I’ve had about a week of shivering as the pleasant warmth I was experiencing when I got here turned to highs of about 45-50 every day. My room is not so awesomely insulated, and I’ve been cowering under my blankets for about a week. Fortunately, the weather took a turn for warmth this weekend and I am finally able to move out from underneath my tiny heater for the majority of the day. Due to the excellent state of the climate this weekend, Keri invited me to attend a braai with her and her friends on Saturday afternoon.
Keri picked me up early Saturday afternoon, and we were both a little worse for the wear after a long night out the night before. We had got to the bar (back in Greenside) at 6 pm for a friend’s birthday. It turns out getting there that early was to our detriment. It was very quiet, and the bored manager decided to test out new shots on us. So a whiskey and 3 shots later it was only 8 pm, and we were there until 1. I’m sure you get an idea of how the evening went. (I swear I’m doing schoolwork here as well. Really.) Once again, we didn’t eat dinner so we realized we were starving around 1 am. We started off by all sharing some DELICIOUS street sausage, which was the perfect appetizer. After that, I was taken to McDonald’s for a very late-night and ill-advised meal. However, I needed food, and in my state it was pretty good going down. South African McDonald’s is relatively similar to American, however there are some different dishes. For instance, somebody had a cajun chicken sandwich that I’ve never seen before, and I had a McFeast burger, which entertained me for too long a time. The fries tasted exactly the same however. This is also where I learned that in South Africa, cream soda is GREEN. Seriously, they get angry when I suggest that it should be any other color, such as clear or light brown…you know…it’s natural state. I was so intrigued that I bought a bottle the next day to give it a whirl.
Ok guys. I seriously just tried to upload a picture of green cream soda for an hour. It is not happening. Fortunately, I did manage to get it onto my flickr page, so you can see it there. UGH. Long story short, green cream soda is gross. It tastes like Koolaid and cream soda mixed together. This is something that South Africans and I are going to have to agree to disagree on.
Back to the braai. Keri picked me up early Saturday afternoon and drove me out to her friend’s house. It was about 20 kilometres away, so I had a nice drive to see a bit more of the city during the day. It is really beautiful and expansive. When we got there, the braai was just getting fired up. Braai refers both to the activity and the actual grill, so you go to a braai and you cook on the braai. It might just seem like a normal barbecue, but it’s a little more intense. It is all about the meat. Everybody brings whatever meat they want to grill, and a little extra, and the rules are is that the braai has to be completely filled with meat. If you have a bigger brai, you need more meat. I have a great picture of this as well, so head over to the flickr page. They do approve of side dishes, so we had a salad, a coleslaw and I helped put together an “American” potato salad…although we were lacking any ingredients that would actually make it American besides mayonnaise, but it counted because the American made it.
It was a great afternoon, and hot in the sun, so we got to sit outside all day enjoying food, drink and stories. Once the sun went down we built up the fire again as it was getting chilly, and stood around it for warmth. Most of the company were boys, and as boys are wont to do, they started getting restless around the fire. This restlessness resulted in a game of “fire tennis.” You take a piece of firelighter, which is a block of white something or other that is extremely flammable, break off a chunk and then set it alight. Then, it’s basically a game of hot potato where you hit the flaming chunk around the circle without letting it drop. Oh, and without letting it hit you in the face. The game is surprisingly manageable, but resulted in some hilarious near-misses, including an incident with a giant bird of paradise plant that I thought was going to be engulfed. By 7 Keri and I were exhausted so we gathered ourselves together and headed back home.
All in all, I got to meet another group of lovely people, spend the afternoon in the sun and eat more boerewors. I can only hope for more in the future.