The importance of feedback

While holidaying in Bali, we went to a rather fancy restaurant to try out the Ubud version of fine dining – I was really curious to see if they would be as good as the places we have in Cape Town. The price was comparable given that it was heading into peak season and the average cost excluding drinks was R1 300 (including a mandatory 21% tax + service charge). However, that, and the exceptional presentation of the food, were just about the only comparable things between that restaurant and the many places I’ve been to back home (La Colombe, Fyn, to name a few).

I was excited to go to this restaurant – it had many great reviews and accolades. My first impression was indeed a good one. The menu came hidden in a beautiful ceramic box underneath a tray of edible flowers. The staff sprayed some seasoning on the flowers and once the petals were eaten away, it revealed what was in store for the night. In true fine dining fashion, it consisted of 6 or 9 courses of vaguely descriptive dishes.

There were a number of tasters outside of the menu and some were quite inventive, such as this … thing, which for a lack of a better word, was just some lemongrass sticks dipped in honey and something sweet, hidden in a giant foliage of leaves. A feast for the eyes but not so much for the palate.




The actual courses were underwhelmingly small. Minute. Quantum. I wondered how anybody could be full afterwards, even with all the sides that came with. I’m a rather tiny human and I was starving at the end of the night. And no, your eyes did not deceive you, below is some carrots, in a gigantic bowl, and a whole lot of sodium. In fact, I couldn’t taste much of the food’s natural flavour because every dish was so darn salty.




I’m usually not one for complaining, and I wouldn’t have said anything if it weren’t for the fact that I got sick from eating the food. Probably from the above oyster dish… or perhaps from the complete juxtaposed flavours that did not complement one another. My tummy was probably wondering what the fudge was going on. For example, the one dish was to inspire a combination of hot and cold. They put some sorbet in a hot soup… totally weird!!! Plus 1 for thinking outside the box but minus 5 for not checking with the 5 senses (including common sense!).


Usually after a meal at a nice restaurant, I’m left feeling satiated and… happy. But not this time. It was a bit of a let down and a few hours later, I was feeling so ill, I couldn’t sleep. At 1 am I promptly vomited everything I’d eaten that night.

The very next day I emailed my grievances to the owner, who kindly offered to refund me (but also stressed that they won’t be changing the menu because most people don’t complain). She also asked why I didn’t say anything to the waiters – and that, I think, circles back to the point of this post. Often we try to avoid any sort of confrontation. In this case, it was further spurred on by the fact that the staff couldn’t speak great English and half the time I couldn’t understand what they were saying. And so, the easiest thing to do was to nod, smile and say thank you.

Of course, there is also a balance between giving appropriate feedback and complaining incessantly about every little detail. I think it is important to be honest whilst trying not to be petty at the same time. If the food hadn’t made me sick, I probably would have just chalked it up to a bad restaurant selection, but in the end, I’m glad I spoke up. It took about 2 months for the money to be refunded – and at one point I thought I wasn’t going to get my money back. It took a number of emails and hassling on my part – but it finally came through.

We are incredibly spoiled in Cape Town. We have some really amazing restaurants and if you go during one of their winter specials, it’s an absolute steal.


A simple rule

I once read somewhere that the best diet is the one you can stick to. It sounds simple and yet I’ve seen it many times where people go on these crazy month long diets where they hate every moment of it, only to pick up the weight they’ve lost soon after ending the diet.

Sometime last year, I noticed that I’d been putting on weight. Nothing drastic, but at one point, I’d gained ±3kgs in the space of a couple of months. I realised my metabolism wasn’t as fast as it used to be and so I tried a brief stint of intermittent fasting.  It lasted no more than a few weeks because the hunger in the mornings was just too overwhelming that I couldn’t think about anything else other than food. At which point I realised, constantly watching the clock and constantly weighing myself is a little crazy.

Through the many hours of reading about intermittent fasting, I’ve also learned a fair amount about sugar, calories and exercise. A general rule of thumb is that weight loss is 75% what you eat and 25% exercise. And so, I’ve come up with a simple rule for myself.

I’ve loved sugar and sugary things all my life – and I know that to give up sugar completely would not work. I would end up hating my life. Not to mention I would also have to give up on all my food adventures, that would just be too sad. So I decided that if someone gave me something sweet, for free, then I could have them. Otherwise, I won’t. So each time I walk down that isle of chocolates and confectionaries, I would resist the temptation to buy something for myself.

I still order dessert when I am out for dinner with friends, and I still drink wine (but no soft drinks). With no other lifestyle changes (keeping exercise the same), I have managed to lose the weight I picked up last year, and some more. Because I get a fair amount of treats at work, I am in no way depriving myself of something I truly enjoy. Sticking to this rule doesn’t feel like a chore, and even when I cheat a little, it is easy to go back to it.

I find that I don’t crave sweets as much as I used to. I am eating more fruits (blueberries!!! and watermelons!!!!) and drinking more water – because let’s face it, ordering booze just because everyone else is doing it, is lame. I’d rather have some H2O from the tap thanks! :D

Back to Blogging! (and Back to Mac :D)

After a lengthy hiatus – most of it due to my stupidity of spilling water all over my MBP and electrocuting it – I am finally back. This past year has kept me busy, but I am officially on leave for 2 weeks so I can dedicate some time to my blog, which I feel I need to keep going to justify the money I pay to WordPress each year.

It took me over 6 months to replace my MBP and I’ve learned some good lessons from this.

  1. Insurance is there to limit the risk, not so that I can make money off the insurer based on the likelihood of making a claim.
    I decided not to insure my MBP because “what the heck for?”. My household items are covered and I rarely take it outside the house. I acted based on what I thought was the probability of something happening, as opposed to the value of the item. As it turns out, people spill water / liquids on computers all the time, and MacBooks are notoriously expensive to repair. In my case it was dead on arrival.
  2. Waiting for “What if there is a better special next time?” is not a good way to do shopping.
    Before I got my MacBook Air, there was a R4K special on the 2017 12″ MacBook. I did not get it because I knew Black Friday was coming and there could be other discounts. Well, it came and the laptop I wanted was not on special. Closer to Christmas time, the 2018 MacBook Air was on sale for R1.5K cheaper, and I thought… maybe I should wait till January. But there is no guarantee that the price will come down much from the current retail price and at this stage, I had been without a laptop for half a year. Yikes!
    And so I decided to just get it because waiting for a special is similar to thinking there is a better man out there for me. There definitely is, but sadly no certainty as to when that will come, and I am not prepared to wait another day.
  3. No point getting the old  model – there is a reason why they are so heavily discounted.
    When the new MacBook Air came out, Apple placed a massive sale on the 2017 MacBook Air (R10K vs R20K on the new model). I had the biggest internal debate because that is a huge price differential. In the end, I decided not to get the old model because, in actual fact, the 2017 model worked off a 2014 processor, had a keyboard that did not work so well, and had old ports that were quickly being phased out and replaced by USB-C.

Of course, there is one last logical fart that I have not addressed, which is the absurdity of wanting an Apple computer over another brand. But I do love my Apple products and how they sync so beautifully with each other. Not to mention I have one in pink gold. *Swooooon*


Ridiculous Tuesday: Parking mishap edition

Brace yourselves, this may even be worse than that time I got a $78 fine for taking too long to walk to the parking meter…

Working at AG has many perks, but free parking is not one of them. Because I’m lazy AF, I generally load the maximum amount allowed onto my parking card. But due to the V&A’s incompetence, they haven’t been able to take credit card payments on their parking machines for quite some time now. Since I’m so used to loading the default amount, I forgot to check how much cash I had before I started loading the money. As it turned out, I didn’t have R1359 cash in my wallet (go figure). So I had to cancel the transaction and start over. BUT instead of returning my 4 R100 notes which I HAD JUST PUT IN 10 SECONDS AGO, I got 2 R50s and 2 R40s in change, and the rest came in R5 coins. It honestly sounded like I had won the slot machine at Caesars, the only thing missing was the flashing lights.

At this point, it was hitting 8:15, and I am a stickler for being on time.  (I literally was only late for work once and that was when my car wouldn’t start.) I was on the verge of returning another day but … those damn R5 coins. My tiny handbag wouldn’t have survived being weighed down and stretched out by those meddling coins. So I spent the next 5 minutes putting them back into the machine. Thankfully nobody was waiting behind me, or I would have died of embarrassment -_-.


It’s not me, it’s you

Maybe if I say it enough, I will believe it and it will actually be true. Or maybe that is just a whole lot of BS conjured up to make us feel better after a break up. In some ways I truly feel I have given my all, I tried to bridge the non-compatibility issue, tried to be patient, tried to convince myself that I needed to make it work. But after all the trying, I was still sad and angry that he couldn’t meet me half way.

I went back and read some of my older poems and nothing much has changed. Still the same ol’ theme. Take this for example… written 6 years ago and still as relevant and appropriate today as it was back then. Often it does feel like I am the common denominator. Maybe I just keep going for the wrong men… whatever it is, it has brought me back full circle. Back to cooking for one.

It’s funny how the days leading up to a breakup, my mind is filled with negative thoughts and yet the minute it’s final, I want nothing more than to be back to where we were. Maybe I should take a break, but the truth is, I hate being single. I miss having that person whom I can message all day and not feel guilty for interrupting. I miss the cuddles, the contact.

I kind of knew from the beginning that we weren’t well suited for each other. I don’t know why I kept it going – in some ways he pushed for it and mislead me. I let him convince me that it could work even though deep down I knew it couldn’t.

I don’t know how to meet people organically any more. Not convinced that that will yield a different result in any case. I used to think I was too picky and therefore give up too easily, but now I actually think I’m not picky enough and end up settling. Like the bff says, I need to be a reacher. Need to find someone who’s better than me in most regards. I guess this is as good a challenge as any.

Freedom of (hate) speech

It’s taken me a while to write this, mainly because I was worried I’d be fired for expressing a dissident view. But then I remembered a quote by Edmund Burke that encouraged me to be brave and to fight for rational thought. In case you’re unfamiliar with the story, the gist of it is that someone made an insensitive post on Facebook that likened black people to monkeys. It received a lot of back lash, the general consensus was that her comment was racist and many people called for some form of punishment including criminal proceedings.

I am not debating whether or not her post was racist and offensive, because I believe that to be irrelevant. I am a strong advocate of free speech, regardless of its propensity to cause offense. Being offended should not deter people from expressing themselves, irrespective of how valid those views are. Offense is a subjective thing, and if we use that as a yard stick for measuring the appropriateness of speech, then nobody would be allowed to say anything as it may offend one person or another.

Instead, we should use harm as the basis of measurement, not counting intangibles such as hurt feelings. In other words, if words lead to bodily harm (such as verbal bullying causing suicide) then that should be punishable. However, if the only consequence was a bruised ego or a flare of indignation, then that should not be cause for reciprocal hatred, death threats or a call for legal action.

I can’t imagine how one unknown individual’s brisk comment could be cause for any sort of harm, even psychological harm. The back lash on the other hand is a different story, as reports claim Penny had to be hospitalised due to the severity of the reactions to her post. It’s the difference between one person casting a stone and a thousand each throwing one. The power of the mob outweighs any individual and the scary bit is that it is near impossible to tell who dealt the final, devastating blow. This is dangerous as responsibility is so dispersed that people are even more inclined to be purposefully malicious.

The bottom line is that we all say mean and hurtful things. Many of us will make inappropriate jokes that borders on racism, sexism, etc. And we should be free to make them without censorship so long as no significant harm comes from it.

It’s not always greener on the other side

…especially when you’ve been sent to a desert town where the only form of “green” is in the shape of purchased palm trees. I suppose that’s the only connection the locals have to a tropical paradise. I don’t understand why people choose to live in Phoenix. It’s hot, dry, and a catalyst for an eczema breakout. The only benefit is not having to shovel snow every morning during the winter months – but the drawback is the scorching 40+ degrees heat from May to October… At least there are very few homeless folks loitering around because even the laziest of humans can’t withstand Phoenix summers.

My three month stint in Arizona was rough. The hours were tedious (leaving at 9pm on most nights). Americans definitely work harder than we do back home. Their busy reason spans from January to March, whereas in Cape Town, I really only worked overtime in January and then it’s back to normal.

There wasn’t much to do entertainment wise during the rare occasions where I wasn’t chained to my laptop. At least Phoenix has a team in every major sporting category, and I got to see quite a few games during my time there.


Basketball intermissions are just too entertaining.


LA Angels vs Chicago White Sox… what a snooze fest. Baseball is more boring than cricket!


Ice hockey!!! Canucks vs Coyotes

This Dalai Lama Visa thing…

First off, can I point out that it’s easy to say the right thing when you’re not the one facing the consequences. But when you’re the one running the country, it’s not smart to piss off one of your major trading partners for the sake of one individual who thinks he’s god. Foreign policy has never been about doing the right thing or fighting for the underdog. It’s about doing what is in our best interest. How will granting the Dalai Lama a visa benefit SA in tangible terms? It doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out why Zuma is refusing to give the Dalai Lama a Visa. Tutu can play the saint all day long, he has nothing to lose, only favours to gain. It’s a different story when you have to answer to why your country suddenly lost a big portion of its bilateral trade with one of the foremost economic powerhouses in the world.

Let’s talk about the Dalai Lama now, who’s really just a guy born at the right place and the right time. I don’t believe in any of this divine being nonsense so to me, he has very little claim to Tibet. If you look at the average Tibetan youngster, they use phones, listen to music, browse the internet and play games. They don’t want to become monks and lead nomadic lives the way their ancestors did. They want what the modern world has to offer – gaining independence takes away all of that and puts them right back to the stone age.

Tibet is extremely poor because of its geo-location. Farming is hard, transportation is treacherous…there’s very little going for it other than their yaks. Having said that, the Chinese government has given Tibet roads, an airport, jobs, food, water & electricity, etc. The BASIC needs. Sure, freedom of speech is important, but I don’t think it is more important than food and water. Give a really poor man a choice between Facebook or a good meal, I bet he’ll choose the latter every single time.

The point is, having China’s influence and its resources meant Tibet is no longer this extreme, horrible place. There are about 150k refugees out of a population of 6m. Compare that to the 50 m Afghan refugees or the 2.5 m Iraqi refugees that fled their country because of the US invasion, China doesn’t look too bad all of a sudden.

The independent Tibet dreamed by the Dalai Lama would be a theocracy where religion governs life. That, coupled with its harsh environment would make Tibet backward and isolated. I can’t imagine how the quality of life could increase without China’s hand in this.
My point is SA need to calm their socks about this Visa thing. People get denied Visas all the time. Losing billions of trade is the more concerning issue.

Just an average girl.

It takes me on average…
4 attempts to get a recipe right
And an hour to fall asleep at night
5 trips to recall how to navigate
The confusing roads of the interstate
3 days a week I’ll be wearing a dress
Thirteen-hundred is my rating for chess
You can tell me your name, just say it twice
But once is enough if you’re really nice