Friday, 30 November 2012

Food Glorious Food!

I seem to spend a great deal of time thinking (and talking) about food! And I feel that a holiday must be filled with 'edible memories'! In Dubai, as it was still quite hot during the day (up to 40 deg!), it was impossible to sit outside, so the fantastic lunches that Catherine and I enjoyed were eaten inside air-conditioned restaurants and delis. And I enjoyed every one! Too much! From Lebanese to Italian to Japanese to local, the presentation, quality and taste was such that I could feel the weight settle round my hips!

Our meal in Abu Dhabi!

But that was ok, because I knew that I would be doing more walking in Madrid and therefore I would lose it again!! Ever hopeful, that's me!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Viva España!

Dubai is an incredible place. A mix of very old and brand spanking new, shiny buildings. Clean, green and flowering roadsides rub shoulders with sand dunes. There are gigantic air conditioned shopping malls, man-made islands sprouting from the sea, shops that have absolutely everything from everywhere. My two weeks flew by and it was time to leave. Sadly.

Petunias in the desert!

Next stop, Spain!

The best part of flying is getting off the plane! That sounds odd I know, but, for me, the anticipation of seeing my family waiting in the arrivals hall, makes the whole ordeal bearable! So, when I left Dubai early in the morning after a wonderful holiday, I spent the entire flight to Madrid imagining myself walking through the doors and seeing my son! And after seven hours in the air and another almost twenty minutes after we landed waiting for the 'air-stairs' to be put in place, a march of what felt like ten kilometres, down several escalators, a five minute ride on an underground train, (I kid you not), a ten minute wait in the passport line, another five minute wait for my suitcase, (we took so long to get there, they were just about waiting for us!), a quick loo visit, and a fast walk with wheelie-case and bag, dodging past slower moving people, there he was! With my gorgeous granddaughter Emma! And as I cried with joy, she cried with horror at this strange lady doing a one-person version of a group hug!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

And the Winner is.........

Have a look at this;

Head and neck - 25 points awarded for large head, firm ears, long whiskers, shapely nose and lips, long neck
Upper body - 20 points awarded for large, shapely hump
Front - 15 points awarded for wide neck, strong shoulders, good feet
Rear - 10 points awarded for straight, strong legs
General appearance - 30 points awarded for shiny hair, overall health and fitness, space between toes
Source: Mohammed Abdullah al-Mehairi

You would be forgiven if you were under the impression that these are the criteria used for choosing the next Miss World! After all, apart from the shapely hump and long whiskers, and possibly the space between the toes, a lot of the things that they look for, are similar!

Smile girls!! (All camel photos are thanks to Google)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

International Tongue Twister Day!

I love browsing on the internet and one of my favourite topics is ‘World Days’ or ‘International Days’. According to my research, today is International Tongue Twister Day! However, because the dates seem to vary, some sites said 4 November, some had it as 7 November, one mentioned the second Sunday in November, and the one I chose listed it as today, 13 November, maybe it should be called ‘International Confusion Day’!

I remember hearing them when I was very young. This must be among the most popular and well known: 'Peter Piper picked a pack of pickled peppers. How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?' To me it was just a series of words to get my tongue round, but did you know that it is based on a true story! Apparently a French horticulturalist and pirate called Pierre Poivre, was known to raid spice stores and to steal the ‘peppers’! Isn’t ‘poivre’ the French word for ‘pepper’ anyway? As usual, I digress!

Another one based on truth is ‘She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore; The shells she sells are sea-shells, I'm sure; For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore; Then I'm sure she sells sea-shore shells.’ This one is based on a girl called Mary Anning, who in the 1800’s, together with her father, dug up seashells as well as dinosaur fossils and would then sell them. Even as an adult, Mary continued to dig and it is said that she unearthed complete dinosaur skeletons!

Tongue twisters are series of words or lighthearted phrases that seem simple enough - that is until you say them. The combination of the words and repetition of sounds make it nearly impossible to properly pronounce the entire phrase, especially when you repeat it over and over very quickly. Tongue twisters are not confined to the English language only though! Have a look at these:

Finnish: Mustan kissan paksut posket.
Black cat's fat cheeks

German: Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische
The Fischer’s son Fritz is fishing for fresh fish (That’s quite twiddly in English too!)

Navajo: Dii dii thii Billy Lee bilii
These four horses are Billy Lee’s horses

Portuguese: O rato roeu a rolha da garrafa de rum do rei da Russia
The rat nibbled the cork of the bottle of rum of the king of Russia

Spanish: Mi mama me mima mucho
Mum spoils me a lot

One of the longest tongue twisters is this one: ‘Betty Botter bought some butter but, she said, the butter's bitter. If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter. But a bit of better butter will make my bitter batter better. So she bought some better butter, better than the bitter butter, put it in her bitter batter, made her bitter batter better. So 'twas better Betty Botter bought some better butter.’ 

One of the shortest is ‘Irish wristwatch’, try saying that after a glass of wine or two!

And, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the most difficult tongue twister is: ‘The sixth sick sheikh's sixth sheep's sick’

Personally, I disagree. Try this one and let me know!!

Red lorry yellow lorry.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

40 Years for Rhino Poaching!

This was the headline that gladdened many hearts in South Africa this week.

A Thai national was sentenced to 40 years, the harshest sentence ever handed out for a wildlife crime here. I personally feel that the sentence is still too lenient considering the number of murders that he was responsible for.

He then had the gall to 'apologise' to the people of South Africa for causing such an emotional outcry. The judge (bless his heart), said that it was murder, that not only had he murdered the rhinos for their horns, but had left young calves orphaned and destroyed family groups. He went on to say that he wanted his grandchildren to see the real thing, not a photograph of a noble animal killed for greed.

A white rhino, alive, but for how much longer?

When I wrote the 'Run Rhino Run' post in October last year, it was estimated that 400 odd rhinos would die by the end of the year. Well, that figure was a little on the low side; the 'grand total' of murdered rhinos in 2011 was............(drum roll.....) 448.

To date, 2012 has seen the slaughter of 455 and it's still November! Kruger Park alone have 'lost' 272. That is 20 more than last year. And I hasten to add, many of those again at the hands of the very people who are PAID to protect them. To date 207 people have been arrested for illegal trading in rhino horn.

How many more will die needlessly by the end of the year? I shudder to think.

Rob was at Inverdoorn Game Reserve last weekend. They proudly admit that they poison the horns of their rhinos, have a look at their website

Thanks to Inverdoorn's website.

The EWT is heavily involved in raising both funds and awareness and are hoping that their 'RHINENOSE DAY' car 'noses' will bring in much needed money.

Thanks to EWT.

Personally I prefer the bumper sticker that a friend has on her car;


Yes, I agree.

Friday, 9 November 2012

One hump or two?

I must admit that camels fascinate me. They are aloof and distant and although I saw many herds (or caravans, trains or flocks) along the roads when we went out of Dubai, they were too far away for me to take a decent photo. I had to make do with the odd road sign.

Camels ahead!

However, a few days before I left to fly to Madrid, I was lucky enough to get up fairly close but not too personal with a small group. We had gone to the vet to collect two cats that had been neutered (my daughter works unceasingly to trap, neuter and release feral cats), and there, as we turned off the tar, were the camels! The farmer was more than happy to let me take a few photos, and I was more than happy to finally have them in my sights!

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Booze Run!

A couple of days after our Dubai braai, we were getting low on alcohol! Now, that is no problem at all living in South Africa, it is the easiest thing in the world to nip into a bottle store or the nearest chain store and replenish stocks. Judging by our horrific statistics of alcohol-induced domestic violence and drunk drivers, not to mention foetal alcohol dependency, it is probably a little too easy to replenish stocks. In Dubai it is illegal to transport alcohol without a permit, and there are no bottle stores at all. The hotels serve liquor with meals but no-body ever drives after an evening out, and taxis are the only option unless you have a designated driver.

Six lanes either way!