Friday, February 27, 2015

Nothing's more fun than a Sho't Left from PE

When most South Africans use the term Sho't Left it is on a taxi and means that they are going a short distance and jump off just around the corner.  South African Tourism has adopted the term for its domestic campaign to encourage locals to go on short inexpensive getaways to explore South Africa.  This means that in tourism terms a Sho't Left is a weekend break only a couple of hours away from home.  SAT released a series of Sho't Left campaign videos a year or so ago and I absolutely love the tune they use for it.  It is really catchy and has become part of what Sho't Left is for me.  As one who like to explore with the family, I try to get us to go away on a Sho't Left as often as possible doesn't matter if its for a day, weekend or a little more.  Watch this video and use it as encouragement to break away on a Sho't Left from PE... or Jozi or Cape Town or Durbs or where ever you are in the world.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The woman with the chair

Route 67 around the Donkin Reserve has some really interesting art pieces ranging from real taxi's mounted on a wall to the 470 square meter Piazza Mosaic next to the Pyramid.  Then there's also the Voting Line with Madiba's figure at the front standing under the tallest flag pole in South Africa sporting a 10 m x 15 m South African flag. 
Looking across the reserve towards Algoa Bay stands a lone female figure on a pedestal. (Shouldn't men put all women on pedestals?)  On closer inspection it becomes clear that the figure has no distinct features and that is the way artist Anton Momberg intended it.  The sculpture was left untitled by the artist so that it could become a conversation piece rather than a conceptually specific entity.  This means that she could actually represent all women in Nelson Mandela Bay.  KhoiSan and Xhosa women from the time when Dias first discovered Algoa Bay, the British Settler women who arrived in 1820 or the high powered modern business women and the humble domestic worker of today.  Black, White, Coloured, Indian, Asian, no matter who.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Trying new menu items at Fratelli Foods

A couple of weeks ago I had to meet a friend of mine for a business breakfast and she suggested we go to the newly opened Fratelli Foods in the Lower Baakens Valley.  Fratelli is an Italian Deli and Coffee Bar and at that stage they hadn't even had their signage up yet but I had a feeling that it would turn into a very popular spot very soon.  I immediately joined their Facebook group to keep an eye on them.  Yesterday morning there was a post on the group showing the newest addition on their menu.  A piadina is an italian flat bread eaten on the streets of Italy and this one is filled with prosciutto and fontina cheese along with tomato and rocket.  I was busy setting up a meeting for the Travel Massive PE chapter leaders to discuss the first Travel Massive networking event in the city and suggested that we meet at Fratelli.  Ulterior motives you see.

Owner Michelle Puggia greeted me like she greets all the patrons coming through the door.  Friendly, welcoming and with a big smile.  My companions got there a bit early and was tucking into their breakfasts already and on asking what I wanted I immediately referred Michelle to yesterday's FB post.  They were still making the flat breads but she immediately agreed to prepare me one.  When it came I was ready to tuck in but not sure what to expect.  Would the ham and cheese me a little bland and not being one who eats rocket that often I wondered what the rocket would do to the taste. Boom! What a winner.  The rocket and tomato is the perfect compliment to the meat and cheese and I made sure I ate as slow as possible to savour every second.  Michelle came by to check how her first customer to try it was doing and asked why I wasn't eating it the way the Italians do, by hand.  I just felt it would last longer cutting off smaller pieces.  Nom nom nom.
Just to mention, my friend Geoff had a croissant with scrambled egg and crispy bacon on it which looked absolutely divine and was my second choice of the piadina wasn't available.
So next time you're looking for a nice intimate coffee shop with great food and lekker coffee for a quick mid morning meeting or brunch, this is the place to go.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bayworld's Marine Hall Whale Skeleton

The Port Elizabeth Museum, which forms part of the Bayworld complex, has a very unique exhibit hanging in the Marine Hall.  It's the skeleton of the last Southern Right Whale to be harpooned in Algoa Bay and is the focus piece of a exhibit that covers whales and sharks (amongst others) along with everything associated with them.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Great Gale Memorial in South End Cemetery

"Never before in its history has this port suffered under such overwhelming disaster as we record today. On Sunday morning some 38 craft rode at anchor under the leaden sky. Heavy rains had fallen and the wind gradually rose until, as the shadows of evening hid the shipping from view, a fresh gale was blowing in from the south-east, which, as the midnight hour was reached, had developed in to a hurricane. As the turmoil of wind and wave continued, so the toll of ships mounted, until 18 vessels were aground, with a raging sea adding a high toll of human lives.” - The Eastern Province Herald, 2 September 1902
These were the words in the Herald newspaper the day after the Great Gale of 1901.  A storm during which 18 ships were wrecked and 38 people killed.  Although the event is fairly well known amongst those who know something of the history of Port Elizabeth, I'm sure very few actually know that there is a monument to those who died in the South End Cemetery.

Looking at the monument, the names of those who died are divided into groups.  Here are the names of Captains, Officers and Crew as well as Rescuers who died during the operation.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lights in Happy Valley

The peak summer holidays might be over but it doesn't mean that we have to stop going out to explore and experience out beautiful city.  That we can do all year around.  Something you can't do in winter though as the lights are only on in summer (unless they change that in future) is Happy Valley. So if you haven't been to Happy Valley this summer, why not get a few family, friends and kids together and head down there next weekend.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Finding nice big Geocache containers

Geocache containers come in all shapes and sizes.  Usually the majority of urban caches range from nano to micro and small so its always fun to find a regular sized container.  This one was found in one of the nature reserves just outside town and the KidZ loved finding it.  Drama Princess actually has a container just like it that she still wants to put out there as soon as she finds a suitable place.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The St Georges Park Brass Band

The St Georges Brass Band has become an institution at the St Georges Park Cricket Ground over the years.  Some people join in with them singing their lungs out while others despise the noise. Regardless of this it is hard to deny that the band has given St Georges a very unique atmosphere and once the local team gets their tails up and the band gets involved, its hard to stop the wave washing over the opposition.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Black Oystercatcher

The African Oystercatcher or African Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini), is only found along the coast of South Africa and Namibia.  They mostly live on rocky shores and feed mainly on mussels and limpets.  Those who live on sandy shores eat sand mussels and the Estuarine Oystercatchers typically eat cockles and pencil-bait.  They mate for life and it is known of pairs that lived together for up to 20 years.  They breed once a year and can get very loud if you venture too close to a nest or their young.  Back in 1998 the African Black Oystercatcher was considered a threatened species.  A conservation project was started and along with the ban of vehicles on the beaches and a increased food availability (mainly thanks to the rapid spread of the alien Mediterranean Mussel), their numbers are on the rise again. These days they are listed as Near Threatened and soon to be Least Concern which is great news.  I was watching this guy on a walk along the coast at Lauries Bay recently and he seem to have been watching me back. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lauries Bay coastline

This is the last of the photos I took at Lauries Bay a couple of weeks ago showing the cottages along the coastline.  The cottages may be very basic with no electricity and being responsible to collect and supply their own water, but they are situated in a beautiful environment with stunning views