Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday it rained. Hard. We drove thru to Swellendam (a tiny rural town) which used to be a very juje (sp?) destination but the economic downturn seems to have dealt it a death knell. Just about every second place is for sale. It was in the throes of its "Canola Festival" - which seemed to consist of yellow material draped damply around the trunks of a few trees and not much else that we could see. The highlight was our stop for tea. In the old jail. Bare grubby wooden floors, ugly old tables and chairs, those red and white check table cloths from the 60's, dusty displays of bottled preserves, and awful rusty iron ornaments scattered around the place. We were hardly inside before I nudged The Man and said: "Lets just go," feeling sure we could find something more cosy - maybe even with an open fire place. He pretended not to hear. And I was glad later I would have missed this little cameo if we'd left. A German couple plonked themselves down at the table next to us and asked to see the menu. The young waitress fetched a heavy menu board from the entrance: she held it up and proudly read out the three items listed in a lopsided chalk scrawl: "Spareribs and chips" "Calamari and chips" "Hamburgers and chips" "Ah," said the Germans, "we will have the calamari please" "Sorry," said the girl, "we have no more calamari left." "Ok,"they said kindly, "we will try the spareribs." "Sorry," said the girl, "" we have no more spareribs left." They looked mystified. "Would you like the burgers?" asked the girl interestedly. They conferred "No,"they said, "we would not like burgers. Where else can we go for lunch?" "Oh," said she, "we also have bobotie and lasagne." The tourists looked positively dazed by their brush with SA culture I was nearly suffocating, trying to contain my hysteria. Thanks to that young waitress - she made made my day!