Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Scam Alert

Am I the only victim of these ridiculous scam emails? Last week I won lottery from a foreign country, a week before I was a beneficiary of millions of dollars. And then, lots of dying people found it in their heart to leave their riches with me. I am lucky like that. And this scam is rather much more researched in that, there is no drama or spelling mistakes. Even SARS and SARB are written accurately. It gets even better, Dionisio Sarabia Cordro has sent this message to other victims in their languages and I'm sure got their Central Banks and tax collectors caccurately too.
Frst Name: Dionisio Sarabia Cordro
E-mail Address: djsarabia@gmail.com
Country: Venezuela
Request or Comment: I Owe Tax (less that USD 2500)to South Africa Revenue Service SARS, which have to be paid so the South Africa Reserve Bank SARB can release funds. Due my impossibility of tranfering from Venezuela. I want you to pay the SARS tax. And when the SARB bank releases funds. You will be 10% HIGHLY GRATIFY....I can give guaranty....!!

CALL DIONISIO SARABIA CORDERO 58414 411 1942 56241 635 4173....!!WE have only ONWE WEEK TO DO ALL THIS....!!
You may think no one buys into these scams anymore. But after what happened a few weeks ago when a woman from the Northern Cape ran high bills because of these scammy messages. I'll make an assumption that this is a sane woman and the stores that allowed her credit based on the scam are also sane. I since stopped thinking they are too obvious. Who is going to ask a complete stranger to pay their SARS accounts? Stay alert!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Of Rising Electricity Bills

Pretoria South Africa
Are we all running out of solutions to bring the cost of electricity down. The more I try, the higher my bill goes. I, like most of my friends have tried all we could. Its true, our electricity has always been the lowest tariffed in the whole world. We could be a bit spoilt or the change was just too uprupt.

In my work visits to Switzerland "those days", a bunch of us were having a casual chat and one guy from a certain Island couldnt believe that I cooked with electricity. I, on the other hand was surprised he and the rest of the group were making a bit deal of that. Electricity was as cheap as bread, almost. My bill was about R300, I lived with 4 or 5 other family members  at a time and we cooked everyday. Thats only a couple of years ago. And now I manage to pay close to ten times that and with reduced number of household members and conscious efforts to keep my bill low.

My friends living in Pretoria and Joburg observed the same. One friend switched from electric stove to the gas one and that resulted in an impressive doubled electric bill. I use no tumble dryer, I have no heating and cooling system, my life has been simplified but City of Tshwane hasnt noticed. One friend has switched from the billed electric system to the pre-paid and that seems to be the best. Switching is not always easy though. Especially for those who live in sectional title units like flats and townhouses.

What saddens me the most though is this affecting South Africa's attractiveness to Foreign Investors. Low electricity rates have always been our strength and advantage.
On a micro level, I only want to pay ONLY for the amount of electricity I use. Is that too much to ask?
What's your own story of rising electricity bills?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Public vs Private School in Pretoria South Africa

A hot debate in the website at the moment is on whether one should choose a public vs private school in Pretoria for their children's education. I am actually thinking of what is good for my son. I have gone through this debate over and over again within me. I thought engaging other parents will help me think clearer. It did and did not at the same time. I am as confused as I was before. The only comfort is in knowing that I am not the only parent in this dilemma.
It seems to me that, parents in South Africa are begining to prefer private school education for their kids but most can't really afford it. My estimation for 2011, for average private school fees is R5000 per month. Well, some private schools will be more expensive, and others may be less. There goes my dream of having two more kids.
Some people seem to have achieved great results with public schooling. This will depend on what you view as positive results. Others claim that they wouldn't have made it without a private school and that extra fee is a welcomed sacrifice. I have to start applying now for 2013 and I still don't really know
which of the two suits my son's needs.
See the rest of the debate here...
And if you are also searching for schools in Pretoria South Africa, visit this page...
If you manage, learn or teach in or have a school in Pretoria list it for free here...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rietvlei Dam and Nature Reserve

We often wander and wander, and drive slowly nowhere as a family. On one such activity, we decided to wander in Pretoria East. And, without even thinking, we were at the gate of Rietvlei Dam and Nature Reserve. I fell in love with it, just by looking at the "gate man". Such a friendly soul.
Rietvlei Dam and Nature Reserve
Breathtaking, I know. Its just the best campsite in Pretoria ever. And the chalets are as comfortable as a hotel--- a bit exagerated, but hey, you get the point.
Rietvlei Dam Accommodation
Rietvlei Birding
These are the dam's residents. They float close to guests, in a great spot for picnicing. lots of families hang around for braais/ barbeques. Its a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. It gave quite an impresion.

Dam Rates
You do pay to get inside and even camp in the dam. So if you are going for the day, you may as well go in very early in the morning. Another must go visit Pretoria attraction. The Game Reserve is enclosed just next to the dam.
***note to self---I really need to structure my blog and blog times.***

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hello Pretoria, South Africa

Hello Pretoria, South Africa and those who love us, and maybe not. I had to come to announce my big come back. And NO NO NO, I was not on vacation. The website work was hectic. It happens when you edit a website, manage its content and respond to hundreds of enquiries every month. But I wouldn't change that for anything. I missed blogging here though.

Let me search for the photo that can make this blog post attractive. I love Pretoria photos anyway.
Church Building in Pretoria, Lynnwood Road

The church that borders the Afrikaans Hoër Meisieskool and Affies (Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool).Popularly known as Ooskerk. Its in Lynwood road, close to Loftus Versfeld Stadium. And because we loved it so, lets also show you that koppie...
Pretoria, South Africa
 Where were we.... oh, ja, I feel like I rose from a full year sleep and I missed on the world cup. I really need an assistant or three. Our facebook page is really doing great. We share photos of our city, and we love the old buildings and their background stories. Good to be back.

 Mbini Kutta-Mathye
In Love with Pretoria

Friday, May 21, 2010

Garsfontein Post Office

Garsfontein Post Office is situated around the corner from the Garsfontein Police Station. I always liked this post office until South African security obsession crept in. Dont get me wrong, I love security and any measure that makes me feel safe is always welcome.

In the case of Gars post office’s erected palisade fencing though, I feel more unsafe than before. The first time I spotted the fencing, I thought, “Wow! They matched the blue so well”. Instead of that beautiful sigh of relief followed by "they thought of everything". No they didn't. Got out of my car and looked for entrance. I saw a tiny gate open. Apparently there are two gates but when I get there on Saturdays or Sundays, I see  one gate open. This gate is actually tiny with a capital "T".

As I step inside the box, I immediately feel intensely unsafe. Bear in mind, the post box area has hidden corners and you are enclosed in this area with only one tiny escape gate. What were they thinking? Do we need to have our post boxes secured? The main building with the counters is not enclosed but our post boxes and re-posting booths are secured. I don’t get the point to this security measure. This happens to be the most popular spot for art vendors. I hope someone will respond with a comment that makes me understand the logic behind all these bars.

As I was thinking about this very important security measure that we need because we live in South Africa, I read this article yesterday:
“Four armed men fled with an undisclosed amount of money after robbing a Garsfontein Post Office on Wednesday, Gauteng police said.

Spokeswoman Eveline Hardaker said the four arrived at the post office at 2pm and waited in the queue, posing as customers.

"When they got to the counter, one ordered everybody to sleep flat on the floor. The [other] three jumped over the counter, robbed cashiers of all their money and the money that was in the safe."

They fled the scene after the robbery, she said.
Hardaker said only three were armed with firearms. – Sapa

No prize for guessing the reason I feel even safer at the moment.

Nice weekend
Mbini Kutta-Mathye

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Inhambane, Mozambique

Be WARNED. This will be the longest post in the history of this blog. The story of my family’s life and holidays goes like this:

Our holidays are impromptu to start with. Totally spontaneous and never planned to the t. No accommodation, especially when we go to the unpopular destinations. Our destination last weekend was Mozambique, Inhambane. We heard of the great beaches and tourist destinations in Inhambane and Tofo beach in particular. And finally we managed to make our way there with a bag and a camera an excited daughter with being in the car and a nagging son who keeps asking how far the destination is.

Restaurant in Maputo, Mozambique

Driving from Maputo after 12 noon, we pass Mr V’s favourite destination in Mozambique, Marracuene. Besides the fact that Ponta da Macaneta beach is great, I think he loves the fact that it’s very close to Maputo, making it very close to South Africa. Ok back to the Inhambane holiday. We now approach my favourite province in Mozambique, Gaza. I love the beaches in Bilene and especially in Xai-Xai.
Macaneta beach, Marracuene, Mozambique

We drove through Gaza province and loads of potholes and road works later we found ourselves in Manjacaze town. We had to make a deal with ourselves and the two little people who have gone through a few cartoon movies already by now as it was already getting late. When the sun sets, we are sleeping in the nearest hotel. It doesn’t matter what town we find ourselves in. And indeed the sun set at 6pm and we were in Quissico, the first town in Inhambane province. What a bad deal we made. I would never be desperate enough to sleep in Quissico’s local hotel, nor in the following town of Inharrime.

Potholes we passed in Gaza. Get a 4x4 please.

At this point, we decided to pass through to Inhambane and we were starting to panic as it was getting darker and darker. We’ve never set our feet here but the roads in this province are much better than the patch we have passed. We drove on and reached Inhambane after 8:30pm. You can smell the jolly African vibe in this country. Everyone is in the streets, street vendors still operating. But the first guest house we drive to is sleepy.
Bridge across Limpopo River in Gaza Province

After approaching a few helpful locals, we were given the direction to the beach. There has to be nice hotels by the beach right? Our strategy is to only approach the hotels with professionally looking adverts. If they have marketing budget, they have to be comfortable. The only hotel advert we saw was fully booked. And that was about the only call we could make. We forgot about the telecommunication challenges, DARN.
Our Cottage in Palm Grove Lodge, Barra Beach

At this point we are left with one option, driving through to the beach, following the boards advertising one resort. And before we knew it, after driving over unexpected humps and flying with the car such that my son thought we are crash landing in a space ship, we were about to pass the Palm Grove Lodge. So we left the path to the resort and got into the lodge.
Please remember Mosquito repellents.

Mozambican style reed built cottages meant for groups of people look nice and traditional but Mr V is not impressed. The owners are very friendly and they happily changed the first cottage we were not happy with, hung a mosquito net over my daughter’s mattress and brought us the yummy supper we ordered from the restaurant. We had the dinner in the patio listening to the roaring Barra beach. A beautiful sound that took us through the night. Pity we had a few mosquitoes locked inside our mosquito net. Bad mistake.
Restaurant in Palm Grove Lodge, Barra Beach

We woke up and headed straight to where the sound was coming from. A few steps from the cottage is the restaurant at the foot of Praia da Barra or Barra Beach in simple English. My goodness, this is what I saw outside the window:
Boring food boys ordered in Palm Grove.

As we were busy ordering, a group of Joburg tourists passed by the window in such style:

Horse Riding in Barra Beach, Inhambane Mozambique

We couldn’t order fast enough to go for a quick swim with my son. Ultimately we were in the water waiting for our meal and Mr V, his daughter and his book could see us through the window. And before long he called us ac coffee was ready. I’ve never wished for a slow restaurant service like that. Well we got in, had breakfast fast enough to get back to the water.

We dark browned our bodies in the sun, jumped in the trampoline. Took shots of the cottages with views to die for:
Barra Beach, Inhambane Mozambique

At this point I told Lukas, the owner that “I want to live like this forever”. And he told me they actually work all the time and forget that the place is so breath taking. Guess we never win.

Time to check out. We wouldn’t sleep there for another night. Knowing where we were going to sleep that early would spoil the fun. And so we checked out, and drove towards Praia do Tofo (Tofo Beach). Everyone we know who knows Tofo had only the best news to tell us. And now, finally we will be there. All we think about is getting a comfortable hotel. Our plans to go camping anytime soon, ANNULLED at this point.

Tofo Beach, Inhambane Mozambique

Remember the hotel that was fully booked last night? It had space today and I thought trying to call it wouldn’t kill. We got the room, first floor, facing the great beach, WOW. Click-Click goes my camera through the window.

Generous portions of prawns are a signature meal of Mozambique. Serves me well.

Off to Art and Craft shopping in the market. There goes my R2000+ on over-priced crafts in Mozambique standards. But really I didn’t have to buy staff taken from Maputo, meant for South African tourists, but I did.

Tofo Art and Craft Market

By the way 5 in every 6 cars we saw in Inhambane was South African and most likely GP. Mr V had a great jog by the Tofo beach in the afternoon. In a while my son was crying that daddy was gone for too long. I think he has a phobia of losing his parents. It happens often. Watching all those shapes and sizes of people in swimming costumes made me feel much better about my own body insecurities. No more Dr90210.

We had an early night only to wake up to this:

Sun Rising in Tofo Beach,InhambaneMozambique

But no water to take a bath. We are driving back home. I am not obsessed with taking a bath/shower but I needed a good one because of the heat. Anyway, after a really sad breakfast we were on our way to Inhambane city and same route back. As you already know by now, I have to take at least one of these pictures per trip:

And a bonus picture:

My son loves horses and was convinced this is a pony. I also saw a donkey for the first time when I was an adult already. So that can be expected. Had a meal in the Motel in Xai-xai, and were set to drive straight to Maputo without stopping. Except for the mandatory stop to buy locally moulded clay pots in towns by the road.

I had to let down a friend who wanted us to pass by her resort in Marracuene. My kids were just too tired. Driving through 3 provinces twice in one weekend is more than strenuous. What did you do for the Easter weekend?

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