3:04pm… the time I arrived at the Mango airlines check in counter at OR Tambo airport for my 3:35pm flight back to Port Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon. Just in time for the 3:05pm gate closure :-P. It was the end of another short fun weekend in Johannesburg.
Some of the stuff that happened that’s worth remembering:
The Hangover 4
The look of surprise on my friend Alain’s face when his brother Olivier walked him in through the doors of Metro, a restaurant in Benmore, Sandton on Friday evening was priceless. Alain was due to be married the next day (the main reason I was in Johannesburg this weekend). He was literally speechless for a few moments as he sat down at the table. Seated around the table were Jean-Paul, Alain’s best friend and the organizer of this impromptu batchelor party/dinner, and about four or five other guys and I. Yes I know, a batchelor’s party the night before the wedding… 😮 There is no end to the list of ways things could go horribly wrong obviously, but this was (necessarily) a very restrained effort, literally just dinner and a drink or two. I know what you’re thinking, there is always that one guy who with the intent of escalating the festivities will say something like “Come on guys it’s his last night as a ‘free’ man, and it’s still early!” And sure enough Arnoud a good friend of Alain, at the end of the night just as we were looking to disperse piped up “Tous à être à l’église à 13h00? Et puis nous avons beaucoup de temps!” Sure he could sleep in a little the next morning! 😌 Thankfully all such notions were quashed. The look of absolute fear on Jean-Paul’s face at the idea of having to deal with the wrath of Henriette, Alain’s betrothed the next day if he were to not show up, arrive late or be hungover on her special day just about said it all. So ‘The Hangover 4’ did not happen. Me on the phone with y best friend Rodney some other time this weekend, “…that’s the kind of chilled, controlled batchelor’s party I want when my time comes.” He laughed, “No, no, no!” And proceeded to inform me that I have no say in how my batchelor’s will go…
What we won’t do for love…
On Saturday late afternoon I found myself sitting on a bench in Fourways Mall in the north of Johannesburg. Meryl was sitting next to me. She had her legs stretched out over my lap and I was massaging her feet, sore from being in heels for a few hours. Perhaps I’ll just stop there… 🙂
We were with two friends of mine, George and Peter who had popped into the @home shop for some last minute shopping for a wedding present for Alain and Henriette. We had all driven together from Braamfontein in Johannesburg CBD where we had attended a beautiful, serene wedding ceremony at Holy Trinity Catholic church. The mass was presided over by a Salesian priest speaking in both English and French, appropriate for the mixed crowd of attendants (Congolese and South African).
The little shopping trip was a quick stop on our way to the Zulu Nyala Country Manor for the wedding reception.
At the reception the MC ran things eloquently in French and every now and then Jean-Paul would grab the microphone and (apparently) translate what she had been saying. The speeches and pleasantries were gotten out of the way within the first hour or so after the newly weds had arrived. Yours truly was entrusted with the toast. No, let me tell the full story: I happened to have called Alain during the week “Monsieur homme marié!” I said as he answered. We had a little chat and at one point he said “Oh hey by the way we’re gona need you to say a few words on Saturday, or do the toast or something I think, I can’t remember now…” This was Thursday, and the wedding was on Saturday… 😌!! I put together a little something to say. Nothing like an anecdote from a previous experience between friends when you don’t know what to say, and also to be honest for such occasions there are certain generic words (although true and apt) that won’t fail, no matter how nervous or unprepared the person expressing them feels.
Once the party got under way the bride and groom outdid everyone on the dance floor. I cannot find suitable words to describe how happy Henriette looked. She had an air of absolute freedom about her as she and her man swayed and stepped the night away on the dance floor.
Keepin’ it natural
My girlfriend Meryl describes herself as a natural hair chic (amongst other things). Natural hair… In my apparently erroneous opinion this describes someone that wears their hair out, you know afro-like. But for the entire time that I have known Meryl she has always worn some or other weave or braids in her hair. I give her a hard time about it “So, where’s the afro? you’re were supposed to be all about ‘natural’ hair!” 😝 Apparently I don’t know what I’m talking about but, I think I tease her enough about it that she decided it was time to give me taste of what I wanted. “No weave this weekend…” she promised. So my girl’s hair was out this weekend, in all it’s glory. Curly wash and go on Saturday, and all in twists on Sunday. It was certainly different to what I’m used to. She always rolls her eyes when I say this but I happen to think Meryl looks good in anything! 😍 While I think the wise thing is to let her decide what to with her hair, I might try to convince her to try dreadlocks next… 😏