I’ve spent the last few days in Pretoria for work. While there I had the opportunity to check out South Africa’s first Turkish mosque. Here are some photos:

Exterior - mosque, Johannesburg

Blue Mosque, Joburg

Bathroom, Turkish mosque, Johannesburg

The last photo was taken in the restaurant next to the mosque.

Ottoman Restaurant, Johannesburg

The following photos were taken at Fairview.
Close up of the goat

Itchy goat

Goat, Fairview, Paarl

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A list of articles that have shocked, mortified, inspired or amused me:

I give good link

Nicole recently sent her “no BS club” a monthly review template. And because I’m a sucker for these types of things, I thought I’d participate and share my answers with you.

Thinking back over the past month, I am …

–          Most proud of my new Personal Best for a 21.1km run (2:01). The last time I set a PB for a half-marathon was 2 years ago. I was beginning to believe that I would never break 2:09; that I would never get any faster and that I should instead focus my attention on running further. And then, just like that, I smashed it. And it was easy. It didn’t feel like work. It didn’t feel like I was pushing myself. It felt like just another training run.

–          Deeply grateful for my dad. He’s always willing to train with me. (My sister recently told her friend that she was always our dad’s favourite. And then I picked up running.)

–          Impressed by the way I handled tough choices. Distance running requires dedication, commitment and sacrifice. It’s leaving a party early because you have a 06:00 race the next morning. It is leaving the comfort of your warm bed on chilly mornings. It is ice packs on inflamed muscles, black toenails and chafing in awkward places.

–          So glad that I learned that I haven’t peaked, that I haven’t reached my threshold.  Setting a new PB has reignited my love of running and inspired me to work harder. I can’t stop wondering about what is possible. Can I achieve 1:57?

–          Continually inspired by my friends, Amy and Barry. They aren’t runners, but they are individuals who are actively pursuing their passions.

Looking ahead to next month, I am …

–          Super excited about the Cape Town Marathon (42.2km) happening on 21 September. I ran the marathon two years ago and the last 6km were PAINFUL. I completed the thing in 5:17. This year I’m confident I will complete it in 5 hours. (And if I don’t, then I’d just train for the next marathon. I will run an entire marathon in 5 hours.)

–          Choosing to let go of Quiz Night. I no longer enjoy going to quiz night. The only reason I continue to go is out of habit.

–          Fully committed to tapering. I plan to spend the weekend before the actual marathon surfing.

–          Consciously prioritizing my training for the next two weeks. I also plan to carve out time for my conservation planning course.

Do my current habits support my goals? YES!

Running

I’ve recently become one of those annoying people who say, “I went for a short run yesterday. Only 7km.” Because anything shorter than 15km is just playing.

In less than a month’s time I will be running the Cape Town Marathon (42.2km). This isn’t the first time I will be undertaking the endeavour. I ran the race two years ago and only managed to complete it in 5:17. This year I’m hoping to cross the finish line in under 5 hours. (Completing a marathon in under 5 means that I qualify for an ultra-marathon. Not that I am plan on running an ultra. It’s just nice to have the option.) People (on twitter) tell me that since I completed the John Korasie 30km in 3:23, I should be able to manage a sub-5. But I don’t believe them.

Or at least I didn’t believe them until yesterday. Yesterday, I ran a half-marathon in 2:01. A few people commented on how disappointed I must be – missing a sub-2 by mere minutes. But I’m NOT! I am elated. This is 8 minutes faster than my previous PB – obtained a friggin lifetime ago.

 

Travel blogs 

Sarah Duff recently went on a road trip through the US. Her photos are amazing. Check them out here.

 

Books

I am currently rereading “The God of Small Things.” It’s a truly beautiful book and I’ve transcribed several extracts of the novel to this ole blog. (See here, here and here.) Here’s another delightful quote from the novel:

“His light brown eyes were polite, yet maleficent, as though he were making an effort to be civil to the photographer while plotting to murder his wife.”

 

Books

A list of things that have amused/saddened/shocked me:

 

I am currently reading “The God of Small Things” for the third time. Why, would I read a book I’ve already read? Because it gives me pleasure.

Anyway, here’s a delightful quote from the novel.

“On weekdays she watched The Bold and The Beautiful and Santa Barbara, where brittle blondes with lipstick and hairstyles rigid with spray seduced androids and defended their sexual empires. Baby Kochamma loved their shiny clothes and their smart, bitchy repartee. During the day disconnected snatches of it came back to her and made her chuckle.”

I give good link 2

West Coast National Park - added filter

Oxalis

West Coast National Park

Flowers Weskus

That the people who make you laugh are more beautiful than beautiful people.

I spent the last few days on the West Coast with some truly beautiful women. And it was good. And I was reminded once again of how blessed I am to have met these people. My people. Explorers. Adventurers. Nerds. Confidantes. Individuals who inspire and encourage. Individuals who will look at you and say, “Your boyfriend has rapey eyes.”

Thinking

“That what you make and what you do with your time is more important than you’ll ever fathom and should be treated as such.”

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about goals, priorities, time management, sacrifice and death.

 

Books

I’ve mentioned Mary Roach a couple of times, but I’m not sure that I’ve managed to convince you what an awesome writer she is. So here’s another quote from her novel, Gulp. This one is taken from chapter 8, where she looks at whether it is possible for a human to survive being swallowed by a whale.

“While a seaman might survive the suction and swallow, his arrival in a sperm whale’s stomach would seem to present a new set of problems.*

*I challenge you to find a more innocuous sentence containing the words sperm, suction, swallow, and any homophone of seaman. And then call me up on the homophone and read it to me.”

And yes, I am still busy reading a book I profess to love. I am busy – earning a living, training for a marathon and socialising with strangers.

 

Socialising with strangers

A few nights ago, I had supper with a Bullmutt and his cohorts.

Me to the waitress: I’ll have a cappuccino.

Waitress: Erm, someone’s already bought you a Long Island Tea.

Me: But I don’t drink.

Waitress: You can start today.

Naturally, I had to tweet the above conversation.

My favourite response to the tweet came from MFS. MFS: That is true. (You could tell her that you also don’t murder … If you do murder, use a different example.)

Weight

On Eid, my brother looked at me and said, “You’ve lost a lot of weight. Did you have diarrhoea?”

Books

I’m still busy reading “Gulp” by Mary Roach. Here’s another delightful quote. This one is taken from Chapter 12:

“One of the earliest flatus studies on record was carried out by the Parisian physician Francois Magendie. In 1816, Magendie published a paper entitled “Note on the Intestinal Gas of a Healthy Man.” The title is misleading, for although the man in question suffered no illness, he was dead and missing his head.”

Running

I’ve signed up for a 16km trail run and the Cape Town Marathon (42km) …

Travel

I am going to Mykonos. I am going to Mykonos. I am going to Mykonos.  

Club Mykonos, not the town in Greece after which the club was named. Club Mykonos is a seaside resort, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Besides swimming, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep us entertained – paintballing, horse riding and archery. And OH MY GOD, I don’t think I will ever be bored there.

And yes, I know that I’ve been incredibly lucky with regards to travelling this year. I’ve spent the first day of the year ziplining from a fort in India; I’ve flown to Johannesburg to watch Joss Stone perform live and cuddled some lion cubs; I’ve run the last 20km of the Comrades Marathon with my dad and cycled along Durban beachfront; I’ve been appalled by service in Cameroon; AND now I’m going to on a paid vacation to Club Mykonos. That’s right someone else is footing my accommodation bill. And before you jump to any conclusions, Fahiema won a weekend’s stay at the resort and she’s taking me along!

Photography

Here’s a link to the 2014 National Geographic photographic competition winners. Spoiler alert: I am not one of the winners.

Guys, enjoy the weekend. Be safe and be kind. 

Rising sun from my apartment

If I had to update my twitter bio, it would read, “Lover of sunsets, coffee and Mary Roach novels.”

Mary Roach is a brilliant writer – she makes science sound fun and accessible. I am currently reading her novel, “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal”.

Below is an extract from chapter 11, which explores the use of the rectum for storing contraband. The term employed for smuggling contraband into the rectum is called “hooping”.

“The preference in California prisons for rectal smuggling is a little surprising given the preponderance of Latinos and African Americans – two populations that are, taken as a whole, somewhat less comfortable with homosexuality. Prison, I’m guessing, is a place where extenuating circumstances erode the stigma that otherwise attaches to extracurricular uses of the rectum.

Rodrigues speaks freely about the situation in Avenal. Rather than antagonize gay inmates, he says, gang leaders tend to employ them. “We call them ‘vaults.’ If they’re reliable, the homies will approach them – ‘Hey, check it out, you want to make some money?'”

Everyone else has to practice to get up to speed. Rodriguez recalls his “cherry” assignment – the blades – as extremely painful. He says gang underlings are made to practice. I picture muscular, tattooed men puttering around the cell with soap bars or salt shakers on board. Lieutenant Parks showed me an 8 X 10 photograph of what he said was a practice item, one that landed the apprentice in Medical Services. Deodorant sticks had been pushed into either end of a cardboard toilet paper tube and wrapped in tape. “As you can see,” he said in his characteristic deadpan, “it’s a rather large piece.” (Rodriguez says that it was hooped on a bet.)

“To avoid anal laceration, dilation may have to be performed progressively over a period of several weeks or months.” This quote comes from a journal, but it is not a corrections industry journal or even an emergency medicine or proctology journal. It’s from the Journal of Homosexuality. A corrections or even a protology journal eould not have gone on, in the very next sentence, to say, “Rowan and Gillette (1978) have described the case of a man who derived sexual pleasure from inflating his rectum with a bicycle tire pump.” (As I did not pursue the reference, I remain ignorant of this man’s fate and whether he exceeded the recommended PSI of the human rectum.)”

CaptureAbove photo taken by These Streets Cape Town.

I’ve just been booked for my first photo shoot. A friend recently asked me to take a couple of photos of her, her fiance and their dog. They’ll us the photos to send out “save the date invitations”. So excited. And nervous.

Anyway, here’s a list of links to articles/blogs that have amused, shocked or angered me.

I give good link