It will have to be a weird, jumbled list. Standing in a proper snow storm. Visiting the Jewish Quarter. The changing of the guards at the Castle. The insurance company’s stained glass window of the Cathedral. The beautiful astrological reliefs on the church gate. The pampered dogs of Prague. The houses with symbols instead of numbers. The micro brewery at the Strahov Monastery. King Rudolph 2’s magical Cabinet of Curiosities with unicorn horns, a Basilisk, massive dead crabs and tree books. The Golem of Prague, the Church of St Nicholas, The Infant of Prague Church, where you pray and if your prayer is answered you send a dress to the doll of the infant. The magnificent and romantic St Charles Bridge, St John who got thrown off the bridge and where people touch the two places on the relief. The strange Irish band of four Czech boys who sang Down In The Balley yo” in the Irish pub that sells Bisto, Marmite and LemSip. Nigerian drug dealers on Wenceslas Square. Cobbles. Goths. The Spanish Synagogue, soup served in round breads. Meat. Almost pagan nativity scenes. Marrionettes. Bohemia. Poor little St Vitus. Good King Wenceslas and his banner. Slavia. The Absinthe painting. The Absinthe ice cream shop. Did I say the snow? Trams. Apple strudel. Salad for breakfast. An exciting presidential election. Freezing hands. Hot wine. Hot white wine. The Sand Pact – go slow in the Nazi occupation. Slovakia. Crepes. Hot chocolate. Franz Kafka. Movies. Communism. Tourism. Pride. Horror stories. Ghost stories. Rabbi Lev. The Forbes 2nd Ugliest Building in The World. Delightful English by Czech speakers. Pastry shops. Theatre. Architecture. Statues.
Category: travel log (Page 2 of 6)
The weirdest thing about traveling to a new place is how excited you get when you know where you are and you can navigate yourself back to where you are staying. The unfamiliar and strange becomes accessible and recognisable. For me it is also the moment when you stop thinking about yourself and start looking at the local people and imagining their lives. Their homes. Their routines. What they like and don’t like. What pets they have and when and where they walk them.
Our world has become very small. Prague is peppered with global brands like Mc Donald’s, H&M and Starbucks. The KPMG building looks like it has been lifted out of Cape Town and plonked into this city. But there are the things that define it immediately as unique. The horse and rider statues, the silhouette of an actual castle, the bridge over the river, the Old Town Square, the trams, the cobble stones.
I can’t wait to explore deeper, when I am refreshed and responsive tomorrow.
Wow. I feel like I have hardly had time to breathe, let alone write here. But at the very moment, I am on the bed with Frieda farting in my direction, I have said goodbye to family who were down for the hols, I have opened Fully Committed to delighted audiences, I have planned my recording session for tomorrow, recovered from a nasty gastro bug and I need to start thinking about Prague, which is next on the agenda. I leave on Wednesday and will be gone for 2 weeks.
It has been a non-stop, work, play, do time for me and it is how I like it. This year is going to be jam packed, and the best part is that I’ll be doing tons of my own stuff in amongst the other stuff I normally do, and I will be doing amazing, exciting and challenging work stuff. I am very excited, if not a little bit nervous.
But, while I am away, please go and see the unbelievably talented and versatile Pieter Bosch Botha in Fully Committed at Alexander Bar next weekend, or the next. It is such an entertaining piece.
So Christmas has just been, and in a special twist of lucky fish fate it was a divine family one, with Big Friendly’s true blood in the Cape to celebrate. It was delicious, and seven year old Kai crowned me the best cooker. What an award.
But before I even relax a teeny bit I am getting ready to jump into a few things before the year is out. I am in the recording studio over the next two days, directing voice overs for GreatGuide, who have more than one or two projects on the go that I am involved with. And tomorrow (Thurs 27th) w are performing our first monthly long form experimental improv show called Jam Sandwich, at The Alexander Bar. The teeny theatre above the bar seems to have taken off with wings, and we are delighted to be part of it. I think we are all sold out for tomorrow night. How cool? Cool.
Then, rehearsals are under way for Fully Committed. I worked on directing this show at the very beginning of the year with Pieter Bosch Botha, who performed this decadent marathon of a one-man-playing-37-characters, before he took it to the Festival of Fame in Jozi. Well, now on the first two weekends of 2013 it is going to have its first showing in Cape Town at The Alexander Bar. I can’t wait. Pieter Bosch Botha is inspiring. It will be on on Friday and Saturday the 4th and 5th and again the following weekend of the 11th and 12th. Book here now because the small venue sells out fast.
And then, on the 9th of January I am winging my way to Prague, of all places, for two weeks. It’s also for GreatGuide. We are going to be designing and writing commentary for walking tours of Prague and I cannot wait! Prague. Winter. Oldness. Eastern Europe. 1st time.
Gung ho for next year I tell ya.
But right now it is latke time with our favourite family, the Noodles. Here is my made up recipe for the most flawless, delicious latkes. Grate peeled potatoes on the fine grate. Do an onion too. Squeeze out as much juice as you can. Mix in an egg and some flour. Put blobs of the mixture in hot oil. Turn them often and try your hardest to wait until they go a delicious golden brown. Eat with sour cream, apple sauce (apparently), marmalade (not my cuppa) or even dijon mustard. Yum.
And I don’t mean it in the Ozzie “How youse doing?” kind of way. I am just over 24 hours away from making the long trek home to the loving arms of Big Friendly, the warmness of good friends and family, the complicated heart pullings of a home city and country that inspires, frustrates, irritates, placates, enrages and draws me, and my life that I left behind. Before I get swallowed and absorbed by the many daily things that swamp a life back home I wanted to reflect on the people that have made this most extraordinary journey what it has been for me. Be warned. It is a long list (and if you are not on it, it doesn’t mean I don’t adore and value you passionately.)
First up I want to name and honour my guy, Big Friendly. I have been loved and supported in every possible way by him, and he made this whole trip possible. He is what makes me a lucky fish. Big Friendly, it has been far too long without you, my hero, friend, confidante, go-to-guy and home-fires-burning partner. Next time we go together.
I want to honour and love my amazing fellow travelers Tandi Buchan and Candice D’Arcy. With them we were the magical Team SA, and we achieved the improv version of Olympic Gold for ourselves. We shared a room at the YHA during Improvention, we shared a room at Patti’s house, and Candice and I shared a room at cousin Nicky. Intense. We played, ran workshops, partied, supported, nit picked, discussed, laughed, jolled, and had the absolute best time ever, and I am so happy we shared it. Magical Moments with Benny the buck toothed Koala, jumping photographs, fetta (that’s how they spell it here in Oz) pies, karaoke (shits me up the wall), excellent improv and the making and sharing of other magnificent new friends. It deserves to be said that doing a trip like this is outrageously expensive and taxing; particularly for these two travelers who had children at home, and I want to say bravo to both of them. We have tons of thrilling work ahead, putting into practice everything we got madly excited by.
The organisers, makers and doers of Improvention are next up. What a phenomenon. Nick Byrne, I have no idea how you got us there, three unknown Seffefrican improvisers on a mission, and you will always be my hero for doing so. Improvention was completely awesome, necessary, amazing, inspiring and wild. Ben CrowleyÂ and Cathy Hagarthy, organisers, improvisers, home-sharers, lift-givers, and all round amazingnesses you made us feel welcome so comfortable even though we were jet lagged zombies without a clue, and you both had fifty million things to do. The rest of you Improvention organiser type peeps like Reid, Kathy, Brad, PJ and all the others I haven’t mentioned, I know what you did. And thank you. Thank you performers, workshop leaders and directors. I watched, played, workshopped, slept, ate and loved impro(v) all over again, and more. Last on this list is Chris Allen, who was responsible for Mission Roo, and who completely fulfilled this quest, in style. The reality is, if it wasn’t for Improvention, we wouldn’t have come, and my love affair with Oz would never have happened.
Then it was Melbourne and her magic. Patti Stiles; guru, inspiration, hilariousness, fire maker, bird feeder, Quokka hostess, home supplier, map drawer, advice giver, story teller, love machine, music sharer, tour organiser, and all round most amazing. There are no words to thank you enough. I miss you like an oldest friend. Impro Melbourne; you guys, the whole lot of you are possibly my favourite people on earth. Thank you ALL for love, sharing, lifts (David and Kevin and Katherine and Caitlin more especially), partying, eating and drinking, workshopping, and for Exploding Heads (Myron and Josh in particular) for letting us play with you. Thanks Impro Melbourne for letting us do Jill Bernard workshops with you all, and allowing the Improvention festival continue.
Jill and Eric I love you both so much. You were the perfect traveling hook ups and you were best fun, big chats, total hilariousness, tea (Eric) obsessed, gung-ho, crazy, kind, brilliant, silly, dingo-loving partners in Oz travelingness. Here’s the thing; I have a very good idea of all things Austin, Texas, and no clueÂ about Minnesota. I love your improv, your energy and your insights. Thanks for the big, fat share.
My Sydney week has other special thank yous attached. First up, Ange Hume, for taking in a complete stranger. Thank you most gracious lady. To old friend Heather and even very old friend Jenny; it was amazing reconnecting with you, however brief, and I am sorry we didn’t get to do it again. Next time? I can’t imagine not coming back. The biggest, most loving and delicious thanks goes to The Segerman fandamily for unbridled hospitality – Oz style. Every last thing; delicious food, lifts, tour guidage, amazing open house, smoked fish, fabulous stories, Madiba’s birthday, Celebrity TheatreSports, an amazing massage, gorgeous, warm, loving children and sharing your new home in the best, clearest, warmest way. I love you. But, let’s get down to brass tacks, or salted caramel. I owe you my best gelato experience ever. And that is totally huge. My life is changed by Gelato Messina, in both a good way (best ever) and bad way (there is none where I come from).
Maleny, you are so magnificent. B and R I often felt like you guys were living where I should be. Thank you for sharing that. It was profound.
And now, as I sit and write this in Brissie, on my last full day here in Oz, I thank Wade Robinson and Suzie and Chloe, for taking me in at such short notice and being such gracious, open and delightful hosts. Improvisers of Oz, you are a very special kind of loving somebody. And I love you all right back.
Big Friendly hates it when I buy cheap shoes. This last pair was the worst because they were fake Doc Martens and they only cost R129. I was flippen delighted. They had red and black tartan lining and four red eyelets at the top of the boot. They also had laces and zips. They were to be my overseas walking winter boots.
Everything started off well when I started wearing them in Cape Town and they were really comfortable, but then I went to summer in New York and they stayed at home. I started wearing them in freezing Canberra and they were great – warm, comfortable and fashionably retro-goth, going with all my black that I had packed.
And then came wet Melbourne and something happened when water got somewhere. The boots started smelling funny. And they got worse. I couldn’t understand where the smell of cat wee was coming from, pretty much wherever I went. By the end of week Melbourne I had established that my boots were a little stinky. A lot stinky. Cat wee stinky. I resolved to try and deal with it in Sydney. I tried. I sprayed, powdered and dusted. I left them in my cousin’s garage, with vanilla pods in them for a whole day. I aired them, wore them, smelled them from my feet when I was on the bus.
And finally last night I couldn’t take it any more. We had just been to the Celebrity Theatresports fundraiser at The Enmore Theatre and I had gotten whiffs of my boots throughout the show. I had first tried to hide my feet under the seat in front of me. It helped not one ounce. I covered them with my jacket. Nada. And when the damn boots ended up distracting me from the show I had a brain wave.
As we got into the car to go back to my cousin’s house I unzipped the boots like Speedy Gonzales. I left them standing on the very busy pavement of the trendy Sydney suburb like little stinky soldiers, and I slammed the car door shut, shouting, “drive, drive, drive!” We made our getaway in total hysterics, looking back to see the reactions of passing strangers.
Boots, I loved you while it lasted. Thanks, but no thanks to cat wee feet.