Friday, September 17, 2010

7 de Laan and a Braai

Image: Macrae with members of the cast of 7 de Laan

For some reason the cast of 7 de Laan, a pretty bad Afrikaans soap opera we sometimes watch (with subtitles), was at the Vincent Park mall the other day, just a few blocks from our house. Of course we went to see them – I figure meeting South African sort-of celebrities will be a great addition to my cultural experience. It was quite an event, with a great crowd of females ranging from pre-teen to adult. Diana and Macrae got photos taken with the cast, which was fun; I waited in line with them but didn’t want to spring the R30 (about $4) for the photo. I made Macrae promise to ask them to make faces, and was surprised and excited when she actually did, and even more excited when they agreed. I've posted the proof. While we were in line a couple girls started talking to us, one who had just turned sixteen and the other who was about to turn either 10 or 11. I was thinking how 16 must be so much less exciting when you can’t drive yet, since the driving age here is 18, and how different it must make the high school experience when only the oldest seniors can drive. There must be a lot more chaperoning by parents, and much less of that independence that high school students in the US enjoy (and often exploit) once they’ve turned 16. These two girls were very silly, but it was fun having someone to talk to while waiting.

Later in the evening I was able to experience my first braai, which is the South African equivalent of a barbeque/bonfire. Kathy and Cornelius’ daughter Theresa and her boyfriend Cam were in town (they go to school at Rhodes University), as well as Kathy’s cousin, in addition to K and C’s son Marcus, his wife Thuveshni, Kathy’s cousin’s son Chad and the four of us Americans, who all live in the house. Chad’s girlfriend Erin also joined us, making it a crowd of 13 plus two dogs, Rocky and Wednesday. It was a great event, with loads of people, food and noise. I didn’t eat any of the meat or drink any of the beer, two major components of a braai, but I did participate fully in the conversation, which is the best part anyway. We spent the evening and into the night talking about books and movies (and other things) and telling stories. Cornelius told us about a time he and Kathy had hitchhiked from Capetown to a wedding in Pretoria, complete with watching a storeowner cheat clients out of their money, claiming ‘sales-tax’ if they protested (sales tax was new at this point), and getting away with it because he was white, they were poor and black, and it was Apartheid; being in a car that was attacked by baboons, trying to lure them away with bologna and watching them throw it in the trash (he swears it actually happened); and riding in a truck with rotting apple peels and cores in the back, which he learned were being delivered to the factory to make Appletizer (their Martinelli’s). We heard a lot of injury stories and boyfriend/girlfriend stories and trip stories. It was a really great night, very relaxed and friendly. I’m sad that Cam and Theresa are only around until tomorrow; I really enjoy having more college students around, and Cam has Western Washington written all over him, except for his solid South African accent.

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