12 November 2007

my new career?

Once again, we had a lovely ostrich egg breakfast :-)

ostrich egg breakfast!

I forgot to write in the 27/09 report that when we returned from dinner at Jemima's, we found the Irish couple that we met at Viva Safaris staying at Backpackers' Paradise, sitting in the common area. So we chatted with them for a while about what we had been doing, and made temporary plans to meet up again in Cape Town...

The 28th of September, 2007 was the start of a potential career as an ostrich jockey. But before my big debut, we visited the rest of the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm. We started by driving out to the actual farm area, where we first passed a bunch of baby ostriches of varying ages. Baby ostriches are freakishly cute. They look totally clueless and their bums are whiteish and baldish and really strange-looking. And then we got to see the adult ostriches – the big males with their red beaks (their beaks turn red during mating season) and lots of females. One of the females was really snappy with her beak. It made for interesting facial expressions and thus interesting photos...

freaky ostrich

We were given a quick lecture about ostriches, and the one thing that has glued into the depths of my brain is that the eyeball of the ostrich is 60 grams, while its brain is 40 grams. Otherwise, they're raised for meat (ostrich meat is very lean and healthy and tasty), feathers (boas, dusters, hat decorations etc.), and leather (wallets, purses, belts, etc.).

We got the chance to hold an ostrich egg, to get a feel for the size and weight. We were also allowed to stand on the eggs; they tolerate quite a lot of weight! In a building, we got to see an incubator with a baby ostrich on its way to come out of the egg. It takes them about 8 hours to get out!

And then it was almost time for my big debut! We went to this show area where they first brought out a big male ostrich, put this bag over his head, and started showing and describing his body parts – neck, wings (wow!) etc. After that, they were looking for people who 1) wanted to only sit on the ostrich, 2) wanted to ride the ostrich. Surprisingly, I was the only one who wanted to ride. Well, boyfriend of feitpingvin wanted to ride too, but he was borderline at the weight limit for riding (75 kg). So he just sat on the ostrich. Only one other guy was willing to sit.

For riding, I had to first sign a disclaimer. Fine, whatever. Then they brought out an ostrich, and instructed me on how to get up on it. A patch feathers on the ostrich's back had been plucked to make a sort of “saddle” (ostriches have thick skin), and I sat on that. It was a really neat feeling sitting on the ostrich; they have very soft feathers and it was funky-neat to feel the feathers on my bare legs! The ostrich handlers told me to hold on to the wings and lean back, and then suddenly wooooooooosh! The ostrich was running. Fast. And I was hanging on for dear life :-) Wheeeeee!!!

I got a certificate for my efforts hehe...

After my big debut, we watched some real ostrich jockeys in a little race. Cool stuff. Though I'm sure I can kick all of their asses :-)

To reward myself for a great debut, I bought myself a really funky ostrich leather purse at the gift shop. And a cute little t-shirt. Boyfriend of feitpingvin bought a really nice ostrich skin wallet. Hindsight is 20-20; I wish I bought more stuff while I was there. Not that we had any space in the luggage for it or anything, but still...

Next on the agenda was Robertson, so we headed out on Route 62 in that direction. Our lunch stop was in Calitzdorp (the port wine capital of South Africa), at Die Dorpshuis guesthouse and restaurant. We both ordered the "Klein Karoo Special" - smoked ostrich with potato salad, bean salad, Greek salad, and red beets. It was nice having a cold lunch for a change, and the food was very tasty. The bean salad was especially delicious. We washed this down with a lovely homemade ginger beer.

Before lunch, we stopped at the Calitzdorp Wine Cellar and tasted a few of their wines. They were OK, but not spectacular, so we didn't buy anything. The woman working there seemed kind of indifferent, and we weren't really motivated to stick around... better luck next time...

Our next stop after lunch was Ronnie's Sex Shop. The story about the place is in the link. My own evaluation – ummmm... it's quite a place. Ronnie is quite a character, but really rather harmless. If you're driving along Route 62, I highly recommend a stop here...

After Ronnie's we had another stop, though a more gruesome one. There had just been an accident where a car drove off the road and flipped over. Several other people had stopped to see what was going on, and the cops were already there investigating and getting information, witness observations, etc. It was a really weird accident; there were skidmarks on the road and based on the skidmarks it was hard to tell what really happened, other than the driver must have been driving very fast. This accident was just as bad as some of the others we've seen, where the front of the car was completely crushed and the windshield was shattered...

We arrived at Robertson Backpackers at some point in the afternoon, while the sun was still shining. They have a big backyard with a nice green lawn there, and we decided to just stay there and relax for the rest of the day and evening. The rest of the house was quite cool too – especially the "Moroccan room" where you can sit and chill out to some music, and even smoke a water pipe if you'd like.

The couple who run Robertson Backpackers have two dogs – Floyd and Roxy. They are such characters! The very moment boyfriend of feitpingvin and I showed up, they demanded attention, and immediately rolled on their backs and spread their legs out in the hopes of a belly rub. And being the sucker that I am, I rubbed their bellies. And played the "grab the rope" game with this old tattered dog rope; Floyd was especially eager. It was actually quite fun running around barefoot on the lawn, playing with the crazy dogs.

We had a lovely braai for dinner and the following wine:
Swartberg Reserve Pinotage 2005 (from Kango Winery
color: deep red-violet
nose: very ripe cherries, hint of herbs
palate: hint of red apples, red grape peel and black currants, pleasant tannins. Goes nicely with red meat but should not be paired with fatty red meat.
grade: :-)+

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