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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Sweet Chaos

I’m sitting at gate A17 looking at the runway; it’s quite beautiful at night. An ordered set of lights leads the way for a bit and then disappears, into the night, and the unknown. As I wrap myself up in my scarf I watch the little hairs on my arm stand up, I’m really doing this. The lights from the plane flicker and I’m anticipating my boarding call for flight EK 57 to India.

The warm air envelops me as I step out of the airport into immediate frenzy that only grows louder and faster as I head into central Delhi to begin my Himalayan adventure. There’s something enchanting about India and I feel it the second my backpack slams onto the dusty pavement. Every single centimeter of my vision is filled with energy, colour and noise. After I’ve checked in to my hotel the first order of business is to get my hands into a delicious local curry.

Here’s one place I’m not scrutinized for being a veggie. Almost everything is vegetarian. Not quite knowing what to order I ask the street corner vendor what’s good and he mumbles something pointing to an array of bubbling, super scented, colourful and encouraging curries.  So I just say: “yes, I’ll take that.” Naan gets made right in front of me and I go outside to eat with the regulars where we get our hands dirty and our tummies satisfied. No Joburg curry comes close to how scrumptious this was.

Delhi is a sensory overload. Taxi’s bicycles, dogs, kids, beggars, salesman, hooting, tuk tuks, spices, dirty water, fresh fruit, bright colours, singing, patterns, light and dark, lines and squiggles. Overwhelming but at the same time… a place you kind of want to get lost in.

Waking up the next morning, I waited in bed hoping to hear the maddening sounds begin outside but this was a much quieter Delhi. I peaked outside and saw people on their way to work, children carrying books to school and woman peacefully sweeping their part of the street. So strange to think this is a regular day for them and a complete kaleidoscope of newness for me.
Curry again for breakfast – chickpeas in spicy gravy, chopped fresh onion, pickled peaches with beautiful proudly puffed up chapatti. I let the juices run down my wrists and get all over my face as I dipped, smeared and swallowed warm, comforting, spongy loveliness.

Walking around the streets and alleys of Delhi, each one with its own story and character. Elegant patterned wedding cards down one street, beautiful antique jewelry down the next. Splashes of floral orange and pink spatter against a diamond glittery backstreet for wedding shoppers. A cable system drapes and frames each alley – so messy it makes the wandering mind of a teenager seem as ordered and regimented as stitches on a uniform. “Sweet Chaos” as they call it and I’m falling in love with it all. As I head towards a big musky red coloured Mosque there is more shouting, hooting, singing, goats, rickshaws, artisans and beggars.

I stroll around the place of prayer, where children are playing on the stone floor and feeding birds. Before I leave I pass two women dressed in burkas whose eyes crinkle as they smile at me under their scarf coverings. Something warm resonates in me as we exchange glances.  We are so different and yet we are the same.

My last dinner in Delhi is at a charmingly understated South Indian restaurant where I point to what looks, or rather sounds, good on the menu. My food arrives and looks a bit like a thick-based pancake with crunchy vegetables and spices ribboning colour through the batter. I’m also presented with golden Dahl, thick coconut pulp and a bright orange pickled paste to dip and smear it with. There’s something extra sensory about eating with your hands and as I snatch the last little but of Dahl off my pinky finger I can’t help but feel a bit like a child again.

I leave Delhi behind me as my train begins its slow slumping over metal slats into rural India and up towards my next stop in the Himalayas. The sluggish ga-thamps get faster and soon I’m staring at a blur of culture racing passed me through the train window. It goes by so fast that each time I look up, the scenery has changed again.  

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Naked Truth

On any given morning, just before the sliver of light from behind my gold curtains (yes gold, they don’t call it a boudoir for nothing folks) pierces into the comfy darkness of my room, I reluctantly hit the first snooze button and begin to piece together my ensemble for the day. Is it a scarf day? A high waisted shorts day (my favourite kind)?  Could today be an ankle boots Monday, hmmm.  I roll over, feeling the crimple crumple of sheets against my skin and 9 times out of 10 wish it was a I-don’t-have-to-get-up-for-another-hour day.

I sneak one bare arm out of my 4th story window and do my weather “litmus” test, which is about as reliable as the rhythm method, and make my way to my very overstocked cupboard. That’s usually where I get my first glimpse of her. You know... the naked me. Staring back at me from a dimly lit mirror in the passage. More often than not we greet each other momentarily and go about our own business but every now and then we take 5 mins to just see each other. I like how in this light you can see the contours of my hips, the nook where my bum meets my thighs, those little dips and dents in my collar bone that always make me think of baby swimming pools. A little twirl and a stretch and then we go our own separate ways again. This isn’t the time for grabbing that cooshy bit on your tricep, or picturing the pale (almost see through) white skin a shade of irresistible caramel. This is a very deliberate 5 mins of appreciation for the skin I’m in.

Mimi: “Friend can I ask you something?”

I love conversations with Mimi that start this way.

Carly: “Fire away.”

Mimi: “When you’re with someone, like naked, aren’t you thinking about your body the whole time?”

Carly: “What do you mean?”

Mimi: “Isn’t it hard, you know, not to think about the bits you don’t like when someone is touching you?”

Carly: “I see what you’re saying and I’d like to start by pointing out some facts. Fact 1: If your naked with someone this should mean you’ve done plenty of over the clothes fondling already (hopefully). So I always think of it as them watching the trailer to a movie they might want to see. Surely if they didn’t like the trailer they wouldn’t see the movie right?”

Mimi: “I suppose...”

Carly: “A person can get a general lay of the land over clothes, so if they want to take them off,  they couldn’t have been repulsed by the idea of you sans clothes.”

Mimi: “I’m not sold”

 Carly: “Fact 2: In my experience when someone touches your body (even the bits you’re not crazy about) I get the sense that they are more focused on the TOUCHING of the body aspect than the finer details like potential cellulite, the odd stretch mark or the slice of cake that immediately went from being a moment of heavenly chocolatey rebellion to an extra layer of cushioning on your ass.”

Mimi: “You really think so?”

Carly: “I know so. Fact 3 (the most important one): So you’re there. In the bedroom. Or kitchen table. Or backseat. Wherever. You’re there already. There’s two ways to handle the situation. Either, you can be super insecure about your body. You can turn the lights off, flinch every time a hand brushes over your belly button, and constantly wonder which angle will make you look more like Jessica Alba... OR you can let go and just enjoy it. You can show the person your with how confident and uninhibited you are. You can enjoy your body. Which one sounds sexier to you?”

The words roll off of my tongue like I’m hosting some “love yourself” seminar for singles and I can see by the look on Mimi’s face that the penny (or in this case panty) has dropped. She gets it. It’s taken me a long time to get it and sometimes I’m not sure if I’m 100 percent there with baring it all – and not just between the sheets.

There’s something wonderfully scarey about being naked. It’s why we have nude beaches, strip poker tournaments and streakers running across our sports fields. The same could be said about baring it all when it comes to relationships. Wonderfully scarey business, sometimes a little more tricky than getting your bra undone in one swift unclip. So if we can skinny dip with no skarm or make breakfast minus our PJ’s, why is it that when we reach the point of emotionally undressing ourselves in front of someone else, we chicken out?

Sometimes I think getting to know someone when you are in love is a bit like a game of truth or dare. You allow small bits of truth to trickle out of you, daring the other person to do the same... with your defence mechanisms in the balance, slowly but surely peeling away. I guess we are all just looking to find someone we can be completely vulnerable with. No bells and whistles  and no perfect ensemble to cover up the bits we don’t like. But then maybe its not so different to how I feel about being naked in the literal sense. Maybe its about owning and acknowledging the parts you’re not crazy about but putting more focus on the parts you love. Maybe being vulnerable is the ultimate gift when it comes to love because you allow someone to enjoy the best of you... if you can enjoy it too. 

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Martini Review - Six

There are just some things that never go out of style - the ultimate LBD, a great pair of jeans, a crisp white collared shirt. They always look good because they are classics just like this little spot on 7th Ave Melville. 

For years Six has been the starting and finishing point for many a night out on the town. Wanna know what makes this place even more fab? 2 for 1 drinks special. Ya huh. Cool music, groovy masala mix of people and some swanky strong cocktails. On this particular evening I had every intention to sample and sip an array of delicious drinkies but only managed my way through one. I blame this on a number of variables - the waitress who kept topping up my complimentary champers, the caramel vodka and the booty shaking lessons from some new found friends. 

Classic Gin Martini

This little gin and vermouth combo was like pow pow pow! Strong but great olives. I definitely could not have had more than one. Great for slow sips and stimulating conversation. A party starter of note. 

4 Olives

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

One of The Boys - June

Well Gents, its that time of the month... wink wink. Time for some pearls of wisdom from your go to gal on guy stuff. Apparently testosterone levels go down in winter.... hmm, sounds like a challenge to me? Here are some neat little thingamajigs from my quirky perspective, enjoy!

Go Old School

As much as us girls like to think we're "with it" and are fully fledged modern woman, the truth is that below that boulshy exterior is a lame cliche loving old fashioned girl who is just dying for you to do something cheezy for her. Yes I'm talking flowers, chocolates and opening doors. Of course. But how about going the  extra mile courting her old school. Take her on a date to the circus or a fun fair... sharing candy floss, the smell of popcorn, u showing off at the Strongman Sledgehammer. I guarantee she'll be replaying how cute it was  for months, get u a pass when u accidentally behave like a douche (it happens). 

I'll Give You Sport if You give me Poetry

So here's the thing... its a saturday morning and I'm 3 hours into a coffee meet up with my girlfriend. What are we talking about? YOU. Yes. We're unraveling, de-compartmentalizing, reading between the lines, looking over the evidence just trying to figure out how you REALLY feel about us. So here's an idea, why don't you make it easy. Screw cryptic, I'll take direct n straight forward, like on paper, a hard copy. Leave us a note or a letter or even a dumb post it when we least expect it that says how crazy you are about us. If you're feeling brave, you can keep it simple, 3 words. 

Cocktail of the Month

This month you're going to show your bird how special she is by whipping up a tasty little winter cocktail. 

This one's called an Ultra Alexander (sounds like a sex position)


  • Ice

2 ounces
  • brandy

2 ounces
  • creme de cacao

1  tablespoon
  • whipping cream

1  tablespoon
  • chocolate syrup

  • Chocolate shavings


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add brandy, creme de cacao, whipping cream, and chocolate syrup. Shake, strain, and serve in a glass. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Makes 1 serving.
Easy Enough?

Between the Sheets in June

DO: Take your sweet, syrupy time. We like to be teased! Besides what better way to spend an hour, or 4? Leave them brookies on as long as u can, she'll have her back arched, biting her bottom lip before you can say spank me.
DON'T: Underestimate the power of cunnilingus. Ever. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

An Unofficial Surprise

An Unofficial Surprise

My eyes struggle through sticky mascara to open and settle on my red dress, now crumpled on the floor next to the bed. A bed I don’t know in a place I’ve never been. Slowly a little smile sneaks its way from one side of my kiss-plumped lips to the other. This was not how my first date with New Guy was supposed to end but my reckless abandon of appearing aloof and mysterious has resulted in a very sweet and surreal Sunday morning. He sleeps… and I slip quietly out of the duvet.

It’s still not there, and I already feel stupid for thinking it would magically appear in my bag. My green floral vintage wallet and all of its valuable contents misplaced somewhere between caipirinhas, taxi rides and blissful distraction. Drivers license, prescriptions, credit cards, birthday money, Video Spot card, medical aid card, Gautrain card… all gone. It’s about 22 seconds before typical Carly neurosis begins its niggling and twisty ways but then I look back at the bed and decide that I don’t really need to deal with anything right this very second.

There’s some place I’d rather be.

On my way to the dreaded traffic department I begin thinking about all the paperwork and signatures and fingerprints I’m going to have to do in the next few days to get my life back. First here, with another stupid drivers license photo, then at the bank with a ka-jillion signatures, then on Thursday when I have to sign the final documents for my bond. It all becomes so real, in black ink, on paper. But how does it work in real life, where nothing is on a system, where you don’t need a witness signature or an official stamp to say you are who you are. And when it comes to relationships, who takes the random and puts it into a memorandum that both parties can agree to.

Lee: “It’s only official when it’s on Facebook.”

Carly: “Seriously?”

Alex: “Ya.”

My sisters chime in as I tell them about my slumber party with New Guy.

Carly: “It’s early days, woah. No one’s dropping any L-bombs just yet. Because that’s insane…. Obviously.”

Lee: “He’s my favourite.”

Carly: “Shut up, you’re making this worse. I think I’ve ruined it.”

Alex: “You always say that.”

How did this work 6 years ago when I was dating? Had I been out of the loop for that long?

“Initial every page, then sign the last one.”

Another wad of paper is pounded in front of me. The ginormous weight of responsibility smugly looking back at me from the cheap pine table in the attorney’s office. I’m probably supposed to read it all but my wrist is already cramping and I convince myself I’m much better at busking as I go than dancing in the detail. Probably the wrong attitude for signing life insurance but the right one for policies of the heart.

If only relationships came with insurance or guarantees. We could calculate the risks and and put an official measure of just how much potential damage we are getting ourselves into. You’d know exactly how much Vodka to stock in your bar and you could have an emergency stash of Rom Coms, Coldplay, cookie dough ice cream and unlimited self-loathing time with the girls.

My phone, now the apex of my entire universe goes off signaling the high point of my day. New Guy. A dorkish giggle and everyone, including myself, knows I’m in trouble. Another dress on the floor, another slumber party and another night of complete disregard for the rules and regulations. Being in a grey area never felt so good.

So what if, when the right person came along, you chose to wright it all down in  pencil. To see where each grainy cursive stroke took you. Sketching scribbles and smudging along dotted lines seems more fun than black capitals in the lines marked X. Maybe new adventures don’t have a definite yes or no column. Maybe the risk of it all is worth the unofficial surprise of falling in love and allowing little chunks of your heart to become someone else’s property in a non-verbal agreement.

I can live with that. But I’m stocking up on Vodka. Just incase.