Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ronnie and his Sex Shop

I have passed Ronnie's Sex Shop on Route 62 close to Barrydale so often but *sticks head in a hole* have never pulled over for a look.  Yes, shame on me.  But if you don't know what Ronnie's Sex Shop is, don't think it was a case of wanting to stop there to have a look at kinky toys and lingerie.  Because that's not what Ronnie's Sex Shop is about.  So what is it about?  Let me tell you the story in a nutshell.  Some years ago a guy called Ronnie decided to fix up an old building next to the popular Route 62 to turn it into a farm stall and sell fresh fruit, produce and perhaps a couple of odd souvenirs to passing motorists . Nearing completion Ronnie painted the name Ronnie's Shop on the wall, but a couple of his friends decided to pull a prank on good ol' Ronnie. They added the word SEX next to the name and thus changing it to Ronnie's Sex Shop. Ronnie was shocked and angry, but as he had more urgent work to do he never got around to changing the name again. Passers by would stop and ask after the name and an interest in it started before he was even open.   One night over a braai and a couple of drinks one of his friends suggested that he drop the whole farm stall idea and just open a pub. The rest, as they say, is history.

My eyes popped open when I walked in because the decor in the pub at Ronnie's is somewhat... uhm... well, different.  The walls are covered in graffiti and messages, business cards and money from all over the world while the ceiling isn't visible because of all the shirts and bras (yes, yes, there is lingerie contrary to what I said earlier) hanging from it.  All pieces "donated" and signed by visitors.

In the room next to the bar there is just about no space left on the walls because of all the messages.  Its enough to make one's eyes cross and head spin.  But Ronnie's isn't just a pub.  There is a little restaurant, called Roadkill, as well where you can grap a pizza or hamburger while enjoying a drink from the pub.

The highlight for me wasn't just finally seeing what Ronnie's was about, but actually meeting the man himself.  Ronnie even agreed to pose for a picture when I asked him.  And again with Chaos Boy and later again with Drama Princess.  The two of them was just fascinated with him.

So next time you drive through the Klein Karoo down Route 67, make sure you you pull over and say hi to Ronnie and his Sex Shop.

Check out Avril's post about Ronnie's on Mom's Meanderings for some more pictures

Monday, January 28, 2013

Montagu's Cannon Hill

Kanonkop (or Cannon Hill) above the town of Montagu has a beautiful view across the town with this angle looking out over Montagu West.  The story goes that the original cannon which stood on this spot and dated from the 1800 was used at some stage for a salute of honor which went horribly wrong and caused a young man from the town to loose both his arms. The farmers then pushed the cannon over the edge of the hill. 20 years later it was retrieved to be fired again, but this time the whole cannon exploded and its spot stood empty until it was replaced by the present one. This cannon was taken out of the sea in Simon's Town in 1988 after spending over 200 years on the ocean floor.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Vicky Davis

A couple of years ago I got to meet the stunningly beautiful actress and Pasella (a magazine program on SABC 2) presenter Vicky Davis on a Pasella shoot in Port Elizabeth.  I sneaked a candid shot of her which I posted at the time.  Late last year I got to be on another Pasella shoot with Vicky.  She mentioned that when she Goggles her own name my picture still often comes up so we decided that it was time for me to post another as an update.  At SAMREC in Cape Recife she was getting to know Agro the penguin a little better when I saw a picture opportunity.  And here it is.

*Sigh*  If only I was tall and handsome, not married and perhaps lived in Cape Town....
*pop* Just woke up and my coffee is cold.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Storms River Mouth panorama

I just noticed this lone picture sitting in a file and realised that it is one from our recent visit to the Tsitsikamma that I forgot to upload.  Its a panoramic picture taken from the eastern side of Storms River Mouth shows the three suspension bridges in the background.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Montagu Museum

Montagu op Route 62 in the Klein Karoo het twee fantastiese museum wat besoekers aan die dorp by kan gaan inloer.  Die Montagu Museum is geleë in die ou Sendingkerk wat in 1907 gebou is en konsentreer op die dorp se kultuur-historiese skatte.  Die museum het verskeie uitstallings met die kerk se preekstoel and ander kerk items wat sentraal hieraan is.  'n Belangrike deel van die museum is die medisinale plantnavorsing wat hier plaasvind en ook uitgestal word.  Agter die museum is ook 'n pragtige roostuin wat dateer uit die dorp se vroeë jare.  Die ander museum op die dorp wat die moeite werd is om te besoek is Jouberthuis so bietjie verder af in die straat.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tsitsikamma Segway Tours

They say that once you learn to ride a bike you never forget it.  But two wheels in front of each other and two wheels next to each other are two very different things.  Not for the worse though.  For one its more difficult to learn how to ride a bike than to ride a Segway.  A Segway Personal Transporter, for those who doesn't know what they are, is a two-wheeled self-balancing battery-powered electric vehicle and can go up to 20 km/h (or 12.5 miles per hour).  Computers and motors in the base of the device keep the Segway upright when powered on with balancing enabled. A user commands the Segway to go forward by shifting their weight forward on the platform, and backward by shifting their weight backward.  The Segway then detects, as it balances, the change in its center of mass, and first establishes and then maintains a corresponding speed, forward or backward.  To turn, the user presses the handlebar to the left or the right. 
Tsitsikamma Segway Tours is a new addition to the array of great adventure activities (both soft and hard) one can participate in when visiting the Tsitsikamma and is based at Tsitsikamma Backpackers in Storms River Village.  We spend a couple of days in the village and the KidZ really looked forward to our Segway tour.  The previously saw the Segways at an exhibition in Port Elizabeth and nagged me since that occasion for us to go and do it.  On arrival and after signing in you get a bit of a tutorial on how to control the Segway before a couple of practise runs and maneuvers on the grass.

The minimum age to go on their tour is 10 years old and with Drama Princess only being seven I was in for a bit of a problem if she couldn't go. But I've known the owners for a couple of years now and they agreed for her to try it out and if she coped she could go.  And she did.  I have to add to this that our guide, Welcome, was SUPER AWESOME with her. He stayed with her all the time and helped her whenever we made a turn or went over uneven ground.  He probably got more agitated with us adults than he did with her. A big up to him.
We went on the short tour which took us through the village's township and out towards the pine plantation.  The section of the ride through the plantation and on the old road was stunning, so I can only imagine how much better the longer tour into the forest would be.  The Segways are very easy to control so going off road was no problem at all.  Chaos Boy who, even though he's 10, isn't much bigger than Drama Princess picked up on it very quickly and maneuvered like a pro. 

This is really an experience which I would highly recommend to anybody visiting the Tsitsikamma.  There are two tour options.  The one hour tour includes a ride through the village and adjoining township, over the historic Witteklip bridge and  into the pine forest while the two hour tour goes through the village and pine plantation into the indigenous Tsitsikamma forest and on to the famous Big Tree.
Our tour was courtsey of Tsitsikamma Segway Tours in Storms River Village. 
Tours cost R285 for the one hour experience and R400 for a two hour experience.
Contact Andre and Michelle for more information:
Tel: (081) 320 3977

Friday, January 18, 2013

Red Knobbed Coot

While out on a paddle boat on the dam during our return visit to the Montagu Caravan Park in December, I heard a couple of birds calling in the reeds.  On closer inspection it turned out to be a mother Red Knobbed Coot and two chicks. 
The Red-knobbed Coot or Crested Coot, (Fulica cristata), is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae.  It is a resident breeder across much of Africa and in southernmost Spain and normally found on freshwater lakes and ponds.  They build a nest of dead reeds near the water's edge or more commonly afloat, laying about 8 eggs.  Their behaviour towards their own young is so aggressive that only a few are likely to survive to adulthood.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Montagu Church

The Dutch Reformed Church in Montagu is one of the towns most prominent buildings and was built in 1862.  A very interesting fact that few people in the town probably know is that the church was originally painted white but after various complaints that the sun reflecting off it was blinding people too much it was painted creamy yellow.  

I wanted to try something else with the picture and applied a HDR effect to it.  What do you think?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sacred Ibis

The Leidam in Montagu in the Western Cape must be one of the best places in the area to do bird watching.  From the bird hide next to the road one can get great views and photographs of particularly sacred ibis and egrets with herons and weavers also around.  Due to the big amount of birds around the dam there is a bit of an ... odor in the air, but the quality of the sightings makes more than up for it.
The African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) is a wading bird of the ibis family and breeds in sub-Saharan Africa, southeastern Iraq, and formerly in Egypt.  In Egypt it was venerated and often mummified as a symbol of the god Thoth.  The sacred ibis normally occurs in marshy wetlands and mud flats, both inland and on the coast, and that is why they thrive next to the Leidam with the river flowing by about a block away. 
This bird is usually silent, but occasionally makes some croaking noises, unlike its vocal relative, the Hadeda Ibis.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Waar ruwe rotse

Die berge buite Montagu soos jy deur die poort ry is absoluut asemrowend.  In die Jouberthuis Museum op die dorp hang 'n ou foto van dieslefde berg as in die foto hierbo.  Die vrou wat daar werk het gesien dat ek na die foto staan en kyk en vra toe of ek die gedig "Waar ruwe rotse" ken.  Die digter, C M van den Heever (1902-1957), was oorspronlik ‘n Vrystater en het blykbaar op 'n stadium ook in Montagu gewoon. 
Die gedig verwys na die tragiese verhaal van ‘n pa wie se seun in ’n klipskeur val en hoe daar dae lank te vergeefs gepoog is om die seun te red.  Die seun smeek uiteindelik sy pa om hom te skiet. Dit word in die algemeen aanvaar dat die gedig gebasseer is op 'n ware verhaal wat op die plaas Aasvogelkop naby Smithfield in die Vrystaat afgespeel het, maar daar is ander mense wat sê dit kom uit die Weskaap êrens.
Waar ruwe rotse
Waar ruwe rotse teen die hemel klim,
waar morerooi se eerste traanglans glim,

waar aasvoëls hoog in sirkelbane sweef,
hul rou gekras in afgronde laat leef;

waar grou-wit kranse na die klowe val,
gekeep-hou tot spelonke bo 'n dal;

waar oopgeskeurde klippekake wag
met draketande wat daar grynsend lag –

daar knal opeens geweerskoot bo die kruin
en eggo’s antwoord hard met skelbasuin.

Die dassies wip verskrik oor gladde krans,
patryse saai vlerktrillend uit hul skans.

Skuins glip 'n voet en drillend val 'n roer...
'n skerp geskuur – 'n pad wat afwaarts voer.

Twee hande gryp 'n bos, die angs oorstelp,
benoud klink uit die diepte: “Here, help!”

Twee vader-oë kyk seun,
die afgrond lag oor wilde skuurgedreun.

Die kruit en stof vlek oor die lug se blou,
die vader bly sy hand oor sy oë hou.

En dan gewaar hy in die skemering
sy kind, deur rotseskouers vasgedring.

'n Riem rol na die seun daaronder neer,
“Bind vas, my kind...en Pa die sal probeer.”

Maar dis vergeefs...die kransedraak hou vas,
die riem bly stukkend breek, kry las op las.

En hulp snel by...die rotsetande gryns,
hier moet die mensverstand terug voor deins.

Dan klaag daar uit die diepte, sag en flou:
“Ek smeek dat Pa my skiet...en nou...”

'n Roer die bewe in die growwe hand,
sag sif in skemerafgrond korrels sand.

Vas lê die kolf teen vaderskouer aan,
en langs die sneller glans 'n afloop-traan.

“Vergeef my, God!”...’n skoot gedemp en dof...
en bo die bergegraf styg kruit en stof.

Nog skuur iets rog’lend in die diepte daar,
dis stil...die aasvoëls kras...’n vader staar.

Montagu Church roses

Whenever I find a beautiful historic building I like to take at least two kinds of photos.  One straight on to show the building itself and a second one with something in the foreground so that the building forms the background of the picture.  I would have preferred the white roses in front of the Montagu Dutch Reformed Church in the Western Cape to have been red as was the case with the Old Mission Church in Montagu, but I'm not complaining.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Straw People at Affie Plaas

Anybody who has driven along the R60 between Swellendam and Worcester cannot in good faith claim that they haven't seen the family of straw people next to the road just outside Robertson.  I put it like that cause there is just no way that you can miss the 3 meter high Mr and Mrs Straw with their kids next to the road.  So what are they doing there?  They're a gimmick to draw attention to the Affie Plaas farm stall.

Affie Plaas is a very popular spot along the road and here you will find anything from home made eats to handmade craft and wines.  This is a wine producing region after all.  There is fresh bread, farm butter, pies, milk tarts, goat's milk fudge and many other yummy things on sale.  Unfortunately they don't allow visitors to take photos inside the shop (which you are reminded of by signs on the shelves every two steps) so I can't really show you any of these goodies. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Old Mission Church rose

The Montagu Museum in the Klein Karoo town of Montagu is housed in the town's Neo-Gothic style Old Mission Church which was built in 1907.  At the end of 2011 we spent 10 days in the town and decided to return at the end of 2012.  After our 2011 visit I did a blog post about the museum so I don't really want to do a similar one this time around.  I did look for a nice angle to photograph the building and found it from the rose garden in front of the museum.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Madiba statue in Nelson Mandela Square

Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City must be one of the most popular attractions in Johannesburg.  Everybody seems to stop at Sandton City to go shopping and then make sure that they swing by Madiba's statue for a picture.  On a busy day its actually quite difficult to get a pic of the statue without anybody next to it.  I've posted about Nelson Mandela Square before (20082009 and 2010), but on my last visit to Johannesburg I couldn't help but to snap a couple more pictures of it. 

Nelson Mandela's statue in the Square was sculpted by Kobus Hattingh and Jacob Maponyane, weighs 2,5 tons and measures 2,3 metres from elbow to elbow.  The shoulders of the statue are 1.7 metres in width and the shoes are 1 metre in length.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Speedy cat a-resting

One of the cheetahs at Kragga Kamma Game Park having a bit of a sleep while I stalk him through the grass with my camera 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

The sun rises on a new day and a new year. 
HAPPY NEW YEAR! (hope I didn't say that too loud for those who were out celebrating last night) to all the readers of FireflyAfrica: The Firefly Photo Files.  May 2013 be a year of happiness, prosperity and sommer everything else you would like it to be.