Tuesday, September 19, 2017
A few weeks back I was invited along with a group of other media personnel to experience the Holiday Express train. As stated in my initial blog post, there is a certain stigma that is associated with using Public Transport in South Africa, there is a general fear of using it and the number one factor is safety. I guess this is one of the reasons we were invited to experience the Holiday Express, to help alleviate this fear from many by telling you about our journey. There were two options available for the weekend, Saturday's trip was a journey to Shongweni where you would visit the farmers market or on the Sunday was a trip to Scottburgh to enjoy the sea side. I opted for the Shongweni Journey as I always wanted to go to the Farmers Market after hearing rave reviews about it.
I took my mom along with me, as she would love the Farmers Market in Shongweni but also as a child she used to travel by train quite a lot going from Durban back home to her family in the Northern Cape. We both were equally excited for the journey that lay ahead. Upon arrival at Durban Station, we were greeted by our friendly host, the Business Class lounge at the Station serves as a waiting area till you depart on the train. There were beverages and snacks available for purchase as well as tokens that you could use on board the train. Just before 8am we made our way down to the platform to board the KZN Business Express coaches. The coaches are very different from the normal ones, with large cushion seats which can recline, have arm rests and have fold up tray tables in front of you. It was my first trip in Durban on a train so I was looking forward to viewing the city from the rail way tracks.
The route is slightly different from the main line as it meanders it's way through the city, going through the Jacobs area before turning up towards Queensburgh and Shallcross. Making its way through Marian Hill before reaching Shongweni. During the ride, I took time to explore the other coaches, and I was surprised to find one coach having a bar with light refreshments and snacks, and further back another coach with a full size board room table and kitchen where hot refreshments were served. Along the route there were many tunnels which the train went through, which we all loved going from daylight to darkness and daylight again. The train also makes a stop just before Shongweni to view a waterfall which is only accessible via rail. Even though the total time of the journey took one and half hours, one doesn't really feel it that long with so much to see along the way.
Once we reached Shongweni Station, it was time to disembark and board the buses that were waiting for us. A short 5 minute drive and we were at our destination, the Shongweni Farmers Market. The market was a buzz of activity, with stalls selling everything and anything, from plants, to fresh produce, crafts and not forgetting, plenty of food! Most of us had built up and appetite by now but were spoilt for choice at the selection on offer. Everything is fresh, tasty and smelt delicious, it's a pity our stomachs could handle only a certain amount of food as I'm sure I speak for all when I say we would have loved to try everything on sale! With the market closing at 12 o clock, we had to be back on the bus by 11.30am, which was ample time for us to enjoy the markets sights and scenes. Once back at the station it was time to make our way back home.
The journey back, even though using the same route proved to be equally exciting, as you were heading in the opposite direction and gave you saw things that you didn't see on the way there. Once safely back at the station, I asked some of the other travelers what they had though about the experience. Many said that they had booked it mainly for their kids but didn't anticipate themselves having so much of fun as well. It really is a wonderful way to explore and experience this magnificent province and no matter which destination or trip you chose, it's bound to be an out of the ordinary experience for the entire family. The next trips are planned for the 30th of September to the Shogweni Farmers Market and the 1st of the October to Socttburgh. For more information, visit the website www.theholidayexpress.co.za or to book, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, September 18, 2017
This cult classic of the early 2000's was one of the hottest tracks in clubs world over, Fragma's "Toca Me" later turned "Toca's Miracle" wasn't just a hot track but had a damn hot music video if I might say so myself. 15 year's on since then, the track has been updated and released again. the re-work done by Dutch power house DJ's Fedde Le Grand and Dannic and features the original vocals by Coco Star on the track. While the original track had that electro house vibe, this latest release has taken a more chilled tone with a deep house melody. The official music video is also out and plays around the popular social media dating app, Tinder. Enjoy!
Friday, September 15, 2017
The lead up to this week's Apple Event was all about the new iPhone, with the current available model on the market being the 7, in natural Apple progression, the next model to be released would be the 7s but with the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone being this year many in the know said that Apple would skip the S model and unveil the 8. They were bang on the money with that prediction but in true Steve Jobs fashion, Tim Cook and Apple had "One More Thing" up his sleeve for the night... the iPhone X.
Now I know many, when I say many I mean people other than fans of Apple, might be thinking what is this all about? Well, essentially the iPhone X is the iPhone 10, it pays tribute to 10 years of iPhone and it is the baddest one they've made to date. I mean I normally am a bit skeptical of the products they make, sure they're built well, work well but it's more often over hyped and more likely to cost you an arm and both legs. I'm pretty sure the same could be said about the X but the technology being showcased in this phone is great. Fair enough most Android phones have had these features for a while now and when the iPhone 7 was launched I spoke about how we were so used to Apple coming up with these great features but now it's time for them to play catch and that isn't always a bad thing. Sure the technology is out there but with anything, there will be problems, so if someone has invented it, you can borrow and perfect it. I'm pretty sure that is what Tim and his staff did. Lets take a look at some of the key features into this ultimate iPhone.
First thing that strikes you is the display, in previous generations of the iPhone, the displays always have had borders around them and the standard home key which doubled as a finger print reader. Well with the iPhone X, that got tossed out. The entire front of the device is a screen, yip, with a minimalistic frame which houses the 5.8inch super retina display, only a small portion at the top houses some sophisticated tech which includes sensors, a front facing camera and face ID technology. I know what you're thinking, what does it need face ID recognition for? Well remember how I said they phased out the home button, that button also served as a finger print reader for the phone, now with this gone, the iPhone X uses face recognition software to unlock your phone! Now while there have been many memes that's done the rounds making fun of this feature, you got to admit, that is pretty cool.
Lets talk about the build quality now, I think we can all agree that the iPhones are made pretty well. Can't say the same about the screens but overall when you hold an iPhone is feels like a well made device, not some cheap tacky mobile you bought from a dodgy corner shop. The iPhone X will be manufactured with surgical stainless steel, yes normal steel just wasn't good enough, that they using a high grade class steel to made this device. Here's the kicker though, both the front and the back of the phone will have "durable" glass on the front and the back. Not sure they're going to be using Corningware Gorilla Glass for this or they've developed their own but for the sake of prospective buyers, I hope it's pretty strong stuff. The glass front and back does give the device a super premium look if I could say so oh and the iPhone X will be dust and splash proof, just in case you spill some Apple juice on it.
Now the most important feature on an iPhone, the camera! The iPhone X like the 7 and 8 will have a dual lens camera configuration but Apple wanted to make it different and rotated the lens, how this helps, I don't really know but long as it takes awesome pictures of food, sunsets and craft beer right? The camera is a larger and faster 12MP sensor. A new colour filter with deeper pixels and new telephoto camera with OIS. It has depth-sensing cameras and precise facial mapping creating striking studio quality lighting effects. Both rear cameras have optical image stabilization and fast lenses for outstanding photos and videos even in low light. With the wide angle and telephoto cameras on the device, this enables optical zoom as well as digital zoom of up to 10 x for photos and 6 x for videos.
Overall this phone looks the business and really outshone the iPhone 8 which was also launched on the same night, was that a stupid move from Apple though? Killing off their own product with another one of theirs? Well yes and no, the iPhone X is a special device, so it will have a special price tag. It also has the fastest chipset and CPU than any other of their devices so it really depends on what the consumer needs and how much they can afford. Pricing has only been made available in dollars which is pretty useless to us because simply converting it won't give us a true indication of how much the phone will cost us. We will just have to wait and see along with when it will reach our shores.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The Frankfurt Motorshow is always a buzz, with most of the German manufacturers using this platform to stage their greatest models and concepts, while there was smorgasbord of great cars to chose from at IAA 2017, my pick from the bunch was about the future of motoring. Yes while most manufacturers showed of their great tech in cars for present and future, with the world of motoring's immediate future looking to electricity for power, BMW lifted the covers on it's BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept. A year on from displaying their NEXT 100 vision at last years show, the i Vision gives the consumer a more realistic vision of what they can expect from the company in the coming years.
The car is Future Mobility in a nutshell, it's an all electric, four-door Gran Coupe with a range of 600km, a top speed of over 200km/h and an acceleration of 0-100km in just four seconds. With BMW already one of the leaders in e-mobility with two models on sale worldwide in the i3 and i8 Hybrid, not forgetting the various plug hybrids offered across their range, the technology they have works and perfecting this technology and only do more good, not only for their cars but the future of motoring. Harald Kruger, Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW AG says that by 2015, BMW will be offering 25 models with an electrified drive system, of which 12 will be pure-electric. "With BMW i Vision Dynamics we are showcasing how we envisage future electric mobility between the i3 and i8: a dynamic and progressive, four-door Gran Coupe. We are therefore electrifying the heart of the BMW brand and, at the same time, elevating BMW i into a totally new dimension" - says Kruger.
The design of the i Vision Dynamics borrows a lot from the Next 100 Vision, with tweaks to make the car more the standard of car that we have today. It's massive fused twin kidney grille design is a prominent feature of the car with even part of the bonnet lid molded to it's shape. The adaptive LED lighting is minimalistic but still offers that great character that is known to BMW design. The side profile of the car is extremely sleek, with it looking very similar to early concepts of the BMW i8. The frame-less windows also take the shape of the kidney grille. The roof of the car is an all glass panoramic roof which ties into the rear window, falling into the back with it's straight line boot lid and angled tail lights. The tiny lights and details in the design add to the progressive and elegance of the car. This car is basically what we can expect from the upcoming BMW i5, a first family sedan coming from the BMWi brand and one that would be welcomed into the market.
Monday, September 11, 2017
Remember Bob Sinclar? Remember Akon? Nope this isn't Throwback Monday, the two legendary artist of the past decade have come out of hiding and teamed up for a new track and its great! We all remember Bob from classics like "When the sun goes down" and also remixing some of Bob Marley's greatest hits. His latest offering "Tel The Sun Rise Up" features American-born Senegalese singer Akon who was also another popular figure in the past decade but seemed to have dipped under the radar for the last 5 odd years. The new track has a nice tropical house to it with a reggae style vocals to it. It's one of those feel good summer songs that will cheer you up from whatever mood you're in.
Friday, September 8, 2017
When I was first told I would be receiving a KIA Sorento to test, I honestly thought it was the previous generation Sorento, the one with the revised rear lights that look a bit odd. I didn't even know KIA had launched a new one! So it was much to my surprise when heading home one day, I came across this rather good looking SUV next to me, it was in a metallic bronze colour. From general design and observation, it was clearly a KIA but not one that I've seen before, so when I glanced at the badge and saw it was the Sorento, I was a bit confused. So when I got a chance to, I visited the KIA website and saw that the new Sorento was available in SA, not sure how they managed to sneak such a large SUV into the country with not many knowing about it, unless it was just me who missed it? Anyway, from then on I was quite excited to get it and see what this range topping SUV from the Korean's had to offer, since I was already blown away from the smaller Sportage.
When the test unit arrived, I was pretty bleak to see it was white and not that fancy metallic bronze, (which the correct name is "Imperial Bronze"), I saw but never the less it still had those great looks. As mentioned previously, the older gen Sorento had this rather awkward looking rear, especially the tail-lights. It just looked out of proportion and something that was cut and pasted there. The new Sorento however has been crafted well, a bit of it's styling still comes from the older model but with subtle differences. The big changes are its size and in the front and the back. The front features a new grille with like a 3D effect with the KIA badge almost floating in the center. The front headlights have been re-sculpted and aren't fused with the grille as before. They're more edgy and sleek. The rest of the front is molded well with large openings for the front fog lights. The rear end has a very American look to it, with the rear lights looking to that of a Jeep but not overly similar that you'd think it is one. Overall the design is perfect and on the EX, SX and SXL models look even better with the chrome finishing.
I had the 2.2 LS CRDi, which was one of the entry level Sorento's available, so while it didn't have all the bells and whistles on the inside, it still had that great 2.2 litre diesel engine, which delivers 147kW and 440Nm of Torque. Plenty of power to pull this big boy along on any surface. Actually the diesel engine was very eager to go as I found sometimes with quick acceleration from a stand still caused the tyres to spin! I thought the 6 speed automatic gearbox won't be adequate for the Sorento, seeing that many other manufacturers are opting for 7 speeds or higher but somehow KIA got this one right. It's got great timing on the changes and responds well when needed, all while keeping revs at a minimum and thus conserving your fuel. Speaking of which, in my 7 days with it, I clocked up over 700km and it still had a few 100 left on the range.
While you can get the Sorento in a 7 seater configuration, the model I had was a 5 seater, so space was a plenty and it made it for a very very big trunk. So big you could fit two adults in there...not that I tried...okay, maybe I did. If sitting in the trunk isn't your thing, then you will be glad to hear that the seats in the Sorento are extremely comfortable. The 2.2 LS CRDi comes with cloth seats and has the extra option of leather if you prefer it, however I had no real complaints about the cloth, normally I find that the cloth makes it a bit warm in the car but didn't really have that problem, unless it was the winter weather? The ride quality on the Sorento is exceptional, it's soft and smooth, suspension copes well from gravel roads to speed humps.
While I did have the entry level Sorento, it came with the bare minimum. Bluetooth Telephone and Audio streaming, multi-function buttons on the steering wheel to control everything from audio, telephone and the trip computer in the dash. Being a rather large vehicle, it was nice that it came with PDC's so that made parking it a bit much easier but a reverse camera would be nice, mind you with the radio being a normal LED type info screen it wouldn't be much of use unless they integrated it into the review mirror like their previous models. In saying that, the EX, SX and SXL models do have a colour screen infotainment display but it's rather tiny. It's a bit annoying that the previous KIA I had on test which was the Rio had this lovely, large touch screen display, capable of such wonderful things but then I got this and well, it didn't. But KIA have noticed this as well and just this week released a revised Sorento which I'm pretty such does have all these goodies as well as some minor design tweaks.
Overall, the KIA Sorento is a wonderful family SUV. The price tag makes it even more attractive when looking at large SUV's in its class and even though I had a base model, it was more than sufficient for my needs. During my time with it I gave as many people I knew rides in it as well, just to get a wider consensus on what others had to think of the vehicle. One of which was a KIA owner who currently drives an Optima, he was blown away by its size, ride comfort and what it had to offer, which makes me wonder what he'd think of the revised one that is yet to hit the shores. I do feel KIA missed the mark on certain aspects which they fixed up in the upcoming Sorento, not sure how big the gap of the release between this and the Rio was but if they picked up most items from the beginning, this would put some serious competition out there to the German and Japanese manufacturers.
2.2 litre, 4 cylinder, CRDi
6 speed automatic
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Anyone from Durban or visiting the city will know that it is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, let alone South Africa. In a city which doesn't get the global limelight it deserves, locals know what makes it great and it's part of the reason we chose to stay here and make this city even greater. With such a diverse population and a mixture of cultures, comes many talents that shine through, whether it be in food, business, song, dance or fashion, with this in mind, the Durban Street Food Festival was born. After a successful event in 2015, the Street Food Festival is back and promises to be bigger, better and at a new convenient location
Taking place at the Pavilion Shopping Center, from the 22nd to the 25th of September, this years 3 day Durban Street Food Festival is set to have 40 Street Food vendors with authentic flavours from around the world, 10 Craft Vendors, Live Durban Bands, Live Stand-Up Comedy by local comedians, Craft & Gin Beer Garden, Local Artists, Durban DJ's, Short Film Screenings, Food Demo's, Info Sessions, Jazz Expressions and Food Blogging.
The Durban Street Food Festival provides a venue to build appreciation for Durban's diversity. The Festival celebrates the global culture and ethnic diversity of Durban through culinary arts, music, performance art and social connection. The Festival proudly welcomes people from all across the spectrum yearly, to share with us their cultural traditions with another another, it also serves as a vehicle to promote cultural understanding and appreciation in our community. In addition to all of this, the Durban Street Food Festival also creates a platform for local Durban talent to perform and showcase themselves as well as provide a unique opportunity for corporate sponsors to receive highly visible and concentrated recognition which includes the likes of large-scale signage at the event and advertisements in the regional media.
The Durban Street Food Festival in conjunction with the Bucket is giving two lucky readers the chance to win tickets for them and two friends to the Festival. And you can enter either on Facebook or Instagram...or both to double your chances!
All you have to do is like the Durban Street Food Festival Facebook Page as well as the Bucket Facebook Page, share this blog post and tag the two friends you would like to take with to the Festival.
Follow @DurbanStreetFoodFestival and @theBucketza on Instagram, like the post about the Durban Street Food Festival and in the comments, tag the two friends you would like to take with to the Festival later this month.
The competition will run for 2 weeks, with entries closing on the 20th and the winners will be announced later that day. So good luck! If you aren't any of the lucky readers to win, you could always buy tickets for the festival on the day or via the website: durbanstreetfoodfestival.co.za
Monday, September 4, 2017
It's been a while since we heard from the Swedish duo Axwell /\ Ingrosso on the blog and while this track of their's dropped in early June, it's started to gain moment a lot now. The track "More Than You Know" has been playlisted on many radio stations and has been a feature of many live sets at recent music festivals, most notably Tomorrowland. We have the official music video of the song today and while the song is pretty epic, the video is too as it shows the journey of a fan capture through an old video recorder attending one of their shows.
Friday, September 1, 2017
As the door slammed shut on the summer transfer window last night, it brought much relief to many clubs out there who were trying their hardest to hold onto their star players. Over the years the game has changed and the money has escalated, I mean it's quite ridiculous in some cases. This transfer season saw the record price for a player being smash, previously it was held by Paul Pogba who's transfer from Juventus to Manchester United cost the English club a cool £89 million but a year later saw PSG come in to shatter that price by triggering a release clause in Neymar's contract with Barcelona to lure the Brazilian to the French side for a whopping £198 million! With clubs prepared to fork our insane amounts as those, it just blew the costs per players out of proportion.
Smaller clubs who had players who gained interest from bigger clubs had exorbitant price tags slapped to them, just so the club could make a great profit from the sale but what that actually did in most cases was scare the prospective buyers away, ultimately ruining chances for the players. Then in certain instances you get players who wanted a change, and tried forcing moves but were unsuccessful. One case which is close to home is of Philippe Coutinho wanting to switch to Barcelona. Understandable it was a life long dream for him and I agree with the player that he tried to be reasonable and respectable about it with the club but when Liverpool didn't budge, he played the transfer request card which didn't go down well with the club nor the fans, thereafter faking injury to make matters worse.
While we might be livid with the player and can't understand why he would want to move away from what seems like an exciting future for the club, we can't tell what his ambitions or aspirations are. Like Stevie Gerrard said in an interview, it might have been a dream for him to play for Barca as a kid and they could have threatened him and said this would be his one and only chance to join. So you can sort of understand the predicament he was facing. It's quick for supporters to get angry at situations like this but this where football teachings come into it, there is no player bigger than the club. For me, it was a tough pill to swallow when I heard it but if he doesn't want to stay, let him go. Virgil van Dijk faces a similar fate with Southampton but yet with just 2 hours to go in the window, both Coutinho and van Dijk still remain servants to their club, whether it be loyal ones remains to be seen.
While there was plenty of drama, there still was a lot of sales going on, so who do you reckon did the best business in the Premier League? Many say City, getting their players in before or during preseason, they spent a lot, got in some quality players, prices on some of them remain questionable but at the same time you got to see how the market reacts. Chelsea made some clever purchases but would it be enough for them to defend their title? I personally don't think so but they should still be putting pressure on whoever is. Spurs, finishing second last year and still have a squad which is probably the same as last years may find things a bit different this season, as it is they haven't had the greatest first 3 games but I feel their lack of desire in the transfer market may come back to bite them. Arsenal? The less said the better, for them it's all about holding down the gates and making sure there isn't a max exodus. So far Oxlade-Chamberlain managed to break-out and sign for Liverpool. A signing which confused me a bit seeing that we didn't really need him but who am I to judge.
I personally think the cleverest deals were done by Jose, he's a shrewde guy and gets what he wants. Signing Lukaku and Matic proved to be the last pieces in his jigsaw puzzle that is Manchester United. They have been unbelievable since the first kick of the ball this season and really look like the United of old, with Zlatan declaring himself fit again and rejoining the Red Devils for one more season for "unfinished business", who knows what this team who looked destined for 6th place again can achieve. My only concern if I was a United fan, is what happens if players get injured, what then? We saw how sides could frustrate United last season and we saw how United could frustrate teams by not wanting to play football in fear of losing. Overall, this Silly Season has been one that certainlly riled up emotions from many and most of us are glad to see its over so we can concentrate on the real matter at hand and that is the football!