your car stolen from Sunrise Beach, hey? You’re the second person this evening. It’s the in-thing to steal cars there at the moment.”
In due course, having put out an alert for the car, a constable began the laborious process of filling in umpteen forms.
Every few minutes he would interrupt himself to answer the phone or jump up to attend to something more urgent.
We’d been there more than an hour, shivering in just our costumes, when he answered the phone yet again and returned to say the car had been found, undamaged, by the Grassy Park police.
Actually it had been found by a very civic-minded resident of Lotus River, who became suspicious when he saw three youths park the car near his home and walk off with various items. So he phoned the local police who put a guard on it, a real one this time, until we arrived.
“Do you want to lay a charge?” asked the Muizenberg constable anxiously.
“Against whom?” I asked.
If I did, it would mean having the car impounded for finger-printing and other procedures, he said.
It would also mean he would have to go on completing lots of documents.
He was hugely relieved when I told him to forget the charges, I was just happy to have the car back.
As we left Muizenberg police station, we met another couple walking up the hill. “Our car’s been stolen from Sunrise Beach,” said the woman.
“Yours is the third this evening,” I said. “If it’s any comfort, car thefts there are the in-thing.”
(We saw this in the papers, it was written by John Scott 14-02-2007)
This was the only story coming from you, our readers. Are there no nice things to say about South Africa anymore?
Let’s see if someone, somewhere can come up with something positive. It does not have to be about South Africa. Let’s hear from you, about your life as an expat perhaps, living somewhere in this big wide world -Ed.
Ek het baie lank gelede in hierdie geselsbrief beduie dat die misdaad in Suid-Afrika vir die regering die gans is wat die goue eiers lê. Toe kry ek in verlede week die onderstaande e-pos wat oor dieselfde onderwerp handel:
Hierdie is ook ‘n interessante artikel – die onderwerp het ons almal al een of ander tyd om ‘n kuiertjie bespreek…..lees dit gerus!
Nadat ek ‘n slagoffer van misdaad was in 2000, het ek ‘n duisend of meer misdaad-vergaderings, beprekings, dinkskrums, konferensies, ens bygewoon.
Misdaad genereer vir die regering van Suid-Afrika miljoene der miljoene rande!!!! Kom ons kyk na ‘n paar voorbeelde, as u my sou vergun.
Nog ‘n voorbeeld:
Ek dink langer as wat my neus lank is, en ek hoop so en werk so hard daaraan om nog sulke denkendes bymekaar te kry. Dan moet ons begin soek na ‘n meganisme waarmee ons die regering van die dag kan motiveer om hierdie onkonstitusionele en immorele inkomste as ‘n direkte gevolg van misdaad prys te gee.
Die regering hou daarvan om Suid-Afrika met oorsee te vergelyk. Wel oorsee is jou sekuriteit en veiligheid gedek deur die belasting wat jy betaal en alle sekuriteitsmaatreëls wat jy tref se uitgawes is van belasting aftrekbaar.
Sodra “denkende” Suid-Afrikaners begin om die regering van die dag se “inkomste” as ‘n direkte gevolg van misdaad terug te eis, sal u sien hoe gou daar iets gedoen word aan die misdaad. Intussen bly dit die gans wat die goue eiers lê, terwyl ons onsself blind staar teen “wat kan ons doen om die misdaad (se simptome) van ons deure af weg te hou!”
Is dit nie ook onregverdig dat slagoffers van geweld en motorkapings – deur die regering se beskermde kriminele – self hulle mediese onkostes moet dra nie. Die regering behoort die slagoffers van geweldsmisdaad se mediese rekeninge te betaal! Wie betaal vir die berading van gesinne wat geraak word deur plaasmoorde?
Komaan, Suid-Afrika, vra die regte vrae, en dring aan op die regte antwoorde.
President Thabo Mbeki has given the nation what many have been crying for, an acknowledgement that crime is a problem and it is affecting the very fabric of South African society. He acknowledged that the fight against it needed to be stepped up and provided concrete examples of how the war against crime would be stepped up several gears.
“Certainly we cannot erase that which is ugly and repulsive and claim the happiness that comes with freedom if communities live in fear, closeted behind walls and barbed wire, ever anxious in their houses, on the streets and on our roads, unable freely to enjoy our public spaces,” he said in his state of the nation address.”
While strides had been made and some targets surpassed, including employing 152 000 police officers, “we recognise the fact that the impact of this is not high enough for everybody to feel a better sense of safety and security”.
Mbeki acknowledged that the incidence of most contact crime had been reduced, but that the annual reduction rate in categories such as robbery, assault and murder, was still below the 7 to 10 percent that had been targeted.
The abuse of women and children continued at an unacceptable level, he said. He noted that last year’s security workers’ strike had brought home to all South Africans that the industry could not be handled simply as a private affair or the private sector. The regulatory system was inadequate and would be reviewed this year, Mbeki announced.
“In addition to improving the work of the police, we can – together with the private security industry – create an environment in which the security expectations of the public, in which huge resources are expended, are actually met”.
Mbeki’s ninth and last state of the nation address was delivered at a time of heightened debate about crime and his perceived indifference to how it affects all South Africans. The president called for “an enduring partnership in actual practice within our communities and between the communities and the police, to make life more and more difficult for the criminals”.
Mbeki said he was heartened by the resolve shown by business and religious leaders to strengthen such partnerships on the ground, and to give of their time and resources to strengthen the fight against crime. “Government will play its part to ensure that these partnerships actually work, and that we all act together to discharge the responsibility to protect our citizens.” www.thestar.co.za
Dear Sir/Madam,I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated September, 12 in which for the third time you request that I pay the monies owed to you. I first want you to know that by no means do I dispute my debt and I intend to reimburse you as soon as possible.
However, I bring to your attention that I have many more creditors, quite as honourable as you, and whom I wish to reimburse too. That is why, each month, I throw all the names of my creditors into a hat and draw one randomly whom I hasten to refund immediately. I hope that yours will come out shortly.
PS: I have great regret in informing you that given the unceremonious tone of your last letter, you will not be taking part in the next three draws.
Chicken at a Chinese restaurant
A couple go for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and order the “Chicken Surprise”. The waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded cast iron pot.
It doesn’t hurt to take a hard look at yourself from time to time, and this should help get you started…
During a visit to the Mental Asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.
Skinstad returns to the Shark tank
Proteas like the view from the top
Durban 2010 stadium work goes on ….
-Where can you watch rugby on TV?-
Click here to find out where in most countries!
It is only halfway through February so why not join us and make the next newsletter a real bumper one! You are probably sitting at the computer right now so how about it. Let our readers enjoy your story!
You might have a nice recipe to part with or perhaps a question to ask?
You never know how you could help somebody else with your own hints and tips.
Share it with other people around the world!
We know it is a bit early in the year but we still can’t keep up with orders for boerewors. Either there are some real die-hards out there who braai in the snow or you guys are having it for breakfast, lunch and supper!
Just imagine some “lekker” pap and wors with a nice tomato and onion sauce!
Our Boerewors is vacuum packed in quantities of about 500 gram.
Droëwors, as it is known in South Africa, is as much part of the country’s culinary culture as Biltong, Pap, Boerewors and Potjiekos.
Fresh droëwors will be available again from the middle of March.
The price will be € 28.00 per kg or € 7.00 per 250 gram packet.
Droëwors travels well and posting is an ideal option.
Interested? Give us a call on +32 (16) 53.96.25 or email.
Spring will be upon us before we know it and with it the chance to braai again!
Lamb on the Spit is a way of entertaining as only known by very few mainly because it is thought to be very expensive ……. Not so!
Together with the lamb we will treat you to a big pot of curried potatoes as well as a choice between a pasta salad or three-bean salad. Garlic or bread rolls are included as well.
Booking early is essential and you can do so on
+32 (16) 53.96.25 or email us.
(A Lamb on the Spit can only be done outside because we cook on coals!)
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