However the report on my agenda was not on female behavior but on Rooibos, the indigenous plant there that makes a quite popular sort of infusion with earthy, nutty flavors. To find the fields and production site the photographer Russell and I were met at the Cape Town airport by Gerda. She drove us up the hills through impressive scenery to Clanwilliam and into the half desert. Before we went any further we were staying at the Bushmans Kloof Ressort for the night. After a wonderful dinner under uncountable stars we were taken out for a little tour in the early morning by a ranger.
When Alexander and I were living in London, it didn’t take us long to notice, that socializing is an extremely serious matter to the natives. So when we were asked by Mrs Sturges-Jones, our very friendly neighbour from one floor above, to join her for „Pre-Dinner Drinks“, we had second thoughts that this is just having an Aperitif with an elderly lady – and even more important, a very good friend of our landlord.
As a non-British subject you can be way off … So I did ask for advice in the office. The information by Mrs Khan – the unofficial chief of our team – was: Pre-Dinner Drinks is a casual way to introduce yourself. The important thing is to be there at 6 pm and leave at 8 pm sharp – no matter what. That sounded weird but manageable.
Portuguese are different. I think it must be their long tradition as seafarers which makes them getting over difficult situations unexited. Just taking it as it comes calmly, in their melancholic style.
But let’s start with the beginning.
The Air Portugal flight TP 561 from Hamburg to Lisbon was ready for boarding just a little bit late – we could hope for being on time. It was a special atmosphere being in the waiting area in front of gate A40 surrounded by at least 5 huge families of African origin. No no, retransporting refugees looks different. I have seen that ones, they are taken one by one – not in a jolly crowd. And: These people here had a very pleasant behaviour, could speak german, specially the kids without accent. They looked good, women and kids with fantastic hairstyles, in cool and glitzy clothes. Two huge matrons dressed in very colourful gowns and drapes. „People are strange… #XII“ weiterlesen
Let’s be honest: France is one of the countries, where you have to be cautious with innocently looking forward to your meal in happy anticipation. But exactly that was what we did, when we where driving out of Marseille after a wonderful week in this exciting city. Alexander and I where invited for lunch to Château Revelette, the winery of Peter Fischer. The man is producing very good wines in the hinterland of Aix-en-Provence. I had done a report on him earlier and when he heared, that we were in the region, he was eager to have us with a group of friends for a „speciality“ – as he put it. „People are strange… #XI“ weiterlesen
I was visiting the Capital of the Middle Kingdom for a report on the local cuisine in times of the upcoming Olympics. So that was in October 2007. That evening we went out of the center of Beijing in a taxi. It was already 8 o’clock, very late for dinner in China. Even in the Capital 6 o’clock is when everybody is sitting at a table, chopsticks in hand. My only excuse: I was traveling with a photographer! We left the highway, turned into several streets and eventually rolled down a very dark dust road. The driver was all but enthusiastic. Specially after we had passed a military post the car was getting slower and slower. He grumbled: „Don’t have a clue where this place could be.“ Two hands were stretching out towards him holding a cell phone. My second hand showed the card with the phone number of the place. We were in the majority and absolutely determined not to get out of the car in this end-of-the-world scenery.
„People are strange… #X“ weiterlesen
It happened on a trip to Portugal with two wine writer colleagues. In pitch black night we arrived on top of a hill at the hotel for a late tasting and to stay overnight. The surroundings of that age old castle-like building had an eery atmosphere. So we went inside quite hastily and were greeted by a relatively young factotum with odd manners.
He guided us to the reception and said: „My colleague will check you in.“ He vanished behind a partition made of dark wood and a frosted glass panel and immediately came out again to greet us officially. We had to show our passports and with a stiff smile were handed the room keys. Walking to our rooms on worn carpets alongside huge tile pictures showing the history of the country in blue and white, in turns with dark tropical wood, oriental patterns, we were discussing if there were twins at the reception or if this guy had a split personality. We weren’t sure …
„People are strange… #IX“ weiterlesen
Kangaroo Island is Australias third biggest island, situated in the Indian Ocean not too far from Adelaide. Why did I swing by there? To be honest I don’t know. That trip to Australia was a very strange journey alltogether. Being a food and wine editor, I was invited to take part in the Adelaide Food Festival. But funnily enough I was flown in just for the last two days which turned out to be just the last one day since my flight was delayed for 14 hours.
„People are strange… #VIII“ weiterlesen
There was one quite challenging breakfast in a village in Nepal: fried potatoes with spaghetti accompanied by a glass of warm, sweetened milk at 7.30 am. But no, the most challenging meal I ever had was presented in elegant atmosphere in France. The Bordeaux region to be precise. My husband Alexander and I where traveling to learn more about this center of the wine world. Yes, we learned… One thing in particular: There was no set menu to order without foie gras. La Grande Nation has her wonderful vegetables in market stalls – only! Never on restaurant plates!
The Nepali know how to handle an aircraft in difficult conditions – more often than not. I have been on several flights alongside the impressing peaks of the Himalaya and Buddha Air did a perfect job. I guess, it’s in the name, everybody on board was in a state of considerate relaxation. To start with: It is so cute how they proudly present their fleet on colourful boarding cards: Five propeller planes in blue and white. „People are strange… #VI“ weiterlesen
Our beloved first dog has left us more than two years ago now. We will never forget him, he was such a character. As my sister in law put it: We don’t know what he is, but he is no dog. So of course, when i was talking to somebody, I thought I have something do to with, I was talking about Morris. And this is how Martin, sitting with me at a very small table, having lunch in a lively restaurant in – i think it must have been – Bhaktapur/Nepal learned about my eccentric dog. I told some of his best stories, Martin told me about his wife’s dog Anna and so on. And then all of a sudden Martin asked, what kind of breed Morris was. Well, I said, he is from the animal shelter, so we don’t exactly know. But, even if he hasn’t really got the temper of one, he quite looked like a Parson Jack Russell.
Martin jumped: „What your Jack Russel is eight years old? That is odd! Normally they don’t last long. You better keep a bunch of them, so the kids don’t notice if one was run over by a tractor.“ Well you have to know, that Martin is the biggest Rooibos farmer in South Africa. And being a dog THERE is quite a difference to a city slicker in Hamburg. I learned that, when I was visiting him one year later for a report on this kind of tea, only growing in South Africa. I had more or less just arrived, when the lady in charge of quality control told me the story of her Jack Russell who died the very morning. He and his dog friend have had the idea to corner a cobra… When I told it Morris on my return I could hear him think: „Goodness gracious!“