Monday, May 21, 2012

Epic Anniversary Weekend

Wow, what a weekend. Seriously. It was one of those where I found myself reminding myself on Sunday afternoon that normal life is not a "low". You know, when you have such awesome high's ... sometimes even coming back to real life leaves you feeling down and sad for no explainable reason, except that you're not feeling quite as happy and fulfilled anymore. Does that make any sense to anyone? I can't properly explain ....

Let me rather explain the awesomeness that was my weekend so that I never forget :) So, a little while ago I said to The Trucker I had an idea for our anniversary. And he was all "But aren't I supposed to plan that?". Little did I know he also had something in mind. So usually we'd probably be trying to surprise each other, but this time we shared our ideas and compromised (surprises are so much better when they aren't likely to conflict with the other's plans ;) Haha). Anyway, he was thinking Spa Weekend and I was thinking Urban Weekend.

So on Friday night he booked us in for a Full Body Massage, a Fish Spa (which I have always wanted to try!) and dinner at Kai Thai. The downside of the Full Body Massage was we weren't in the same room together, which I think would've been nice. But I was glad it washed away the awful massage experience I had in China. It was very relaxing. Next up was the Fish Spa (we were supposed to do that first because of the oils put on you during the massage but they had another booking apparently, so they just re-washed our feet). OMG it was so weird. It felt like tiny little electrical pulses on your skin (which obviously it's not, don't worry). And it was quite ticklish in the beginning, but you get used to it. Definitely worth trying, but I won't need to do it again. Can't say I've noticed any benefits either, I think it's more a novelty than anything else.

And then we had dinner. Which was nice enough. They're not my favourite Thai food spot. It was a fantastic start to the weekend :)

On Saturday we had a very lazy morning at home. The Trucker cooked up some bacon and I made french toast for breakfast and we lazed around watching TV and getting Namibia blog-posts ready. Just before 1pm we headed off to the Neighbourgoods Market. Ah, seriously, so vastly better than Market on Main. We browsed around, queued for a Balkan Burger, bought our favourite Everson's cider and then we tried things we'd never bought before (I think this is the trick to going back to these markets that never change, makes them a whole new experience) like Harissa sauce (we made prego rolls with it on Sunday evening), Honey Mead & a honeycomb and a plate of Dutch poffertjies. It was a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.

After that we headed off to the Maboneng Precinct to check into our hotel for the night. I'd booked us a night at the 12 Decades hotel :) Okay, let's get my gripes out of the way first:
1) the website. Online, on a PC, I couldn't find any listing of the decades and what the rooms looked like. But trying to find the same site on The Trucker's tablet was impossible. A completely different site came up when searching on mobile & PC ... and the mobile site is *much* better and more user friendly - although I couldn't find the nearby restaurants listing (which is what I had been looking for). Now that I've actually got the address from my blackberry search, here is the website I recommend using.
2) Reception & Parking. Okay, it was difficult enough for us to find the hotel entrance what with the street outside blocked off to cars because of a live music event (some reggae stuff which I can tell you clearly wasn't nearly as well attended as they were hoping for because most of the blockaded area was empty for the entire time we were around. So anyway, we park our car in some little side street and walk to the hotel entrance and reception. And then stand around. There is no one around. No one who looks like they know anything that could help us either. Eventually I phoned reception because I could see their phone had a call forward on and got thru to someone who said they were on their way. Now fair enough the receptionist seems to be the only person around to receive guests and show guests to their rooms, but then they really should leave a note or a sign or something. we must've waited more than 5 minutes before we knew what was going on. And then after showing us our room, she told us we could move our car to Bay 58 in the hotel parkade. Do you think any of the 3 security guards was letting us in?! Nope. Apparently you need a sticker and we hadn't been given one. So I had to take the security guard with me to the receptionist while The Trucker waited with the car. Although she told us more than one she'd phoned to tell them to let us in. Surely you think they'd know how their security works already?

But yes, other than that we had a wonderful stay there. I do think it's a bit pricey for just a room. But our room was absolutely massive and had a full kitchenette which we didn't use. We stayed in 1986 "Catwalk Customs" Designed by Black Coffee. Because I hadn't found this site before booking, I figured I'd leave it up to chance. I think if I ever ended up staying there again I'd ask to stay in 1996.

After settling into our room, we headed to the Carlton Centre to go look at Joburg from the Top of Africa. Neither of us had been before and it was pretty cool. You can't spend too long there tho. And I kinda figured we'd be able to have awesome sundowners or something there (we did buy a coke while we wandered). But it closes at 5pm (a little naive I think). I think it'd be amazing to go up there at night and see the lights! It's probably better to go around midday when the sun is above you and not blinding one side of the building. Still, it's fascinating to see Joburg from so high. At a mere R15 entrance, I highly recommend this :)

Then we headed back to the hotel to relax, watch some TV and read our books before dinner. We didn't really know what to do for dinner so took a wander around some of the nearby spots and ended up at Chalkboard Cafe for a pizza. It was really delish pizza! And while we were there we decided why not go to the 9pm showing of Otelo Burning at The Bioscope. I'd heard about it on 702 and was keen to see it. We did try hanging out in the Cafe till it started but the bad reggae got a bit much and we ended up going up to the room to wait.

We both thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I was a little nervous once I saw it was subtitled but luckily The Trucker loves South African films. Pity about the terribly uncomfy broken chairs - obviously everyone else there knew to avoid the back row. But aside from that,  I loved the whole experience and would definitely go back!

On Sunday morning, to complete our weekend we headed to my favourite, Salvation Cafe for breakfast. Yum! After that it was home & grocery shopping while The Trucker played cricket. This is when I started to come off my fluffy cloud of love and happiness back down to normal and real life and feel the Sunday Blues kick in ... we spent Sunday evening eating home made Prego Rolls (so good but quite spicy!) and watching Little Shop of Horrors. I'd never seen it before and The Trucker had only seen it as a kid. It was such a yawn. Pretty funny in places, but we fast forwarded thru all thru annoying sing-song bits. And where did they find that awful over-the-top actress? Shoowee. I wouldn't even recommend this as a stroll down memory lane!

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