A few weeks back, Jenny and I strapped our bikes to the ol’ Kia Rio and set off for the Groenkloof Nature Reserve for an afternoon ride. I know we’ve said it before, but that place is lekker. There’s some really excellent single track, and if you can go on a weekday – as we sometimes can – you can have the place almost entirely to yourself.
Except for the giant animals.
We saw just about all of the usual suspects that day: impala, kudu, zebra (one standing in the middle of the bike path), wildebeest, ostrich and about a half million guineafowl. Oh, and the giraffes, of course. I almost didn’t see the one gangly beast, as I actually pedaled too close to it as I climbed a hill (forest for trees…giraffe for spots?). Once it saw me, it sauntered off and tried to hide behind a tree. C’mon, I said, I don’t fool that easily.
Though we were only out for about an hour, it was hot, dry and dusty, and we worked up a considerable thirst. Luckily, there’s a sort of pan-African restaurant called Moyo on the same property as the nature reserve – as nice a watering hole as you’ll find. We stopped off for a quaff.
It was a gorgeous day, really. The kind that begs you to sit in the sun – the African sun – and ask yourself whether it gets any better than this, because if it does, you’re gonna stay here forever. A perfect, Pretoria springtime day. Not a cloud. Just a touch of breeze.
A waiter approached our table on the front terrace. Drinks? Yes.
Jenny chose a Windhoek Draught, a Namibian beer of German tradition. I couldn’t make up my mind. Nothing jumped out for some reason. So, I looked up at the waiter and said, “Hmmm. I’m still thinking.”
“OK,” he nodded, and left to fetch Jenny’s beer.
In the meantime, Jenny and I asked each other inane questions about the narrow-gauge train tracks circling the property, as if either of us held the answers. Where’s the train now? Is it just for kids? Do you think we could ride? Thankfully, this cross-examination was derailed by a peacock preening in the adjacent field.
When our man returned, he had not one beer, but two: a Windhoek Draught for Jenny and an Amstel for me.
My first thought, obviously, was that I didn’t order an Amstel. Those that know me know I’m not a beer drinker. Despite the photographic evidence of Toddler Ryan nursing a PBR (I was hipster before all y’all), I never acquired/developed a taste.
Lager? I don’t even know ‘er.
But I quickly realized that I did, in fact (or interpretation of fact), order an Amstel. What the waiter heard was not “Hmmm. I’m still thinking.” It was “Hmmm. Amstel, thank you.”
I’m still thinking. Amstel, thank you. Tomayto. Tomahto.
I was too tired and thirsty to argue. I drank the beer. My first full beer* since…well…ever. Probably my last.
Good question. I’m still thinking…*The trusty and tireless fact checkers at AfricAnnum.com note that there were at least three (3) healthy sips of beer left when I gave it to Jenny, meaning I still have technically never had a full beer.