Monday, April 30, 2007

Disappointing Magaliesburg

So, it's been a long and busy weekend! Mom arrived on Thursday afternoon and thank goodness we had plans to stay nearby the airport because it had started to rain (yes, in Joburg winter ... what is up?) and the traffic was horrendous ... apparently because of a super smart move by the Metro Police and an insanely placed road-block. But hey? It didn't bother us.
We went to the Highveld Heaviest Heavyweight Comedy Jam at Emperor's Palace which was brilliant ... although a little late. Although , I must admit that the appeal of Emperor's Palace escapes me. As a casino with alternative options, I think Monte Casino is a far better (and closer) option, but that's just my opinion.

Unfortunately the rest of Thursday night was not very restful. I was up with Production issues from 03:30 till 7 AM! Luckily all Mom and I had planned for Friday was lunch and I could grab a little sleep before then.
Lunch was, I think, the highlight of the weekend. It was a suggestion of JofH's and he is someone's who's restaurant recommendations I trust instantly. You know how it is, there are some people who you can't, it's not their fault they just like different things - for me, this generally applies to anyone who actually likes Primi Piatti.
Anyway, lunch was at Forum Homini's restaurant, Roots. It was a spectacular 4-course meal and we chose the wine-teaser option which finished it off perfectly. It's a fairly expensive lunch, but well-worth it! I think I'll have to plan a group lunch there on day because everyone should try it :)
Luckily due to my late morning catching up on sleep, we didn't eat breakfast and I can tell you we didn't need dinner and weren't even starving by Saturday's breakfast.
After lunch we headed out to Magaliesburg for our weekend away.

I'd booked us in (about 2 weeks ago) at this place on someone's vague recommendation, the website pictures and the sheer availability on the long weekend. A few mistakes on my part, clearly.
Firstly, as I mentioned earlier, there are some people who's recommendations you can trust and some who you can't. It might sound snobby (I am from Cape Town, after all), but some people just don't have the same standards as others. And trust me, I'm really not a 5-star girl ... hell, I trekked around Southern Africa in a minibus and slept in a tent for 5 weeks.
Anyway, let me start at the beginning. After the most magnificent lunch, we arrived at Wickers Riverside Estate only to discover their absolute surprise in our presence: they'd lost our booking. Hello, I'd paid the deposit and everything! And they were saying they were now fully booked for the weekend. My blood began to boil and I fetched my handy laptop from the car. After a half an hour attempt on a piddly GPRS signal I managed to get into my mail and show them the proof of deposit I'd mailed them with the correct dates for this exact weekend. Oh yes, sorry ma'am, we're all new here, we've only been here 3 weeks, I don't know how this could've happened.
They eventually made a plan and found us a room. And there is nothing special to write here about it what so ever. All I can say is it reminded me most of a little place in Richmond that Mom & I stayed when my car broke down on the way up to Jhb (now there's a story to tell!). That place was actually attached to the only Petrol Station in the town. Yup, fabulous.

I'm not actually convinced that the photo's on the website I booked thru are even of the place we stayed! It sounded so lovely:

Wickers Riverside Estate has a reputation for romantic dining with exceptional food at very reasonable prices, with special attention to detail and presentation. We offer à la Carte menus, Table d' Hote service and country style cooking. Personal private requirements such as spit braai's and potjies can also be arranged. Three venues are available to cater for either small intimate parties or large wedding receptions and other personal parties."

All of the above is pure fiction from my experience! After spending the rest of Friday pretty much sleeping and reading, we were horrified my Saturday morning's breakfast. It was cold and the plates were dirty. We weren't eating here again!

So we set out early on the Magalies Meander. Well, let me tell you upfront, it's not much of a Meander. In their large map, it is mostly accommodation. Which did not help us one bit. We looked into some quaint little shops, nothing really spectacular ... actually a lot of rubbish. But we did find a nice gallery where Mom bought a carpet - Dad is never gonna let her visit me again, she always buys some huge item to take back with her ;) And we went to a nice enough Crystal shop. And then we went and made some candles at The Goods Shed, which was fun :) I made a really cool purple one which I used last night.
We went to visit The First Medicinal Nursery which was probably the highlight of the morning :) It was really interesting and completely fascinating ... even for me! Then we had some overly expensive lunch at Kumandine Cafe, it was decidedly average.

After that we took a drive around the area and I showed Mom Goblin's Cove, where Bean & I had taken the Peeb when she'd been up years ago. And then we headed back to our dismal room to relax for the afternoon, more sleeping and reading ensued.

For dinner we'd decided to try the restaurant next door called Ambrosia. Aside from the shoddy service, the pizza we shared was delish! And we even saw Riaad from Big Brother, bizarre!
And then it was Sunday, naturally we checked out without breakfast! And then headed off to Maropeng. Which is really nice and I can recommend it to anyone who is interested in that sort of thing. The only downside was that there is a bit of an information overload towards the end of the "tour". Although very interesting and informative, it's just too much reading to do on vast colourful boards lining the walls.

As Mom commented, I hope the people who go there learn a little about the way we're running our planet into the ground. And I had my own personal wonder at how anyone back in the day ever managed to pro-create ... the mannequin versions they had of ancient man show them as really not much to look at!

And then it was back to good old Jhb for a quick relax at home ... and a little clever-packing before taking Mom to the airport. For the first time ever, I think her flight was pretty on-time.

Which brings me to a quick rant ... which I'll have to mail ACSA about later! I tried parking there - stupid! Although their fancy sign board said there were 19 free bays, there weren't. Hell, you could barely manage to drive thru the parking area at all since all the connecting lanes, that assure you they are in fact a "Tow Away Zone" had been filled with parked cars. I mentioned that to the two random employed for job-creation purposes people standing around the exit point and they offered me a parking spot next to the machine they were resting on up on the curb. Yes, now I know why these folk were hired! Eventually I gave in and succumbed to the lack of legitimate parking bays and found a spot in the "Tow Away Zone". Getting the trolley we managed to nab into the airport was a whole other story since some 4x4 idiot had parked on the curb, blocking the trolley ramp ... and those curbs are serious! At least he had been clamped ... although, he was the only one! Ridiculous, really.

And then Mom was off. It was fabulous to see her again and generally the weekend was good :) Then I went home to relax with a bubbly bath, my new candle and my book. After that I settled in with Grey's Anatomy Season 1 (Okay, I'm a little behind, but I didn't have Mnet in those days!) and some soup - it was chilly!

To my surprise, half way thru the first episode my doorbell rang. Now I'm in my PJs and certainly not expecting anyone. Turns out it was Varen popping by, "on his way home" <- :="" a="" and="" away="" be="" because="" before="" but="" can="" could="" definitely="" dye="" end="" ever="" few="" finally="" go="" grey="" had="" hairs="" have="" he="" heroes="" him="" his="" home.="" home="" in="" is="" it="" little="" lives="" marathon="" me="" miles="" more="" my="" nice="" no="" of="" on="" possibly="" post="" probably="" quotes="" reached="" reverted="" s="" see="" since="" span="" that="" the="" them="" then="" there="" to="" was="" watched="" way="" we="" weekend="" with="" you="">

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