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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Grammar Tuesday #3

1. Mmmmm yum desert.... crunchy.
2. Saying "I might win less than five medals" is like saying "I run fewer fast than you". Both indicating that your strong point is not on the field nor in the classroom.
3. When in doubt, use a comma. When you can't wake, it's a coma.
4. Chow is to eat, not to greet.


Monday, 23 July 2012

Backpacking South Africa: Buccaneers

Buccaneers Backpackers, my favourite, and arguably the best in South Africa. 
I guess what makes it outstanding is the fact that it caters for everyone. It's one of the few places I'd take my mother. They offer super-cheap spacious camping (if you want to hang out with monkeys chucking guavas at eachother), awesome dorms, double/twin safari tents, family cottages, double/twin rooms (for the same price as a dorm... schweet) and the fancy en-suite rooms. It's got the backpackers vibe but with a little town, Cintsa*, (containing traces of civilization!) just across the lagoon.
You can party it up at Bucc's bar or Barefoot Cafe (Grammar Nazi's go look at the menu... I dare you...), impress the rents at Michaela's Restaurant (no, you may not ride the cool elevator more than necessary), chill on the beach or eat pizza near the pool, buy second hand books and cheese at Tea in the Trees, or go do the Africa thing at Inkwenkwezi Game Reserve.
It's easily accessible, covers the essentials, offers such a wide range of activities and still manages to feel like you've found a well-kept secret.
The elusive directions to Buccaneers:
Driving on the N2 toward East London (from Mthatha) turn left at the Cintsa sign. There will be signs indicating that you are now on the Jikeleza route. Continue on tar road until you get to the second junction. Turn left. Follow signs to Bucanneers. Do not follow your GPS! 
P.S. The view from the breakfast room is a must-see.
*Cintsa is pronounced with a Xhosa click at the beginning (the 'c' is made by making a sucking noise with your tongue behind your front teeth). 

First, the Coast-to-Coast overview:
Coast-to-Coast review Buccaneers Backpackers

My rating:
Personal review of Buccaneers Backpackers: Part 1

Personal review of Buccaneers Backpackers: Part 2

View from The Breakfast Room at Buccaneers Backpackers.

Buccaneers Backpackers Reception

The pool deck and bar at Buccaneers Backpackers

Cintsa beach: A long stretch of beach with scarcely a soul in sight

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Occupational Therapy Poem

Last year I graduated as an Occupational Therapist (OT) from the University of Pretoria. I wrote this poem for our pledge ceremony at the end of our final year on behalf of the class of 2012. It's not perfect but is still quite special to me because I had written most of it in the first few weeks of my first year at varsity for a presentation on "What is OT?". I had just added the last three stanzas before the oath-taking to reflect back on the past four years. So hopefully it will provide some insight on my most common FAQ; "what do you do....really?" (probably because the link above may have confused you even more...)

Becoming an Occupational Therapist

Depending on what our client’s impairment may be,
We can formulate a suitable activity!
We're along your side to provide some assistance,
But the road to recovery requires persistence.

First we analyze the client’s values and roles,
And then we set out our future goals.
Considering their context is critical too,
But culture limits you to what you can do.

Then we implement, for improvement gained
It is here our objectives must be attained
Whether it’s by listening or by speech
It is our duty to enable and teach.

Splints and orthotics may be of aid;
They're either bought or custom-made.
Different movements require different joints
So activities can focus on certain points.

If you struggle on the playground or in class
In play we challenge you to ultimately pass.
And doing skills involving creativity
Can also help you overcome problems emotionally.

We facilitate participation in group activities,
By giving them roles and responsibilities.
Group discussions, like negotiating,
Must be done by communicating.

An important step is to evaluate
To monitor progress and contemplate
Whether the methods we used were effective or not;
These tests and outcome measures can help us a lot.

Repetition of assessments must be done
To reflect and analyze how far we’ve come.
What were our specific outcomes achieved
And with our goal in hindsight – Did we succeed?

We can all attest that the journey made us strong
The climb was sometimes dark, narrow and long.
It was then, we looked Above and there did find,
Strength and courage for soul, heart and mind.

We cannot leave without giving thanks to say
God sent us these angels* to guide our way
Sometimes we thought them as pure torture
But little did we know they moulded our future.

It's the end of the beginning, a new life we await
We bid you farewell, but our ties won't abate
We stumbled in the dark but sought the light
And now we pledge to fight the fight.

*referring to our lecturers and supervisors

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Backpacking South Africa: Wild Lubanzi

I've been living on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape, South Africa for over 6 months now. I can consider myself to be a local, right? It wouldn't be an easy place to adapt to after living in South Africa's capital for 5 years, but I found I fitted in quite easily (probably because I've always been a hippie at heart). It's more rural and beautiful than I expected, and by far the most beautiful province in South Africa.

One of my happiest discoveries this year was all the backpacking accommodation. It's almost a proudly Eastern Cape thing - the Wild Coast map is speckled with them - all lined up for the main attraction: Coffee Bay. And it's exactly what you'd expect: Dreadlocked surfers, dirty hippies and travelling gypsies. Bob Marley is idolised and eco-friendly is not new. The most surprising thing however is that often you'll be the only South African there among a community of Germans. Germans love Africa man. I don't know what it is. But not only is it because it's not marketed well to South Africans, but there's also not a huge amount of information about these places online/ in print when you are interested.

The first thing you'll need to get yourself is a copy of the free 'Coast to Coast: A Definitive Guide to Backpacking Southern Africa' - available at most backpackers. It's really so handy. However, in addition I'd like to feature a rating guideline to review each place I've been. Yeah, for the cynics, to provide you with info that you might not get in print. It's mostly good though.

So first up is Wild Lubanzi Backpackers and Trail Lodge. It was the first one I stayed at and I've been back. It's one of the better ones. This is what the Coast to Coast has to say about it:
Coast to Coast reviews Wild Lubanzi Backpackers

And now for my review:
Personal review of Wild Lubanzi Backpackers: Part 1

Personal review of Wild Lubanzi  Backpackers: Part 2

 If you don't like reading:
Sunrise at Wild Lubanzi
Surfing on the secluded beach at Wild Lubanzi

Main lounge/reading area at Wild Lubanzi (with fireplace)

Free filter coffee each morning!

Local girl on beach near Wild Lubanzi. The amaXhosa use clay as sunblock

Saturday, 14 July 2012

South-African Art Decor: Part 2

The inspiration for our home's latest addition is the doodler's original canvas; the school desk. Etchings from the end of the compass point, Tippex-ed tags, ball-point pen profanity and concealed crib notes; it's the school-desk's initiation into the classroom. But the contrast of the rich kid's white correction fluid, a prized possession in government schools, on withered raw wood somehow made it proudly South African to me. And ugly. Hopefully this one looks a little more tastefully done though...

The school desk graffiti coffee table

I chose the Coca-cola logo because it's another bold logo and has the perfect typography for the school-cursive style.

If you want to add this cool effect to your coffee table, here's how I did it:

Step 1: Find a wooden table. This one wasn't mine but I've called dibs on it (which counts).

Step 2: Sand the entire table until surface is even and wood's grain is exposed (no old varnish or enamel paint should remain). Use rough/ heavyduty sandpaper. Using a sanding block helps.

Sanded wooden coffee table

Step 3: Dust the wood surface with a paintbrush to ensure it's clean.

Brush dust off table after sanding

Step 4: Download a design/logo that you like. "Borrow" someone's data-projector to project it onto the table. NB: Ensure it's perfectly centered!

Stencil Coca-cola logo using data-projector

Step 5: Use a black ball-point pen to outline the design.

Step 6: Colour-in the lines using white acryllic paint (water it down to create a white-wash effect) using a fine brush. Paint 2 coats. NB: Clean brush with water (not turpentine).


Step 7: Once dried, lastly add one coat of varnish with a wide brush. If varnish is too thick, thin it by adding 1 part turpentine to 10 parts varnish.  I suggest you only use one coat to avoid it looking too glossy. Clean brush in turpentine.

Oh, and if you're wondering where we got those awesome scatter cushions (in first pic) - Mr Price Home has an awesome 'Home-brewed' range.