SwitchBitch ‘Book-wetting’ blessed with rain and super support!





Last night I hosted another ‘SwitchBitch: My journey of transformation from Sour to Sweet!’ Book Launch celebration, at La Parada Constantia Nek. A light drizzle blessed the event, and we called it a Book-wetting, in celebration of our much-needed rain in Cape Town! 

An important part of my transformation process has been dancing at La Parada Constantia Nek, a chance visit on a Sunday afternoon in October 2016 to show my London-based friend Mari Halliday the transformed property, the oldest restaurant in Cape Town, leading to the first introduction of the music by DJ René Tanguy, our city’s best DJ. I was invited to dance by one of our party, and loved it so much that I have returned every Sunday afternoon in the past 18 months, except when I have been traveling. 

Like many others, initially I thought that I cannot dance, but took to it like a duck to water.

Cape Town’s oldest restaurant at Constantia Nek transformed into vibey La Parada and Harbour House!

My first dancing at La Parada Constantia Nek was Rock ‘n Roll, and my dance partner was a strong leader, making it great fun to dance. Over the past eighteen months I have had the pleasure of dancing this style with a former percussionist of DJ René’s team, and with Stuart Bailey (left), who is at La Parada every Sunday. A special friendship has developed with Stuart, and he and his colleagues could observe my transformation in respect of my figure shape improving as the months went by. Stuart was an important input into the ‘SwitchBitch’ book title, recommending the ‘Sour to Sweet’ subtitle wording when I had a block in finding the right words for it. He also advised the creation of a Part 3 to the Book, for all the reviews of the top local as well as international restaurants I had eaten at in New York, London, Paris, as well as at JAN in Nice, with some local restaurant dogs too! He was a gentle nudger as to the completion of the book, the editing taking longer than the three weeks of writing. The cover photograph is that of a painting by Hannetjie de Clercq, and has attracted positive comment. 

Through dancing the Rock ‘n Roll at La Parada as well as doing two weekend Tango dance workshops at Temenos I have learnt to let go, being in control having been a dominant way of leading my life in the past, the dancing being the first step to a spiritual transformation. 

‘SwitchBitch’ describes my journey of losing 45kg over the period of an eighteen month relationship with Graham Goble, whom I met serendipitously at the launch of the second book by Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen of JAN restaurant in Nice two years ago. Without ever commenting on my figure, and being interested in me as a person, I started losing weight, not even realising that the weight loss was happening. When the waist elastic of a favourite pair of slacks had to be taken in three times in three months, I realised that it had nothing to do with the quality of the elastic but about a loss of weight. I bought a scale, and was surprised to see the first signs of a weight loss, and then my scale and I became best of friends. The content of my fridge changed, limited to fresh fruit, some cheese, eggs, and vegetables, with all bread and meat removed from it. 

The result of the weight loss and figure change has been going back to a normal blood sugar range, having been diabetic for many years and having had to take two Glucophage tablets per day. My shoe size dropped by one, my feet no longer being swollen nor retaining water. I have been able to wear dresses again, after almost thirty years of not being able to when I was so overweight. On a broader level I am paying greater attention to myself, in having been for Botox, using make-up, having had dental implants done, and having had a breast lift operation. 

All of the physical changes were underpinned by the dancing, in one not only needing to reduce what one eats, and with it the type of food one eats, but also that one needs to expend energy via exercise, mine being dancing. I have expanded my dancing repertoire to include three hours on Sundays at La Parada Constantia Nek, followed by two hours or more at Dizzy’s in Camps Bay on my way home. On Fridays I move between HQ and La Parada Bree Street, for another two hours of dancing. I have just met a Tango dance enthusiast, and will do some preparatory dance lessons with him before I travel to Buenos Aires later this year to learn the Argentine Tango in its home country, and the Salsa in Havana. 

But the excitement of launching ‘SwitchBitch’ has not only been due to the physical transformation that it represents, but also the ability to write and publish my first book, one of a Trilogy, with two further books planned for this year, the next one on dancing the Camino in Spain, and the third planned to be about the dancing in Havana and Buenos Aires. None of the writing and publishing of ‘SwitchBitch’ would have been possible had I not had such supportive friends throughout the writing and editing process, and the guidance from Mike White of Tandym Print, a print-on-demand company, and Barbara Müller of New Voices Publishing Services, who created a uniform design of the book, added photographs, set the e-book version up on Amazon, and added all the legal requirements for a published book, a very big learning curve for me.

A video of my speech taken at the launch yesterday can be viewed here:


‘SwitchBitch’ is available at R200 from me at chrisvonulmenstein@gmail.com, and on Amazon as an e-Book. Half the proceeds goes to StreetSmart, a restaurant-funded charity. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein


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