In this monthly column, we chat to some of SA’s premier personalities about their travel experiences and favourite local pastimes and haunts.
This week we feature The Most Amazing Rob van Vuuren, who will be back on stage in the Mother City in ‘WhatWhat’, 2013 Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award winning comedy, which will be showing at the Baxter Studio from December 1 to January 10.
‘What What’ is a high energy, humorous and epic celebration of a hidden gem in the South African lexicon. Van Vuuren manages to tie love, life, death, koala bears, adoption, firepools, gay slang, dancing and so much more into the linguistic stranglehold that is “WhatWhat”.
What is your favourite travel destination, and why?
I love Paris. So much culture, so much beauty so much baguette!
What was your first international trip, and what do you remember most vividly about the experience?
I spent all the money I made on my very first one man show and went to Taiwan. It was my first international flight and the longest one I’ve had to this day. Jet lag hit me in my what-what so hard I had to collapse on one of those massage chairs in Taipei airport. I tied my bag to my legs as I waited for my friend to pick me up and passed out. I remember being couriered around on the back of motorcycles on that incredible, strange island through psychotic traffic, over mountain passes and remote villages. I was involved in a few accidents during that trip. I’m amazed I survived it. I also discovered an abandoned theme park after an extremely adventurous bike ride up a mountain. It was surreal.
What is the first thing you usually do when you arrive at your destination and you’re trying to get acclimated?
Tie my bag to my legs and go to sleep in one of those massage chairs.
What for you is usually the best way to soak up the culture you’re in?
Museums, markets, theatre and live music.
Flying – love it, or hate it?
I used to be terrified of flying. However, by virtue of having had to do it so much in my career, I have kind of developed a fatalistic “come what may” love for it. I do find it ironic that people who work at airports are so miserable and seem to hate you just because you can leave, which, if you think about it, is the whole point of an airport.
What has been your favourite cuisine that you have discovered on your travels?
Steak tartare in France! Once, while in Zanzibar, a guy took us out on his dhow. We (my wife and I) went snorkeling while he caught an octopus which he later that night served to us in his tiny little hut on the beach. The atmosphere that he created while his wife prepared the food was sublime and I’ve never tasted better seafood.
You’ve got exactly R48 in your wallet. Where do you go for lunch in Cape Town, and what do you have?
I grab a Love Sandwich at the Kitchen in Woodstock. Delicious!
What is your speciality in the kitchen?
I make a pretty good Green Chicken Curry from a handmade recipe book that my dear friend Louw Venter (Corne from ‘The Most Amazing Show’) and his wife once gave me as a birthday present.
Describe your ideal night in, and out.
A lovely home cooked meal (my wife has become a wizz in the kitchen) with my family, followed by some bedtime stories for my daughter and then my wife and I snuggling on the couch watching whatever series we’re devouring at the time. With a four year old dictating your meagre social life any night out anywhere is a treat.
What makes life worth living?
My wife Dani and our beautiful daughter Bijou. Also, I love my job and performing to people keeps me creatively satisfied and the opportunity to do a long run of my new award winning one man comedy show ‘WhatWhat’ at the Baxter over the festive season is a challenge and privilege that I relish. I love making people laugh and at the same time subverting and exceeding their expectations and ‘WhatWhat’ gives me exactly that opportunity.
* Book for ‘WhatWhat’ at Computicket.