Of braai’s and barbecues…

I tried yesterday to see if I could work out just how many Sundays I have spent in marinas or yacht clubs over the years but after about five minutes decided that it was a waste of time – I simply can’t remember. Oh, sure, I can recall specific days when one or other noteworthy event happened and the point of this rambling is that yesterday was one of those Sundays that will be remembered – and for the right reason.

A lot of the marinas or yacht ports in the Mediterranean have both long and short term live aboard owners, and in many cases there is a robust expat community that forms. One of the social events that gets organised by the Cartagena bunch of boat Gypsies is a weekly Sunday braai (barbeque to some…). It is late summer here at the moment which means sunset is around 8:30 in the evening and the twilight keeps it light until 9:00pm, so yesterday’s event was scheduled for around 6:30 for seven.

Although this is the second Sunday we have been here it was the first time we attended the event. Walking up and introducing ourselves to the gathering leaves one with an odd sense of unreality – it seems so out of place to hear two dozen or more people waffling away in a fairly broad spectrum of English accents in the middle of a Spanish port. In all there were over 30 people that attended and eventually we found a couple of folk that were not from the UK, a couple from Austria and an Israeli who has apparently been living in China of all places for the past twenty years.

As a South African that is well steeped in our braai culture I find both fascinating and amusing to see how other people approach what is in essence an ancient tribal way of preparing meat… I mean really, a couple of logs set alight, allow them to form into coals, put some sort of grid over this and then toss on half a cow/goat/pig or whatever you have on the day. Splash some or other favourite/secret sauce over the meat and then stand by with a cold beer and watch over this lot until done to your particular taste – nothing complicated about that.

Watching a bunch of Poms braai is hugely entertaining – first of all when the grid is loaded up it looks more like the vegetable counter at the local supermarket – corn, vegetarian burgers (seriously – on a braai??) and an assortment of other strange food stuff that was difficult to identify. In a token gesture to the spirit of the event there were a few pieces of chicken and a couple of white sausages that would have been more appropriate at a baseball game than at a braai. And boy, do they like their chicken well done – it sounded more like a bowl of pork crackling being worked over than anything else. But they made us feel welcome and all in all it was a very pleasant evening – as I mentioned earlier, it will be remembered for the right reasons.

We think we have found a source for the new bank of house batteries that need to be installed, a couple of phone calls this morning with the supplier to confirm the terminal configuration elicited a cautious promise of getting them to the boat by next Monday… mmm, this is Spain and I have been through this exact procedure before when we had to replace IKRA ll’s house bank. They came all the way from the UK via Paris by road and there were some delays before we saw them offloaded next to the boat. Let us hope that is not the case this time.

Tomorrow we start to replace the standing rigging as we have pretty much sorted the boat out to our satisfaction – if we need something it takes but a minute to fetch it, not a half hour or more spent on a scavenger hunt. Warren, I think you need to have your phone handy, I am pretty sure I will be calling you for advice or input on this saga. We shall see how that lot works out soon enough.

Until then, Y’all stay safe and take care.

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