weekend away in Durban, photographed

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We had a lovely weekend in Durban full of Indian food, sea food, and photo oppors. I hustled to get some good shots for P’s article and I hope they will suffice. Since we live in land-locked Jozi, it was a special treat to be able to do my running along the ocean. They have a great wiiiide paved sidewalk next to the beach and it’s full of Durbanites working out. If I had an ocean to run next to on a daily basis I imagine I’d do a lot more of it. Life gets crazy over the next month for both P and me so it was nice to chillax together before it all blows up. This week I’ll be working on editing my photos for P’s article and chilling with the dog before we go on a hike for Easter (sadly, mini daxy puppies are not equipped for hardcore hikes).

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2011 in review.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

2011 was a great year for us and I’m thanking my lucky stars. Here is a review of our incredible year.

We ended 2010 with P’s first trip to India to meet the extended fam. We rang in the new year in a penthouse in London with our good friends Jon and Katie (who are headed here soon….yippee!). Soon after that we left Berlin for a weekend to watch my best friend since I was 13, Clare, get married in Minnesota.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I loveThe cold Berlin winter in February proved to be too much and I ran off to Turkey on a last minute vacation with two friends, we ate tons of food and bought diamonds. In March we met up with a couple faves in Budapest for some fun and managed to send out our wedding Save the Date video we made.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

In April I went to the US to finish up planning our wedding and we went on a romantic weekend trip to Nice with lots of filet mignon et Champagne.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

In April, P took me on a trip to Paris as part of our Europe Farewell Tour 2011. We biked around the city using the Velibs, saw the Eiffle Tower which we had both seen before but never together, held hands, and talked about our future in South Africa.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Pat’s friends threw him a surprise bachelor party and I got to help. I made sure he took the days off work and they bought him a round trip ticket from Berlin to NYC to take him on a weekend of white water rafting and beer drinking. The night before they sent him a video to tell him about the surprise. What an amazing group of friends.

 Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

In June and July we found new renters for the fabulous, huge, old, high ceiling’d apartment in Berlin. We planned a farewell party to celebrate our marriage with our Berlin Tribe. Clare and Jake came to visit us. We staged a photo booth (the BEST most worth-it DIY project I’ve done till date) there and set the pictures to this annoying song that wormed its way into our hearts when it was played and replayed after Germany won EuroVision in 2010.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

After that we  embarked on the task of saying goodbye to our poor but sexy city and friends. We had one last eat at our favorite restaurants, and even did a few “Berlin-y” things we had not done as happens when you live in a city.  We had an epic weekend with our friends Nick and Rachel that started in a secret pop-up restaurant with quail-egg sushi, made it past the bouncer and into Berghain, and ended at dinner Sunday at a Sri Lankan restaurant in Freidrichshain.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

I boarded a plane for the States to get married, but first I got upgraded to first class (transatlantic-ly!) and met my sister, cousins and girlfriends in NYC for a bachelorette party. We ate at Shake Shack, brunched, shopped, stayed at the Gansevoort, had dinner at Stanton Social, and danced the night away. It made me miss living in NYC soo much but then I remembered that when I lived there I never stayed at fancy hotels.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love


Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Then, finally it was August and time to get married. My entire family came from India, friends came from all over the US and the world to come and celebrate with us. It was so special and truly one of the best months of our lives. And my sister threw me a bridal shower I’ll never forget.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

We went on a honeymoon to Bali where I got a very bad case of food poisoning but it was amazing none the less.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Then, we moved to Johannesburg. I went on safari in Kruger National Park, we went to Cape Town and Durban.We learned and bought a manual transmission, and moved into a house with a pool and a tennis court. I started blogging seriously and got into photography.  I made lots of new friends through blogging. I took a course and now I very proudly shoot on manual mode and can’t wait to continue learning and expanding (my lens collection hehe). We celebrated thanksgiving, AND I started doing Help Portrait, and then we celebrated Christmas in our new home.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

It’s been an amazing year and I’m so thankful, I’m only disappointed that I didn’t photograph or blog our two years in Europe. My sister comes for three weeks on Friday and we’re going to have SO MUCH FUN. Here’s to a wonderful 2012 and a Happy New Year from our family to yours!

bunny chow.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Bunny Chow: a food so unattractive that even its photograph is barred from this blog (perhaps a skilled photographer could make it look pretty?). Bunny Chow, for those of you who don’t know, is a quarter or half a loaf of white bread with its insides scooped out and filled with curry. As badly as I wanted to love it, I just…couldn’t. I want to make clear that I am an avid consumer of street meats, foods-for-drunks (like Berlin’s untouchable döner kebab), and all kinds of cheap and dirty eats. While South-Africanised Indian food is far more preferable than Germanized Indian food, I simply can not get on the Bunny Chow train. After  a cursory glance at Wikipedia, I found that Bunny Chow (is it a proper noun?) which originated in Durban, is named either after the Indians who sold it under Banyan trees or after a restaurant owned by Banias (an Indian caste) in the 1940s. Whatever its origins, who cares about this food? I admit that if it was 2 in the morning and I had first had a few drinks I might have thought it to be more tolerable. I asked the woman at the counter what kind was best for a first-timer and she insisted I try the mutton. Now, I love me some mutton. But one thing is sure, mutton tastes best after it’s brought  to you by your Muslim neighbors on Eid in India when it’s just been slaughtered right in the parking garage a few hours ago fresh. So with visions of my Nani’s mutton curry dancing in my head I bit into…stale mutton curry in a loaf of white bread. It was not doing it for me. One thing that does win points is the grated carrot pickle that is usually served with it. It was the only thing that got me through part of my quarter loaf and when I finished off the pickle I couldn’t eat anymore Chow. I really want to give it another chance but I just can’t waste another precious meal in this city full of delicious Indian food on that ish.

In conclusion, if you are in brimming-with-Indians Durban I recommend rather trying an Indian-Indian style restaurant (vs. an RSA-Indian style) such as Vintage on Florida Road (drive almost to the end, it’s an old restaurant but I can’t find it online to save my life) which has delicious food and Naans (apparently South African Indians are only into rotis, and that is all bread-wise that is normally on offer, which…wtf??).  If you want to try Bunny Chow for yourself I recommend that you try the chicken Chow at 2 in the morning after 5 drinks and maybe you’ll have a better experience.

In fact!!! When I return to Jozi I’m going to make my own Bunny Chow recipe and it is going to be everything I had originally imagined it would be.

Scenes from a drive to Durban

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love
Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

We’re in Durban gorging on Indian food, lying on the beach (well I’m lying on the beach), Hubbly Bubbly-ing, and battling my giant humidity induced hair a la Monica on that Friends episode. We’re also testing our manual driving prowess as this is one hilly city. I only made us pull over on the side of the freeway once for pictures on the trip here. It gets very beautiful as soon as you are off the highveld.