Array ( [total] => 5 [pageSize] => 24 [page] => 0 [results] => Array ( [898] => Array ( [iID] => 898 [tTitle] => Animals and web hosting [tSlug] => animals-and-web-hosting [iTime] => 1230246000 [iUpdate] => 1230246000 [tDescription] => On Friday, after having a drink at the next door restaurant Picola, Stevan and I were invited over to the house of one of Stevan's friends. All well and good, until, when we got there, it was obvious she had had quite a few drinks too many. We were forced to sing and dance to old ABBA tunes played through a TV set. The day after, Rouzeh and I drove over to Hartbeespoortdam to visit the Aquarium. Actually more of a bird sanctuary, the aquariums with all sorts of fish are the least interesting. We had to share the 3pm show with all other visitors. That is, none. The start of the show was at a compound with two seals. One, Polly, had had an operation to remove a dead fetus from her womb and was mostly basking on the rocks, the other, Pam, was nearly blind and demanding fish as early as 30 minutes before the show started. Pam did some tricks for us, including rescuing a baby doll and pushing a small bicycle. After the seals, the resident pelican was reluctant to come out for a stroll and some fish. This was followed by the feeding of three South African penguins. Two with a broken arm and the third with an arm missing. Then, a baby alligator tried to bite my finger while our every move was followed by a couple of turtles, constantly sticking their beady eyes out above the water of their pond. Afterwards, it was another evening of board games. Monopoly wasn't too much of a success and we ended up playing Wii sports. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3459 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 4 [iVoters] => 1 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 440 [iOldID] => 1272 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462029210 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -25.7253 [fLongitude] => 27.8475 [tLocation] => Hartbeespoortdam [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20081226 ) [520] => Array ( [iID] => 520 [tTitle] => On a book cover, Hash at Hartbeespoortdam and tickets to the Oscars [tSlug] => on-a-book-cover-hash-at-hartbeespoortdam-and-tickets-to-the-oscars [iTime] => 1170630000 [iUpdate] => 1170630000 [tDescription] => It's not everyday that a picture of mine graces the cover of a book. Check out my study of the Varna liberation monument, in Bulgaria, has made it to the cover of a, as yet, unpublished book by Ian Kenneth: Trust is not an option. Expect the book to be reviewed here within a week or so. The weekend we spent at Hartbeespoortdam, celebrating 20 years of hashing in Pretoria. Needless to say, perfect, well bloody hot, weather, lots of drinks, some would say too many, and good food. On the first night, I had to do a bit of education, explaining such interesting terms as 'teabagging', 'docking', 'felching' and 'snowballing'. Sunday evening, we headed out to see the excellent The Last King of Scotland, which was on at a preview showing at the nearby Montecasino. The showing turned out to be part of some movie club, led by one of South Africa's most prominent movie critics (if not the only one), Barry Ronge (702 Talk Radio calls him South Africa's most acclaimed and well-read entertainment critic). Several months ago, I signed up to be notified of events, related to his movie club, at Montecasino, but never heard anything. Now we'd stumbled into one of his 'shows'. Both before and after the film, Barry extensively reviewed the flick, but also gave away a few prizes. In what he claimed was a random draw, he paired the letters of the movie we were going to watch (The Last King of Scotland) with their position in the title of the movie (so, T1, H2, E3), to obtain seat numbers, handing out the prizes to the people in those seats. And if, by chance, no one would be sitting in the winning chair, the prize would go to a person nearby. We were sitting in row E, which was fully occupied, in a very busy theatre. After 10 prizes were given away, I thought the fun was over, until he started handing out even more prizes, after a short speech, according to the same principle, although he made several mistakes, which no one really seemed to notice. Still, I quickly made my way to row A, which was empty. Barry first looked at me as if thinking "Who is this guy? Am I supposed to know him? What does he want?" "I'm moving to row A." Barry apparently hadn't thought of that possibility, the audience laughed, "One for the gentleman, for ingenuity!" So I had my prize. A double ticket to attend the nightly live broadcast, in what might be the most exclusive movie theatre in South Africa, at Montecasino, of the Oscars. It's supposed to be a red carpet thing and it's followed by a breakfast. After the film, there was something of a Q&A with Barry. Barry talks regularly to a particular correspondent in Hollywood. That correspondent, last week, had had dinner with Forest Whitaker. That's three degrees to The Last King of Socotland. Oh, and compelling eye witness accounts of the nuclear attack on Japan, here and some very disturbing pictures. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3802 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 421 [iOldID] => 890 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461693609 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 7 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.0287 [fLongitude] => 28.0151 [tLocation] => Shingara Sands [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20070205 ) [457] => Array ( [iID] => 457 [tTitle] => The ostrich [tSlug] => the-ostrich [iTime] => 1156629600 [iUpdate] => 1156629600 [tDescription] => We went down to Hartbeespoort today and did a walking safari in the De Wildt 4x4 Game Park. Supposedly, there are only 'harmless' animals inside, so a walking safari should be quite safe. In fact, it's probably riskier just to drive around in a 4x4 as it seemed that the boys take their toys inside just to see if they can actually navigate their cars through the holes and up the steep hills, taking in inclines which occasionally appeared to be over 45 degrees. We indeed saw some harmless wildlife although I doubt the claim the managers of the park make that you see more wildlife here in 30 minutes than you see in Kruger in a whole week holds water. Still, we had a lot of fun with a rather daft ostrich which kept following us around and seemingly just wanted to hang out with us. Walking around with Mark and Angele, they were actually slightly scared of the extremely tall animal, which resulted in one lovely scene. Mark was standing behind a bush to avoid having to watch the ostrich in the face and risking, I suppose, being pecked at. Slowly slowly, the ostrich then started to make its way around the bush to meet Mark, as if saying "Don't mind me... tumdedum... I'm harmless, really... dumdedumdum... don't be afraid" and Mark again avoiding the sweet animal. Earlier, we had kroketten, Douwe Egberts coffee and Grolsch at a nearby restaurant dressed up like a windmill. Not us, the restaurant. Quote In today's Sunday Times, there was a commentary on South Africa's government's zeal to rename Boer place names. In itself, this is not totally unfair, although it would make more sense not to rename the Boer place names but start with the imperial British ones. Anyway, the white South Africans apparently don't seem to care too much and take it in their stride. The quote: "the local Dutchman is evolving in the same direction as his forefathers in Holland, where people are so meek, tolerant and open-minded that their brains are in danger of falling out." Watch out for your brains. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2978 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 450 [iOldID] => 826 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461983164 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 25 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -25.6746 [fLongitude] => 27.924 [tLocation] => De Wildt 4x4 Game Park [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20060827 ) [4733] => Array ( [iID] => 4733 [tTitle] => Brieven aan mijn vader [tSlug] => brieven-aan-mijn-vader [iTime] => 1152568800 [iUpdate] => 1516121028 [tDescription] => Late last year, my father passed away, quite suddenly. I hadn't seen him in 26 years and was going to see him in January of this year. When he fell ill, I quickly changed my plans and went to Iran, where he was living. I arrived a day too late. I spent about four weeks in the country of my birth where I was extremely well taken care of by my family. During those four weeks and the months after, I wrote imaginary letters to my father. Combined with a bunch of photographs, these are those letters. "Brieven aan mijn vader" is Dutch for "Letters to my father". If there's enough interest, I might translate them to English someday. The reason why it has taken me so long to put these texts on-line, I think, is because by making them accessible, I also have to admit to myself that it is time to move on, which I haven't been fully sure of until recently. Update (February 2011): The website with the letters was converted to a downloadable PDF and moved to Scribd. [iCategory] => 6 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5999 [iClicks] => 2840 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 5 [iVoters] => 1 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 5 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462182975 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 1 [fLatitude] => 52.0109 [fLongitude] => 4.33628 [tLocation] => Home [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 1 [tCategory] => Own stuff [iCategoryFeatured] => 1 [iPrimaryCategory] => 6 [categories] => Array ( [6] => Array ( [iID] => 6 [tName] => Own stuff [tSlug] => own-stuff [tDescription] => Erich Fromm said that "creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties" and, without giving freedom to my creativity, I'd die. [iOrder] => 2 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 1 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=4733 ) [444] => Array ( [iID] => 444 [tTitle] => Getting out [tSlug] => getting-out [iTime] => 1152396000 [iUpdate] => 1152396000 [tDescription] => Gabarone is one of the more expensive African capitals, meaning that accommodation is not very cheap at all. We ended up in a place, the Hotel Crystal Palace, which reminded me of communist-style hotels from the 1960. It's clean, but everything is worn out and there's little attention to detail. The worn out bit is puzzling, since the hotel was only built a few years ago. With not much to see in Gabs, we drove down to Madikwe, a supposedly impressive game reserve on the South African side of the border with Botswana. We tried two gates but were turned away on both occasions. We had to have made reservations upfront before being allowed to enter. You'd think they'd be happy with any visitor, since the reserve is quite a bit out of the way. But no. We drove down to the Hartbeespoortdam instead. The lake and its surroundings feel like Switzerland and it's a place which, on weekends, is overrun by day trippers from Jo'burg and Pretoria. It's not bad, as it feels a bit more authentic than the malls in both these towns. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4841 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 440 [iOldID] => 812 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461892168 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 6 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -25.7253 [fLongitude] => 27.8475 [tLocation] => Hartbeespoortdam [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20060709 ) ) ) Keyword: Hartbeespoortdam ::