An Invitation to a Braai

A “braai” (pronounced “bry” and rhymes with cry for non-Afrikaans speakers, like most of us) is the South African word for barbeque or grill or a cook-out. It's a social custom in South Africa and we felt particularly pleased when we were invited to an evening braai at the home of our new young friends, Benjamin and Belinda. ben and melinda

In the late afternoon on a foggy, dark day, Benjamin picked us up at the yacht club on his way home from work and fought bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highway to bring us home with him  … usually 15 minutes, but with traffic closer to 45 minutes. Ben chatted affably all the way and was still chipper when we arrived in the Cape Town suburb of Parklands, despite the heavy traffic and crazy drivers.  Security is a big factor in Cape Town. Their two story house is surrounded by a very high, electrified fence and a substantial remote-activated gate provides access to their driveway and garage. It's a bit more than the white picket fence we're used to.

The plan was to cook outside on their built-in BBQ or perhaps sit by the fire pit, but soon after we arrived, the rain began and as the evening progressed, it became colder and colder. Using the oven seemed like a better idea for the roast chicken and potatoes. We drank wine and chatted till dinner was ready. They've been married only two years and they've just purchased their first house AND Belinda is expecting in December. They're slowly acquiring “stuff” for the house. Beyond all these new exciting events, they're still interested in learning more about the liveaboard life and sailing off into the sunset.

In spite of her comments to the contrary and many apologies, Belinda prepared  and served a lovely meal made all the more enjoyable because I didn't have to cook it! It is always a privilege and a compliment when people invite us into their homes. It's not the same as meeting in a restaurant or having drinks at the yacht club. It's a more intimate look into their lives and the sharing that takes place is always very special.

It was late (past cruiser midnight, i.e. after 9pm) when they both drove us back to the yacht club. We said goodnight with heartfelt hugs and well wishes and hopes of getting together again … either before we leave Cape Town or perhaps in some lovely anchorage some time in the future.