It’s how it feels . . .

It’s funny where you learn things, very often it’s in the places you least expect.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean . . .

When you move to a place like China you have to partake in certain things like getting suits, jackets and pretty much everything else tailor made. The quality at the local markets is good and it’s outrageously cheap. Having a serious jacket fetish, I was naturally in my element! I got about ten made in the first week, all different cuts, linings, lapels etc.

So after a few months when I discovered an Italian tailor who had been working in China I was intrigued as to why his same fabric suits were 4 times the price (still half of what is costs to get a jacket made at home) so I decided to get one made as a trial. When he measured me up and we had selected cuts, lapels, pockets and about 40 other things I went to put on one of my ‘market tailor’ made jackets to ask him what he thought of it.

Expecting disdain and criticism I was astonished when he responded not with it looks okay or I think its pitiful mass market produced crap but rather “How does it make you feel?” It was the first time I had ever thought about it. It made me feel, nothing, absolutely nothing.

Two weeks later when he brought my new jacket I kept in mind his previous response when I slid his jacket over my shoulders, I could for the first time understand why it cost what it does. Its hard to explain really but it made me feel like I was designed to wear that jacket,  not because of the expense but for so many reasons that make the perfect suit (and I suppose you could get ones 100 times the price – I can only imagine the joy!!)

The point of the story is not the jacket, it’s about life. That when you buy something, you shouldn’t buy it just for the sake of it or for what others think of it or even because you feel like you should have it, but rather because it makes you FEEL a certain way. I’ve long said that if you spend a lot of money on a single purchase, if, every time you see it, it makes you smile then you have spent wisely, no matter what it cost.

The same applies here. Some people think certain things I buy or spend my money on seem extravagant but how many times in life can you buy a feeling? The answer is you can’t and so if a physical object, holiday, hotel, piece of art or a simply perfectly tailored jacket can do that, even if just for a moment, then I cannot think of anything in this world that is a better way to spend money.

The tasting menu to end all tasting menus!

I’m not sure why I have such a fetish for tasting menus, it may be because as GEN Y I need to be stimulated constantly and so am not satisfied merely with a few dishes but I need a million flavors floating around to be happy. It may also be that I enjoy having to punish myself in the gym constantly so I don’t start looking like Kobus Wiese – whatever the reason I try and do them as often as I can in as many countries as I can!

Living in Shanghai there is no shortage of world class menus – even the student restaurants produce things like this!

So when I had the opportunity to be in Oxford and to venture to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons I absolutely headed out to see what Raymond Blanc was up to!

Set in the most English of surroundings (Croquet and bowling greens along with countryside fill the view) the hotel and restaurant you cannot help but feel you are in for something special!

A few glasses of champaz to start in the sitting room, plus amuse bouche that looked like it was crafted by small culinary angels. They serve the menus and then you start to wonder how many courses you can fit into your body that day – the answer? The maximum menu of NINE!

Here we go . . .

Apparently in my excitement and Champagne haze i forgot to capture the first course!

Which was basically a deconstructed Bounty chocolate bar!

To go and make yourself a little more menu crazy go have a look at the rest of theirs and pics from a decent photographer!

Finally after a few glasses of champaz to start and a multitude of different glasses of wine to complement each course you can imagine the condition I was in. Fortunately if I needed to drive home I was quickly sobered up by the bill (excluding tip!)

The funniest moment though was when we got into the cab sufficiently drunk, full and content with enough decadence to last a few days, headed back to the Old Parsonage Hotel we realized that we left the hotel with zero cash and now could not pay our cab fare home. Fortunately a plan was quickly made but the thought of having to walk off nine courses on a two hour walk home was rather amusing!

Back in Shanghai now and back to semi-reality! Tomorrow night though is the next one – an entire meal inspired by coffee!

Where do I book?

So I’m one for great restaurants (this site is my ticklist). I love places where there are 1000 courses of flavours and scientific concoctions that no one thought possible. I love when I can dive head first into a culinary orgy of food, wine and company –few things in give me more joy (well quite a few but you get the picture)

BUT,

My whole life I’ve loved parties. They don’t have to be big, they don’t have to be extravagant, they need to have something to eat, a lot to drink, some form of good music and a collection of friends, family acquaintance or whatever. This is probably due to the fact that my family are functional social alcoholics. Also could be because we are most happy when our family and friends are around us with a glass of wine in hand – whatever the reason it seems to be genetic!

So let me just paint a picture for you here. This is the location.

(It reminds of a little of this small restaurant on Inhaca island, in Mozam, called Luca’s in the middle of the township where you can sit the whole day drinking Casal Garcia and eat seafood off the braai – just magic!)

So back to the image! This is the place, you fill it with 50 friends / family whatever. Some buckets of ice cold beers, champaz, vino and G&Ts. You scatter three or four open half barrel braais about, all cooking different seafood’s freshly hauled out of the sea (yes my partner at STM will only eat the calamari cause he thinks the rest is murder) and as the sun sets over the water you have a few last drinks and get boat ferried home.

I could think of few days better on earth than that. I think it’s worth some investigation to see the possibility of making it real, don’t you?

Amazing seafood restaurant is located on a rock near the Michanwi Pingwebeach in Zanzibar, Tanzania from HERE

Art through classic super-cars!

It took a little longer than expected (3 days to get rid of a hangover is poor form I know but after being drunk for 72 hours including 3 rounds of golf you are starting to get the picture) but we are BACK!

Now I’m the kind of person who buys into the whole ‘you can only drive one car at a time’ scenario and this is why this appealed to me so much!

I don’t want garages and garages of car collections because for goodness sake some poor bastard (or a team of poor bastards) has to clean, look after, fuel and maintain all of them. For me I would much rather by a piece of art that encapsulates one of the most important parts of a car, its aesthetic beauty!

I’ve always wanted to own a classic sports car but the thought of the inner wirings and breaks having been built by some dude in the 60s scares me just a little and so I could seriously get into collecting classics in the form of gold wire sculptures.

DANTE which is a Swiss based firm has brought us three magnificent vehicles whose beauty is outclassed only by their heritage!

The first is the magnificent FERRARI 250 GTO . . .

Click for the Gallary

Then the Aston Martin DB 5, the star of multiple James Bond Movies . . .

Click for the Gallery

And finally my personal favorite, the orgasmically beautiful Mercedes 300SL . . .

 

Click for the Gallery

Now if you were on email ready to purchase one of these beauties I thought I’d let you enjoy your dream a while longer before crushing it! The good news though is they come in various sizes to suit your Swiss villa or modern Zurich apartment!

Screw Branson’s island, mine FLOATS!

Being super rich must be fun. I’m talking buy your own football team, own Formula One, have a skyscraper as your family home RICH!

Why? Just because sometimes it must be fun to own things that cannot be even used in the same sentence as ordinary life!

Things like this . . .

This, yes blink again, ISLAND YACHT!!

You can just imagine what is in there – cinemas, spas, gyms, jacuzzi rooms and more and more and more! Even when it seems too luxurious, you go outside onto a beach, YOUR BEACH!

Off the front is a nice casual glass end for the pool, me I would have gone for the infinity pool but I guess each to his own!

And at the back a few private cabanas in case the island gets a little loud and crowded and you need to do something with these!!

It makes me think of waking up in the morning, walking out onto the balcony nekkid, opening a bottle of Cristal and singing . . .

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avaSdC0QOUM&ob=av3n

For those of you who actually give a shit about what happens to the planet yet you aren’t quite on the floating island budget HERE and HERE may be your answer!

Abu Dhabi spending sprees based on stoner sessions?

So this confirms something I have believed for a long time now. There is so much cash floating around Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the UAE that the way they spend it is by getting stoned with their mates and think of the most ridiculous way to rid themselves of their billions!

I mean come on, some dude says “I know, a gold plated car” until his more hookah’d up buddy says “NO! NO! Gold plated Veyron!” and BOOM . . .

Think about the Dubai island phenomenon, after the cars, these mates got together and decided cars were to cheap! They weren’t getting rid of their oil reserve funds fast enough, so after a large blunt session someone chirps up “Lets buy and island” he gets beaten in the head swiftly by one of his friends, “That’s FAR TO EASY MAN!” Until the next one blurts out “Let’s BUILD an island out of reclaimed land” and BOOM!

Finally we have the ‘Pièce de résistance’ when after a marathon Chillum session some brilliant individual shouts out “I’VE GOT IT! I WANT TO SEE MY NAME FROM SPACE”

The man Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan (who is worth $23 billion by the way) had his name dug out in sand (Two KM’s wide and one KM high) so you can see it from space!

If you think I’m currently smoking one of the above GO SEE THE GOOGLE EARTH PIC!

Ps his other brilliant cash spending idea was to buy 200 cars and store them in a custom built pyramid!

Want Iron Man’s house?

I am a massive fan of Iron Man for a million different reasons and certainly one of the top ones is for his house!

I always thought this was a computer generated icon to toy with my imagination but the truth is ITS ALIVE and not only that ITS FOR SALE! Itll run you about $25 mill but lets be fair for Iron Mans house i think thats a steal!

Check it out!

Via HERE

The best of the Royal wedding pics . . .

Ok just so we are VERY clear – I HATED THE WHOLE ROYAL WEDDING STORY.

As someone who recently took this very serious plunge – I don’t hate weddings, I don’t hate marriage and I don’t hate all the gushy lovey stuff that goes with it. In fact quite the opposite BUT this was seriously annoying!!

So much Royal junk pushed onto everyone around the world through every company  from CNN to Kulula! By the time the wedding came I almost went postal on the throngs of females clogging our office watching the big screens!

But I suppose as I’ve been told this is history and it is important (I still think its a load of crap) so if you were into it you have to go to the world authority on pictures – BOSTON BIG PICTURE and look at them.

Heres a small taste . . .

And finally my personal favorite which is sadly not on the BIG PICTURE . . .

Been chillin . . .

I hit Joburg traffic this morning, after spending a two catchup on the local travel circuit, and was immediately back to swearing like a normal Joburger on his way back to work! So i thought it only fair to revisit the last few weeks of chilling to calm me down again . . .

There was the epic PONTA DOS GANCHOS and the Villa for a weeks chill . . .

Then the stellar seaside town of Buzios and the perfectly unique INSOLITO HOTEL . . .

Then enough chilling and into the city, little bit of Rio with Ozzy Osbourne and Dr 90210 (who is the biggest douche on the planet) overlooking the sensational Ipanema Beach in a suite at the FASANO!

So now that you all hate me i will go – it sux to be back at work and rejoining my beautiful British Airways SLOW lounges around the country but hey you cant be a rockstar all year round – well until i hit Spain in JUNE :)

Flying . . .

We posted an article a while ago about these suits that can literally make you fly and while they may be the highest producer of adrenalin on the planet I think there is something closer to flying.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have gone skiing a lot – in fact I could ski before I could walk they tell me – well sort of I never really got walking down properly. Anyway I’m getting distracted now!

So when we get the brothers together (which is not often now that the one lives in Ko Phangan Island and the other has an army of kids!) and especially if it’s on the slopes, it turns into a mess. We Catch the first Gondola up the mountain and then spend the next few hours are in a combination of vodka shots and high speed skiing!

When you stand at the top of the Alps you feel like you are literally on top of the world looking down on everything ever created like some kind of god. To be able to plug earphones in and listen to a soundtrack while you carve down freshly groomed slopes is a feeling that’s just hard to explain. Trying to get up to 100km per hour, watching the world flash past your face and feeling your legs burn as you sink into a rhythm making the first tracks of the day is the single most freeing feeling I have experienced – in fact it’s like a drug! A drug that you crave day after day!

I’ve never flown by myself  (I’ve done the corporate story a lot) but I can only imagine the peaceful silence and ability of being able to carve your path through the sky is similar in its feeling – the feeling of total freedom, no leading and no following, just you and the path you want to create in front of you.

Maybe that’s why I love it so much – I can block out all the noise and pressure of everyday and just SKI!

Today was my last ski probably for another year  . . . I’m not sure the fix I’ve gotten over the last few days will last but what I can say is that if you haven’t been skiing or even boarding, for that matter, I suggest you go! Go learn and get your ass on a slope because there are few times in your life you will feel as free, as powerful and as in control of yourself and everything around you (well, you may need a few lessons first)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VO-NgWTkio

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71289ISvtQk

Just to show you where STM is hanging out this week . . .

It’s hard to believe I guess but we haven’t had a break in a while so it’s time to chill out and have a bit of a break.

By that I mean fairly early start – head up the mountain and then for the morning race the gondola back down the mountain while having to stop for a few Schnapps along the way.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have learnt to ski when I was very young and so I’m far better at drunk skiing that drunk driving!

These are the digs for the week!

Go check out the brilliant KULM – our family has been coming for about 40 years so they are used to the madness (not really they are Swiss after all)

Just to show you where STM is hanging out this week . . .


View from the water (gateway of India on the right)

STM has had to hit Mumbai for the week to do some business (all above board we swear) but we thought it would be a good idea to show you!

If you are wondering, this is the place the terrorists hit in late 2008 but since then there are blockades for a 100m around the hotel and about 100 security officials scanning and checking at the front door so hopefully those days are over!

Very colonial so far but absolutely exceptional . . . gotta go, the tailor is on his way to my room but here are a few pics of the TAJ PALACE!

The HOTEL at night
The room!
The view (well not my view - mine has this over the Gateway of India - SPECTACULAR)

A great glass of red wine anyone (um for R1.6m per bottle?)

If you know STM you will know that we are serious wine drinkers and if you are at least a semi interested wine drinker you willl know that there are five Bordeaux wines that are the pinnacle of wine drinking and were classified as such in 1855 (well actually there were four to start – i ll explain) – these most spectacular places are,Château LatourChâteau Lafite RothschildChâteau Margaux and Château Haut-Brion and they were the four original first growths for over a hundred years until finally Mouton Rothschild was added to the list!

So when we came across something that said Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1869 our ears pricked up because lets be fair this is like finding dinosaur blood in a preserved amber (yeah and one of them is not real) so we had to show you . . .

Three bottles of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1869 vintage wine each sold for a record price of HK$1.8 million ($230,000) at a Sotheby’s sale in Hong Kong, underlining Asia’s dominance of the auction market for trophy label wines. That makes these the most expensive bottles of wine ever sold at auction.

The entire sale of treasures direct from the legendary Chateau Lafite brought in a total of $8.4 million, tripling the pre-sale high estimate of $2.5 million. The sale featured 284 lots of Lafite, as well as the other chateaux owned by Domaines Baron de Rothschild, all with direct-from-the-cellar perfect provenance. Before being shipped to Hong Kong, these bottles never left the cellars in which they were placed immediately after being made.

Its time for ARMAGEDDON to hit earth i fear . . .

This concerns me! This really fking concerns me!

Now i get it – our generation are sluts – we are and i love it!

I mean we are sluts for money, power, time, decadence, egos, fame etc etc but every so often it really pisses me off – SEE HERE – when we start to take the absolute piss out of society i tend to get a little annoyed because we do have the run of this place pretty much already so why push it – and here is the PERFECT EXAMPLE of the youth taking the piss!

Heres this dude – nobody one day – then his mommy posts him on youtube and before you know it the dude is a global sensation and hes touring and selling albums and has a new record deal and on and on and on (one credit to him is he managed to kill off the jonas brothers which was long overdue – although it does feel a little like a warped teeny bopper version of animal farm).

So anyway this guy is plastered all over every tweens bedroom wall and he has everything going for and what is his next move – NAIL POLISH and (just when you thought it would get worse) why? So you can have Bieber with you all the time – KILL ME NOW!!! Take a hammer and smash my head into little pieces because if this is where we have gone as a society i just dont wanna be here anymore – and if you dont agree please dont read us anymore (or abuse us its fair both ways)

Im not sure that i can continue writing this without trying to at least throw myself off my hotel suites balcony (with my power cord wrapped around my neck) so if you want more info . . .

. . . GO HERE . . OR HERE . . or just google pre pubescent teen wants to show he is a brand rather than just a name and the best way to do this is in sparkly pink or rouge – its sad people!

I mean for goodness sake bieber bring out a fragrance! Go be an actor! I understand you will sell gizzillions of these nail polish tubs but at what price – you have degraded every artist that ever graced the worlds stage and for what? More money than the already much more than you need amount that you have?

Dude seriously stop taking the piss out of us!

Now for you parents who will have whiney tweens begging for this crap – please listen closely . . . turn up the volume . . . watch the below video . . . and repeat for your sake and the rest of societies!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10uhIosIhAs