Sunday, September 21, 2008

Candelabra Flower

The Candelabra Flower grows from a bulb which means that you don't know its there till it flowers. This pic was taken at Cape St Francis with the Seal Point Lighthouse in the background. The coffee shop and lighthouse tours are run by the Ajubatus marine bird and mammal rehabilitation project and they put up signs all over the show asking people not to pic the flowers and specially not to carry the dead flowers away as that is the time they drop their seeds for future generations.

I am heading for China tomorrow. We are exhibiting in a tourism and cultural festival in the city of Ningbo. Ningbo is Nelson Mandela Bay's twin city and they invited us to come and participate. I don't normally travel this much in my work, it's just that this is turning out to be a busy two months. Hopefully by late October I will be able to settle down again and *holding thumbs* take my tons of overtime leave. Anyway, I will be back again on the 2nd of October with what I am hoping will be tons of nice pics. Check you all later.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Umhlanga Sunrise

I kinda don't have anything new to post today, so I decided to post a sunrise pic I took in Umhlanga a couple of months ago. In May we went to Durban to exhibit at Indaba, South Africa's biggest international tourism trade show. We stayed in the coastal resort town of Umhlanga about 20 kilometres north of Durban. I was up before sunrise one morning and got this pic from my hotel window. Ok, so I brought the colours out slightly, but only slightly. It was the reddest (is that a word or did I just make it up) sunrise I have ever seen.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Snail graveyard

Just to east of Port Elizabeth is the Sundays River Valley. From the mouth of the Sundays River running east is the biggest coastal dune field in the Southern Hemisphere, namely the Alexandria Dunefields. Recently we went on the Sundays River Ferry for a pleasure ride. The ferry stops close to the river mouth for passengers to get off and go for a short walk onto the dunes. In between the dunes I found this snail "cemetery". It was quite a peculiar sight with thousands of snail shells all lying in this one area. Most of them were European snail while the big shell is a Zebra snail. I would love to try and find out why the shells are all in one specific place.

Donkin Reserve lit up

When I went to visit my sister in hospital the other night to see my new niece, I drove by the Donkin Reserve and had to stop to take this pic. The moon was beautiful in the sky and the floodlights on the lighthouse made it a pretty sight. I have posted a day pic of the Donkin Reserve before here: http://fireflyafrica.blogspot.com/2008/07/pe-monuments-1.html

I found that the pic wasn't exactly what I wanted it to be. I also tried to take one of the moon alone to get a nice moon pic and could not. I relised that I still have tons to learn about the camera and photography. Baby steps.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

South American Grafitti

One of the things that I picked up on the South American trip is that there is a huge amount of grafitti around. Specially in Sau Paulo it is on everything. On some buildings you stand in awe and try to figure out how it got on walls several floors up from the ground. Grafitti is such an problem that most of the statues and monuments are fenced off with wooden fencing to stop people from drawing grafitti on them.

This was thr first grafitti I saw up close. It was just next to the hotel in Sao Paulo. It looked very informal.


The grafitti above was along a road in Sao Paulo. It was quite a lot of grafitti and very artistically done. Very "comic book" like.


This lot was in Buenos Aires. I saw it the morning I went to see Eveta's grave and looks like typical scribble on the wall grafitti.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My new niece

I interrupt my posts on my South American trip to show off my new niece. Liandi Jonker was born yesterday, 15 September 2008, at 13h30. She decided to arrive about 3 weeks early and weighed 2,45kg (5,4 pounds) at birth.

Here a very proud dad is holding his daughter, while my sister threatened me with painfull torture and death if I post a pic of her on here.

The Rugrats obviously can't wait to see their cousin for the first time on the weekend. The Drama Princess haven't even seen her but already says that she must get a bit bigger so that she can play with her.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ibirapuera Park - Sao Paulo

On my day of sightseeing in Sao Paulo I stumbled on Ibirapuera Park. At 345 acres (140 ha) or 0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2), Sao Paulo's biggest city park can be compared with Central Park in New York. The park contains two large lakes and paths criss cross throughout. The paths are devided into a walking section and a section for bicycles and is used by hundreds of people every day. There are several monuments, museums and galleries in the park as well as a plant nursery.

Some of the monuments in the park are historic monuments (as below), while others as the one above are newer "art" statues.
There are also huge play areas for the family to hang out in. Unfortunately it was a week day so there were no kids to get a different perspective on the equipment.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cementerio de la Recoleta

Although my trip to South America was a good one as far as business goes, it wasn't that outstanding for photography. I had a full day in Sao Paulo to do a bit of sightseeing, but my sightseeing in Buenos Aires was sunk by cancelled and delayed flights. This meant that I had about an hour to see something and if there was one thing I wanted to see, it was Eva Peron's grave. So 07:30 the morning after breakfast I headed the 5 blocks down the street from the hotel to see her grave... in the pouring rain. This restricted the amount of pics I could take successfully. And what a bummer that was. I could spend a whole day in the Cementerio de la Recoleta. It is awesome! The fact that there are no conventional graves and only mausoleums makes it a extraordinary photographic subject.
Most of the mausoleums are elaborate marble creations decorated with statues and built in different architectural styles. Its like a city of the dead in there with sections like city blocks, main walkways lined with trees and side alleys filled with mausoleums. It is awesome, or have I said that? I could truely spend the whole day in it with my camera.
The Cemetery includes graves of some of the most influential and important people of Argentina, including several presidents, scientists, and wealthy characters. Internationally, Eva Peron is the best known person buried in this cemetery. Just for those who don't know who she was:
María Eva Duarte de Perón (7 May 1919 - 26 July 1952) was the second wife of President Juan Domingo Peron (1895 - 1974) and served as theFirst Lady of Argintina from 1946 until her death in 1952. Born out of wedlock in rural Argentina she is often referred to as simply Eva Peron. In the eyes of many Argentinians of the time she was somebody like the late Princess Diana. Her story was made more famous internationally through the 1996 movie Evita staring Madonna.
The mausoleum in which Eva Peron last resting place is situated with the many fresh flowers that people still come and put on the door.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ellie Interaction

I am leaving today for an exhibit in South America called South Africa Explore. On 9 September we will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil and on 11 September in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The exhibit is aimed specifically to promote South Africa as a tourist destination and in our case to try and get visitors to come to Port Elizabeth (actually the whole metropolitan area of Nelson Mandela Bay) and the Eastern Cape. I may not have the opportunity to do posts from that side, but promise to come back with loads of awesome pics from that side of the world. I will be back here on 13 September, so in the meantime, chat amongst yourselves like the elephants at the Addo Elephant National Park below. See ya later!





Good ol' Church Fate

Tonight we had our annual kerk basaar (church fate). It normally is a big occation with everybody streaming. Most popular are the pancakes. People stand in long lines to get what I call church pancakes. Not like the one's I make at home. No, each one is perfect. The men have been braaiing (barbecueing) since early afternoon and hamburger patties, sosaties (kibabs) and boerewors (farm style sausage) are sizzling over the coals. The cakes have been baked, the pudding made and the change counted. The children want to go to the play room to play the games on offer and try to win prizes. If not the play room, then you will find them on the jumping castle, ride the quad bikes or standing in front of the sweets table. The teens are standing around the corners chewing on something they got inside and the elderly are occupying any available seat. All and all, it is a very traditional affair which is the same every year, yet so different than the year before. Maybe because my kids are bigger every year and experience the whole basaar in a different way each time.

A little collage I put together using Coral Draw. I don't have all the right programmes to do these things, so Coral Draw will have to do for now. Mmmm... I feel like another bowl of pudding.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nature's Valley sunset

I love pictures of sunsets. For me its is the best time of the day and if you can find a good spot to take it, it makes for brilliant photos. The following picture I took a little while ago on a camping trip to Nature's Valley on the Garden Route. The Damselfly started to get annoyed with me for hanging around on the beach for ages waiting for the sun to go down, but the result is one of my favourite sunset pics.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Self portrait of a birthday boy

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear me... Happy birthday to me.

I always wanted to try and take one of these rear view mirror self portraits and have just never gotten around to it. So today I though I will give it a go. For Birthday's sake. LOL. I just needed to get out the office and drove down to the beachfront and just did it. After making sure nobody was looking. Didn't know if I would look stupid taking a picture of myself in my cars side mirror.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cape Coons

This past weekend I was at the Getaway Show. It is South Africa's premier travel and outdoor consumer show and held anually in Johannesburg. As expected the Western Cape also had an exhibit at the show and they brought along a four man Cape Coon (Kaapse Klopse) band to make traditional Cape music. The Cape Coons are as traditional to the Cape as Table Mountain is.

I got the following off Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaapse_Klopse) just to explain what the Cape Coons are:
The Kaapse Klopse (or simply Klopse) is a minstrel festival that takes place annually in Cape Town, South Africa. Up to 13,000 minstrels in whiteface take to the streets garbed in shockingly bright colours, either carrying colourful umbrellas or playing an array of musical instruments. The minstrels are grouped into klopse ("clubs" in Cape Dutch, but more accurately translated as troupes in English). Participants are typically from Afrikaans-speaking working class "coloured" families who have preserved the custom since the mid-19th century.
Although it is called the Coon Carnival by Capetonians, local authorities have renamed the festival the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, as foreign tourists find the term "coon" derogatory (there is some debate about this). coon carnival is a nation al event that coons get together and meet up and show their love for their country


I haven't had the pleasure to attend the actual festival, which is held annually in the first week of January, but I have heard small groups perform at festivals and events. They were so colourful and vibrant, I couldn't help but to take these guys' picture.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Spring Day

Today is 1 September and that means it is Spring Day. Winter has passed - not that we had much winter this year and ironicly today was freekin cold - and spring has sprung. Ok, so it has quite sprung yet but is winding up. So I am posting a pic I took last spring and as soon as I get a chance to get out there I will post a more up to date spring photo.

So to all my Southern Hemisphere readers, Happy Spring Day.
And to all my Northern Hemisphere readers... well... fall (or autumn as we call it) makes for nice pictures