Saturday, July 31, 2010

Memoirs of a Psycho Flash Drive!

I met Rhea at the start of this year, in fact, I was with her mother at the time. Weird, I know but thats how things work out sometimes... I knew she'd had bad luck with flashes before, but I thought I'd be better than that. So I convinced her to give me a go.

She took to me quickly, we were inseparable, I mean I was her life, you know? Sure, we had a few break-ups, she left me in the labs a couple of times, but for some reason, she kept coming back to find me. I thought we had a really good thing going, i was literally tied to her handbag! But then I had to go and mess it up...

A few weeks ago, just before her big final report, she lost me on her way to Durban. Yeah, yeah, I know it was stupid but she's one faithful girl: she didn't even have a backup! When she found me a few days later, gosh she was relieved! I couldn't believe I got away with that one..but things had already started going south...

She listened to her friends advice and backed me up, I guess she had to, she was really counting on me. And its a good thing she did coz the very next day, the file that her project was on was corrupted! I couldn't explain it. I really tried, you know, but just couldn't get it open! I felt like half a flash...

But Rhea, she'd so patient you know? She forgave me again, gave me a last chance. She handed in her project just fine, no complaints...but some things are just too good to last. She forgot me in her jeans pocket and I went through the wash today. I know I deserved it, had to come clean some time, but it still really hurt! How could she do that? Aren't I important to her anymore?

Needless to say, I'm still alive. Guess she can't get rid of me that easy ;)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Californian Locusts

There are tons of Americans at UCT. Especially this year for some reason! The semester abroad students are pretty cool, hanging out in Coco Wawa, skyping in their little gym-shorts and slops, but sometimes they know how to crack me up!

You can tell they are American from a mile away. I dunno exactly how. But you just know they're not from around here. Now, don't get me wrong, they are great people, especially the ones on my project team, but today I saw something that I thought was a laugh and wanted to share.

So I'm walking along Jammie Plaza and am passing the Arts Block when I see two tall, blonde guys squatting, professional camera in hand, taking pictures of something small on the ground. It turned out to be a locust! I must say, I have seen some beautiful locusts in this country, brilliantly streaked with orange or blue, but this little guy was a mucky dried grass colour. These guys were obviously fascinated, and I just had to stop and ogle them for a while.

It turns out they're from California. I guess you don't get many giant insects in California...Was funny though...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

American Pie

I have fallen in love with everything American. Now, if you think this is a strange thing to say, you're right! Before I saw visited the US, I was completely put off by all its stereotypes: the loudness, the fatness, the gullibility, the propaganda, the fear-mongering, the consumerism, the sickening patriotism. Believe me, I was not a fan! But somehow, while wandering the streets of the vertical cities, and spending hours enjoying Starbucks selection of 3 green teas and the free wifi in Barnes and Nobles, things began to change.

One thing that people in SA don't really know: American people are awesome! They are friendly, and incredibly open, honest and upfront. They are welcomming and warm and accomodating, and no, I'm not just talking about the hotel concierges! Everybody that I met, on the street, at the hostels, at the conference, were awesome. I have to say, as warm, friendly and accomodating as South Africans are reputed to be, Americans do give us a run! I felt completely at home...

American culture is another funny thing. Its not something unique to any group, and no group excludes it. Whether Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic or an immigrant, everybody in some way or other, subscribes to this culture! Its in the way they talk, the language, the accent, the words..Its the walk, the swagger, the posture, the sway. Its their actions, reactions, moods, laughs, tears even. And its incredibly easy to pick up, believe me!

I hadn't even noticed I'd changed, but after a week in Chicago, this fact bluntly hit me! It was the hottest day ever and I was due to meet Prince Charming at our hotel on the outskirts of the city. As you remember, he was on training just out of town, coincidentally! So after spending 20 mins madly waving and screaming for cabs on the street, my two bright pink suitcases in tow, I arrive in my yellow taxi at the hotel. Yet another coincidence, as I get out of the cab, I look behind me to see Prince Charming get out of the cab right behind mine!

So let me paint you this picture. Were outside one of the nicest hotels Ive ever stayed in, there are porters everywhere carting our luggage around, and the concierges fake smile bearing down at the front desk..And then there's me, fresh from the hostel, in tiny denim shorts, rolled up even shorter to show all of my thighs, and a tight, black, VERY low cut strappy top and sneakers. And I run up to this tall, handsome man, screaming "babe" and literally tackle him!

Hmm...must have been a sight...but the thing is, I really began to blend in. Walking around in tiny shorts, sunglasses, a Venti Starbucks on my hand and talking about the "hawks" winning the Stanley Cup, I surprised myself!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Museums and Deep Dish PIZZA!

So you must be eagerly awaiting my next post! LOL. As you can see, I've changed my wallpaper in light of my recent travels...a much more exciting topic that engineering at this moment in time!

Well, trust me, the park wasn't the only highlight that Chicago had to offer! The four nights I spent at Hostelling International were just awesome! H.I. Chicago has been voted best hostel in the world a few times now and the $32 a night for a bunk in a room of 8 was not bad, especially considering its central location! I made myself quite unpopular in my room the first morning because I got us at 5:30 am to go running in the park and woke everyone up. After their heavy nights out, they were really not impressed! It turned out to be raining! but when I left the building, I bumped into a morning cyclist, who ironically was also South African. Trust the two sports freaks of the hostel to be from SA!

I teamed up with a Chinese girl and Taiwanese girl, both also travelling alone and kicked it to the Shedd Aquarium. This is definitely a must see, but the 'dolphin' show was really cheesy! It was more of a high-tech performance with the rather voluptuos trainers dressed up in skintight dolphin and beluga whale suits than a showcase of animal intellegance! As Prince charming rightly put it, it seems we abuse our poor dolphins here in Ushaka Marine World by actually making them do tricks in a dolphin show! SHAME!

After that, it was a short walk along the pier to the Adler Planetarium. Just imagine three little asian girls huddled under one dilapedated umbrella running from museum to museum! haha, was great! This was also cool but a bit too focused on the history of space travel...I did find out that I have one of Saturn's moons as a namesake! Oddly enough, Saturn is also my horoscope's 'ruling planet' Good work mum!

We made it home just in time for a group trip to the Museum of Contemporary Arts. There was a live blues band playing in the restaurant and I got to see a video of one of Vito Acconci's sordid installations. Needless to say, this was a highlight of my evening! I bumped into an Austrian guy and we decided to try out one of Chicago's most famous dishes: An original DEEP DISH PIZZA! My Lonely Plant Chicago Encounters guide was great in helping us navigate the beautiful nighttime streets and canals of the City. The pizza was something else too! The smallest size was almost too big for us both to finish but this monstrosity of tomato and cheese was everything I had hoped it would be and more!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chicago: Grant Park

I took the blue-line train from O'Hare international in Chicago into 'the loop', the inner city of Chicago on the South end of which I was staying. Trusting my luck, the handle of my huge roller-suitcase broke off at the airport! I had to wheel this giant, pink monstrosity, my carry on and huge handbag the three locks from the station to Hostelling International where I was staying, just a block from the awesome fountain of Grant Park!
The west edge of the park borders the loop, and the East is on the banks of Lake Michegan, one of the Great Lakes!!! Its impossible to describe just how awesome the park is, but I hope these pics do it justice!

I checked in and began wandering the city, starting with the park. I cannot begin to describe how beautiful it is, and big too! Rose gardens and oak-lined walkways were scattered everywhere and as I headed north into Millenium Park, I was simply stunned to behold the impact of the ingenius architechture, the perfect backdrop to the park's walled gardens and art installations! I could write pages on this park alone, it truly is one of the city's most valued features. From the twin brick towers, upon which the smiling faces of children are projected to the awesome 'silver bean', a landmark in itself, the park had so much to offer!

I was lucky enough to stumble upon one of the park's free Summer concerts that happen every Monday during the warmer months. The band, She and Him, featuring the singer/ actress Zooey Deschanel, from 500 days of Summer was great and there were thousands of people chilling out and enjoying a picnic and wine, enjoying the cool summer evening. I randomly met two awesome photography students who adopted me for the night!