Five years

Yesterday, Mrs 6000 and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary and – having survived the meal I cooked for us last night – we headed out to Franschhoek for some real food at Delaire on the Helshoogte Mountain Pass between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek this lunchtime.
And wow. What a treat.

The architecture, the views, the ambiance, the food, the wine, the service all rated as five star. Sure, it was expensive, but we could have paid the same for a meal in one of the Waterfront’s tourist traps and only got three stars for our money (at best). And we really don’t get the chance to do this sort of thing very often: memorably, our first anniversary was spent looking after a five day old baby. Our third was spent with the wife too pregnant to enjoy any sort of celebration. I remember having to drink all the wine that day and I did my best to relive that experience again today.

The journey home along the N2 was punctuated with 130kph photo opportunities, all of which seemed irresistible thanks to the 750ml of Rainbow’s End Cabernet Franc 2007 I had imbibed.

Seriously though, if you’re looking for somewhere a bit special for lunch, I cannot recommend Delaire highly enough. We’ll certainly be returning for a longer visit (involving more food and wine tasting) next time we’re out Franschhoek way.  

More photos from today are on Flickr.

Goal.com Traveller’s Guide To South Africa: Crime And Safety

It’s actually very difficult to get an objective view on crime and safety in South Africa. As with many subjects, it depends on the perceptions of the individual as to what sort of report you’re going to get. And those reports will range from the hysteria of the ex-pat in Perth to the firmly-staying-put South African ostrich with his head in the sand pretending everything is peachy.
The imminent arrival of the FIFA World Cup has not only increased the discussion around this issue, it has further polarised the differing viewpoints.

But, you may be surprised to learn, neither of these extremes is actually the case.

Here at 6000 miles… we’ve always taken the more sensible middle-of-the-road route. Yes, there is a problem, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get raped, murdered, robbed, mugged or anything else while you’re here in South Africa. 
It’s actually not the crime that is the real problem when discussing crime – it’s the perception of the crime: 

The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute have conducted research on the victims of crime in the country, which shows the picture of South African crime as more typical of a developing country.
These statistics show that South Africa has lower rates of violent crime than most African and South American countries, but due to the fact that South Africa is often compared to the developed world, the crime rate is considered high when measured against the likes of England, the US, Italy, Germany and other first world countries.

And at last, it seems that some sort of reasonable voice has made it into the media ahead of the World Cup in the form of Goal.com’s Traveller’s Guide to South Africa: Crime and Safety. It’s like a longer and more detailed version of the infamous Big South African Crime Post of almost three years ago.
And I can’t find fault with it at all.

In the lead up to the World Cup, I’m going to be doing a number of posts on what to expect when visiting South Africa, but goal.com’s Peter Pedroncelli has saved me the job on the whole safety and security issue. Thanks, Pete.

If you’re coming for the World Cup (or even if you’re not) read it and get a dose of reality.

UPDATE: More sense from Andrew Harding.

Party

Life changes when you become a parent. The word “party” used to mean something entirely different.
Something about beer and more beer, and a kebab trampled into the carpet.
Now it means kids and more kids, and cake trampled into the carpet.

But it’s still easily as much fun.

The magician/entertainer we hired for Alex’s 4th birthday party was “Crazy” Colin Underwood and comes highly, highly recommended if you’re looking for something a bit different for a child’s party or corporate event. He was brilliant and entertained the kids and adults alike for almost an hour.

I’ll get some pics up onto flickr sometime over the weekend, but as you might imagine – having had a house full of 20 four year old kids and all the cake trampling that goes with it – we’re pretty knackered right now

The other Icelandic export

The spotlight this week has been firmly placed on Iceland. Iceland is of course, best known for giving the rest of the world two things: Volcanic ash & Björk. Its major import is money from investors across Europe, which it loses and doesn’t give back. With my psuedo-Viking heritage, it’s somewhere I have always wanted to visit. One day, I shall, and I will enjoy a meal or two of their other lesser known export: puffin.

Yes, these comical little seabirds are actually eaten over there. Living in South Africa, with its proud history of braai’ing anything and everything one can find, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about this.
And who can blame the locals for utilising anything as a food source when you look at the barren volcanic landscapes that surround them?
Needs must and all that.

Come now – it might look cute – OK, it does look cute – but it’s basically just a chicken with a funny beak. And you don’t have any issues with eating chicken, do you? So there’s no real difference between you visiting KFC or RFP (Reykjavik Fried Puffin), is there?

Of course, they don’t do anything quite so vulgar as rolling it in breadcrumbs and giving it to some gormless high school dropout to boil in dirty oil. No, there are traditional recipies that have been followed by the Icelandic people for many years:

4 puffins
50g smoked bacon
50g butter
300ml milk
300ml water
salt to taste

Puffins should be skinned or carefully plucked and singed. Remove the innards and discard. You can use the breasts alone, or cook the whole birds. Wash well in cold water and rub with salt, inside and out. If you are using whole birds, truss them. Draw strips of bacon through the breasts. Brown the birds on all sides, and stuff the birds tightly into a cooking pot. Heat the milk and water and pour over the puffins. Bring to the boil and cook on low for 1-2 hours (test the birds for softness). Turn the birds occasionally.

It sounds delicious – and it looks like this:

As flickr user wili_hybrid says:

We brought back ten smoked puffins from our trip to Iceland. My brother’s girlfriend Jenni combined some traditional puffin recipes and came up with a delicious variant where the puffins are boiled for hours in a mixture of milk, beer and bacon, and served with a variety of different jams and jellies. The meat was much more game-like than what I expected (the taste almost resembling that of a reindeer) as the puffins I’ve tried before have tasted rather fishy.

Sadly, there are no puffins in South Africa. However, they are fairly closely related to penguins and we have plenty of them – as my daughter happily points out.

I’m quite sure that I could slip one into a bag at Boulders and then into a pot at home…

Where to buy your World Cup tickets

UPDATE: Ticket availability update here.

Over the counter ticket sales for the FIFA World Cup begin at 9am on Thursday 15th April.

Both ticket bookings and ticket collection (for tickets already booked elsewhere, on the FIFA website or FNB branches), will be conducted at these outlets.
Cash, credit cards and debit cards will be accepted as tender – no cheques. Ensure you take formal ID with you (drivers licence, ID book etc).
Maximum of 10 tickets per customer transaction (either 10 for one game or any combination of games to maximum of 10 tickets)

Customers who have questions about games and tickets, or problems with tickets, can contact FIFA on the hotline number 083 123 2010, or send enquiries to enquiries@2010fwctc.co.za.
More information on tickets available at www.fifa.com/2010.

You can get your tickets at the following outlets:

OFFICAL FIFA TICKETING CENTRES:

CAPE TOWN
The Spearhead (cnr Buitengragt & Strijdom)

DURBAN
Sun Coast Casino; Marine Parade; Gateway Shopping Centre; Umhlanga Ridge

JOBURG
Sandton (cnr Rivonia & Linden); Maponya Mall (Old Potchefstroom Rd in Soweto)

BLOEMFONTEIN
Loch Logan Waterfront Mall

PORT ELIZABETH
Moffet on Main Lifestyle (cnr Man & William Moffet)

NELSPRUIT
The Grove Shopping Centre (White River Road)

POLOKWANE
Lifestyle Mall (Landrosmare & Market)

RUSTENBURG – Waterfall Mall; Augrabies Mall

TSHWANE
Brooklyn Mall (Lange & Fehrsen)

Online from 6pm on Thursday 15th April: www.fifa.com/2010 

And at these selected SHOPRITE/CHECKERS stores from Monday 19th April:

GAUTENG
Checkers Hyper Sandton
Checkers Hyper Westgate
Checkers Hyper Eastgate
Checkers Hyper Menlyn Park

RUSTENBURG
Shoprite Mogwase
Shoprite Brits

POLOKWANE
Shoprite Tzaneen

NELSPRUIT
Shoprite Nelspruit
Shoprite White River

BLOEMFONTEIN
Checkers Langenhoven Park
Shoprite Heidedal

PORT ELIZABETH
Shoprite Bethelsdorp
Shoprite Greenacres

DURBAN
Checkers Pavillion
Checkers Hillcrest
Shoprite Chatsworth

CAPE TOWN
Checkers Century City
Checkers Plumstead

58 days and counting!