Weekend in Durban Days 2 – 3

For our second full day in Durban It Guy and I decided to head out of Durban to see the Valley of 1000 Hills.  Unfortunately we were too late to get tickets on the steam train that runs on selected Sundays.  We headed to one of the towns listed on the steam train route.  It turned out to be the one where the train started but it wasn’t clear from there how we got to the Valley of 1000 Hills.  Perhaps we should have done a bit more research.  It probably didn’t help that while I had done a little reading it was left to IT Guy to navigate while I drove.

After a bit of messing about we finally found one of the correct roads and drove up into the hills.  The Valley of the 1000 Hills was home to the Zulu people for centuries so there are cultural places to visit.  There are also plenty of markets and interesting places to eat and stay.  We drove past a few interesting looking places and after a while decided to stop at a nice looking place at the top of a hill.  I was just thinking of a getting a few photos but IT Guy decided it would be nice to stop for a few drinks.


We drove some more but not being very organised we lost the scenic route at some point.  This was particularly frustrating as I was starting to get hungry and we couldn’t see anywhere to stop.  We were heading back towards Durban when we spotted some signs for the Valley of a 1000 Hills.  As we turned onto the road IT guy spotted signs to a polo match.  I have never watched polo before so it was rather interesting.

After the match we headed back to Durban and a seafood restaurant on the seafront.  We had planned to have a walk after our food but having watched people getting blown around we decided that wouldn’t be much fun.  Instead we headed back to the hotel, enjoyed a nice glass of wine and watched a movie.

For our final day in Durban we decided to head to the Moses Mabhida stadium.  The stadium was constructed for the Football World Cup in 2010.  A lot of people had recommended this on a previous visit and it was in the general direction of the airport.  We took the SkyCar to the viewing platform at the top for some fantastic views.  We also did the stadium tour which I found surprisingly interesting.  It turns out the design of the arches is based on the South African flag and they have some really nice artwork.


It is possible to access the golden mile from the stadium but by the time we were finished there was not enough time for a walk and lunch.  In the ended we decided to head to the airport and eat there before catching a flight to Cape Town.

I have to say I was rather sceptical about a visit to Durban.  I didn’t think there would be that much to do.  In the end I really enjoyed my weekend there.  The right company helps of course.  There wasn’t enough time to do all of the things I would have liked to do and I found more interesting things to do when researching this blog so I would definitely like to visit Durban again sometime.

The right mindset for job hunting

It is not surprising that the recent challenges at work mean that I am feeling a bit insecure about doing some job-hunting.  This was making it difficult for me to find the confidence to revamp my CV and start applying.  So many reasons for putting things off; firstly I need to fix my CV, no maybe I should start with my LinkedIn profile, or maybe I should find a suitable job so I know how to fix my CV, oh but then there is no point applying.

After meeting IT Guy I started thinking more about a move to Dubai.  It sounded like an interesting place to live.  A good central location if I wanted to do more travelling.  Even so I still managed to find a reason to procrastinate.  The first time I looked for jobs I did not see anything I liked and it was too soon to move to Dubai mostly for IT Guy.  Such a move would put too much pressure on making the relationship work.  I am still wary of creating such a situation.

So the challenge is how to get this job search going?  IT Guy recently revamped his CV and that inspired me to do the same.  It looks so much better and now I am keen to share it, although I have since realised a few minor tweaks are still needed.

The next challenge is to find jobs to apply for.  Why is it that there always seem to be so many options that would have loved in a previous job search but which are no longer suitable?  So many jobs that look interesting but for which I don’t have the right mix of skills.  Many jobs where the title sounds interesting but by the time I’ve read the full description I am feeling very intimidated.

Then I remembered reading about gender bias in job descriptions and that some types of wording can put women off applying.  I really shouldn’t let some types of wording put me off applying for jobs that would otherwise interest me.

This reminded me about another important statistic: Lots of women only apply for jobs when they are 100% qualified while men will apply when they have 60% of the requirements.  With this in mind I began to think that I needed to start applying for jobs like a man.  In checking the exact numbers I came across an article suggesting that if we want to narrow the gender gap in the workplace then woman need a better understanding of the hiring process.  That it is more about selling your skills to make up for gaps rather than treating the minimum qualifications as just that.

A few years ago I was involved with recruiting people to work on a project.  None of the candidates were an exact match for the jobs but most of them had useful skills.  We picked candidates who showed they did have skills that would be useful for the project.  Overall the people we hired did really well and it did not take them long to learn what they did need to know.

Focusing on this information has got me thinking about the things I can do.  The skills an experiences I do have to offer.  My career path is not conventional.  I’m still figuring out what I want to do when I “grow up”.  Nonetheless I have a good mix of skills and experiences.  I need to focus on selling the skills I have rather than worrying about what I haven’t done.

Finally I think I am in the right head-space to start applying for good jobs.  I have drawn up a spreadsheet to keep track of jobs and deadlines so I can prioritise my efforts.  I’m learning to make more effective use of LinkedIn.  Most important of all I am starting to believe there really is a good job out there for me.

Romance, Durban and Dubai

There was me trying to focus on developing more of a travel blog by with details of my trip to Durban but it seems that some of my readers are more interested other information.  I had thought that my post on how I was getting on with IT Guy would cover things but it seems not.

I pointed out that I had no intention of writing a sex blog but those weren’t the details.    Just more on the relationship side of things with IT Guy.  I struggled for a while, trying to think what to add.  The fact that we held hands as we walked down the Golden Mile or could sit with a comfortable silence while watching the sunset.  Or perhaps that I was willing to compromise on the choice of restaurant. I am not a fan of seafood.  I enjoy some fish but it is limited to things like battered fish and chips, salmon or a nice piece of tuna steak.  Actually it was nice to have more fish than I would normally.

I started thinking that perhaps I needed to rewind to Dubai to provide more of the story.  So I started a post about more details about what happened in Dubai.  A few details which I think showed the initial nerves and uncertainties that go with the start of a relationship, but also rather personal.

Then yesterday IT Guy said something which reminded how much he values his privacy.  He doesn’t even have a Facebook account.  It got me wondering how much he would be comfortable with me sharing.

He knows I have a blog.  I plan to show it to him when the time is right but I haven’t yet.   I prefer he hears my stories in the normal organic way you would in most relationships.

I though the original post would make a nice story but my gut said don’t share.  In the end I decided to listen to my gut.  Why would I risk this relationship for a few blog posts?  Especially when you consider that he also asked if he could have a replica trophy cabinet and bar, if we ever live together.

Garath Southgate carrying a trophy cabinet box outside IKEA

So I guess that means I need to give a little more though to what information I should share and what not to share.


Weekend in Durban – Day 1

I arranged to meet IT Guy at the airport in Durban on the Friday evening.  After a brief stop at the hotel we headed back out for some food.  South Africa has a very well established restaurant chain that caters primarily to families but it is a safe choice because the food is always good.  I knew of one overlooking the harbor so we headed there.

Wilsons Warf Spur

Then back to the hotel to chill out in front of the TV.  Well I did.  It was not long before IT guy fell asleep.  Not surprising after a long journey and long hours at work.

Breakfast was interesting.  Typically in South African hotel you would expect some combination of a full English breakfast and a continental breakfast, including bacon.  There was no bacon for breakfast.  Instead the offering was, I believe, more typical of parts of India and Malaysia.  It included spicy lamb sausages, lamb ribs, curry and even chicken stir fry one morning. (I probably should have got a photograph for this blog.)

I suppose it is not that surprising.  Durban has the biggest concentration of Indian people outside of India.  Many Indians were brought over to work in South Africa by the British.  For this reason Durban is well known for it’s curries.  Ironically we did not manage a single curry while we were in Durban.

Durban is a popular coastal resort with some amazing beaches and a warm sea.  It also has a large and busy harbor.  It has a very different character to Cape Town.  It feels more like you really are in Africa with a city center full of people and markets even on the weekend.  The downside is that if you are driving you have to be alert for pedestrians who will cross the road whenever and wherever they feel like.  Pedestrians account for the highest number of road deaths in a country where there are a high number of road deaths.

After breakfast we headed for the uShaka Marine World.  They have a really good aquarium and while we were there they fed the fish in the main lagoon.  You should be able to see the diver in the picture.

uShaka Marine World

We had lunch in a nearby seafood restaurant.  IT Guy likes seafood and it is difficult to get good seafood in Dubai so he was making the most of every opportunity.  After watching the dolphin show we had a nice walk along the Golden Mile.  They call it the Golden Mile but actually it is more like 3.7 miles and makes a nice walk along the beachfront.

After the walk we were ready for a drink.  Fortunately there was a nice bar at the end of a pier where we could have a few drinks and watch the sun set.

It was a lovely first day in Durban.


Spa Day with a Friend

Given that things are going so well with IT Guy, it means I don’t have many dating stories to share.  So I trust that you will enjoy more lifestyle and travel stories because I do enjoy blogging.  My trips are not sponsored so no company names are provided.

I do enjoy a day of luxury and pampering so where better to go than a local Spa with a friend or two.  We have tried a few places in the past but decided that this one just outside Stellenbosch is a good choice.  They have recently updated their facilities and the price includes access to their swimming pool and sauna facilities.  The Spa is part of a local wine farm and hotel so you can easily walk across to their Deli for some wine-tasting and food.

We decided to start at the Deli for a mid-morning snack.  I had the scones.  Something I had been craving since they ran out on my last visit.  It was really tasty with freshly baked scones, with generous servings of homemade jam and clotted cream.  Better than many of Cornish cream teas but then perhaps it is not fair to compare a little coffee shop with a luxury hotel.

Then we headed over to the Spa itself.  Stopping for a few photos along the way.

We arrived early enough for to have some time in the sauna and a swim.  I even spent a bit of time in the Jacuzzi.  When the weather is good there are cushions on the loungers outside so you can chill and enjoy the view with a drink.

Jacuzzi time

Then off for a pampering session.  I had my nails done a well as a facial.  Well it was a few days before IT Guy arrived.

We finished off the day by heading into town for some tasty Lebanese food.