Trip to South Africa, Part 9 – Boerewors and Beer

Sunday arrived the way Sundays should, late and smelling of coffee. I, as usual, got up first left my dozing companions for the comfort of the kitchen to breakfast with my aunt and uncle (even though I guess they’re cousin and cousin’s husband.) This became a truly enjoyable ritual during our stay in Jo’burg. We’d drink tea and chat about family, work and cheese and Mrs. Balls chutney.

Because our trip had not been particularly well planned, I had four tickets to each game and only three bodies to fill them. The idea was that I would be able to use these free seats as bribes for couch space or drinks and entertainment, or at the very least get some of my money back. Our first game had been too soon to organize a forth, but Brian had suggested his niece, Kerry, should come with us to the Netherlands v Sweden game on Monday. Seeing as I hadn’t seen Kerry in years and having a girl our age around sounded like a good idea for the local social scene, I gratuitously offered up the ticket I had nothing else to do with. Kerry, in her infinite wisdom and gratefulness, decided to thank us for her ticket by throwing us a braai (South African BBQ) and inviting some of her friends around. Rob got so excited about the possibility of “sexy time” that he had been doing a little weird jig where he would move his mid section side to side in an odd rotating motion as if he was trying to hula-hoop… badly.

Brian and Laurie have had a set of goal posts in their backyard for almost as long as I can remember. I know I didn’t become a reasonable goal keeper from school soccer (we play hockey and rugby in high school), nor was it from playing club football – I could already play by then – but standing in goal that morning with my sneakers (tackies) tied tight and my grandfather’s old leather gloves on, I realized that Jonno breaking my hands as a kid with his ridiculous left foot may have something to do with it. For god’s sake, the man was hung over, wore no shoes, had a beer in one hand and had injured his left foot so he was kicking with his right, and his shots still bent my my wrists. My jeans got covered in mud and grass stains, and I think I broke a pair of sun glasses, but god it was fun. I really miss that kind of stupid Sunday.

Jon, myself and the boys hit the local Spar (grocery store) to stock up on some needed supplies (read “more beer”) for the braai and got back with enough time to try and make ourselves look as good as three drunks who hadn’t shaved in 2 weeks could. Kerry arrived early to make potato salad and remind me that I had locked her in some sort of toy box when she was six or some such nonsense and that I am responsible for some of her deeper psychological problems. At least I’ve stayed consistent throughout my development. I helped out by pouring drinks and the boys helped with fires and table setups. When Kerry’s friends arrived, we all played adults sitting outside, drinking wine and chatting about our careers (well except for Andrew who is unemployed so can mainly only talk about dancing) and how great all our lives are, and where we plan to move to make them even greater.

I had completely forgotten about the Jo’burg Girl Attitude. Living in Florida for the last 10 years had fooled me into thinking that women wore shorts and flip-flops and where generally prepared to talk to anyone who would buy them a Corona Light or has air conditioning. I think that at one point in my life I had convinced myself that I liked the insane “challenge everything you say” and “I really care about what shoes you wear” or even “if you don’t drive a BMW I’m not going to give you the time of day” was something that I honestly liked in women. They were a challenge, something to aspire to be able to please. I don’t know if it’s the US or if I’m just getting old, but I don’t have one second left in me for that shit. The girls were entertaining however, and because of the attitudes, and the fact that they were kind of a captured audience, it was much easier to shock them with relatively tame comments.

The meal went extremely well all things considered. I got nice and blotto and the boys flirted with the girls and helped with the braai. Jon and I occasionally got sucked back into the soccer net, and sometimes the others would even join in. Rob, as it turns out, actually has a pretty good right foot on him – maybe next time he decides to lose some weight he should try out for the local footie club and not the RX methamphetamines.

I don’t know what it is about being a man that makes you feel like you should stand around a grill. It just makes you feel manly I guess. I’m a vegetarian, and my food was going to be heated up in the microwave, yet still I stood at the barbecue. Its the same with power tools or construction or whatever, if one guy sees another working on some concrete with a jackhammer he’ll just want to stand near it, even if he’s never seen a jackhammer in his life before.

“So, eh, what model is that?”

So a good time was had by all, great food, tons of wine and beer and even whiskey for dessert. When the good times were coming to a close, Kerry decided that we should all go out for a night on the town, so we all went down to the Jolly Rodger to watch Germany/Australia, and continued the drinking there until someone took us home.

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