02.12.2008 - 15.12.2008
Well, South Africa is proving fun!
Pretty much straight after our arrival we went out for dinner to meet the gang and get acquainted with South African dining.
(Clockwise from left, Kirstin, Dalton, Keegan, Jani, Michael Lee, Nicki (Sis-inlaw), and Michael(dad of all the boys) )
(And I’ve eaten half of that already…)
They certainly know how to eat! – and the Rand is very favourable against the Pound at the moment – I ordered 250g of large prawns for something like £5 – as a “side” ;- )
I went on the “Golf Day” I mentioned last time. Michael and I drove about 160k’s North to the country for a corporate “jolly”. When we arrived at 10.30 all the players already had two or three empty beer bottles by their sides. I was introduced to everyone, we got the briefing for the day – the game was to be an American Scramble (longest drive off each tee gets played – 4-ball teams), and off we set in our golf carts. Except we had 2 carts and there were 5 of us – so a lot of standing on the back took place.
Our host explained that the day was not so much about golf but more about drinking. Excellent! This was to be a most Africaans day out!
There was one chap driving round in a blue cart loaded with ice and beers. On more than one occasion I had to chase after him, belting across fairways to reload, so to speak.
The golf was going well for most, bar one chap who managed to tee off and not even reach the ladies tee. Later he hit one that actually went behind him, and on another occasion he broke the shaft of his driver when he hit the ball with it, instead of the head. At first I contained myself to save his pride, but after the umpteenth cockup we were all in hysterics. The beers were flowing well too….
By the time we’d done the front 9 we had all easily cleared 10 or more beers each. African golf is fun – not just the beers, but the wild animals too – walking across the fairways, or monkeys hanging down to watch your shots from a few feet away.
(Not unusual – well, it is. Normally they are on the fairway!)
We tucked into a meaty lunch – I was wolfing down as much as I could to soak up some of the beer. At one stage one of the guys offered me a beer, “no thanks, I’m trying to get a breather before round 2!”. He replied, in a very Africaans accent, “Roger, South Africa is not a country for pussies”. LOL.
So the afternoon continued. At this stage I’d loaded the back of the cart with an ice bucket full of beers. Well, I didn’t, a chap did. A chap who called me “master”. It was like stepping back in time into a movie.
(Note the ice bucket in the back – sorted!)
The back 9 was basically a drunken brawl. I tried to drive the cart over a foot bridge and got wedged in – just a little too wide! The guys were taking a leak at every tee, the shots were getting worse for the really bad guy, and the laughter was growing. We had a ball :- )
After the golf we sank lots of “Jaegermeister Bombs”, Tequila, and god knows what else, and then headed off to a bar / club. I was totally wasted and Michael was trying to find out where we were staying with little luck. Getting close to despair at about 3am we found we actually had a motel room.
I woke up at 6am, on the floor. The truck was outside, with the windows open with the keys still in the ignition. Michael drove us back to Pretoria and I slept in the back.
Welcome to South Africa! :- )
The rest of this week has been mainly Braai’s & beers. We went to “Meat World” to get our , well, meat.
(meat as far as the eye can see – yay! And the dark stuff hanging above is biltong – ready to be sliced)
Michael and Nicola are members of an evangelical church so we went with them this Sunday – very fascinating and a lot more fun than a regular English service to say the least. Not sure if we’ll go again, but it was a great experience.
Btw – we are staying in a gated golf estate and it is just like being in Desperate Housewives, except there is no one walking the streets, apart from the 1000’s of maids and gardeners. There is actually a dedicated bus service for the maids and gardeners.
(Even the cats are trained to guard)
Many Braais and beers later – oh , and lots of Biltong – something I detested in England, but here you choose the rareness and size and then they cut it up in front of you. I’ve got a taste for medium rare. It goes down a treat with a cold beer.
We went up to a lake camping area yesterday – basically Braai, beers, Biltong (can you see a repetitive theme here?). They provide free canoes and Braai facilities. We had a super day in the sun. It all started innocently, but after many beers it got out of hand. Not one person managed to keep their canoe upright. Some capsizes were due to poor boatmanship but the majority were down to tipping each others’ boats over :- ) . K & I tried a “dry start” where you sit in the boat and get someone to push you off the edge into the water. We took on so much water we had to bail it out with her empty champagne cup.
(Jani, Kirstin and Nicki)
(Familiar feeling being in one of these.. again)
(Michael, me. And K)
(yep, more red meat! – awesome!)
(… and the sparkling wine is going down well…..)
(.. as did the beer, so we decided we could get 3 in a boat – which lasted a minute at best before we capsized – and yes, I’m in my pants)
Having a super time… Other randomness – I noticed a spider scuttling into a corner when I lifted the lid to the pool pump housing. I kept my distance. A few days later some round spikey white egg sacks appeared – like something from an alien movie, so I investigated on the web (yep, there is a joke in there).
It turns out that out guest spider is a Brown Widow – very close relation to the Black Widow. It’s venom is twice as potent but luckily it tends to inject half as much as it’s black cousin. Still not good though and can cause breathing difficulties amongst many other nasty symptoms.
(You can clearly see one of the eggs, and if you look hard, the spider is tucked under the lip in the corner – I was too scared to get any closer)
It had to die! – One can of hair spray and a lighter later and the deed was done. Well, in truth, I bodged it, and she ran to the floor carrying an egg sack. We got her in the end but it’s safe to say that we (Kirstin, Nicki, and me) were all screaming and panicking as it ran about.
But much nicer…
(Relaxing at the local club house)
Oh – nearly forgot – the weather systems are amazing here. For the most part it’s very hot and sunny, but with little warning thunder storms can move in. On one occasion lightening hit the ground or a conductor about what seemed a couple of hundred feet away. The explosion when you are that close is unbelievable, and terrifying.