Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Spice Island. Day one.

Sup yo! Me, I'm in Nairobi visiting Johan, and we just got back from a 5-day visit to Zanzibar, where interestingly, there were a whole lot of sunbathing Germans. Like, to the point where it almost had us googling "what's up with all the Germans in Zanzibar?!"

The wifi situation was pretty bad though, so instead we chatted up a German guy in a restaurant, who informed us that at some point back in the 19th Century, some Brits and some Germans got together over drinks and were all "hey, why don't we make this Island ours?" and then they all raised their glasses and toasted to Imperialism.

Anyway, Zanzibar! What an absolutely dreamy and also dirt poor place. Quite heavily dependent on tourism and at the same time a little corrupted by it. And also, super hot, which meant we couldn't really muster the energy to see any of  all the cultural sights, nor did we go on the Freddie Mercury Tour, which my sister, a die hard fan, had suggested we go on.

Instead we spent our first day wandering about Stone Town, the old part of Zanzibar City, marveling at all the beautiful vistas and breathtaking Swahili architecture, ate plenty of good food and took a good long stroll along the beach, waddling in the bathtub-hot water.

Not bad. Not bad at all :)

We stayed at the Emerson Spice Hotel, in a room that felt very One thousand and One Nights
It also had an interesting layout - interesting in the sense that the bed and living room section and bathtub and toilet were all in one room. Like no doors, none! (It suffices to say that we established a whole new level of intimacy on this trip ;)

This was the view from the ground floor interior courtyard:

And this was the view from our floor down: 

At one point, all the lady bloggers in town went: "We've had it up to HERE with snake plants! Now we're all about fig leaf trees!" - and then they all disposed of their snake plants in an alley somewhere and forgot all about them. (Are you getting this joke at all? Or am I reading way too many style blogs?!)
We had lunch at the Livingstone Beach Restaurant, which was insanely picturesque. 
One of those places places with an old-world feel that makes you wonder: "Hey was colonialism really so bad after all?" and then you remember yes, it totally was! And one minute later, you look around and see that you're surrounded by nothing but white people and you realize that colonialism is not over at all, in fact it's thriving! And it's partly thanks to the likes of me! (insert 1,000 ashamed emojis here)
My travel companion. In pink shorts :)

Here I asked him to pose with the bougainvillea and that cute bus. 
It amazes me that he always obliges, even though in this picture he's clearly thinking: "She's so weird it's almost a little sad" ;)

And finally: THIS SUNSET! How 80s can you get?!

And that, my friends, was the end of our first fine day in Zanzibar.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

10 South African Outtakes

So, as I went looking for my clam yesterday, which I guess technically wasn't even a clam but a sea snail, I came upon so many photos from our trip to Cape Town that seemed kinda blogworthy. So here goes, 10 South African outtakes:

First, I give you Johan and a minion! 
If minions were for real, they'd be the world's number one pet, I think. Because who in their right mind could ever neuter let alone put down or abandon a minion?

Johan and I went to a nice coffee shop one morning, and they served me a cappuccino with the letter S drawn into the foam. I don't remember them asking my name, nor did the name of the shop start with the letter S. So go figure.

I guess S has a simple and organic shape, whereas R can be quite a bitch to pull off latte-art wise. So perhaps this is what they teach you in barista class. "In our first semester, we're going to perfect the letter S. Come fall, we'll be making hearts and leaves, and by the time you graduate, you will be mastering The Jacko."

Here Johan is all: "Spectacular? What scenery? Where?

Just me and my man Darth Vader hangin'.
Know those ankle length cardigans that some of the tall, fancy girls wear? Yeah? Well, I should not be wearing those. Vader IM'ed my this photo and wrote: "Girl, you know I dig you, but you CANNOT pull off a cape!"

By the way, in the photo below Darth Vader went: "Hey Johan, get a photo of me slicing the air with this huge pink feather!"
We mounted 3/4 of this! 
Lion's Head it's called.
At first I was all, yes, I can do this. 
Feeling cocky, thumbs up and all.

But as we approached the top, I may have cried and gagged a little. And that's when Johan decided to take a photo of me.
Guys, seriously, I was staring into the abyss! That's how steep it was. And there was no security fence! Or security net! And I'm afraid of heights! And honestly, one misstep and that would have been the end of me. What I didn't get though was that little kids and barefoot joggers kept passing us. "DON'T YOU WANT TO LIVE?!" I called out from my fetal position on the ground.

But at least the view was breathtaking even three quarters up.  

And on an almost final and quite unrelated note: Tourists looking at penguins. 
And also, synchronously holding back a fart?

Meanwhile, the star of the show was pulling all the tricks it learned while majoring in hospitality management: "Oh really, all the way from Montana? I've got a cousin in Montana."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Recently, I said to someone, but I can't remember whom: "Oh my god, did you ever see a clam walk? It's the craziest thing!" and then I thought, hey wait a minute, how do I even know this?


First hand is how I know this, I just remembered! Recorded this little sucker when we were in Cape Town, and it's been sitting on my hard drive ever since. I guess it doesn't walk as much as it drags itself forward with the help of its evolutionary precursors to hands. But still!

A part of me feels that I shouldn't post the videos below, because they kinda of steel the thunder from my clam. But then again, I don't bring up the subject of bivalve mollusks often on this blog, so I figure we might as well get it over and done with.

FYI, it looks like a tongue, but apparently it's a foot, which it uses to move around and get a sense of its environment and find a means of escape.

Happy Friday.

Monday, September 15, 2014

another one of them round up posts

1) I started taking ballet classes! Or rather, I took one ballet class, then missed out on the second one on account of me being out of the country, so I guess I should rephrase that as "I took one ballet class".

I'm not really sure what to think of it yet, but I had definitely anticipated that ballet for adult beginners (sporting pot bellies and white pantyhose, at that) would feel..kind of fun? Ironic? You know, that the room would be full of throaty laughter whenever we did our plies and first positions? Instead it all felt a little serious, to tell you the truth. But be that as it may. Now I have ballet shoes and will not stop before I look like the fox below and have the light and elegant posture I first set out to achieve.

2) I went to London and I'm tempted to add "for work" because that sounds fancier than "with work", which is closer to the truth. (I went with my colleagues, in case I left you confused there).

One of the things we did was go on a verrry long street art tour in Shoreditch. Long as in 3 and a half hours. That's long, and honestly, street art strikes me as a little outdated, so I rebelled and took photos of other things instead, including the fancy builder below, which I love, the pierced pretty boy in a barber shop, and a faded poster in the window of a closed-down shop.

3) On said trip, I got to see Johan's shop on Columbia road! Actually, I should rephrase this also, because it's technically not his shop, but rather his fiancé's. Captured By it's called and it sits at the very end (or beginning, depending on where you start) of Columbia road. They're open on weekends, and if you're into either fancy coffee, affordable design classics, Danish design icons, crisp white shirts and/or mouthwatering sunglasses, watches and pens, I say go there and have a chat with Johan and his woman, who are just the loveliest people ever.

I've snatched the photo below from their site, and while we're at it, I might as well add that the lovely interior is designed by Johan and his partner in professional crime, Maggie Bursa. They're an amazeballs team and you can learn more about them here.

over and out :)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Whoopsie daisy (Ups-a-daisy? Oops, I did it again?)

I realized I haven't blogged for almost one full month, so no wonder the comments section has just been going CRAZY!

(Not really, but I take it as a compliment if you actually scrolled down to check :)

I've got no life-altering stories up my sleeve, so I thought I'd do a little round up of some of the trivial things I've been up to lately. So yes, here we go:

1) I got photo-bombed by a pig?!
Does this look like a pig's hoof to you as well? Kind of a like a pig that goes "Yo, peace" and fails to spread its toes?

2a) I have experimented and failed with natural dies  
When I took this photo, I had a real nice DIY-post figured all out about how to use red cabbage and baking soda to create a really beautiful, dirty-looking blue. That plan didn't pan out.
2b) I have experimented and failed with the die-equivalent "of the everything bagel" 
My red cabbage die turned into a pale and sickly mint, and so I combined all the stuff I had around the house that you can use as natural dies and threw it into the sink. We're talking coffee grinds, turmeric, red cabbage, THE WORKS! Turns out that turmeric kind of trumps all other dies, which means my white-turned-mint cotton blanket is now a bright yellow, which I think is my least favorite color of all the colors in the universe. 
3) I took this photo a blueberry muffin, which I kind of like. 
4) And this photo of my desert rose against a painting I made, with a friendly nod to my current crush Helen Frankenthaler.  
5) I've been feeling really thrilled with this view! And getting to live in this place! And getting to enjoy that masterful design of the lounge chair on the right, which me dad has given me custody of, because he didn't have room for it as his new place. 
Honestly, sometimes it's absurd how excited I get about home. I LOVE home! Always have. 

6) I fixed up the bathroom and painted the walls a dramatic petroleum blue!
This really was a lot of work, because A) The walls were covered in fiberglass cloth and so I had to spackle and sand them down before even getting around to painting. B) That wooden counter was covered in thick, white paint, which I sanded down by hand. By hand, you guys. 
I set up my own company! Baby Cheeses, it's called, which is fun, because it sounds like Baby Jesus!  

It sounds like a bigger deal than it is, because essentially I just needed a tax registration number in order to freelance, and when I applied for one online it said: "Enter the name of your company" and I was like fuck it, MY company is going to have the grandest name of all! I toyed with the idea of naming it something really loathsome like "Brand Corp", because that would be kind of ironic and millennial of me. But I went with Baby Cheeses instead, which is still ironic and millennial, but more friendly, because miniature sized cheeses and/or infants that set out to absolve your sins is just great, I think. Anyway, so far, Baby Cheeses is a one-woman copywriting agency, and in an ideal world, I would provide you with a proper company e-mail for you to get in touch at, but since I don't have one, drop me a note at sarahcarlsonontheroof @ - because yes, I'm open for business! And yes, I'm taking applications! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Kenya Backlog - round two :)

An adapted version of CafĂ© Habana's famous corn on the cob - chargrilled, with a spread of cream cheese, salt, chili and a drizzle of lime (or lemon, in a pinch). Ideally one would add cojita cheese, but I've found that a sprinkle of parmesan works just as well :) 

Bougainvilleas in bloom. I think I may have taken a million photos of bougainvilleas, because every time you see one, you feel you've stepped into a technicolor movie.

Johan at Ngong hills, overlooking Nairobi.
An apartment building we used to pass on our evening walk.

Sunbathing wild hogs at the Giraffe Center. Would love to keep one as a pet, if that's at all possible ;)
Johan and Maj at The Trout Tree. Awful food but they deserve 6 stars for ambiance.

A photo that's been sitting on my computer forever, waiting for the right blog theme that never really arrived ;)
The view of Ngong hills from Karen Blixen's house.