Take two public holidays and slap them on either side of a summery weekend, throw in a live band at the local pub, a braai (barbeque) on a street corner, a rugby match, a drink with an old friend, a lamb roast, another winning rugby match, a fantastic wedding with some great company, a game drive and an afternoon spent bartering with curio sellers and that will only start to give an indication of my easter weekend!
Thursday night involved a drink with Brad at Charelli, our local bar and live venue. It was slow starting but things kicked off nicely with a few shooters and we headed off into a really enjoyable night, just chilling and having a good time. Friday then required a bit of running around to buy alcohol before we headed off to a Super 12 rugby match – Cats versus Highlanders at Ellis Park. When we arrived out came the braai and the meat with a couple of suitably disguised drinks and we then proceeded to get into the atmosphere to hopefully watch a good rugby match. Although the Cats lost it was still an enjoyable game. Afterwards we carried the party back to Brad’s fiancee’s parents house, where we hooked up with an old friend Christy, who has been working in the Drakensberg (studying grass apparently, we think it must be the good type of grass!).
Unfortunately our party was cut a little short in the early hours of the morning. Oscar’s girlfriend Janaee had been out on a girls night and they were unfortunate to be the first ones on the scene of an horrific car accident. We headed out to Randburg to pick her up and see how we could assist, even if only by comforting her and her friends.
Saturday was a slow start (naturally) but once I got going again (after the whole shopping for supplies chore) I headed to Oscar’s parents place to join them watching the rugby – Sharks versus Brumbies. It was a fantastic match which saw the Sharks come from the bottom of the league and a losing streak to strongly defeat the Brumbies who are at the top of the points table. We also had a tasty lamb roast to accompany our evening.
Eventually the big day of the weekend arrived, Sunday, starting with a mad dash in the morning to return rental movies, retrieve my iPod which had found a new resting place in Christy’s car, and a few other necessary tasks before we headed out in convoy to Glen Afric, a “country lodge” about 40 minutes drive north west of Johannesburg, just short of Hartbeespoort Dam.
Here we were to bear witness to the marriage of Rob and Ariane, friends who stayed in South Africa (down the road from where I stay in fact) up until two years ago when Rob landed a great job opportunity in Germany. Rob is in fact of German descent, and his lovely wife Ariane is Bolivian. A strange combination, but it seems to work very well.
Due to the fact that I brought no partner to the wedding, I found myself in the typically awkward position of sitting at a wedding with a table of complete strangers – kind of the ‘lonely singles club’ if you will. This is often a one-way ticket to a boring afternoon, but this day it would not be the case. After a slow and awkward few minutes of stifled conversation amongst those who knew each other (there were two couples and three singles), and once the first beer was down, everyone started opening up and the conversation kicked off.
And kick off it certainly did. Within the space of half an hour everybody at the table was rolling in fits of laughter at the crazy ideas being thought up for a movie filmed in South Africa. The eventual title agreed upon was the rather appropriate “The Wedding Camp”. Being a hybrid table of people from around the world – South Africa, Singapore (kind of), Bolivia and the US everyone was allocated their position in the killing order (a horror movie of course). Then specific characters were created – the first innocent tourist to disappear, the loving couple who are separated by the death of the beautiful girl in a climatic death scene as her partner is rescued while trying to save her, and then of course the requisite hero and heroine who form a relationship during the ordeal (and make way for a sequel!).
I was assigned to be the hero, and the character I would play, much to my delight, turned out to be a talented up and coming Rock Star who has not made it into the music scene yet. The girl to be a heroine at my side, another South African girl who has been living in Singapore – Kirsten – is also a hottie, which broadened my smile a little wider.
From that point on our table continued to outshine all the other wedding attendees in talk and laughter. The entire evening shaped itself into a delightful smile with all interactions being carefree, happy and joyful in celebration of our friends’ marriage and new friendships formed.
It was a fantastic evening.
I ended up staying over at the lodge, and the next day joined the American-Bolivian contingent on a 2 hour game drive which ended up being well worth the R220 paid. Later that afternoon we tried the tourist thing at Hartbeespoort Dam, bartering with the tradesmen for African curios for the tourists to take home. Being the local rock star, of course, the only thing I was offered that was of much interest was the wide variety of marijuana, cocaine, A’s, E’s or in fact, any other drug I could (or couldn’t) think of.
We departed late in the afternoon after a session which saw some great deals being found through bartering – I was impressed by Chris’ bargaining skills. At last, after a brief glance at some wedding photos that had become available through the ubiquity of digital cameras present, it was time for my lift back home after one helluva unforgettable weekend.