Sunday, March 11, 2012

crashing parties at Lake Oanob

AN and S. were going to a party in Lake Oanob, just outside of Rehoboth. I thought to myself, I like lakes, and I like parties. I decided to invite myself along.

Turns out that the party I was crashing was full of diplomatic folks from the American Embassy and the United Nations. Luckily they were all very nice and welcoming, probably because I told them I was from the embassy of China. Just kidding. I would never do that. I'd say something more believable, like, the embassy of Ukraine.

The hosts had rented out a waterfront chalet at the Lake Oanob Resort and were throwing a three-day long party. These folks knew how to party. First of all, the chalet had a magnificent view.

view from the chalet

some of the resort chalets

This was pretty awesome, even though it was the only chalet at Lake Oanob that didn't have a name from the Lion King (all the other chalets at the resort were Nala, Pumbaa, Mufasa, Rafiki, etc...).

More importantly, however, the first thing that greeted party guests when they arrived at the party was a lamb on a stick.

Note: vegetarian readers may choose to skip the next few photos and instead read this thought-provoking article about the problematic politics of PETA written by my vegan activist friend Ryan

Mary had a little lamb, and it was damn delicious

Pretty damn awesome. I actually made it far enough into the chalet to grab myself a beer, and then spent the rest of the time sitting by the lamb roast, watching art happen. There is nothing really more beautiful than the sound of liquified meat fat dripping off a bone and sizzling in the coals below.


what happened after the lamb was ready to be served was a different form of art. There are many ways to hack up the meat after it has been roasted. My friend Hector once had a boy's night where he built his own lamb roast contraption in his backyard, which he cooked for nine hours, even cradling an umbrella over it when it began to rain, and after it was ready, he just laid the whole meat out on the kitchen counter and the men attacked it with their knives, eating with their bare hands.

My fiance was trained at the top culinary school Cordon Bleu and cooks for a living. He's always going on and on about how a proper chef must have the best tools to cut meat. What you need is a top quality knife.

Or a band saw.

when men cook.

watching a man use a massive power tool to slice up cuts of meat was both fascinating and nerve-wracking at the same time. I had my first encounter with band saw machines in high school drafting class. The teacher had put little piece of tape to indicate the area we were supposed to keep our fingers out of, so that we didn't hack off any digits. This toolman/cook definitely had his fingers well past the line. I was afraid but I couldn't stop watching. Also, every once in a while, some hot burning fat oil would fly off the machine and hit the children watching nearby. Mmm, delicious burning pain. Afterwards, I was sorely tempted to lick the blade, which i knew would taste delicious and nothing like the sawdust usually found on bandsaws.

Dinner was delicious, the kind of delicious you can only get when you push a lamb through a power tool.

Out near the resort bar, I ran into Lize's husband, who was taking his kids out.

"What are you up to this weekend?" he asked me.

"I'm crashing a party full of Americans," I replied.

"Ah," he replied. "I was going to ask if you wanted to join us on our big boat, but that sounds like a noble cause."

I opened my mouth to answer, and then wondered for a minute which would be a better way to spend the day, powerboating or eating baby animals. You know how I eventually decided.

Besides, some of the folks were taking the kayaks out. Lake Oanob is an artificially constructed lake that lots of city folks like to visit when they want to get away from the city. It seems to be more or less the only place around Windhoek you can ride a big power boat. Personally, I wouldn't see a point in owning a speed boat in a city that is not built near any body of water in a country that is flanked by two deserts, but a lot of rich Namibian families bring their boats there and whip around the lake, motors roaring, children screaming, and giraffes wondering what the heck all the racket is.

I am Canadian, and kayaking is more my speed.

there was also the option of taking these aquacycles out, but I still have my dignity.

Kayaking was lovely. We braved the waves slapping against the side of the kayaks caused by the wake of the powerboats, and paddled our way around the lake, approaching a hillside of sheep grazing near the shore, looking peaceful and delicious.

and ducks! lekker!

Followed by swimming, with our choice of the lake or the swimming pool.

The whole party had the relaxed, chilled-out atmosphere of days I've spent at the cottage with my friends. Some summer tunes playing on someone's iPod, the cheers of men playing some game on the lawn nearby, the warm sun on your skin as you lounge on the deck, wondering if you should take a nap, go for another swim, or get a beer. Sometimes it's nice if that's the biggest choice you have to make for the day. It was a pretty sweet party.

attempts at self-portrait