These chaps can really snap

Last night Timol and I had one cracker of a party to celebrate going away (very soon) to yet another exciting travel destination.

Energy levels today do not allow me to pull out my PHD and search for some interesting photos.

Luckily, there are some really hot photographers on hand who publicly display their talents.

I have selected some of their photos to give you a taste, which will hopefully get you interested so that you click on their names below to link up to their sites, and view more of their great work (passion).

Sanjitpaal Singh

David Heath Williams

David Taylor

Stephanie Borcard

Andy Gray

 

Aaron Reed

Respectfully asked that his work be removed, but you can still click on his link to see some wonderful shots!

This will always be a “golden oldie” for me; my first taste of Incredible India

Andrew Harvard Photography

December 2009

I and one other departed on Emirates flight EK776 out of Durban at 18:40 on 23 December 2009, with a “forced” and inconvenient stopover in Dubai.

Described by some as “the mirage in the desert”, it was reported by the Times Online UK that this enchanting country enjoyed a debt of 80 billion USD during around June 2009.

I personally find mirages and owing money a little frightening, so it was with much excitement that we eventually departed and later landed in Kolkata, India. This was on the morning of Christmas Eve, but there was nothing merry about going through a swine flu questionnaire and scan.

We stayed at Bodhi Tree, a small bed & breakfast establishment tastefully decorated with various Buddhist décor. Each morning we enjoyed breakfast in a Sakya Zen garden under the watchful eye of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Dakshineswar (the subject of this article) is a…

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Andy’s Cheese Toast

This is my weekend breakfast, sometimes brunch, alternative (instead of Jungle Oats).

  • Mix egg, milk and flour
  • Soak bread until wet right through
  • Pan fry bread medium to light both sides on light coating of olive oil
  • Remove bread and coat with chilli sauce
  • Layer sliced onion and tomato on top
  • Grind some black pepper and salt over for taste
  • Sprinkle sliced dhania / coriander leaves (with more fresh green chopped chilli if need be)

 

  • Now for the cheese, which you can slice finely using a flat potato peeler – as many slices as you like
  • I tend to be a little conservative
  • NB – coat the underneath of the cheese with CRUSHED GARLIC!
  • Place cheese slices on top as the “final layer”
  • Optional – sprinkle some paprika on the very top

 

  • Place on baking tray and grill until cheese melts
  • Serve up promptly!

 

No More Awards Thank You – Life Balance

I always wondered why fellow bloggers started declining awards as I was so excited to receive my first two: One Lovely Blog Award  and The Addictive Blog Award.

However, in trying to balance blogging, snapping, flying, cooking, work, exercise and all the other things life throws my way; I have not honoured three further awards from the kind persons below:

http://thewindykitchen.wordpress.com/

http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/

http://tchistorygal.wordpress.com/

I therefore have to respectfully decline these awards, but nevertheless thank all three bloggers for their nominations.

Please visit their blogs as they are contributors and team-players indeed!

I have also respectfully declined other awards and will continue to do so.

Hopefully I do not offend any person who kindly bestowed an award with the best of intentions.

And just to get serious at the end, have a good look at 10 Principles for Successful Work – Life Balance by Mike Hawkins:

1. Set Goals

2. Focus on the Important

3. Set Your Own Standards

4. Learn to Say “No”

5. Delegate

6. Be More Productive at What You Do

7. Get Organized

8. Maintain Your Energy

9. Don’t Worry

10. Maintain Some White Space on Your Calendar

Mother Teresa and Dr. Kent M. Keith

I stumbled upon The Paradoxical Commandments, or a variation thereof, yesterday on a poster at a medical practitioner’s office.

The words moved me and had a calming effect. I took a photograph of the poster and looked up the origins today.

The original version I read is reflected below:

The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith

“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centred.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the
smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favour underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

A version of the commandments that has been circulating on the web under Mother Teresa’s name is a version sometimes called “The Final Analysis” because of its last two lines.

Here is one example of that version, being the same version on the poster I saw:

“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centred;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends; succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world your best anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway.”

Read Kent Keith’s comments here.

 

Of young girls and old men

Roscoe, now 10 years old, has a “next door neighbour” called Zille (named after a SA politician I hear).

Zille is about 4 years old; a beautiful and precious girl.

Roscoe sees her over the fence every day but only face-to-face, up close and personal, every four months or so.

Zille gives the old man a proper run for his money.

Whilst he is just willing to take her “abuse”, I think she also goes easy on his old bones.

But Roscoe’s energy runs out quick and he soon gets a paw on his sorry head.

Zille springs into action again.

The tongues hang out far during these visits.

Sometimes a hug is all you need.

The ears also take unusual shapes.

At times, Zille looks at the old man and asks “Is that all you got?”.

Despite using up all his energy, Roscoe still manages  a little trot home; happy that he has had a great visit with his young girl (friend).

PS: I was also handsome when I was a puppy – click here.

Of dreams not pursued & other Gems

I received a new email this morning from Goodlife Zen about Izzy who was an educator but wanted to become a… wait for it… a NINJA!

Yes, a damn Ninja, of all the things that an educator might want to become.

The linked article is “how to embrace uncertainty in the pursuit of a dream” and starts as follows:

“Do you have a dream?

There are those moments in time when you can see it, feel it, and for a short moment you live it.

But then you come back to reality. You feel the doubts, the insecurity. The mind starts shelling out questions:
What about money?
What will your friends say?
What about your career?
What if you fail?

It’s scary, overwhelming. You want to do it, to go for it.

Sometimes you even swear “This is it!” but then the doubts start creeping.
I can’t do it.
It’s not realistic.
Focus on your career.

So with all this on your mind, you choose to wait. But there is a problem: As long as you keep choosing to wait, you will never move forward with your dream…”

Read the full article here and visit Izzy’s site where you can see what he calls “14 Ridiculous Pictures” like the one below.

Now if you have read this far and looked at Izzy above, then please continue because I have a few more gems courtesy of other inspirational folk.

One of my favourites is “If Not Now, When & If Not You, Who?” by Dr. Cindy Solliday-McRoy who says:

“Consider this your wake-up call. I’m here to remind you. This is your one shot at your life. It isn’t a dress rehearsal. There won’t be another show. You are here-and-now, by a special one time only, limited engagement. This is it! The one and only unique expression of YOU, you are ever going to get. What a great “present!” You don’t want to miss it! So, go ahead! Open it up. Look inside! Think to yourself: If not now when and if not you who? Carpe Diem!”

Read the full article here.

Michael Josephson’s “what will matter” is another favourite of mine.

Link to Michael Josephson (image above) here.

And if you are still hungry for more; check-out my previous post “The ultimate personal growth guide” where you will find “The ultimate personal growth guide” by Goodlife Zen.

Wishing all a splendid new work week during which time you will continue pursuing your dreams or at least start taking them more seriously.

Image above courtesy of Andy Carr.

Roscoe

My name is Roscoe. I was born in 2002.

When dad is cross with me he calls me: “Rascal”.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier x Boerboel they say.

Dad says I’m a mixture of whatever was going around the area over a period of time.

When I was young I quickly grew bigger than my dad’s size 8 shoe.

I was born into a large litter and from a young age was a bit of a loner.

My mom was very cheeky. I visited her a year after leaving home and she shouted at me!

I think my dad had a hard time with her mood swings.

I look like my dad but have my mom’s chest design.

My sister Jessie is thinner than me. Who knows where she is now.

My first playmate was an Airedale.

My life-mate is Charlie. She is now in dog-heaven.

I really miss Charlie and so does dad. But we make up for it by loving each other even more.

One day soon I will show you a video of how well I can swim and bite a swinging tyre.

Adiós.

PS – when I got big I had a girlfriend called Zille: click here.

Obrigado Brazil

As with my trip to Thailand many years ago, I have some low quality photos that were scanned (low quality again) a year or two after my return.

Why hide them away? No good reason; so let’s have a peep.

I seem to recall the trip was in 2003 (my passport is presently with the authorities so enable a compulsory VISA for my next trip).

It was a long haul on SAA (our struggling national carrier) from Durban – Johannesburg –  São Paulo – Rio de Janeiro. Well, a long haul in those days as I was still a “junior” traveller.

The photo below was taken at the “old” airport in Durban before my departure.

 

I first stayed in a hotel, 2 or 3 stars, not far from Copacabana Beach in Rio. I took the photo below from my expensive room that I do not remember at all.

 

Prior to my departure I read about a biker gang that took over the city, although I cannot easily find any reference right now to that incident. I also watched the movie City of God (2002) Cidade de Deus (original title) three times after returning home – a good movie: highly recommended.

I did the usual tourist things like stopping in at the first bar to sample the beer.

 

Next of course was the beach to see what all the hype was about re: bikinis on Copacabana and Ipanema.

 

It was a quiet day on the beach, but Google does help one see what I missed.

 

But who cares about bikinis when there was an opportunity to pass some time with some fellow anglers.

The highlight in Rio was Cristo Redentor. The statue is 39.6 metres tall, including its 9.5 metres pedestal, and 30 metres wide. It weighs 635 tons, and is located at the peak of the 700 metre Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city.

I felt a sense of calm and stood in awe of this magnificent creation.

 

The view from the top of the mountain lovely.

 

I built up some courage a few days later and made my way via coach 150 kilometres to Angra dos Reis, where after I caught a local ferry to Ilha Grande.

Like all “good” coaches and taxis, there were the usual stops at “friend’s” shops along the way, usually the priciest along the road (mark-up to pay the driver and his boss no doubt).

The cans of Skol on the ferry, as seen in the photo, made me feel a lot safer among the locals, none of whom spoke a word of English.

 

I used the town of Vila do Abraão as my base camp on the island.

Lonely Planet gives a brief summary as follows: “The fabulous island retreat of Ilha Grande owes its pristine condition to its unusual history. First it was a pirates’ lair, then a leper colony and, finally, a prison for some of Brazil’s most violent and deranged criminals. All that remains of those days are some half-buried stone foundations, but the island’s unsavory reputation kept developers at bay for a long time. Consequently, beautiful tropical beaches and virgin Atlantic rain forest (now protected by the federal government) abound on Ihla Grande, and there are still only a few settlements on the island. Vila do Abraão, the only town of any size on Ilha Grande, was itself a sleepy fishing village until 30 years ago. Recently, there’s been a steady stream of new pousadas and bars popping up, but this palm-studded beachfront town with its tidy white church is still incredibly picturesque, and remains small by mainland Brazil standards. Except for Abraão’s lone garbage truck, fire engine and police vehicle, cars are not allowed in town, so the only transport here is by foot or boat. The village comprises a few dirt roads, and everybody congregates down near the dock and beach at night. On weekends and during high season it can get a bit claustrophobic in Vila do Abraão, but you can easily escape the crowds by hiking a few steps out of town in any ­direction.”

 

The photo above was taken from the room of the first pousada (inn) that I stayed at.

 

To say life on the island was laid-back does not do justice to just how relaxed life there appears to be.

Naturally, a good few bottles of Skol made me feel like a local within hours.

As luck would have it, on the weekend I was there, a music festival with some well-known Brazilian singers / artists was about to commence.

 

The Festival of Music and Ecology in Ilha Grande was an unexpected surprise.

During this festival, known and unknown local musicians offer free Brazillian music performances to the public. These shows are free, and can be seen in the village of Vila Abraao. The first part of this festival is held on the main land, at the wharf of Santa Luzia, but during the first week of July, the festival comes to Ilha Grande (may change from year to year).

 

Prior to the concert, some of the artists and fans gathered in a local bar where I sat, and played their instruments. Certainly an unforgettable part of the trip, listening to the lovely tunes and watching the camaraderie unfold.

 

 

I moved to another “inn” and recall two things from my stay there:

  1. an old man and his young lady  “friend” keeping me awake at night
  2. not taking my eyes off my fresh fruit salad bowl at breakfast every morning in case the old man caught me looking up and wondering what the hell was going on

 

I took a few boat trips around the island.

 

A few visits to Lopes Mendes Beach of course.

 

I even tried my luck at body-board surfing.

 

The island is mountainous with narrow gravel paths where one would no doubt get lost. So it was beach to beach (town to town) via boat.

 

I recall hearing the song Zombie playing when leaving the island. There is more to the story (yes, why would I remember the song). It has stuck in my head since then.

Next stop before returning to Rio was Paraty, which apparently means “river of fish” in the Tupi language.

An “old town” with cobblestones, horses, carts and churches. The new town with all the mod stuff.

I did a canoe trip in the mangroves and was surprised to be told that a fish we back home call “bait” is considered a delicacy in Paraty.Brazilian: Mullet (Mugil brasiliensis).

The trip leader also ranted non-stop about:

  1. corruption in Brazil
  2. Brazilian footballers only wanting expensive cars and blond girlfriends

The bicycle I hired did not fair well on the cobblestones in the old town.

 

It also did not have a 4×4 facility to help on the gravel sand and rocks.

 

Yes, I did discover the Caipirinha and sample a good few.

Also I discovered that you can eat your salad before your feijoada shown below.

 

Lindo maravilhoso!