Author Archive for: ‘Sphume’

TBT – Beaching it up

TBT – Beaching it up

 

Somewhere deep into 2011, my peoples came over to hang out in Cape Town. I had just moved there, so could think of nothing better than chilling HARD taking in the fascinating (and icy) Cape Town waters. We spent time between Camps Bay eating at Pepperclub on The Beach, Llandudno beach – one of my favourite spots - which is about ten minutes from Camps Bay, and The Grand Beach Cafe at Granger Bay.

The whole day was spent doing absolutely nothing.  And It was nothing short of delicious.

 

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Pepperclub on The Beach

Address: The Promenade, Victoria Road, Camps Bay

Telephone number: +27 (0)21 438 3174

 

The Grand Beach Cafe

Address: Granger Bay Road (off Beach Road), Granger Bay

Telephone number: +27 (0)21 425 0551

Caribbean Living…

Caribbean Living…

So someone I know decided to live out a dream and go and spend a month – a whole month –  chilling in the Caribbean! That is life! Her name is Barbara Makumbi, she’s a doctor, and she’s my new hero.  Read this feature for her beautiful Caribbean experience!

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I’m a junior doctor and after working hard (at the bottom of the hospital food chain) as an intern for 2 years, I decided its time for a break, a celebratory break, a time out to see the world.

So I put the next chapter of my career on hold and took a month off.

But when the world is your oyster where do you go?  Well, that was easy. My old childhood friend Fiona is living on the Caribbean Island of Anguilla. We’d been talking about my visiting her for ages. Perfect!

So, the time finally came to leave. I bid farewell to my old job, my old town, friends & family and headed off for my one-month adventure.

After a 20 hour flight to the USA, I landed in Las Vegas. This is where I met up with Fiona. Vegas was everything you would imagine it would be and now I know why they say, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. So, moving on swiftly ;)



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3 days later, we were off to the Caribbean. We flew from Vegas to Miami, and then from Miami to the Caribbean Island of St Maarten, or as I like to call it… Paradise!!

St Maarten is situated in the north-west of the Caribbean.  It is divided into a French territory (the French side) and a territory of the Netherlands (the Dutch Side).

The St Maarten airport is located a few meters from Maho Beach.

Upon landing, one can look out of the airplane and see people soaking up the sun and enjoying the beach. The ocean is turquoise & crystal clear with white sands. This was a sight to behold from the air. I instantly became excited.  Regardless of how many hours we’d been travelling or how jetlagged we were, Fiona and I were going to hit that beach, immediately.

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A rush to our hotel, the Caravanserai Beach-Resort ensued. We dropped off our luggage and got ready for the beach. This hotel is located in the same vicinity as the airport and the beach. Everything we needed was in the same area. We had chosen our hotel very strategically. It was beyond convenient.

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Ready to go, Fiona and I were off to explore. We headed to Sunset Beach Bar, an iconic hot spot in St Maarten.  At this bar, you will get the best view of planes landing overhead at the airport.

The planes fly at such a close proximity that is feels as though they may land on the beach.  While viewing the magnificent sights, Fiona and I indulged in the island’s trademark cocktails.

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In the evening, we were keen to try some local cuisine however this wasn’t easy to find so we settled for a restaurant/lounge, called YOLO- You Only Live Once. This soon became the catch phrase for our trip together.

Dinner was fantastic, and with our bellies full and happy, it was time to paint the island red. We headed to a local & popular nightspot and danced the night away.

The next morning it was time to leave for Anguilla, the place I’d call home for the next 3 weeks.

Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory & located just north of St Maarten. It is a small island with a population of approximately 13 500 people.

We caught a Ferry from St Maarten to Anguilla, via the Anguilla channel, which separates the islands. Fiona had warned that me that Anguilla is the definition of island living. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what she had meant. She tried to explain that, it would be like nothing I’ve ever experienced, as the city girl that I am.

When we arrived at the dock in Anguilla, friendly faces greeted us, so far so good. We disembarked and made our way to Fiona’s beach house. It was lovely. The sites and sounds were definitely the definition of island living. And I loved it!

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Fiona’s accommodation is literally 10 footsteps from the beach. I spent most of my days in her beach-backyard, lazing in the sun and reading. As well as meeting the friendly locals and tourists. It was heavenly.

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Getting my hair done

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The people of Anguilla are a beautiful people, inside and out. They were always willing to go the extra mile to make me feel welcome.  I felt right at home.

Anguilla has a wide array of places to eat out. From the restaurants, to the beach bars, to the local resorts, to barbeques and grills.  We did it all.

Below are my top 4 places to visit in Anguilla:

The Dune Preserve Beach Bar

The Dune Preserve Beach Bar is located on Rendezvous Beach. It has been ranked as the Best Beach Bar in the World by CNN. This charismatic bar is owned by internationally known recording artist Bankie Banks. It’s composed of tree house structure, made primarily of drift wood.

It’s an open-air bar, which boasts beautiful ocean views. There is a restaurant that serves delicious cuisine. And a well stocked bar which houses a Caribbean favorite- rum punch (a very potent cocktail). We spent many afternoons and evenings hanging out at the Dune.

They boast live performances regularly, adding even more to the amazing atmosphere.

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Viceroy Beach Resort

Viceroy is a luxury beach resort located on Meads Beach. This breathtaking resort is Fiona’s neighbour. A short , 5-minute walk down the beach and we were there.Viceroy has a host of restaurants, bars and lounges. We were regular visitors.Many a celebrity has visited this resort on holiday or business. And most recently Rick Ross, Wale and Drake filmed the music video for “Diced Pineapples” there. At Viceroy we enjoyed fine dining, DJ nights, buffet breakfast and spa facilities. This was the ultimate neighbour.

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Sand Bar

Sandbar is a beach bar located in the Sandy ground area of Anguilla. This beach bar is very upmarket with a sophisticated feel. They are renowned for their Tapas and Cocktails which are both very delicious. So you simply order a large number variety of finger foods and sip on cocktails. So fantastic. The best part about Sandbar is the tables and chair that are located in the sand, on the actual beach. (normal seating is available) The beach is majestic & catching a sunset at Sandbar is simply in one word… magical.

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Blanchard’s Beach Shack

Blanchard Beach Shack which is also located very close to us, is a very laid-back restaurant/ take out on the beach. We spent a lot of time here too. We would meet friends, grab a quick dinner and just hang out. Great food, quite an American orientated menu. Tables are located in the beach sand, surrounded by palm trees that are decorated with fairy lights. And just a stone’s throw from the water.

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I’m sure the waiters and waitresses knew exactly who we were by the time I was leaving.

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We went to a few clubs in Anguilla. The nightlife was exciting with a great atmosphere. Many beach bars and clubs host live music events regularly. Safety was never an issue in Anguilla. I was told that crime is a rare occurrence on the island. This was evident to me by the lack of fencing, houses with open doors, unlocked cars, & people walking around fearlessly at all hours of the day and night. If a pedestrian is walking in the same direction you are driving, you pick that person up. It’s the norm. It was so refreshing.

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During our adventures we met singer/recording artist- Omari Banks  & song of Bankie Banks (also a recording artist and owner of Dune Preserve Beach Bar). He is a former West Indies test cricketer. He broke off from his sporting career to pursue his passion in music. Omari Banks is the lead singer of his band called Eleven. The music they play can be described as- a combination of lovers’ rock & reggae infused with a mixture of jazz & R&B. He releases his debut album and music video later this week. Watch this space!

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Photographer- Bob Magee

Check the first single out on itunes:
Omari Banks – Unafraid
& his official website: www.omaribanks.com

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The day I had to leave Anguilla, I left with a heavy heart.  I had connected with this island on another level. The beautiful scenery, the wonderful people, the music, food and culture, I had soaked it all in.  Saying goodbye to paradise was so difficult.  Anguilla has definitely not seen the last of me!

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References:

http://www.bankiebanx.net/Restaurant.html
http://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/anguilla/overview
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anguilla

Get to know: Sphume Sibeko

Get to know: Sphume Sibeko

What is the best early morning experience you’ve had while traveling?

It was a very early morning… we had heavy breakfast after a beautiful night out, cracking up with my girls as the sun came up. We then sat looking at the view of New York from the fire escape, and I remember thinking “ya ne, this is what this life thing is all about”

Have you experienced any disasters/crisis while traveling?

Well… except missing a critical flight from NYC to Jozi when we were literally dead broke? No

Have you ever “mysteriously” survived a critical situation?

Missed this flight and again, we were super broke so we weren’t even sure how we were going to figure this one out. When we ran into the airport and looked for where our airline’s section is, we asked the guy wrapping luggage and he immediately laughed so hard at us! Luckily, when we went to go find out if anything could be done to get us on this flight, we were given a flight the next day, an extra day to spend in NYC, and were charged absolutely nothing, not even an admin fee!

What is your travel style?

Down for whatever, relax and enjoy the ride!

Which songs best describe your travel experiences?

Slum Village – ‘Disco’

A Tribe Called Quest – ‘Like it like that’

Common – ‘Its your world’

Nas feat Lauryn Hill – ‘If I ruled the world’

Most profound lesson learned through travel?

Open your mind

Favorite Town/ Village?  Why?

Went to this awesome small town about an hour outside of Rio de Janeiro called Itacuruca. Beautiful quaint town embellished with the gorgeous ocean. From there we got on a boat and got to experience the surrounding islands, jump into the middle of the ocean, and then rest and eat up on Sepetiba Bay. One of the best experiences ever!

Favorite City? Why?

New York. Coolest place on earth. Ask me the same question in a few years though, still have a lot of world touring to do ;)

Who is the most unforgettable person you’ve met or interacted with while traveling?

Gorgeous little girl named Camilla in Brazil who was totally fascinated by black skin. Also met some amazing souls who’ve become like family

What are some of the things you don’t like about traveling?

Long layovers!

I had my best night’s sleep at:

Iguassu Falls, Brazil

What are the 3 top eating experiences you’ve had while traveling lately?

Waffles from Petite Abeille & cheesecake from Magnolia Bakery in New York; Seafood in Mozambique from Sagres Shellfish Restaurant; and the cheapest tastiest cheeseburgers from a corner store at Copacabana Beach, Rio.

Best place to get tipsy:

Standard Hotel, New York. I simply cannot get over that place.

What’s the craziest stereotype you’ve heard about South Africans while traveling?

That we wear animal skins so we bought clothes at the airport coming into America. Learnt English at the airport too.

If I had only 24 hours to live, I would spend it in:

New York! That way I could play hard, eat hard, listen to the best hip hop while checking out some super fly types

Best Cities to fall in love

Haven’t been to Paris or Hvar but those seem like the spots to catch a feeling.

Cities you want to see with a lover?

Barcelona, Paris, Prague, Hvar

Cities you want to see with the girls?

Montego Bay, Accra, London, Istanbul

Best Cities to travel on your own

Haven’t been to any of these either – but wouldn’t mind doing Milan, Mumbai, and Beijing as a lone ranger

What city best suits/ embodies your personality?

New York! Encapsulates the diversity and beauty of the world, even the flaws are cool.

About Yourself:

Excited; all in with this life thing; completely love my people, travelling, eating, basketball, music, and I have the biggest sweet tooth on earth.

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Why so fly?

Why so fly?

We fell in love over and over during our holiday. And every 4th guy was ‘the one’. This trip reminded us that the world is a beautiful place. And men are even more beautiful. Some extensive research went into compiling the content of this post, and we trust that you will appreciate this shortlist of the gorgeous people running around New York, unaware (well, for some we made things very obvious) of the effect they are having on a bunch of South African women. It’s a tough job – but someone had to (gladly) do it.


 

 

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So we missed our flight…

So we missed our flight…

Ya ne. After our ‘farewell’, which ended at about 7am, we got ready, finished packing, and then headed off to hail a cab (which is often a very quick process) to get to the airport.

We waited. 10 mins. 20 mins. Started slightly panicking at the 30min mark, especially as it was 9:40 and our flight was leaving at 11:20am. After waiting for 50 whole minutes, it started raining. HARD! This is when we knew, we were not going anywhere. Still holding out for a slight miracle, we finally found a cab and we set off to the airport at 9:55am. Lo and behold – we jumped into the cab with the slowest. driver. in. the. world. Not even a slight tinge of urgency as we went on the long traffic-filled trek to JFK, with the rain falling down and minimal hope in our eyes.As we entered the airport the hope in us rushed back, as we excitedly asked around for the Emirates check in counter. Our excitement was met with looks of shock, dismay, and horror, as one guy slowly pointed to the empty, desolate check-in desk. Our reaction – we immediately cracked up loud and hard! What else can you do when you miss a flight from New York to Johannesburg?!After sorting out the flight admin and luckily finding a flight the next morning with no extra charge, we set off on the streets, again. We thought what better way to deal with our situation than to enjoy a lovely lunch in the sun at one of our favourite Lower East Side restaurants, ‘Inoteca. Absolutely delicious bruschettas and crisp white wine for the “pain”, and a subsequent visit to a nail bar in Chinatown made us feel much better.By late afternoon, missed flight panic out the way, we saw this as a second chance at a farewell. So we had to end it big, and that we did. We danced like no one was watching at the Hotel on Rivington to the awesome sounds of DJ Moma, and ended the night/morning at our neighbourhood diner for some pancakes, eggs, and bacon. The only way New York nights should end :-)

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Farewell…Well..Kind Of…

Farewell…Well..Kind Of…

Our epic trip was coming to a close, so of course we had to ensure we end it off on an extremely high note – by surrounding ourselves with amazing people while enjoying the madness of New York City. We had a brilliant day made up of laughter, eating, drinking and dancing with our good friends from Fela! on Broadway at Bembe in Williamsburg. We wrapped up the night/morning with some self-proclaimed gymnastics-related behaviour, and a ‘last’ visit to our favourite 5am spot -The Remedy diner on the Lower East Side, where we stuffed ourselves up with pancakes, eggs, bacon, syrup, toast, etc before we set off on the long flight home.

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Brooklyn Stand Up!

Brooklyn Stand Up!

I don’t know how to describe how amazing our day spent in Fort Greene, Brooklyn was. We wanted to ensure we completely immerse ourselves in the culture of Brooklyn for that day, and we got way more than we expected!

This amazing experience started off with a trip to the Brooklyn flea market. We spent our time there browsing through antique pieces, rails of vintage clothing, and gorgeous one-of-a-kind items that could make a girl cry from joy! After spending all ‘dem dollars’, we walked around in search of a place to get our grub on. En route we spotted Solange Knowles and her girls dining at the famous South African restaurant “Madiba”. Safe to say, we had to resuscitate some of the girls who truly and genuinely believe Solange is their sister. After that hype, we found an awesome spot called “Cornerstone” with an outside table big enough to fit the whole team. We had a fabulous afternoon which turned into evening of laughing with friends, drinks on tap, and delicious food such as cheeseburgers, nachos, ribs, calamari, mussels, prawns and grits, and chicken wings (without fail) to keep us smiling.

To evade the itis, we headed to another spot for sundowners, and ended up finding ourselves on the dance floor getting down to some tight beats. We then went on to the next spot, Voodoo Lounge, and danced our butts off to the beats over there until the sun came up. This day in spent Brooklyn was so epic it cannot be re-created. Pure Perfection.

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New York Nights Keep Calling!

New York Nights Keep Calling!

There is something so exciting about stepping out onto the street in New York, all dressed up with no real plan. The spontaneity in not having a proper itinerary brings about the craziest situations that happen deep in the night as we set off in the aims of the experiences on offer all over NYC. So that’s what we did one of these nights. Dressed up, took to the streets, and headed off to find a place that was ready to take on a boisterous group of us who were ready to party! First spot had a sign outside that read  ”Keep your voices down…blah blah blah” – this was not the place for us. We walked a few blocks, in 6-inch heels, which was a somewhat humbling experience, and when one door opened and we heard the intense array of old hip hop sneaking through, we knew this was the place for us. We came into what I’m sure was part of a rehearsal for a video shoot: ladies in tight tiny dresses, men in  timbos, caps, and gold watches, and lots and lots and lots of champagne popping. We can’t leave out the DJ who had a commentary on every single song he played of course, because what’s a party without a running commentary of instructions and reminders about ‘the new ish’ by the DJ. While some couldn’t fathom being stuck in this situation for too long, some of us stayed right until the last song played, the lights came on, and the old school R n’ B started playing to usher us out. Being stuck in a 3 hour hip hop ‘video rehearsal’ was definitely a unique and awesome experience!

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A kicks lover’s dream

A kicks lover’s dream

Flight Club. We walked into that store and immediately wanted to start crying from simultaneous pain and joy. This place has the most fascinating array of kicks available, a dream for the ultimate kicks collector. From the moment we walked in we could hardly close our mouths from the awe we felt looking at the most classic selection of kicks. If you’ve got some money to spend, a lot of money to spend actually, and some unique kicks to buy – make your way to Flight Club on Greene Street, Soho.

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Q-Tip’s Offline Party

Q-Tip’s Offline Party

Q-Tip’s Offline Party

We’d been gearing up for Q-Tip’s party for weeks, having already bought tickets before we even got to New York. Q-Tip has a reputation for throwing the hottest parties in New York, and is known for throwing it down ‘til the sun comes up. So of course we had to make sure we didn’t miss out on this hip hop legend’s new monthly party as we were pretty sure we’d have a ridiculously goood time.

With a blend of funk, old school and new school hip hop, dude had us jamming literally non stop from the time we got our stamps on our wrists, until we walked out with the bouncers as they were closing up! IWhen you’re next in New York, do yourself a favour and see if you can catch this party!

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