My Favourite Things to Do in the Friendly City

Cheapflights Nelson Mandela Bay BlogathonThrilled to be part of the Cheapflights Blogathon that seeks to explore a bit of the friendly city of Port Elizabeth (with the ever fabulous folk at Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, of course) I’ve been thinking about all the reasons I love my home over the last couple of days. I can’t seem to stop thinking of the review that Madonna gave of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. 

“The Alchemist is a book about magic, dreams and the treasures we seek elsewhere and then find on our own doorstep.”

When I first read the book (about 10 years ago) I thought that this review of Madonna’s was an inaccurate assessment and it kind of irritated me quite a bit. In a way, I still sort of do disagree with it, but at the same time I’m coming around to her thinking. You see, to me the book was saying that even though everything you need can be found at home, you should still brave the unknown and seek your fortunes (not necessarily monetary fortune) elsewhere. Of course this plays right into the psyche of those of us who love to travel. But I’m kind of liking the idea that maybe both of our assessments were right. Maybe the story teaches us that adventure out there is important, but also that what your soul needs can be found at home too. In the last year I have certainly come to understand that the most wonderful of adventures in faraway places have this magical way of making you love home even more.

And so I have decided to share my favourite things to do here in this friendly city of ours. Port Elizabeth has so much to offer, from temperate weather to blue flag beaches to adventure and tons of touristy fun stuff, but I have to admit that my favourites are more of the understated kind. These are the things that I try to indulge in regularly, or wish that I could indulge in more regularly. Please do feel free to share some of yours!

dscn1841-version-21.) SAMREC Penguin Releases

Hands down this is one of the most awww bless things to do in Port Elizabeth. If you follow SAMREC’s Facebook Page you should be able to figure out when the next one is. Or just contact them. Penguin releases happen pretty regularly and if watching those little critters run down the beach and jump into the sea doesn’t melt your heart, nothing will.

2.) A Coffee Milkshake from Something Good

Can I confess something weird? I’ve never been inside Something Good. This is one of the most popular places to eat in our city, but I gotta tell you, there’s very little chance I’ll ever go inside. Why? Not because they aren’t great. I’m sure they are. It’s because grabbing something from their take-away menu (roadhouse style) and then sitting in my car to consume it while watching the sea is one of my absolute I’m-not-even-nearly-kidding favourite things to do. So if I’m ever in that area this will be my entertainment choice. I speak purely for myself of course, but this is like the perfect date! Grab a milkshake. Park with your car facing the beach. And just sit there. It’s heaven. There are of course other great spots from which to sit and watch the waves (I did already mention that PE is awesome) but this particular piece of our shoreline just does it for me.

Noah at ArtEC

3.) Check out an Exhibition at ArtEC

If you love initiatives that are all about giving back to the community, then do pop in to ArtEC when you’re in town. I love most of our art galleries by default, but this is hands down the best one we have as far as I’m concerned. These guys are constantly putting on the most exciting of events and bringing the most diverse collection of artists to our attention. And they do this so humbly. It is a beautiful thing to behold. (pics: #nayesexploresartec)

4.) The Cape Recife Lighthouse

I’m not sure how we regular folk are supposed to manage to get up there without going on an actual tour that includes a bunch of other stuff, but I imagine if you contact SAMREC someone might be able to help you. In July(ish) this year, my husband and I used our Nelson Mandela Bay Pass and went on a tour with Alan Tours. This tour included a trip up the Cape Recife Lighthouse. Wow. The photo opportunities. The views. The everything. Go there. (pics: #nayesexploresthecaperecifelighthouse)

5.) The Redhouse Flamingoes

If you leave the city and drive towards Redhouse you will eventually come across a whole bunch of salt pans on your left. These salt pans are filled with gorgeous pink flamingoes. I love taking a drive out that way with my camera and taking a hundred terrible photographs of those birds. One day I’ll have a lens that can handle them at a distance that doesn’t make them fly away, but for now I don’t mind failing in my attempts to capture their gorgeousness. Just watching them is enough.

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I really would love to hear what quirky things you love to do around our city. Feel free to share them with me and I might even be inclined to give them a try!

*disclaimer* While this post was sponsored by the good folks at Cheapflights in association with Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, the content and opinions found here are entirely my own.

 

 

A Sanity Saving Staycation at the Plantation

13934945_10157366918415094_3507844175433383530_nI’m sitting on my bed right now watching TV and feeling grateful that I’m in a should I nap or read? mood rather than a if I don’t nap for seven hours right now I might as well set myself on fire mood. Last weekend had a weird suck factor to it that I don’t really want to get into right at this moment but it did and it left me feeling out of sorts and perhaps a little irrationally wounded. Anyway, sometimes I have to wonder if The Universe somehow conspires to apologise for these things by injecting a little goodness just when you need it.

13906895_10157366918850094_535266262889412620_nOn Tuesday night Ty and I got to stay in the bridal suite of The Plantation which is situated just outside of town and it was more glorious than I even imagined it would be. Ty won the night for us in a little competition that he entered back in April, I think,  and we decided to use it on Monday night because Tuesday (Women’s Day) marked our 7 years together anniversary. Now of course, such places are usually way out of our league. We humble folk don’t usually indulge in such fancy things, but my goodness it was a welcome treat! We were fed the most incredible picnic right in our room. I think I squeaked and oohed and aahed through that entire meal! Cheese and crackers-type food is kind of my favourite thing to eat. But this was over the top! Homemade pate and a cranberry salad with salad dressing that I all but ended up drinking from the bottle! The luncheon meats were obviously bought from places I would never consider stepping foot in. All of it: so beautiful! And we got to wash it down with the most delicious bottle of champagne! And then blissful sleep with no real life to bother us until morning. (more…)

On Depression, SAMREC, Cape Recife Lighthouse, and why are all the snails dead?

13686700_10157312362800094_8714966834069855283_nCan I confess something just quickly? I’m feeling absolutely depressed today. Like cry-about-the-undone-laundry depressed. Worry-that-I’m-not-enough-for-the-kids depressed. Holy-crap-I-need-to-work-more depressed. And it’s damn hard to get anywhere when I’m feeling like this. It’s hard to not want to do anything but sleep. I get that it’s not real. I get that it’s in my head. But it’s here today.

So I need to try and think of something that brings me actual joy. And I need to damn well remember that even though 2016 has been a shithole of a year for the world, in many ways it has actually been a kind of awesome year for me.

Remember that, Nadine! Dammit! Remember that this is the year that you started to take your love of travel seriously. You made it work. You ARE making it work. For the first time you have moved from that’s not possible  to  how can I make this possible? And that’s a big deal. And even though the state of the world pains you to no end, it has also served as a very grave reminder that life is to be lived now because later might not exist. And you’re getting better at it. Which is something. (more…)

Would you like tickets to the Tops Wine Show?

imageI was hoping to put a post or two between all the alcohol posts so that folks don’t end up thinking that all I do is drink wine and beer, but yesterday was a hard mom day and the glorious plans that I had to gush about the wonders of one of our local institutions kind of fell by the wayside in favour of me hiding under my duvet and playing on Instagram for most of the afternoon (and evening). Did you even notice? Of course not!

Now, back on topic…

I mentioned before that there’s a Wine Show happening at The Boardwalk from the 4th to the 6th of August and I’m lucky enough to be able to give away two double tickets to the event. Technically I’m supposed to ask you a simple question like “when is the wine show?” but you all know that simple isn’t always my go-to style…

Because I adore Carnival Themes with An Extreme Passion and because I am a lover as well as a teller of stories, I thought instead that I would ask you this:

What is your absolute favourite Carnival Story?

Did it come in the form of a book? A movie? A tv show? Was your favourite carnival story a personal experience? Tell me what you love. Why you love it. How it makes you feel. Tell me. Show me! My favourite answers get tickets to the show, and if I struggle to decide I will hand it over to Facebookland to help me.

Sound good?

Of course it does!

(If you’re too stuck for an answer, go off and read Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern,  and then go and watch the series Carnivale and then come back and tell me how awesome they are.)

Otherwise, you can check out my Instajourney with wine here: #nayesexploreswine and leave me some Instalove while you think about your answer.

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From Beer Cocktails to Carnival Style Wine Shows

imageYes, I’ve already spoken about beer today, but last week I was also super stoked to receive a personal invite to the Tops at Spar Wine Show which will be taking place at The Boardwalk on the 4th, 5th, and 6th of August. I’m still not sure exactly how I came to be on this invitation list, but, when it comes to fancy invitations my new policy is to accept politely and ask questions later, lest someone figure out that I somehow got onto the list by mistake. Seems wise, doesn’t it? Otherwise you don’t end up getting to try awesome things like Beer Cocktails or whatever wonderful things the Wine Show has in store for us. As I write this I’m actually considering the life coaching merits of the movie/book Yes, Man – but I digress.

I was stoked to get this invitation for four reasons…

Reason 1.) This invitation is fancier than a wedding invitation and it makes me feel fancy. Feeling fancy is important for us frazzled moms who sometimes aren’t so sure of how good a job we’re doing at keeping it together.

Reason 2.) There was a bottle of wine that came with the invitation. Who doesn’t get excited by free bottles of wine?

Reason 3.) The theme they’ve chosen for this year’s show is The Greatest Show Unearthed  which is a CARNIVAL THEME!!! Anyone who knows me or has paid any slight attention to the little things that make my heart happy will know that I absolutely adore all things carnival themed. I am a silly crazy kind of excited! I absolutely cannot wait for the show!

Reason 4.) They’re letting me take my partner with me which is awesome because fun is better when I share it with this big bear of mine.

This is what the folks from Tops have to say about their event:

LIFE’S A CABERNET AT THE GREATEST SHOW UNEARTHED

The TOPS at SPAR Wine Show is back this August

From Merlot to Malbec, Pinot Noir to Pinotage, The TOPS at SPAR Wine Show presents South Africa’s top wine labels all under one roof. Back in PE for its 7th consecutive year, the event engages wine lovers of all ages and ilk to taste and buy the country’s best bottles directly from wine producers at cellar door and show prices.

Themed The Greatest Show Unearthed for 2016, the event will channel a vintage burlesque experience while expertly blending hundreds of fine wine exhibitors, edu-taining activities, food and festivity between the 4th and 6th of August at the Boardwalk. A highlight not to be missed is the popular Weekend Post Wine Theatre; it presents a series of interactive tasting talks hosted by industry experts and wine personalities.

Visitors are also invited to vote for their favourite wine producer in the “People’s Choice Awards” to stand a chance of winning a case of wine.

Tickets can be purchased pre-show for R120 from www.itickets.co.za or at the door for R140. Price includes a tasting glass, all tastings, access to The Weekend Post Wine Theatre and a map to help navigate the show.

Details:

–          Dates: Thursday 4th– Saturday 6th of August 2016

–          Time:

o   17h00 – 21h00 (Thursday & Friday)

o   12h00 – 21h00 (Saturday)

–          Venue: The Boardwalk, PE

 

About The TOPS at SPAR Wine Show:

The TOPS at SPAR Wine Show was launched in 2006 and has since grown to become arguably South Africa’s fastest-growing consumer wine exhibition. Buoyed by its new owners in 2015, the event now hosts five shows around the country in Johannesburg (11th show), Durban (5th show), Nelspruit (2nd show), PE (7th show) and Pretoria (1st show) between May and November. Besides its diversity of quality wines to taste and buy direct from the exhibitors at cellar door and show prices, seasoned wine connoisseurs as well as up-and-coming wine fans are engaged with its fun, edu-taining format that includes the Wine Theatre.

imageIt sounds fun as hell to me!

To my Port Elizabeth friends I just have four questions:

1.) If I run a ticket giveaway will you all take part?

2.) If you don’t win will you come with me anyway?

3.) If you come with me will you dress up? (say yes!)

4.) Where does one purchase stripy stockings?

Have a happy Tuesday, my lovelies!

Becoming a Beer Babe

imageOk so I’m laughing at the title as well. Actually no, I’m not. I AM a babe! *fluffs up own feathers*

Last week Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism invited me on a sort of beer tour which seemed like a serendipitous turn of events since the husband and I have been trying to explore our home town a bit more these days. Of course, exploring and fund fluidity tend to go hand-in-hand so when it comes to all expenses paid “invites” my policy is to respond with a resounding yes! And this particular time I even made my husband take a half day off of work to join me.

Apparently Brewery Tours are a thing around these parts and we even have enough craft beer brewery places to make the tours feasible! Who knew?! We were introduced to the folks running The Dockside Brewery on our mini tour and we got to hear all about the interesting workings of the craft beer world. Believe it or not, this rustic little spot located at The Grand Hotel in Belmont Terrace, not only makes a beetroot infused beer, but on Friday afternoon they launched a raspberry-infused beer as well. And even better than raspberry beer? Raspberry beer cocktails! Yum. Seriously: just yum! (for pics on this adventure check out #nayesexplorescraftbeer)

imageAfter our visit to Dockside, our tour actually got even more interesting. We all hopped on a bus (yay!) and rode off to Motherwell where we all got to hang out at a place called 469 Bar-Lounge – which is a bar slash lounge slash butchery.

Guys: what a vibe! I have to admit it was damn nice to get out of my usual zone and just zen out somewhere new. The music, the people, the food! All of it was damn lovely. We ate a weirdly not-oriental but still spicy chicken with slices of the most incredible dumpling I have EVER eaten. My husband was brave enough to try the tripe and pap. All of it cooked by the cutest woman who took catering to large crowds in a stride that I can only describe as majestic. No stress around here, folks! We only do happy.

As I was sitting there, with a full and happy tummy, sipping on Kasi Craft beer brewed in my own city while listening to a hybrid mix of marimba drums and house music, I couldn’t help but slip into my contented explorer state and just smile. I found the feeling. In my own town I found the feeling. If you’re a traveller you know the one I mean. It’s the one where you are completely out of your space, your comfort zone, and yet you are still content. You still fit in, even though you don’t fit in. It’s that feeling of being in the right place. Being in the moment.

And it’s just a little bit like being in love…

Flamingoes in the Bay

DSCN4658I had a bit of a daft experience last week. Every time I drive back into Port Elizabeth from the Grahamstown side of town I peer through the car window and look longingly into the Cerebos salt pans, searching for flamingoes and wishing I could get a closer look at all those beautiful pink spots and photograph them to my hearts content. After returning from our trip to Port Alfred a couple of weeks ago, the husband and I actually tried to get closer – much to the polite annoyance of the security guard at Kouga – but we failed.

DSCN4681Well, last week when we set out on our little #larteradamsroadtrip I didn’t expect for there to be flamingoes on the menu, but as we drove along the road between Port Elizabeth and Redhouse, we came across the salt pans situated on the side of the road and guess what? FLAMINGOES! And yes, I know maybe it’s silly, but I didn’t know they were there so it was kind of exciting to stumble upon them by accident. Of course, I finally got to photograph them and made an absolute mess of the whole thing because it was really cold and windy outside so I just shot them from the car. Them’s some bland pictures!

It’s ok though. I know they’re there now, and I’m trying to get to know my town better, so I’ll definitely be back there to explore a little more closely. Next time I might even look up some interesting facts to share with the kids so that I don’t have to just point and go “Look at the pretty birdies, guys!”

Flamingoes, you guys!!

It’s so damn cool!

 

Some of Us are Todos Locos

imageI’m a little on the sleepy side this morning after joining my friend Joe for supper at the new Todos Locos (totally crazy) last night. It’s a Spanish place that serves tapas which I love.  Of course there was wine, but we bypassed the sangria which was wise of us because if we hadn’t I reckon I’d be a little more tender this morning. For those of you who haven’t noticed: Booze + Sugar = Hangover of Note. Sangria is awesome though…. And now I want sangria.

But, folks? Bain Street and Stanley Street have changed! Gosh! My broke ass hasn’t been down there in AGES and nothing looks familiar anymore. I must admit though, my little trip into the out was a godsend. Joe has this way of accidentally swooping in at the last second and restoring my sane. Usually with wine. For this I love her a little extra. A shared bottle of wine and some gorgeous seafood tapas later and my smile has returned. And of course: the best creme brulee I have had in a while! Oh melt my foodie heart!

Sometimes I think gosh do I even have time to entertain/maintain friendships anymore. And then a shared cup of wine or coffee later and I remember: You don’t have time not to maintain friendships, Nadine. They are the spice of life. Especially when you’re lucky enough to have a few good ones in your corner! You know…the ones who know that creme brulee and wine fix everything…

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The Hometown Tourist

imageI mentioned in one of my less controversial previous posts that on Freedom Day last week (It was last week, right?) my family and I went to an Instameet at the South End Museum, hosted by Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism. What I may have neglected to mention is that while I was at the museum, I realised that I know absolutely nothing about Port Elizabeth’s history. I grew up in Molteno, a small town about 400kms from here inbetween the mountains, and I vaguely remember learning a few things about coal and jewellery stores and artists and Dr. Lomax or something at school. I’m pretty sure that our education on our town’s history was solid, even if I don’t remember much of it. If I learned anything about Port Elizabeth during my years as a scholar I certainly can’t remember what it was. Now, I realise that I am the worst when it comes to history in general. I know nothing! My brain barely retains even the smallest of historical “facts”. But it seems a little sad that I know so little about the place I call home these days. Despite my hate for history at school, as a traveller I love learning about the places I visit as told by friendly tour guides and visitors’ booklets (why is it that as an adult learning is so much easier to love and yet so much harder to do?) and just from general ambling around new places. And so I thought to myself, I should probably make an effort to learn a few things about here, especially since here is where I spend most of my time.

And you see… This is why I kind of believe in the synchronicty that Julia Cameron speaks of in her books. As soon as you open yourself up to the idea of something, the Universe takes a step towards you and closes the gap. Yeah yeah, I know it’s a flighty sentiment, but damn folks, life is hard with spikes and double-edges swords.

What I didn’t know about the Instameet that we had at the museum included a hashtagged photo sharing competition to win a couple of Nelson Mandela Bay Passes. Of course I added the usual #sharethebay tag to my photographs because that’s what we were doing, and ended up winning myself two passes for my photograph entitled The Littlest Photographer. (more…)

Three Instameets in a Week

imageAs I mentioned in the previous post, last Sunday the husband and I decided to go to the Colours of You instameet in Govan Mbeki, and then on Wednesday we found ourselves at an instameet organised by Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism at the South End Museum. Well, yesterday we ended up at a third instameet at Baywest Mall with the City of PE folk because we somehow stumbled across an RNews article about how using the #OhSnapBaywest tag will lead to one lucky instagrammer winning themselves a EOS 100D Canon for their efforts. I have to admit that’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a mall (unless you count the one time I went a little nutsy in a bookstore and when I got to the counter to pay the guy I was dating at the time pulled out his credit card and paid for all of it) and it was good to mingle with yet another completely different group of instagrammers (am I supposed to be calling the – us – igers?) Clearly this town has way more artists milling around than I ever considered. I’m really feeling kind of inspired to explore even more of my own city. I admit I’m kind of bad at that, usually. I tend towards being a bit of a shut in some(most)times, expecially now that I am taking saving money for international travel even more seriously than before. But I am starting to realise that you don’t have to spend ridiculous amounts of money in order to enjoy the spaces around you. Silly that I already know this when I’m away from town. How come I don’t know it about being at home? Hmmmm…. Perhaps the hubby and I should go off and do our own instameet a little later… It’s ok to be addicted to taking pictures, right?

On Instameetings

imageSo I need to stop starting blog posts with the word “so” but it’s really hard…so for this one I’m not going to. Instead I’m just going to get straight into it and tell you a bit about the new little piece of happiness that I accidentally found.

When we went to India earlier this year I admitted to my husband that as far as social media goes, Instagram is by far my favourite platform. A bit strange perhaps as I haven’t been Instagramming for that long, but for the short while that I have been, I’ve really been enjoying it.

You see, for me, Instagram seems to be this beautiful place of positivity. Every time I post a picture of my cat, the “likes” I get seem to say “Oh wow, I’m so happy for you that you’re having a happy moment with your cat!” and if I post a picture of something that has caught my eye, a flower perhaps, the likes seem to say “Oh wow, I’m so glad that for a moment in your day you stopped to observe and appreciate something beautiful”. If I’m travelling somewhere, the likes seem to say “oh wow I’m so happy that you’re doing what you love”, and if I post a picture of my child, the likes tell me “Yes, motherhood has so many wonderful moments”.

imagePerhaps this makes me silly. Perhaps this makes me a bit of an attention hog, or something negative, but I absolutely cannot help but feel that Instagram is this place where all the social media love goes. I do realise that is a bit of a lofty, airy-fairy ideal, but the thought of it makes me happy. And, the thing is, whenever I tap on that little heart, what  am really saying is “That’s lovely! I am so happy for you!”

Last week my friend Marion invited me to a Colours of You Instameet happening in the CBD which took place on Sunday. I admit I was a little intimidated because honestly I have always struggled to exercise any sort of creativity within a group. That coupled with the idea of trying to be creative with my three kids around me? Ha! You must be joking!! Creativity must be saved for when they are nowhere to be found. I haven’t learned to balance family life with art. Be creative? In public? Ha! I’ll just come along and watch.

imageWell, I found myself nestled between this group of beautiful people, all filled with art and beauty, and I have to admit this kind of thing can feel like a relief to people like me. What an incredible opportunity to mingle with all sorts of different people. I did spend a LOT of time making sure that my kid didn’t just dart off into the road and get run over by a car, but even though my momness was on full alert, my arty happy person got to peek out a little too. And it was glorious.

The best part: my kids loved it! Do you know how hard I have been trying to get these kids to lose themselves in creativity? I have no ide ahow to inspire it. I fail at this every single time I try! And yet there they were, just plodding along, photographing any old thing like it was nothing.

I don’t know how to say thank you for that.

imageToday we went on another Instameet. It was a different group of people this time, and while much of the vibe was a little different to the raw creative energy of the Colours of You meet, the positive effect remained the same. We met at the South End Museum – a place I have never actually wandered through before – and we got to mingle with each other while taking photographs and having a few laughs and giggles.

Some things are just good for your soul. I’ve been looking for something to replace the hole that dancing left in my life for the last eight years. It might be a little early, but I can’t help but think I might have found it.

Is that silly? I hope not…

 

 

Spicy Love & Christmas Wishes

20151124_195645In the spirit of trying to not always be too political for the sake of extended family members who are starting to find me terrifying (*giggle*) I thought that I could talk about food today. Yay! Food…

My folks have a lovely lady from India staying with them at the moment. She’s been shadowing my dad and learning a bit more about how the Herbalifers on this side of the world do things at The Rink Street Wellness Club. I have loved having her around here. It’s always so 20151124_193714great having long conversations with people from different countries. There’s something extra special about it.

Of course, as happens to all of us when we find ourselves in foreign lands, our guest is struggling a little with the food that is completely different to what she is accustomed to. I, in turn, convinced my folks to take her to one of my favourite places to eat in Port Elizabeth: Raasoie. I then crashed their party because: Raasoie.

I love the way you get to eat in this place and I can’t help but think that I wish we could skip the whole rah-rah-rubbish of the usual Christmas fanfare which includes tons of work and even more mess and just hang out at Raasoie for the day. We could hang out around a huge table with bowls of korma and tikka masala and paneer and and and…yum… And then they have these awesome little table fire pit thingies that you use to cook your own kebabs on. I love this sort of social style of eating. Little bits and pieces all over the place. No stress just a lot of happiness and flavour. (more…)