It Was a Beer Drinking, Night Racing, Art Viewing, Wine Tasting, Fromage Gubbling, Soweto Viewing Kinda Weekend

I don’t often write about my weekend or what went down – but this was such an interesting one that I wanted to share. 

You may remember me giving away tickets to the Energizer Soweto Night race a few weeks back. Well, the event took place on Saturday and I’m so glad we braved the cold and distance to attend.

We took part in the 10 km ‘trail’ race – and although it started off really slowly due to the dark, the cold, the crowds and the extreme bottle necking – it was one of the best races I have ever taken part in. We decided from the start that we were going to take it super easy and just enjoy the sights and sounds – and I’m so glad we did. (It’s also the first race I’ve done where I had beers before the race…highly recommended!)

Soweto has a vibe like non other, and for the full 10kms we were surrounded by cheering fans, high-fiving kids, impromptu directional singers, smells, sights and sounds. A highlight for me was running next to Bruce Fordyce for several minutes, joking about how this would be the slowest race we had ever done. 

For anyone who has ever trail ran (runned? ron?) you will know how it’s courtesy of the person infront to signal and point if there’s an upcoming obstruction – such as “rock”, “ditch” “water”. You get the vibe right? Let me tell you, running through the dark streets of Soweto means the obstructions are somewhat different. Just a few I heard, and called out, were: “Pothole”, “Taxi”, “Dog”…”Toilet”. Only in Africa!

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On Sunday, to celebrate Mother’s Day and my Dad’s 60th we went to the Nirox Art and Wine Fair. Nirox has got to be one of my favourite places, and Nirox plus art plus wine is easily a winning combination.

My cousin Olivia is out visiting from The States on her FOUR MONTH Summer vay-cay, and she (along with Aunts, Uncles, friends and cousins) joined us for the day out.

Just lovely!

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Mom, Gran and Gill (Aunt)

 

 

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Kearney’s – We hate being in the spotlight. 

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I love this piece. It’s titled “Man after divorce” or something like that. 

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Go Sober, Save A Life?

I have memories of being a little girl and falling asleep while my parents were conducting themselves in a rather uncivilised manner at some sort of dinner party. There would be loud music (I remember a lot of UB40), dancing on tables, bottles of wine (corked, not screw tops, I’m talking way back ) and my brother and I passed out on the couch or under a table depending on the situation. At the end of the night we would be bundled up, popped on the backseat and would wake up the next morning in our own beds. We always woke up in our own beds. Safe and sound. Understand, my parents are not bad people, and weren’t bad people back then, they were just doing what everyone back then did.

Does that mean it was OK to drink and drive then? Definitely not. They just didnt know any other way.

Ask your parents how ‘green’ they were back in the 80’s and I can guarantee that the answer was ‘not very’. Nowadays we follow those ‘Three Rs’ ilke the gospel and most of wouldn’t dream of just tossing a recyclyble item into the bin. It has become the norm to re-use and recycle as much as possible. Just ike recycling options have grown in the past decade, so have the alternatives for drinking and driving. Sadly, these options are pricey and often unreliable and force most of us to just take a chance after a night out.

Please don’t for one second think I am pointing fingers or preaching, I am guilty of having driven drunk many times and have always breathed a small sigh of relief upon reaching my destination safely. I am however a lot more conscious now and a several years back I swore against texting and drinking while driving because I could think of no bigger nightmare than being responsible for the injury or death of someone else, due to my actions. We are very fortunate in that my fiance’s company offers a cab solution to all of its staff free of charge. (Are you listening, corporates?)

So, what are our current options?

– Cab and taxi services such as GoodFellas and Roadtrip and becoming increasingly popular…and  increasingly expensive. With the cost of rising fuel prices it’s hitting us where it hurts most, our pockets.

– Inner city bus and train options are few and far between and not yet a viable option.

– Tuk-tuks are becoming fairly popular, yet these generally only run during working hours. I dont know about you, but when I need a cab the most it is definitely not on a Monday at 3 pm.

– Phone a friend. Always wise, yet something most of us never do for fear of inconveniencing that person.

Looking at the above options it’s easy for us to shrug our shoulders and say ‘well, then there’s nothing we can do, is there?’ but I think there is. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by some very smart people, be it in work environment or in my social circle and I believe that there is a solution out there, but I need your help.

We all know the death tolls on our roads are high (Research from Arrive Alive shows that drunk driving is one of the biggest threats to Road Safety in South Africa. Research indicates that 50% of people who die on the roads have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.05 gram per 100 millilitres) yet even that isn’t enough to make us stop. So what is?

The frightening stats as displayed in this visual (courtesy of www.sadd.org.za)

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I’m not sure if you have noticed a shift in attitude towards your peers lately? I guess it’s called ‘growing up’ but I’ve noticed a trend towards a healthier lifestyle in Jozi. Several years ago we would spend our weekends boozing at the pub or hitting a club, then sleeping it off the next day. Nowadays my friends and I spend our time growing organic veggies (dont mock it ’till you’ve tried it) running, cycling, taking part in adventure races, camping (still undecided on that one) and just generally living healthier, fitter and happier.

Understand, I still drink wine by the gallon and believe a life without champagne is a life not lived, but I want to balance that with a life lived responsibly. I am never going to cut alcohol out of my life so what I’m proposing is a small change that could potentially make a huge difference.

“The dinner club with a twist” involves one person staying dry and sober for the night – and acting as a designated driver as well. In return, their dinner and drinks (alcohol free) are sponsored by the group – perhaps a Redbull thrown in the mix if you’re like my friend (I’ll call him Jim) who becomes a fun sponge when sober. This duty then gets rotated per group member for each outing. My advise – find a lot of friends to ensure you wont have to be Sober-Sandy every 3 weeks.

Another perk – drinking makes you fat! Think of this plan as a fitter physique one (If you’re anything like me then less love handles is always a strong motivator)

Jokes aside, the stats are scary. According to SADD the death toll of drunk driving has now risen to 12000 people, per year. I have lost a friend through drunk driving, and I’m sure you have too.

There are some things we cannot control, like taxes, in-laws and seasonal flu. Drinking and driving is something we can. Think responsibly  act responsibly and let’s all try to make a difference on our roads.

I would love to hear any ideas you may have for lowering drinking and driving stats. Please share them in the comments section.

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It’s like riding a bike…

…Except it’s not.

My first ‘Do Something Different’ post starts with me mounting my very abandoned mountain bike and riding the Lion Man Mountain Bike race in Bela Bela. For those sticklers for technicality out there, yes, this is not my first A) Bike ride or B) Lion Man, but the fact that I haven’t nor been on my bike in over a year makes it a relatively new experience for me. (Sies, cheating and this is only blog one!)

The Lion Man mountain bike challenge is a yearly event held at Mabalingwe Nature Reserve in Bela Bela (Formerly Warmbaths). The race consists of a 35 or 80 km ride through the bushveld, and the chance to encounter one of the Big 4 en-route. This year the race format changed slightly with Nissan coming on as title sponsor, and the route lengths changed to 20km, 40 km, 75km and 115km. Knowing my bum could not tolerate more than 2 hours in the saddle, and also realising I had probably forgotten how to ride my bike I opted for the fairly ‘safe’ 20km instead of the 35 km which I did every year before this. For those who have never sat on a mountain bike, and ridden (over rocks,craters, abandoned water bottles and limbs – kidding) at speeds of over 35 kmph, do not judge until you have done so. It’s bloody sore, and your bum needs at least two days to recover afterwards.

The race was great, apart from the ninja 4km hill climb at the beginning. After stopping several times to fix my bike and a help a few teary weary guys around me, I finished in 1;29. Not too bad for reborn biking virgin.

The boyfriend braved the 40km and finished (after stopping for 2 beers at a pub in the middle of the route) in 2:30 and our friends Kris and Chett came in from the (very long) 80km ride at just under 6 hours.

It was a very long day in the sun, and kudos to my bestie Amy (read her blog here, yussie she’s one talented chicka) who sat through it all day, patiently playing puzzles on her iPad, and snapping a few pics.

Let me tell you, the beer and mini donuts went down a treat afterwards!

 

This is me, finishing. All smiles

 

Post race recovery fuel

Hold up! I have just remembered there was in-fact a ‘first’ for me this weekend. My car’s battery died as we were trying to leave the reserve, so the boyfriend and I managed to push it from its parking bay and jumpstart it using the very old and temperamental land Rover. Shew, not such a first-post cheat after all 😉

Honda. I am your Father.
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