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Day 1479
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A Great Cape

Dec 27

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12/27/2012 7:09 AM  RssIcon


Salt pork.  Onions.  Red wine.  Garlic.  The end result was far better than the original meal we had planned.  Weather forced us into the river port town of East London, South Africa.  It is something like Detroit.  Once vibrant maybe, but now dilapidated and dangerous to new comers.  Luckily for us there is a small, but tight knit group of locals that form the Buffalo River Yacht Club.  It was Christmas Eve and there was no question of a taxi.  Marian, the husband of a charter boat captain, would take us to the store so we could provision for Christmas dinner the next day.

Just in time I grabbed the last fresh chicken off the refrigerated shelf.  Looking for another we heard rumors that the delivery truck had brought in a whole load of rotten chickens.  Amanda, myself, and Gaspar eyed the chicken in my hand dubiously, but we had little choice if we wanted roast poultry dinner for Christmas. 

Christmas day dawned and we let it without recognition.  With nothing to do and nowhere to go we found no reason to get out of bed before 10:00 a.m.  Small gifts were exchanged and we spent the day simply sitting still.  To punctuate the tone of the day we baited a hook and dropped it over the side. We hoped to catch a fish just as much as we hoped we wouldn’t have to clean one.  Luckily, no whopper dared break the days tranquility.

Near sunset we began to think about starting dinner.  With some trepidation the chicken was unwrapped.  From inside, where the giblets should have been, an invisible hand reached up and punched me in the nose.  With the right spice the malodorous fowl might have been tamed, but I wouldn’t take the chance.  We never caught a fish, but I bet we did feed a shark.  We needed a plan B for Christmas dinner.

Enter the opening list of ingredients.  The salt pork was diced and started crisping in a bit of hot oil.  A mountain of sliced onions were added to begin caramelizing in the pork drippings and butter.  Add one liter of red wine with garlic, pepper, salt, and lots of time for it to reduce to a concentrated mass of flavor.  Add a touch more butter, a bit of cream, and a few tablespoons of goat cheese.  Serve over couscous with a side of sautéed veggies.  Follow that with an unexpected find in South Africa, pecan pie.  It wasn’t the roast chicken dinner I’d been imagining for Christmas, it was much, much better.

Christmas has passed and Gaspar has sailed onwards to the West.  Amanda and I are waiting in East London for a wind that will allow us to carry on in his wake.  So far, no such weather window is visible until after the New Year.  Anchored now in the river just between massive tug boats and ocean going car carriers we are making alternative plans.  East London holds no appeal outside of being a safe anchorage in a blow. 

With nearly a week to spend waiting for weather we will leave Jargo to do a few day trips.  Nearby is the small mountain town of Hogsback.  It has a great reputation as an eclectic hippy town with good hikes and great food.  It sounds like the antithesis of East London.  After a night there we will start looking towards New Years Day.  I’ve good friends living four hours away in the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay.  If we can arrange train or bus transfers we will be on our way.  This is a time to share with friends.

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4 comment(s) so far...


you still there

Wow found your web sight a month ago, loved it but your lack of entrees make it hard to check back, hope your doing well. Party on

By jim on   1/8/2013 10:48 PM

Re: A Great Cape

wow man are you still alive, you must be having some fun, Cheers bro

By jim on   1/17/2013 8:08 PM

Re: A Great Cape

i have followed this site from the first...it was on my bookmark bar....but, it has descended to maybe a monthly post and you seem to have grown lazy in your posts and spend most of your time partying with no regard for those who are following you on the net.,...have fun, you seem to have lost focus on your mission

By steve livingood on   1/20/2013 1:41 PM


at this rate of posts...we might get ten A YEAR....WTF

By steve livingood on   2/4/2013 12:14 PM

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