Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Coz 29 is just another number...

Twenty Nine is the ugliest number under 30. It's so arbitrary. And stupid. Think about it, you can't divide it equally, you can't multiply any two numbers to give you 29 and it's not the square root of anything. It's the most un-important number in the 20's, completely pointless and utterly useless. Nothing substantial or important ever came from the number 29. It's like the black sheep of the number family.

If I had it my way I'd be 25 years old until I turned 30. Thanks to certain OCD tendencies, I like rounding off my numbers see. But in the grander scheme of things, it doesn't really matter innit. I could never quantify what 29 tumultuous years on this earth has taught me. As I've mentioned before, I've learned more in these 29 years than most people will ever learn in their entire lifetimes. And I still learn every day.

For me, 29 brings an acute sense of things, a deeper understanding, broader perceptions, more clarity and a level of maturity in my everyday life that surprises me quite often. And in many ways I feel like I've paid my dues. Twenty nine years of digging through life's trenches, facing my fears, making mistakes, learning from them, learning from other's mistakes, going to hell and back at least three times... yes I've paid my dues. I didn't get here by accident. Everything I've learned over the years came with a heavy price... and the more valuable the lesson, the heavier the price.

That's not to say that there isn't more out there... more to learn, more to life and more growing pains to suffer. We live and learn, every single day, at every single age.

In addition, 29 has brought an avalanche of long-awaited, tangible and significant changes to my life. I guess in many ways, life as I knew it will never be the same again.

I initially wanted to celebrate with a cake in the shape of a coffin or casket. I thought it would be great to have everyone dress in mourning black and give a eulogy on the 29 years that were... a fitting way to say goodbye to my misspent youth and all those years searching, reflecting, analysing, drowning, agonising, wanting, losing, triumphing, obsessing, yearning, fighting... but I didn't have the time to prepare and for now I'm content to just BE.

I'm also grateful for everything in my life: the good, the bad and the ugly because every single thing has been instrumental in the evolution of Azra. And like I've said before, there's no one else I'd rather be.

Getting older does have it's disadvantages though. Most females have to worry about frown lines and wrinkles and sagging boobs and gaining weight... and we have to make certain not-so-wonderful alterations to our lifestyles to accommodate these changes... like substituting this:

For this:

But I must say that the absolute worst thing about getting older is that innate overwhelming desire for one of these:

For most women, it's a biological process that we can't escape. It is completely uncontrollable and the yearning is almost deafening. I will never look at eggs the same way again.

But for the most part, aging definitely has it's perks. I'm in a better place physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually, then I've ever been before. It's even better than last year. I'm like a fine wine... like Brie de Meaux, I just get better with age (not knowing anything about wine or smelly cheeses, I'll just have to take the experts' word on that).

So here's to an endless harvest of all that is tranquil and serene, and a lifetime of harmonious contented BEING. And cake... can't have a birthday without cake now can we...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Coz you can't have your bread buttered on both sides...

They say that you can’t have your cake and eat it. Screw that, I never understood that proverb… I still don’t get it. Who the hell wants cake if you can’t eat it? And exactly what does one do with cake that you can’t eat? Frame it? Sell it on ebay? And what if someone held a gun to your head… or the State passed a new law making it mandatory for you to eat the fucking cake or face a lifetime of corks up your ass and hawking cigarettes from fellow inmates… could you eat it then? It’s just cake afterall… Marie Antoinette can testify to that.

But you can’t have your bread buttered on both sides. Now that I understand – it would be a waste and  somewhat moronic to butter both sides of your bread before you eat it... kinda like wearing boxers AND briefs... pointless and unnecessary. It reminds me of a little incident that occurred a few weeks ago.

It was one of them hot nights on the Highveld… y’know the kind where it’s impossible to keep your doors closed and the early evening breeze feels more like a thick slab of hot air that sticks to your skin, making empty promises of rain yet to come. Even the insects were restless, buzzing about or hiding in cooler corners.

The lights were turned off in a desperate attempt to curb the heat, and we lay sprawled on all three couches bored and flustered, blindly swatting away predatory mosquitoes that were only identifiable by the endless drone of buzzing that seemed to get louder as they zoomed in closer to their target - warm unclaimed human flesh (seriouslywhat kind of demon mosquitoes survive several spot-on swats and an entire aerosol can of insecticide?).

Anyways, it wasn’t long before the sweltering silence was punctured by a piercing screech and the sound of three voices shrieking into the black night. The sudden ensuing chaos and mayhem injected some much needed adrenaline into our veins and before we knew it, we all dashed out of the house to see what was going on.

We got to the scene just in time – before anyone else could bolt out of their doors – and at first it was difficult to establish exactly what was going on. But it all became quite apparent in no time. One of the neighbours’ daughters’, a 17 year old Nadia, told her parents that she had some homework to do with her best friend and other neighbour’s daughter, Aaliya. But instead of going to Aaliya’s house, Nadia took a brisk walk around the corner and once out of sight, got into her 21 year old boyfriend - Carlo’s - car and went off for a long drive.

Suspecting that his sister was up to no good, Danyal went to look for Nadia but couldn’t find her anywhere. He called Aaliya who said that she hadn’t heard from her all evening. Worried and on edge, he stood outside Aaliya’s house pondering his next move when an unsuspecting Carlo strolled around the corner with Nadia   gazing merrily from the passenger seat. Livid, Danyal attacked the car and Carlo came to an abrupt halt (hence the screech) before Danyal lunged at him pulling him out of his car window, beating the shit out of him…

And then we heard the shrieking:

Danyal: That’s my Sister you fucker
Carlo: I didn’t touch her…
Danyal: Don’t lie to me
Carlo: We didn’t do anything!
Nadia: Stop it Danyal, Stop!
Danyal: Fuck you…

At this point, the entire street was either peaking through their windows or standing on the side of the road staring wide-eyed at the scene being played out in front of us, munching on a huge bag of Sweet Chili Doritos being passed around, too entertained to intervene. There’s nothing like a free real-life theatre production  playing out before your very eyes. It feeds those dramatic chromosomes born from the seeds of tedium in suburbia.

And just when we thought it was over, we heard a loud voice interject angrily. It was Nadia’s father:

Father: I knew it, I knew it
Danyal: What the fuck do you think you’re doing
Carlo: But we didn’t do anything
Nadia: Leave him alone
Father: I knew it
Danyal: That’s my SISTER!

A few more punches and kicks flew around (it was like watching Kung-Fu Panda in slow motion) before both father and brother dragged Nadia’s ass back into their house and Carlo sped off like he was competing with Schumacher for the F1 title.

And the rest of us just stood there… still wide-eyed… jaws either dropped or still munching contemplatively on the remnants of the pillaged Doritos bag.

As we turned around and walked back to our house, I could still hear Danyal defending his sister’s honour and I couldn’t help but think to myself, how arrogant and supercilious of him… like his sister was this little perfect delicate flower that could do no wrong… like she didn’t have a mind of her own… like she wasn’t responsible for all the decisions she’s ever made and naturally anything she did, no matter how evil on the Richter Scale would not render her answerable for any of her actions but automatically hold the other person liable. What a load of bull…

And as I walked away, I wondered how many “sisters” were defiled because of Danyal. All those women he picks up on the weekends… and late on Wednesday nights when he thinks no one is watching but forgets the CCTV carefully hidden on every street corner… all of them are someone else’s sister / daughter / mother / friend.

Exactly how narcissistic do you have to be to think that it’s ok if you do something questionable that indirectly offends someone else, but that it's completely unacceptable when someone else does the same to you? So in Danyal's case,  it’s perfectly ok if he does it to someone else's sister, but it’s not ok when someone else is doing it to his sister.

Yeah, you can’t have your bread buttered on both sides. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Coz you may want to put that food away before you read this...

It’s Friday afternoon and most of us are gearing up for the long weekend ahead – with Monday being a public holiday and all that. We live for these moments innit.

Anyway, what is the last thing anyone wants to do on a Friday afternoon? Cleaning up someone else’s shit that’s what! Now I don’t care about what people choose to do in their own homes... that’s their business... but when it comes to the public arena and you’re using a public or communal toilet, the LEAST you can do is clean up after yourself. I can’t, for the life of me, understand why some adults cannot engage in a simple activity like flushing the toilet. Really people, it’s not Rocket Science and won’t even take a minute of your time.

I’ve bitched about this on Facebook a few months ago and today, it’s prompted me to put up the following sign:

A bit drastic I know, but I had a point to make. What disgusts me further, is the fact that this sign had to be displayed in a female restroom. It’s called basic manners and etiquette... something every woman should have even if she’s married to a canine.

But flushing is not my only gripe here. Apparently, this company needs to pass a mandate requiring all female staff to remove the hair around their nether regions because every time I need to pee, I have to check if there aren’t any nasty 5 inch strands of pubic hair on the toilet seat. It makes me want to remove my own bladder with a carving knife, or gag... on someone’s car. Really ladies? WTF is up with that?!? Invest in some razor blades, you hairy bitches!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Coz sometimes, I like playing along...

Every year, one of my cousins sends me a chain-mail-meme of some sort and almost every year I play along and answer all the questions, because I love procrastination tools innit. Sometimes I even post them to this blog. It's funny to go back and read old answers and see how you've changed or how your priorities have changed. Here’s more useless information that you didn’t need to know about me:

1. What time did you wake up this morning? 04:45am

2. The last thing you put in your mouth? Peanut butter & honey on whole wheat toast.

3. Do you have a nickname/s used by family, friends or colleagues? Yes.
Friends: Azzy, Az, Azrita, Chica, Chicana
Colleagues: Azzy, Doctor, Young Lady, Michelle (<-- that’s a long story)

4. Where is your favourite place in the whole world? On top of the Rock of Gibraltar, overlooking the east, on a clear day. There’s just something about The Med...

5. Beef or Chicken? And would you like that rare, medium rare or well done? Either, very well done please.

6. If you had to choose between Lobster and Prawns, which would it be? I don't eat cockroaches of the sea... or anything with tentacles... or anything that stays pink after you’ve cooked it.

7. Think of a lyric, fast! "Just give in, Don't give up baby, Open up your heart and your mind to me... Just know when, That glass is empty That the world is gonna bend, Yeah... (Happy in the club with a bottle of red wine, Stars in our eyes 'cuz we're having a good time... So happy I could Die)"

8. Would you ever dance on a table in a crowded place? Been there, done that.

9. What's your worst habit? Erm, toss between Procrastination and not being able to Shut Up sometimes.

10. If you could eat anything in the world right this second? Nutella (off Ian Somerhalder's abs).

11. When was the last time you cried real hard? When Michael Jackson died.

12. What do you do in your spare time? Travel; cook delicious food; translate and try to read this blog in French – to see what I’d look / sound like in France; go out with friends; dance; reflect; read (literature); make prank calls in Spanish; stalk Jonathan Knight on Twitter; catch up on Botinera gossip; make new friends; hang out with old friends; look after other people’s babies; write long ass letters; dream…

13. The funniest thing you’ve heard recently? Earl: “Come on Joy, don’t do it”…. Joy: “Oh it has been DID!!”

14. Any special talents? Well, 1) I pick up languages quickly. 2) I have excellent stalking skills and 3) I have frequent episodes of Déjà-Moo... y'know hearing & instinctively identifying the same bull-shit over and over again.

15. What do you always carry around with you in your handbag aside from the usual items? Superglue and a lighter.

16. What do you wish to attain in your life? Ease, Peace, Comfort, Tranquility, Serenity...

17. Do you think relationships are ever really worth it? If it’s leading to something great, yes.

18. Are you a bad influence? Depends on who you ask.

19. Night out or night in? Depends on who I’m with.

20. What items could you not go without during the day? Underwear, Spoons & Water.

21. Does anyone have a crush on you? I don't really know.

22. What does the last text message in your inbox say? "We missed you".

23. How do you feel about your life right now? Taking each day as it comes, living in the moment.

24. Do you hate anyone / anything? Hate is a wasted emotion. I dislike: War, Eggs and Pathological Liars.

25. First thing you notice about the opposite sex? Eyes. Hands. Smile.

26. What are you listening to right now? Fancy Footwork - Chromeo. If you look at the video carefully, you'll see me right at the end.
Just kidding. I bloody wish.

27. Any advice to others out there? There are those who Live and those who merely Exist: Live your Life… And, stalking in French and Arabic if you don’t speak either language is not impossible, difficult but not impossible.

28. Last movie you watched? Four Lions.

31. Name something you have to do tomorrow? Salsa, Cuban Salsa, Cumbia, Reggaeton.

32. Do you think too much or too little? I’m a professional over-analyzer...

33. Do you smile a lot? Always. Chronically.

34. Can you cook and at what level? Yep pretty good, been cooking since I was 9. Pics below: Four cheese Lumache pasta; home made burger patties (was an experiment); home-made pizza, samoosas, muffins, chicken schnitzel and soup for supper after a long day of fasting. 

35. If you had a choice would you live by the sea or in the mountains? Definitely the sea.

36. Do you have a crush on someone? Erm... NO COMMENT :P

37. Your preferred meal would be? I like roast chicken. And pizza. And toast. And pasta. And my Mom’s chicken curry. And BBQ chicken wings. And a good steak… depends on my mood really and whatever’s available.

38. What's your drink of choice? 1) Water. 2) Coffee. 3) Tea. I don't drink Alcohol.

39. If you could spend a day with any celebrity, who would it be? Johnny Depp.

40. What song is stuck in your head? It alternates every 10 minutes between “Tonight I’m Loving You” ~ Enrique ft Ludacris and “Maybe Tomorrow” ~ Stereophonics

41. Tell us a few things about you that no one else knows? Erm... trying to think of things I haven’t already revealed… I have virtually no hair on my legs, arms etc. and the little I do have bleaches sandy brown/blonde in the sun; I have to wash my feet before going to bed otherwise I can't sleep;  briefly ventured into the world of modelling in my teens; worked as an Extra when I was a student; took acting classes in London but I'm a terrible liar so I can't act for shit.

42. How do you think other people see you? Honestly don’t know. I assume it’s either:


43. Any recommended reading? White Oleander by Janet Fitch

44. What’s the worst about being a man / woman? P.M.S

45. If you could take back any moment in your life, which would it be?  That time I asked those random strangers for food, thinking they were selling food when they weren't, and the time that guy saw me nekkid.

I usually tag a few people but anyone is welcome to do it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Coz being a housewife doesn't mean that you have to be DESPERATE...

So there I was, minding my own business, tending to Arabella when I heard a soft pitter patter sound on the tarmac near the driveway, followed by a painful grunt and a curse. It was Aunty Fatima, who lives two streets away, running barefoot along the road with a spatula firmly entrenched in her right hand and her feet occasionally meeting coarse stones, hence the curses. For a moment, I was startled but had to remind myself that she was only this over-zealous when it came to some form of salacious gossip.

In less than a minute she was knocking furiously on the neighbour's door, and when Aunty Rahima opened, she forced herself in, waving the wand-ish spatula like Harry Potter's nemesis, whispering in mock tones. I couldn't hear what she said, and I didn't care either. I just went about my business hoping the black frost didn't kill any of Arabella's roots. But the story eventually emerged two days later when Aunty Rahima just HAD to tell Aunty Padma further down the street... and everyone knows never to tell Aunty Padma anything unless you want the entire world to know.

Just a week prior to that day, a man called Mo had the rudest wake-up call of his life. And the poor guy didn't even see it coming.

When Mo married Shaida in the Summer of 2009, he was the happiest man on earth. She was everything he ever wanted in a woman... a little shorter than he was, 2 grams away from looking like a rake, blue contact lensed eyes, a perfectly iced face habouring make-up like Libyan fugitives, and peroxided hair that was GHD'd to perfection.

He'd never forget the first time he met her. She was the timid, demure girl sitting with her rather loud friends, feasting on cheese burgers in the corner booth of the nearest McD's. He was visiting a friend and when they decided to grab a quick lunch, said friend recognised one of his Varsity classmates and dragged Mo along to say hello.

Two months, oodles of charm, some emotional haggling and several text messages later, Mo and Shaida were officially dating. He was happy to have someone he considered beautiful on his arm. It stroked his rather fragile ego and made him feel like he finally “owned” something that none of his other friends had.

Shaida on the other hand was looking for a way out of her parents clutches and the moment she laid her eyes on Mo’s SLK, she was head over heels in love. It wasn’t long before they were married in a lavish ceremony that cost more than it would have to feed Sudan, and everything seemed great until a few weeks later...

One day, in the midst of revelling in his newly wedded bliss, Mo couldn’t shake the feeling that something was awry. Not one to cave to suspicion, he brushed it aside. It was around this time that Shaida flipped the switch. She suddenly became very demanding and petulant, often picking petty fights and bemoaning stupid facts... like the sunshine yellow pillow cases were a shade lighter than the canary yellow carpet and she simply couldn’t have that – so she demanded a newly decorated boudoir. Confused but governed by his ego and loins, Mo complied because everytime he questioned her, she’d sit in a corner and sulk for the whole week. And he didn't want to upset her.

Soon the entire house wasn’t good enough for Shaida and Mo found himself cash strapped and in debt trying to meet his new wife’s endless “needs”. He shouldn’t have bothered though because barely a few months had passed when Mo received a phone call that would shatter the flawless façade that was his life forever.

Apparently, while Mo was out all day long slaving away from the crack of dawn until the early evenings (so that he could finance his wife’s every whim and fancy), she was canoodling with her best friends' husband in what turned out to be a raunchy debacle. Said husband would arrive at the house and only leave hours later, some of the homebound neighbours observed. And coming straight from the horses-mouths-cousin (<--- ha see what I did there) Shaida loved the thrill of meeting him in secret places. When Mo confronted her, she didn’t deny it... instead to fell to the ground and cried, saying that it was his fault for leaving her alone... and he actually felt a little guilty.

Despite this huge indiscretion on his wife’s part, Mo didn’t want to get divorced, but Shaida left him no choice. She hastily packed away all that she had a acquired from him one day while he was out at work, and shacked up with her best friends’ husband.

Naturally, Mo was devastated. He had nothing because he had given her everything (and some of that everything he had purchased with plastic). He moved in with his parents and spiralled into a deep depression.

But Shaida hadn’t won. A few months after she had moved in with her ex-best-friends’ Ex, she discovered that her new illicit lover was indulging in a few indiscretions of his own at the work place. She went ballistic and he eventually left her for someone younger and prettier.

Moral of this tragedy:

1. Any intelligent and reasonable man in most cases has nothing to fear from women. But beware of two things: firstly, a woman that has more ambition than you do; secondly and the most dangerous of all is the Damsel in Distress. Case in point.

2. Relationships involve two individual people. You cannot treat your spouse like a commodity that's devoid of human emotion... you do not "own" him / her. People, their emotions and actions cannot be controlled.

3. Any woman with an ounce of self-respect and dignity doesn’t need external validation of any kind, nor does she run away from her problems.

4. If you’re going to be a slut, then at the very least eliminate the people in your firing line. There’s a heavy price to pay. The damage will be of catastrophic proportions and important relationships will become irreparable.

5. You can NEVER build your happiness on someone else’s misery and think that you’ll get away with it; Karma kicks Murphy’s ass when it comes to being a Bitch.

6. The shallowness of being WILL be the death of you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coz the world is a nasty place...

For those who don't know, my Dad likes to stalk me online because it's his way of keeping in touch - because even though he only lives a few blocks away, we only see each other a few times a month (my parents are divorced & we've all got hectic schedules - keep up). I don't mind much because we have a good relationship and I have nothing to hide.

Anyways, a while ago I removed alot of my photos from Facebook because I was concerned about their privacy laws. In fact, the internet in general has made me wary of what I choose to put out there with my name stamped on it because you never know who is doing what with your information or your photographs.

The irony is that I don't mind having stalkers because I quite enjoy stalking myself, especially people who fascinate me or incite that mixture of awe and disLustgust... like Diego Forlan (did I mention that I know where he lives??).

BUT. I do have a problem with information that can be manipulated and used against you.

A couple of years ago, I heard a story of some innocent girl whose image was digitally doctored, imposed on some pornographic material and splashed all over the internet for public viewing. This shocked the shit out of me and my imagination ran wild. When you have a body that closely resembles Kimmy Kardasian or any other sex-tape veteran (here's looking at you Paris), this should be cause for concern. We live in a sick world. And you never know who's out to get you.

I was rummaging through some of my photos yesterday and noticed how most of them are head shots or have been cropped over the years. Call me paranoid, but I really wouldn't want my Daddy to stumble across some falsely incriminating raunchy footage of me getting my freak on with Reggie whats-his-face or anyone else who might fancy themselves method actors or exhibitionists.

Although I must say, I've come across many other women girls on Facebook who don't seem to mind that kinda thing.

It should be worth noting that amazingly, happily married people (or even unhappily married people) and the male population in general have no cause for such concerns.... single ladies however, beware.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Coz if you were me, you'd be frustrated too...

I'm always surprised and amused at how irate technology and gadgets can make us human beings; especially since we designed and created them. Hmmm, I wonder if God feels the same way about us.

Anyways, case in point - I'm convinced that between the stapler and the printer in my office, I'm going to need some serious therapy. And no one understands... it's like they toy with me... taunting me endlessly with all their malfunctions and paper-jams. They're malicious and try to unnerve me, especially when there's a deadline looming or when the boss is waiting for some very important documentation to be retrieved (that he couldn't ask for earlier in the morning).

I've tried raising these issues during our office meetings, even wanted to put forth a proposal for corporate subsidies and funding for good local Psychologists and Psychiatrists - because honestly, I'm not the only one suffering in silence. I'm not the only one that needs to be reformed and rehabilitated. Solid time away from Office Stationary should be legitimate grounds for extended holidays... or the Psych Ward... or Rehab at the very least.

But I'm always met with the same reaction and I can't even get a word in edgewise over the sniggering and snorting. And when I return to my desk, I hear the printer sigh satisfactorily because he won. Again. Bastard. I can't even play ice-hockey with him as the puck without everyone getting their knickers in a twist. Hardly seems fair.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Coz if you were a fly on my wall: my day in pictures...

This past weekend I attended a wedding... not just any wedding mind you, it was the wedding of one of our oldest (and closest) family friends. When we lived in Cape Town way back when, they were our family and we grew up as cousins. And over the past 20 odd years, our families, extended families and friends have all become an interconnected web of familial ties that have less to do with shared blood groups and chromosomes, and more to do with unconditional and unwavering love and support thats developed between the respective families and mutual friends.

And so we were all invited to the wedding. ALL of us... cousins, friends, cousins cousins, third cousins, friends' friends etc. and the whole crew in Johannesburg sought to make their way to Cape Town - travelling all 1404km's of the way either by air on a two hour flight or by road trip (which took between 10 and 12 hours amongst the various convoys).

Anyways, I decided to document at least one day of the trip... it began on Friday afternoon after work (which is 3pm for me) when we made our way to the airport. Now every time I go to Cape Town, it feels like I've never left. I could literally pick up on a conversation I had when I left and it doesn't really matter how long I'd been gone for. And this trip was very reminiscent of the trip we took up the West Coast in Dec09 / Jan10 (for pics of that trip, go here)... and it honestly felt more like I had been in CT only a few weeks ago and not an entire year later. Click on images for larger visuals.

17:20pm - At the airport, grabbing an early dinner before the flight. It hasn't occurred to me before that most South Africans like hot and spicy food... a mix of hot and mild chicken burgers at Nando's:

21:30pm - After some delays and a rollercoaster ride, including being caught up in a highveld storm surrounded by thunder bolts thousands of feet up in the atmosphere, we finally land and I've never been more happy to see the ground or CT airport before in my life:

01:15am - After all the hugs and kisses and a quick shower, made a bed in the Bride's room and chatted briefly before urging her to get her beauty sleep and decided to get some myself.

05:45am - An early rise... so much to do, so little time. Hair and makeup for most of the girls, transporting all the freshly made food to the hall for breakfast, running around like chickens with our heads chopped off. And some people were still making airport runs for those arriving on the day:

07:52am - One of the Bridesmaids wrestles with the cat who attacked her dress. He must hate that colour on her... people start heading to the hall:

08:17am - The Bride is finally ready to leave... just some last minute touches:

08:33am - Everyone at the hall preparing a buffet style breakfast before the Nikkah (actual service) begins at 09:00am:

09:04am - Guests begin arriving as Nikkah begins concurrently at the mosque next door:

09:16am - Most people mulling about either chatting or completing those last minute details while waiting for the men to return from the mosque:

09:25am - Bride takes photos and waits while her father represents her at the mosque:

10:00am-ish - Men arrive from the mosque & they're officially married. Everyone digs in (some of us after waiting for what felt like FOREVER). Mother of the Bride entertains and answers everyones questions:

10:35am - People head outside to take photos of the newly married couple on an absolutely gorgeous day - 35 degrees celcius (95F):

11:10am - Everyone begins clearing up. An hour to rest before its time to get ready for the Lunch-reception held by the Groom's side of the family. All the "adults" and elders attend while the rest of us youngsters (read under 35's) choose to skip and head to my Uncle's flat / apartment in Bloubergstrand for a change of clothes:

11:40pm - When you live here, what is there to be sad about?!?:

12:03pm - Finally heading to the beach which is just 2 minutes away:

12:50pm - Relaxing in the hot sun. The cold water is a blessing in such hot humid weather and it's very difficult to get up and leave but we have to:

12:54pm - On our way to the Parade we passed this lagoon:

12:55pm - For a moment I what it's like to live here at this specific place... and I contemplated what prevents me from moving back to CT. 

12:58pm - We pass by the golf course and the harbour:

13:05pm - Eventually get to the Parade in the city where there's a little market place. We park near City Hall:

13:15pm - Some of the stalls were busy closing up, but it didn't matter because we didn't find what we were looking for. I did buy a hat though... a white Fedora:

13:28pm - On the way to Canal Walk... one of the biggest shopping centres / malls I've ever been to:

13:57pm - Walking running, trying to cram in some last minute shopping before the main wedding reception that evening. Waiting 15 minutes for my coffee to go... yeah this is why I don't live here:

14:44pm - On the way back "home" to prepare for the evening.

15:22pm - Grab a snack, make salaah, chat amongst ourselves, laugh a whole lot, then take a nap.

17:15pm - Getting ready to go to the main reception.

17:58pm - Arrive at the main reception a little early. Waiting on others to make their way:

18:15pm - Hall begins to fill up (because people in CT are generally on time) and the procession begins with bridesmaids, groomsmen, miniture brides and miniture groom in tow - everyone waiting on the Bride with her white Cinderella dress from Syria (and the Groom too of course - in whatever he was wearing):

 18:42pm - And of course, we told the Bride that we were only there for one reason... the pics don't do it justice:

19:13pm - Bride's mother sneaks out for a cigarette while she (and her new hubby) walk around the tables greeting all their guests:

20:30pm - Dinner is served and Roast Chicken and vegetables, Leg of Lamb and a CT speciality Sweet Rice is on the menu. We don't eat much, don't want to burst out of our corsets now do we...

21:30pm - Bride leaves the hall for her new home and everyone says their emotional goodbyes:

22:30pm - Leave Bride's house, go home and change into something more confortable and then head back to Canal Walk to meet another entourage while trying to decide where to go to in CT. Sharing some fries while we wait:

23:10pm - Out until the wee hours of the morning, painting the town red (and green and orange and yellow and blue and just about every other colour you can think of), utterly exhausted but not giving a damn.

And that was my entire Saturday.

The next few days were similar... all over the place... there was a male coup of sorts (but THAT is a whole other story on its own), a hilarious lap dancing class caught on video, shisha / hookah, Playstation3 Wars, long conversations that left my tummy aching with laughter, fun in the sun on the beach, driving around,  lots of food, and great quality time with lots of family and friends. I can't wait to feel like I've never left again.