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Shabadoo and wifelette down under

Deadly animal attack

SOUTH AFRICA | Wednesday, 27 February 2008 | Views [1358] | Comments [1]

Okay, okay, everyone's fine, no deadly animals attacks at all. Just thought I'd wake you up with an interesting title before I plow through our lack of activity for the last two weeks. Maybe I should be in advertising?

So, nearly two weeks have passed since I last parked my butt in front of this laptop. And you know what? Sod all has happened, but in a nice way. We've been catching up with Cat's family and friends, walking dogs and taking regular dips in the pool (I love that pool, even if I am a coward when it comes to actually getting in the water). Much good food has been eaten, and the weather has been great. That said, I'm writing this whilst some impressive thunder is rumbling in the background - bit wet today, though still not at all cold. And thankfully no power blackouts so far.

We have been accompanying Cat's Mum to the gym, because we are virtuous and good people, and because not every day on holiday should be enjoyable. Last Friday the gym session was cancelled, and so we had to look a little further afield to find some form of alternative exercise. With this in mind, Cat's Dad booked us on a tour of the SAB Brewery.

SAB are the biggest booze makers in the world, and so it was only right that we went to pay tribute. The Brewery itself is impressive in that nothing at all is brewed there - I think it's their head office with a big chunk of touristy stuff located inside. Still, you pay 20 Rand for a ticket (about 1.30 in human pounds), and for this you get a 90 minute tour (of which 60 minutes is some fantastic advertising) and 2 beers. Yup, that's two beers for half the price of a Crappacino in Starbucks. Magic.

Much of the tour consists of video screens showing similarly themed images of pure and wholesome ingredients (wafting fields of barley, wafting mineral water, wafting beer being poured into wafting glasses, you get the idea) and the joyful African people enjoying their beer (no vomiting, street fighting or wife beating to be seen, I'm happy to say), plus some truly weird stuff, such as "The Pointless Lightning Storm," where SAB try their best to convince you that beer was there at the beginning of the world by flashing you with cheap lighting effects for 2 minutes whilst you wait patiently to get to the beer at the end.

There were some interesting bits, like the Zulu lady explaining how she makes her beer for the guys (apparently only Zulu women are allowed to make the beer, no wonder the guys look adoringly at them throughout the film). This is followed by a chance to taste the beer from an authentic(ish) bowl. I am somewhat reluctant at first, mostly because I have no idea where that bowl has been, who's slurped from it before us, or how long that beer has sat there waiting to meet my parched gob. I am spurred on by the fact that I get given the beer first (no chance to chicken out now, dammit), and that this may be the only time I can drink something that smells like petrol and looks like eyeballs floating in rotting chicken soup, but still have the chance to sue a mammoth multinational corporation if I get poisoned. For the record, it actually tastes pretty darned good, and sadly I am poison-free by the time we wander off.

Despite the cheesiness of the tour there are several enjoyable bits, like the mock-ups of the early South African pub (with free beer sample!) and a typical shebeen (illegal boozing house; the name is actually from the Irish miners that came over), plus a look a the brewing process itself, with all the modern day equipment standing around, being used to produce sod all (remember, they don't brew on the premises).

This is followed by lunch - beer-battered cod, accompanied by our two hard-earned beers. By this point, everything is excellent, including me and whoever wanders past, and I must tell each and every person in the bar that they are special. And they are. They really are. I love them all.

Cat tries the low alcohol beer, and then relents with a bottle of Milk Stout, which is fairly similar to Guinness, in that....well, in that it is a bottle of Guinness with 'Milk Stout' printed on the label. I try Hansa, then Hansa Gold, figuring that the latter must be better quality. I am wrong. Clearly myself and the South African brewing industry vary on the misleading use of 'Gold' in their labelling. Maybe they are referring instead to the colour of the beer (I guess "Hansa Camel Urine" wouldn't be as big a seller). Cat's Dad selflessly opts for Coke (the drink, not the drug) as he is the driver. A few photos of the brewery tour are available. Enjoy. Or use them to punish your children for previous misdemeanours.

 Man, this is another long entry. Sorry. I'll break up the rest into smaller chunks.

Tags: Culture




To be precise I had a coke instead of the SECOND beer.

We are all missing you already, especially the wildlife: refer comment on gallery.

  Dad2 Mar 1, 2008 6:50 PM

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