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OPINION: Making the most of Easter

I really look forward to public holidays, especially those over the Easter break. It's a time when, apart from your annual leave, you get a holiday at the state's expense and are able to lower stress levels.

As a journalist sometimes even a public holiday is a working day, but for the other members of the family it's a reprieve from daily routines.

Schools are closed and it's the perfect time to relax with the family away from the proverbial rat race.

The month of April features a number of public holidays which entices many to plan trips to the coast or exotic destinations. While some do embark on these trips there are a few headaches that come with it, such as frustrating traffic congestion, which is ironic given that your idea was get away from traffic in the first place.

I must admit I'm not a patient traffic person and the aggravation of only moving a few meters in an hour is enough to drive me crazy and I prefer to remain closer to home during the Easter period.

One Gauteng event that is synonymous with the month of April is the Rand Easter Show.

I have vivid and fond childhood memories of this annual show, and with its many attractions, it was the place to be over April.

My brothers and I used to spend the day walking from hall to hall, browsing the many aisles for the latest kitchen gadget for our mum and aunts and new hardware equipment for our uncles, while we blew our allowances on toys and gadgets.

We were always amused by the elaborate presentation by the exhibitors when after giving a great show, they expected a ton of business, but people just moved on to the next presentation.

In recent times, it seems the show has lost some of its lustre and it's become another glorified flea market with an expensive entry price tag.

However, this year the Rand Show has promised a packed lineup which includes a Harley-Davidson parade, the SA Solar Car Challenge, Lego Land, historic racing cars and classic American V8 cars.

So I might just rekindle those memories that lie buried under the story I need to file for the news bulletin, or maybe just be a kid again in Legoland.

Then there's the Lusito Land Portuguese festival. This is an event I thoroughly enjoy and not just because I am married to a Portuguese woman and it's become a tradition to go, but because all proceeds go to an association for the physically and mentally challenged.

The Portuguese festival attracts a plethora of people and even though many say it's a scaled down version of the Rand Show or other flea markets, it's thoroughly enjoyable.

It boasts a number of live music events as well some of the city's tastiest Portuguese cuisine sizzling on the grills.

But what else is there to do in Joburg while half the province is on holiday?

The Lory Park zoo in Midrand is next door to my in laws so I spend a lot of time there with my family and enjoying the wildlife.

Zoo Lake and Emmarentia Dam are also great places to relax with the family. Try a picnic or a game of soccer or cricket (perhaps you will encounter AB de Villiers and while he gives you some tips, you devour his chips…)

Whatever you have planned this Easter holiday, make it worthwhile and be safe on the roads if you are traveling.

But most important of all, try and get some rest and relaxation.

It was Maya Angelou who said: "Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us."

Faizel Patel is a freelance reporter for Eyewitness News . Follow him on Twitter: @Faizie143