Happy Birthday Baby Jesus. Kei Mouth, South Africa.

4 Jan

Band Aid. Farm Aid. First Aid.,,,, Whatever the 80’s band is called. Those big-hair, shoulder-pad wearing rock-stars missed the boat on “Do they know it’s Christmas time in Africa.”

Yea, they know it’s Christmas. They got Christmas. But, it’s not the credit-card charging, decadent Christmas we all love to hate in the states.   No gift-a-mania here…

For an American, it’s shocking actually.  Walk down the streets, no Santa sweater-sets. Drive though a neighborhood, no reindeer on rooftops. Go to a mall, no deck-the-hall. In fact, there’s not even a Santa’s station. Listen to the radio, no Christmas discounts. Watch TV, no Rudolf or Frosty specials. Unbelievable.

Friends and family have emailed me asking, “Are you homesick? Miss your family this holiday season?” I reply, “What holiday? The only tinsel I see is tinfoil.”

In South Africa, it’s summer. School is out and families are on vac-cay. The way I see it, Christmas in the Eastern Cape is a Fourth of July and Thanksgiving combo, but without the gunpowder and Puritans.

And, while presents are exchanged, it’s more of a small token of appreciation. Spending $ on food and spending time with the ones you heart – or have to heart – are the priorities… Oh, and getting your fill of beer, wine and whiskey. That’s one thing both countries have in common. The drunken gluttony of Christmas.

So, how did I celebrate Christmas at Sunray Farms in Kei Mouth, South Africa? Brilliantly. On Christmas Eve, I galloped along the white sandy beaches, on top of cliff tops and through green rolling hills. Yes, I wore my SPF and my pleasure, bug spray. No ticks on Christmas Eve please.

After six hours of riding and my legs feeling like jello, it was time to put on my gift-a-mania gear and head to the local food and liquor. What to buy the family for Christmas? The choices came to chocolate, beer, wine, pocket knives, fishing hooks, detergent, meat pies or pears. I opted for all things gorging.

Fifteen minutes later, finished with my Christmas shopping, we headed back to the farm to disinfect and primp for a night out at the Bush Pig. BP was not packed. But, certainly had its fair share of locals on this Christmas Eve.

Ian, the bar owner, who sports a shark tooth necklace and gray flowy mane down his back, was talking about how he lived at his bar. I did not believe him. So, he showed us his living quarters…..at the bar.

Never doubt a man wearing shark teeth. The grand tour took 6 minutes and ended in his bedroom. Two things I noticed was the plethora of hair products and the multiple shot guns next to his bed. Alex, from Italy, stumbled upon an old revolver. Don’t ask me how.

Ian’s reply was, “You never can be too safe around here… I run a bar, you know…” Yea, and does Hooters and I bet they don’t sleep with revolvers.

He said, “People think running a bar is glamorous. But it’s hard work. I close down every night between 2 am and 7 am, depending on the season. Last night, we had a fight. I called the cops. The cops were busy dealing with a rape. That took priority. So, I just pepper sprayed the guy. Tied him up and waited.” Yeaaaaa….

After a couple of beers, Rox, Alex and I were feeling good. I asked for a shot. It’s a Happy Birthday to Jesus shot, right? The teenage bartender said he was going to make us a flaming Bush Pig. I asked, “What’s in it? And, by the way, I don’t do Jaeger..” He said, “I don’t know what’s in it…I’m making it up…” I responded, “I want to see fire. I mean, we’re talking about toasting to Baby Jesus…”

So the kid starts pouring in colors –yellow, blue, pink… I have no idea. And, then he lights the thing on fire. I think to myself, “I don’t do shots. Let alone on Christmas Eve. I’m supposed to be at church. Where am I??”

Shot went down fast. We headed to the pool table. Was loosened up. Ready to kick some butt. Arrogance got in way and I won only because Alex shot the eight ball in the hole. I think we stumbled home after 1 am. Santa was not too happy about that.

Next morning we slept in until 8 am. Julie-Ann’s boys made us a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, random meets, beans, toast and other goodies. We inhaled for we’re not eating again until Christmas dinner at 7 pm. It rained all day. Again, the gale force winds…What is up with these winds.

I tried to Skype the family on – more or less – a dial up connection. So, that took a good two hours of screaming at my computer. Julie-Ann told us to dress nicely for dinner. So, out came the black yoga pants and non-stained t-shirt. Perfect-o.

Some friends came from the farm next door around 7 pm. They’ve been drinking since noon. Primed and ready to go. Nikki told us the same story – over and over again – about how her pig had piglets, how her dog escaped and found her at the store and how George the giraffe walked a little to close to the horses. I love drunk people. They are so fanatical about their stories each time they tell them. Same story. Same detail. Same enthusiasm. And, everyone around the room just nods, smiles and asks the same questions. By the way, how many of you talked about piglets and giraffes at your Christmas dinner?

We opened presents. I received a lot of chocolate, no booze, and a bar of soap. Very telling.

PS.  Woolworth’s is still alive.

2 Responses to “Happy Birthday Baby Jesus. Kei Mouth, South Africa.”

  1. Anonymous 05/01/2011 at 4:24 pm #

    I think it is rather appropriate that you received soap as a gift considering that is what you gave at the last Goddess Gift Exchange!! Love it! Not sure about all that pleasure spray and tick business though. Your pictures are amazing! Sounds like your becoming an outdoors women:)

    • stephanie 05/01/2011 at 4:25 pm #

      p.s. last post was form me:)