Monday, 29 October 2007

3... 2... 1... BRAAI!

So it seems the braai season has begun in earnest [interesting linguistic side note: my spell check was not recognizing the word "braai," and it was suggesting words like "braise." Now I can see how "braai" could possibly relate to English]. I went to two braais this weekend, as well as a homebrewer's homebrew contest, and generally ate a wealth of meat (would you say there was a plethora of meat?).

The Homebrewers club, called the "South Yeasters" (in reference to the famous wind which blows through Cape Town around this time called the "Southeaster"), had an Ale-Oween party this past Friday. I managed to hook up with these guys because I want to start brewing again while I'm here, and I was looking for some local resources on the internet. Anyway, they invited me to this party, and it turned out it was a contest for people in the club to try out their beers. So there were 9 entries, and after a down home meal of goulash and bread, they introduced the entries one by one, and passed around bottle after bottle of homebrew. Some of them were quite delicious, and some were pretty terrible. But all-in-all, it was good fun - at least after the beer started flowing and the people became a little less uptight. The problem, you see, was that I was sitting with these two IT people who made the website for the group, and they were not the most socially well-adapted people (computer nerds not social? who knew?). But after a few beers, they got to be a little less quiet, which was nice, and I was also able to get up and walk around and talk to the more interesting people. Actually, it was interesting to note the makeup of the club. It was heavily dominated by Afrikaners, who were much more interesting and fun than the English people who were there. What this says about the different groups of people as a whole, I don't want to venture to guess, but it seemed like a good microcosm to study, if only because they tend to come with alcohol...

So, on Saturday, friends of mine (Chris and Viv) had a little braai at their house in Observatory (an area of Cape Town which is near the UCT housing that I lived in for my first month here). They also invited their neighbors, who were a complete riot. The dude, Warrick, was one of those people who never stops talking, but in a really entertaining way. He wasn't obnoxiously dominating the conversation, and it was relatively easy to jump in and say something, but there was never a moment of silence with him around - uncomfortable or otherwise. He and his girlfriend are both white South Africans, from Zululand, and we had some really interesting conversations - from the dangers of crocs and lions, to the role of poverty in crime, to the path towards healing the country of racism. Totally fascinating.

Finally, after spending much of Sunday morning/afternoon recovering from that, Jeff had a small braai at his house Sunday evening. It was a small affair, but totally delicious - let me tell you that I'm a complete convert to smoking meat on the braai, and not just BBQing it...

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