South African Cultural Fest
Went into town to enjoy the actual cultural festival, now that I had the right day. It turned out that South Africa was the only country doing a festival or having a hospitality center. I knew there was a reason I loved being South African….American.
There were numerous tents scattered around showing a host of art, food, treats and biltong!!! The Biltong tent was my first stop and oh boy was it good. There was also a stage with traditional dance and music.
Biltong defined: essentially a hunk of salted and spiced dired meat. And oh soooooo yummy!
I stopped into the High Comissioner’s tent where they were promoting tourism in SA. As I had time to kill over the next few weeks I offered my help if they needed it.
Emma showed up and I introduced her to biltong and a piece of droewors.
Droewors defined: dried sausage. And just as yummy as biltong.
When Emma’s mom joined us I introduced them to Boerewors. I had hoped they would have pap, but they only had mashed potato. The boerewors was good but had turned a little dry.
Boerewors defined: directly translated to “Farmer’s Sausage”, a type of spiced sausage made with a good helping of coriander seeds.
The crowd at the Cultural Fest was electric and full of Springbok fever. It was an absolute blast and I couldn’t wait for day 2.
Afterwards Emma and I headed back over to the Ekhaya suite, I was sure that it was for everyone and wanted to check it out with someone. THis time there were far less business men and we were welcomed with open arms. There was free tea and coffee and free drinks. Lunch had just been served so we got some Lamb Curry and rice. The atmosphere was great and very relaxed. I chatted to a tour operator and when he found out I had no ticket for the SA vs Wales game he said he had an extra two and would sell them to me. Woohoo! Off the game I go and it also meant that Emma’s dad would get to go to a game. Robin, tour operator, actually sold me mine for only $50, half price, SWEET AS BRO!
I had come across a posting for a Scottish Ceilidh (dance) that evening on the couchsurfing group page. Emma and I got dolled up, had to rifle through her wardrobe to find something, and then headed out for a great night. It was held by the local Scottish Society and was a hoot. A lot of old timers go there to meet and chat, but there were a few of us who danced. Emma got chosen by “Mr. Rainbowman”, who lets just say was a unique individual. But it was all in good fun. I got a chance to dance twice and the second dance nearly had me collapse, there was a whole lot of twirling and moving and the room was a tad on the warm side. It was fantastic and standing out in the cool night air after felt tremendous.
A fantastic end to a glorious day.
11th September – Game Day
Today was the South Africa vs Wales game and I headed into town to enjoy and even more electric feeling at the Cultural Fest than the day before. You would swear that Wellington had been invaded by South Africans, who apparently all shopped at the same store! It was fantastic, there were vans parked around with supportive slogans and flags, folks dressed in all kinds of team colors and much much more.
I passed by the High Comissioners tent and Molyne came out to ask if I had got the message about volunteering. Turns out they had called the wrong number but I was more than happy to step in for a few hours. It was actually great fun and I got to chat to a lot of people from around the world interested in South Africa.
After lunch I picked up my ticket and then had to catch the train home to grab my stuff and drop off the other ticket. I did such a quick turn around that I had the same conductor on the train, much to his bemusement as I was now draped in flags and oozing springbok fever.
Mike, the welshman, and I met at Ekhaya for a drink. It was rather amusing watching the friendly rivalry between the Springboks supporters and Mike. We then headed to grab a pint of cider. As we were waiting to grab something, a couple of Saffers looked at me (barely reaching the bar) and made the comment “Would you like to stand up?”
Ha ha hadee ha. Got to love Saffer humor.
As we grabbed a table and watched the game on I noticed someone had face paint to went over to ask if I could get my face painted. In the end I painted 2 guys faces and no one would paint mine. But they gave me the paint and I headed over to have Mike hold a mirror and paint my own. After I had finished, Mike painted the other side. As we basked in the glory of our masterpieces another Saffer walked past and said we had the red and blue on the wrong sides…Bugger
We attempted to remedy it but just made it worse so went and washed it off and started again. Much to Mike’s dismay as I was interrupting his drinking.
The game was spectacular and very very close. Too close for comfort. Everyone assumed the Springboks would beat the Welsh by 20 points. The final score was 16/17 to South Africa. We just barely scraped through.
The best way to describe the game is through photos, so sit back and enjoy!
It has to be some of the most fun I have had in a long time. And when the South African national Anthem came on, I couldn’t help but shed a tear at the patriotism around me.