About… iPhone 5

Hi Everyone!

My lovely Mother-in-law just returned from the Far East and brought a couple of “visitors” for yours truly and my better half… Here’s one:

Opening the box…

Inside the box

The new “ear pods”

We were a bit taken aback because we knew that now we would need a Nano SIM card, and there’s no way to get it where we live, and there won’t be for quite a while. So, I decided to go “Macgiver” on my Micro SIM (that I previously made from a normal Plug in SIM to fit on my first iPhone 4). I checked here first and then I went here to make sure of the exact measurements and got myself busy with some very sharp scissors and a ruler…

Success! If you are, by any chance, planning to do the same be warned that you’ll have to cut around the metal chip part carefully, and keep the two lines in the middle perfectly centered. If you do, as I did, than it should work! If you live anywhere where they can get you a Nano SIM, be smart, go change your card and save yourself the trouble… The nano card is apparently thinner, but, from my experience, if you cut the Micro SIM exactly you’ll be able to fit it in without too much trouble.

Oh wait, here comes the other one…

In the undying words of Sir David Attenborough – “Let’s have a look…”

It’s curious to note that despite the fact that the iPhone 5 looks at first glance very similar to the iPhone 4/4s when you put them side by side you can really see the differences.

The screen is much larger…

The speakers are also bigger, and the connector as you can see in the center, isn’t the usual 30 pin but instead something totally new and much smaller called “lightning”.

Generally it still has the same premium feel as the previous ones, and the fact that instead of a glass back you now have aluminum doesn’t spoil its charm (as I feared), and the reduction in thickness and weight is truly remarkable.

The now matte black finish on the case side is very elegant, as is the “diamond cut” of all the corners.

Regarding the cameras things are only slightly different, the back camera is 8 MegaPixel and the front one is 1.2 MegaPixel.

The screen is really very nice…

And it woks great, even when outdoors in the sunlight.

From the little time I had to try it, the camera looks sharp and efficient…

As the following two examples demonstrate:

The new chip A6 is supposed to be much faster and I believe it will be.

In conclusion, the iPhone 5 is another beautifully made Apple product, it appeals to your senses and yes, it is, in a way, like all the previous iPhones and in another significantly better. As we are used to by the company from Cupertino – evolution in continuity…

Hope you enjoyed!


A great place to relax and enjoy…

…in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

We were in dire need of some restful moments after a few weeks of over intensive work and were considering to stay at a certain lodge and restaurant where we had the pleasure of having lunch and dinner a few times but never stayed overnight, unfortunately it was fully booked for the weekend so we had to find an alternative. After careful consideration I decided to take a chance on a 5 star rated lodge that I’ve never heard of, but looked very promising… the “Jatinga Country Lodge”.

They had two accommodation choices – Superior Rooms or Luxury Suites, both being a bit on the expensive side I decided that the small difference in price might be worth it and opted for the latter.

We arrived there just after the sunset and doing the last few kms in a dirt road.

So, since an image is worth a thousand words I’ll start with the photos and go along with some comments.

This is what was waiting for us:

A lounge/sitting room with fireplace, a set of sofas, TV, refrigerator, a selection of coffee and tea, some extremely nice home made shortbread cookies and a few books & magazines.

The room itself, also with fireplace and a four poster bed.

Another angle of the sitting room.

And the brilliant (!) bathroom…

Let’s be fair, it’s not brilliant in a “The Venetian” slightly excessive marble & gold way, nor in the absolute elegance of “Intercontinental” Hong Kong. But it is brilliant, just in its simplicity of bare stone and painted walls. It feels really comfortable and adequate.

And yes, it comes with an enclosed patio with outdoor shower…

Isn’t that a very nice detail…?

All in all a positive first impression.

Now regarding dinner… The restaurant was said to be “gourmet” so, despite the fact that sometimes the word is used in a very broad sense, we decided it was worth a try…

The tables are properly set and the classic colonial decoration is consistent and agreeable.

The menu offered only two choices on starters, two on main course and surprise (!) two desserts… Which at first glance feels a bit too little, but… And this is really what matters, the food IS GOOD, it is actually VERY GOOD.

May I present you a starter… Springbok, very thinly sliced and folded, with balsamic vinegar and peppers, over a salad. The springbok is a type of gazelle from southern Africa. And was it delicious…

Butternut soup, it might not be as impressive as the springbok, but still very good.

Main couse…

The line fish, in a lemon and cream sauce and over a potato. Delicate, cooked to the perfect point in which it melts in your mouth…

And the lamb, rich and flavorsome.

Our daughter was presented with perfectly cooked scrambled eggs, with a bit of paprika…

I have to say I was impressed… So much so that when dessert arrived I even forgot to take a photo and dedicated myself thoroughly to the pleasure of sharing a two tone chocolate mousse with our daughter…

View of a table in the cellar.

In the morning… Perfect weather.

The suite as seen from outside.

Through the garden, on the way to breakfast

The breakfast, something that is taken very seriously here, as it was presented at our table:

Selection of cheese and cold cuts, selection of fresh fruits and bulgarian yogurt with a cereals…

Fruit juice,

Toast, croissants and wonderful home made muffins…

And excellent freshly brewed coffee. Since this is not considered enough, the waiter will bring you the list with all sorts of different options… I decided to have just a simple omelet with cheese and bacon:

Allow me to tell you that, the omelet not only looks perfect, it is perfect. It’s actually just the best omelet that I’ve ever tried EVER. Trust me, I’ve had my share of five star hotel’s omelets across the world and this one takes first prize without discussion, it wasn’t an omelet it was a song, an ode to the egg. Perfect, so perfect that I wasn’t believing my own tastebuds after the first try… When a Chef manages to turn something so simple into such an experience, it’s someone that really deserves the title Chef.

To digest the wonderful breakfast nothing like a walk through the grounds…

And enjoy the view over the stream and the surrounding bush from the observation deck.

The suite’s bathroom during daytime… The outdoor shower is a must try, absolutely wonderful experience with something deeply atavistic to it. Also enjoyed the rough stone shower room, ever since I first showered in a rough stone shower room, in one of my cousin’s in-laws country house more than fifteen years ago, I’m a sucker for it. Don’t get me wrong, I like a shower room of polished marble as much as the next person, but once again, like with the outdoor version, there’s something to it that appeals to the “stone man” in me (did they have shower??? Hmm… Maybe not… But they sure had waterfalls!

To be continued…

About Something Completely Different…


For something completely different I thought about posting here a few photos of a wonderful miniature racing car transport truck… And a matching miniature racing car.

The truck is a Mercedes Benz, the miniature model in 1/43 scale of the one used by the Porsche Martini Racing Team in 1976. This one particularly was made as a limited edition by a german company – Premium ClassiXXs – and it is carefully put together and wonderfully detailed.

For good measure I’ve thrown in a Porsche 935 Martini Racing also from 1976, this one another limited edition, also in 1/43 scale, but produced by Minichamps, another german company.

I feel that they really enhance one another… And just to add a bit more color to the story, let me tell you that they’ve been together for at least five years in a display at the Sogo Department Store in Taichung, Taiwan. Since 2007 I’ve been looking at both in this big glass cabinet in which some of their best miniatures are taken from their boxes and displayed. Several times I felt compelled to buy this truck, but somehow I felt the price to be slightly excessive and always ended up buying one or other Bentley from Minichamps. I’m very partial to them and Minichamps is Bentley’s official supplier for their miniatures.


During the years I was always expecting to find the truck gone on my next visit, but it kept on being there. I simply don’t understand how come no one bought it…

Then, a few months ago, in what was my third visit to Taiwan (this year), I went to Sogo and I just could’t take it anymore and took the pair home with me. Even the very nice person in charge of the scale model section was very happy (he actually gave me a discount and even offered me a present!!!). I reckon after five years of seeing me admiring the setup he also felt that there was, at last, a proper happy end.

So, that’s it, when I arrived home I just couldn’t resist and I took a set of photos, part of which I’m now sharing with you… Both scale models are now in our house in Taiwan where they will be properly cherished. To view the complete gallery of photos just click on any of the miniatures below, I hope you’ll enjoy!

About a Book I Recommend – Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore

Sacre Bleu, A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore

The title pretty much sums it up, it’s a book about the color blue, about art and artists and it is a comedy.

The author wrote an extremely clever and imaginative plot that revolves around two characters – Blue and the Color man – and their influence on art and painters in illo tempore.

It starts with the suicide / assassination of Vincent Van Gogh and from then on is a roller coaster trip over the major names in art of the 19th and early 20th Century, it’s smart, it’s engaging, it keeps on your toes all the way and gives you a great insight (although partly fictional) into an era where things were just being reinvented all the time.

Christopher Moore made a prodigious investigative work to write this book, just for all the things that one can learn, it would be worth reading it, but it’s much bigger than that, it’s an exercise in intelligent humor.

If I had to rate it I would give it 85 out of 100.

If you feel like checking more info on this book: http://guide.sacrebleu.info

Thank you for reading!


About a Watch

This is not intended as a proper review, it’s just a post with my opinions over one of my favorite IWC watches.

This is the IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 ref. 3568, it is a dive watch, it is fantastically well built – can withstand the pressure of 2000 meters under water and it is, in a tortuous way, the reason why I’m writing this blog… Therefore it deserves the honor to appear in this first post.

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It’s big – 44mm width and 14 mm height – but not as big as some other IWC models like the wonderful Big Pilots or the amazing Aquatimer Deep Two. Despite the size it is very comfortable on the wrist and the (excellent) rubber strap with quick change system just helps to the overall feel of quality.

It has a stainless steel case, sapphire glass and a very precise and easy to use screw-in crown.

One of the wonderful features of this watch is the rotating bezel built of sapphire crystal with Super LumiNova (TM) applied underneath, this is also applied in the hour markers and in the hands so you get an amazing three tone luminescence under low light conditions.

The movement is the self-winding Caliber 30110, unfortunately not in-house but it works flawlessly and it is taken to the IWC precision criteria which is slightly tighter than that used by the COSC.

The case finishing, partly polished and partly brushed is beyond any type of criticism and all the fittings are just perfect.

As a dive watch it does maintain a certain “tool” feel but the built quality and the design elegance allow for it to be taken anywhere and anyplace. With a tie maybe not, but I don’t feel any problem in wearing it with a dark suit or a blazer when properly combined.

Minor perk – it is very shiny when under direct sunlight.

Overall it gives me great aesthetic pleasure.

Thank you for reading!

IWC is one of the top Swiss watchmakers and the AT 2000 is one of its simplest watches. Anyone who finds this interesting should check the IWC website www.iwc.com and the excellent IWC Collectors’ Forum www.iwc.com/forum.

Dear Readers, Welcome!

Dear Readers, welcome to this blog!

Why am I starting a blog?

Well, I always enjoyed writing and, due to all sorts of different reasons, I haven’t been doing it much in the past years. Then, a few months ago I bought a watch and registered at the brand’s forum and suddenly I found myself for the first time actively participating on something online and writing frequently. At a certain point the thought just occurred to me, why not write a blog? And that’s it – the short version.

What am I going to write about?

Now, that is something a bit tricky. I want to write about things that I like and things that I don’t like. I intend to give my opinions which are solely mine in a polite and matter of fact manner, but, being my opinions, they will forcefully carry my own bias, as personal opinions should. I hope to write about life and all sorts of pleasant things as books, watches, movies, cars and whatever else I feel like. I don’t intend to bring you any “pearls of wisdom” because I’m not that wise and I very definitely won’t give anyone advise on how they should live their own lives.

Expect to find photos, I really like photography.

I will not write about politics or religion. There are too many people doing that and in my humble opinion it just adds to the general confusion. That said I might offer a comment once in a while.

I will not be politically correct. I loathe “politically correct”, it’s just a modern way of being hypocritical without the side effect of feeling guilty about it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, come around whenever you feel like to check if there is something new. And I do hope you will enjoy yourselves.