this weekend we visited the neighbourgoods market. it was just lovely! it is located on the corner of juta street and de beer street, in downtown joburg. it runs on saturdays until it dies out around 3 (we were there until 4). hot tip: when using a satellite navigator in joburg, typing in an intersection gets accurate results more consistently than entering a regular street address…but more on that in another post!it is not unlike the Arts on Main market, in that there are delicious foods and such.
Namrata Singh//plants in a bag at the neighbourgoods market
the crowd is sexy, the food is yummy, and after you’ve had a few belgian beers or margaritas you might find yourself dancing with some new friends. the market only opened a little over a month ago so you should visit before it becomes oversaturated and cliché soon.i heard from a new friend that renting a stall is only about three or four hundred rand per day, so i’m thinking ofselling my cupcakes or other baked goods if i can ever get it together. i think an exploratory visit to kadies is in order!
Namrata Singh//sexy people at the neighbourgoods market
as noted, local fashion designers and artisans fill the stalls of these markets, so I found this white shirt from Take Care Clothingand that tube necklace from Skermunkil Design Studio, (you can find her blog here to find out where to buy her awesome pieces).
Namrata Singh//loot from neighbourgoods
i am so inspired by ladies like them…creating beautiful pieces for affordable prices, running their own businesses and not letting things like Fear of Failure stop them. for me, one of the biggest appeals of going to these markets is seeing people selling their wares…it is like they are baring a piece of their soul and saying: Hello. I made/designed/created this.I’m standing here and hoping that you like what I made and want to further my business and creativity by buying one.although the designers probably don’t think about it like that since they are used to doing this type of thing a lot, for me watching it is a profound experience. one of the reasons we made the decision to move to joburg was so that i could decide what it is i want to do with the rest of my life. i am forced to not work for a while as a holder of a dependent visa, and I don’t want this time to be for naught. i want to make the right decision for my career path, and not let fear keep me from making the right one.
Namrata Singh//one of the many new blooms in our garden
it is springtime in the southern hemisphere so i thought i would share one of the many new flowers which are popping up around our estate yard. it looks like a veritable botany garden out there. i’ll share some of the more exotic flowers as summer gets closer.
on finding usable public transportation in joburg (really!)
when you move to a new city (let alone country) it always takes some time to get your life ‘going.’ this includes taming your home, finding your favorite markets, your routines, figuring out some of the cities ‘secrets,’ and eventually instead of feeling like a newcomer in a city, you feel that the city has become yours. every time one of these things happens or something clicks you feel like it is a small miracle and then you are intangibly closer to calling the city your own. for example, i recently found out where i can find endless baking supplies in jozi. victory! in berlin this was a real problem for me, and i was constantly lugging back proper baking supplies from the states. our visitors got stopped in airport security to answer what the white powder (baking soda) was in their suitcases. (i didn’t figure out until the end was sold in pharmacies and not grocery stores).
we have had one victory this week that can’t be overvalued. first of all in this huge, controversial, beautiful city it iswas a fact that you cannot easily or safely use public transportation. everyone knows the only reliable, safe public transportation is the gautrain which takes you to Pretoria or the airport. but! the gautrain also has a safe, reliable network of buses that take people from their neighborhoods to the train stations. now, if you live across the street from a big shopping center and work across the street from a gautrain station…..it may be that you have nothing short of a miracle: public transportation to get you to work. in johannesburg. really. do you live and work reasonably close to a gautrain bus or train stop? find out, (make sure to click on the station closest to you physically and then look at their surrounding bus schedule) and tap into cheap public transportation. you can take a bus to a train station, or more likely just take one of the gautrain buses from your neighborhood stop to another. so go ahead, check out on your commute…read a book, zone out! it doesn’t matter because you won’t be driving (swoon!). normally, we are self righteous about take pride in not owning cars but living here forces you to buy one for each person. this really opens up the doors for us…if in our two person family one person can use public transport to get to work maybe we only need one? at least until I get a job. we’ll see, a girl can dream…
Namrata Singh//Pata Pata at the 12 Decades Art Hotel
my favorite area in jhb is easily the Maboneng Precinct which is an artsy neighborhood in downtown. it contains my favorite activity to do on a sunday: go to Market on Main to eat delicious foods from all over the world and shop locally made products that i definitely don’t need (that’s how i found our first new piece of furniture). following that, we head next door to the roof top bar on the 12 Decades Art Hotel (more on that amazing place in another post) and try and fit in with a crowd that sports impossibly cool hair-do’s and electric pink shorts with retro sunglasses. the Market is open every sunday and the first thursday of every month. it is housed in a place called Arts on Main which is a great concrete space with studios and workshops etc. on these sundays i feel especially happy and proud to live in jo’burg and happy to be alive in general, even if i regret the drinks on monday morning. we can’t wait to take you there! i love all of those things so much that i am going to bring my camera and give them their own posts. anyway, last night we enjoyed the thursday night market with our friends and i couldn’t really take good pictures because it was dark and i didn’t bring a tripod with me. afterwards we grabbed a drink at Pata Pata (above) as it was closing down. i took the above picture and messed with the definition and shadows a bit to give it the effect of a drawing or painting, just so i could explore my mac’s editing software.
last night p and i dined at an spanish/italian fusion restaurant called oliva in illovo (a neighborhood next to ours). they have tapas and regular sized dishes depending on what you’re in the mood for. i had the spicy duck risotto, i snapped a pic of the left overs above (not bad, eh?) and it was a buttery spicy delicious dream. if you come and visit we’ll take you there! it was a tiny dark industrial little space with concrete lions and fountains and the wine was delicious. you feel like you are sitting in a restaurant that is a labor of love, with the owner walking around to the small number of tables and making wine suggestions.
all of the africa correspondents for p’s paper were in town for a continent wide meeting so after dinner we headed to a neighborhood called melville on the suggestion of p’s colleague for a fun night of drinks. while it is wonderful to meet and make friends with local south africans, there is something so fun and satisfying when you live abroad about getting tipsy with your fellow countrymen and talking about godknowswhat after a few drinks. topics that we slurred about discussed included a declaration that we agree australia shouldn’t get the designation of its own continent. there are only 21 million people there and we should henceforth refer to it as the largest south asian island. i wish i remembered the name of the bar but all i remember is the men were patted down to make sure they weren’t packing which always adds a little excitement to your evening.
we moved into our permanent place on saturday and this is a preview of our unpacking progress!! i painted directed the painting of the kitchen ceiling and the dining room. we still need to add a few things to the walls, and it will look more ‘styled’ (barf) with buds and succulents in those hanging vases but this is proof that we worked all weekend! now i need to motivate myself to unpack things which are not wedding gifts. srsly who gives a sh*t about crusty ikea utensils from berlin when your brand new le creuset paraphernalia are beckoning at you sexily from their perch on your kitchen countertop? god bless america and its wedding traditions.
also the windows in this house are huge and currently sparkling clean and curtain-less. so p stuck boxes and packing paper in the bedroom windows to cover them because it freaks him out at night so when i wake up i’m like oh i’m so glad we decided to MOVE INTO A SQUAT. especially because it’s still FREEZING in the mornings because the houses here have no real insulation (it’s the southern hemisphere, duh). oh well, at least if i ever have to live in a real squat p will feel obligated to come we’ll be together.
i’ve seen this all around the internet, i can’t carry my normal bags around jhb, it’s good for a cheap stylish replacement while i’m here fromcambridge satchel co….now the million dollar question is whether this will properly be delivered to our po box (you need one, mail doesn’t get delivered to your house) and what will the customs tax be? or will it be a bribe? will it be stolen? i don’t think i can wait for my sis to smuggle it here in jan…
2. the people: first of all there is actual diversity here. and the people seem straightforward like germans but welcoming.* like a multiracial german minnesotan. on the other hand, people also sometimes have that quality where they tell you what they think you want to hear, having no intention or inclination to follow through. like is common in india…you can’t find a person to tell you the truth there to save your life. this is mostly reserved to service and business transactions though.**
*i should note that i love the straightforward nature of germans, even if they are not very warm.
**i should also note that i know, obviously humans are humans everywhere and one shouldn’t generalize. i’m doing it anyway! the title of this post is a rube’s observations, after all.
3. a cosmopolitan city: with access to africa. a great way to spend a few years exploring this continent without sacrificing all the conveniences that come with living in a big city.
4. the food: it’s no NYC where there is amazing food on every corner, but they err in the direction of too spicy (thanks africans!) instead of tasteless (sorry germans, but it’s true) and all kinds of cuisines are available. i haven’t checked on whether i can find good pelmen’i though, so there’s that.
5. our home: i can’t dream of another instance in my life where i would actually want to live in a house with a pool and a tennis court. it’s actually happening though, and we get to live right in the middle of a wonderful city with a pool. i guess that is also the appeal of L.A. south africans love L.A., by the way.
6. downsides: crime…you have to be extra vigilant and accept that you will probably get mugged at some point. c’est la vie. it’s just stuff though! get insurance! also, bigger downside: cars. you need one. no usable public transportation. (except the miraculous gautrain!)