Climbing Everest with chips as a reward
I went to Blue Ocean Virtual Reality in Bedfordview in Johannesburg as a treat. It is quite expensive – R400 for a 4 hour session – but it was really cool and I am very glad I went. My mum took me. We left very early because I live quite far away from Johannesburg and the session started at 8.30am. I was tired but very excited. My mum made me do my Kumon homework as we drove.
I didn’t know very much about virtual reality. I knew it would project an image inside the goggles and that it would feel like you were actually in the place that image projected but that’s about it. That was all I knew. My mum got lost on the way of course. She always gets lost. When we finally got there we went to the place which is next to the cinema. I was so excited.
First they showed me what we would be doing. We were going to do 3D drawing and painting, then we were going to climb Mount Everest and go skiing. All while I was still in Bedfordview. Because it was my first time they showed me a trial that took me to the ocean. The trial was to teach me how to recognize the borders of the room. I was under the sea. There were jelly fish which attacked me and sea anemones that opened and closed when I touched them. There was a giant turtle who just floated around. It felt like I was really there with the fish. Once I had got the hang of it they took me out and I started going to draw. I drew a camp fire and trees all around and the stars. First, I did it a design on a piece of paper and then I went in and painted it in virtual reality with a program called Tilt Brush. You go into the virtual reality square and put on the goggles and pick up the controllers. And we could teleport around! I painted with the controllers it felt amazing. I felt like I was actually inside my own drawing. It was so cool. If I had the money I would definitely get one of my own. It costs a lot but I will save up.
Now onto Everest. I had to climb up the mountain. I had ice picks but in truth they were actually virtual reality controllers. It was difficult and tiring to climb Mount Everest. You have to use more power to go higher.
I threatened the people above me with a spike and shouted ‘go faster’. They are not real people they are programmed in. If you look down you see that if you were afraid of heights it would be absolutely mental! Then I went skiing. We clicked the triggers and they became the skis. You could jump and you had to avoid the obstacles. If you hit the deer it gave you extra points! I was okay at hitting deer although it was tricky to avoid the trees and get the deer at the same time.
Then my mum came and picked me up. Then she took me to a brand new restaurant (only open less than a week) owned by someone she knows called Larry Hodes. I had met him once before because he also has a restaurant that serves great pancakes called Arbour Café. His new restaurant is at 44 Stanley in Aukland Park which is like a small shopping centre but much cooler than that sounds when you write it. It is more like a really cool little town. The restaurant is called Calexico which Larry explained is a mixed word of California and Mexico and is also the name of a band which is Larry’s favourite. The restaurant is so new that they were still painting a mural on the wall. We saw the guy doing it with spray paint. I thought this was very interesting to see the very beginnings.
The restaurant was very cool bandyish – there were surf boards and lots of old fashioned records on the walls and deer skulls with antlers like the ones I was hitting in the virtual reality game earlier that morning. Behind the bar there was an alter with a statue of Jesus’s mother Mary and all sorts of gins and rum and vodka and they called it the spirit bar because spirits is another word for rich alcohol and spirits like the holy spirit.
Then the food came. I ordered nachos and roast chicken with chips and a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. The nachos chips were crunchy and quite plain and I liked that because it allowed the toppings that went on the chips those flavours to come out. There was avocado and thick sour cream. By mistake I ate a chili which I thought was a pickle. It wasn’t my best moment. But even with that drama I really liked the nachos they were really good.
Then the chicken came. It was very tender. It almost fell off the bone which was very nice.
I had a side portion of French fries which I thought were amazing. 10 out of 10. The last time I had fries that good was at a restaurant called Little Havana in Umhlanga. Actually now that I think about it these were even better.
Now to the brownie – it was tasty and very nutty. It was sweet but it also had a salty taste which I wasn’t used to but was actually great because it stopped the brownie from being too sweet. It came with a side portion of vanilla ice cream which I thought was really nice.
I really liked Calexico. I would definitely go back – there are ribs and giant burgers and an apple pie waiting for me to try. And I would like to see how the painting on the wall turns out.
Then I went home and was supposed to have a practice with my dance partner Masana but she brought my old dance partner Phemelo (who sadly moved to East London) so we didn’t do much dancing. They were too busy shooting my Nerf guns. Phemelo told us about her new dance teacher in East London.
I would recommend Blue Ocean VR to anyone who is willing to climb Mount Everest before going out to lunch at a really cool restaurant. And that cool restaurant is Calexico.
Calexico; 44 Stanley Avenue, Johannesburg. 011 482 5791
Blue Ocean www.blueoceanvr.co.za 072 733 5346