The Dangers of Housewives Alone in Coffee Shops

I confess that I am not used to strange men approaching me in coffee shops. This happened a few weeks ago when I was replying to some e-mails in a coffee shop in Benmore while The Princess was at school. I’d walked in and seen only one table with three casually dressed guys who appeared to be in the midst of a business meeting. I’d deliberately chosen the table furthest from these guys so as not to fall prey to accidental eavesdropping.

Whilst fully immersed in all-important, housewife admin on my I-pad, I sensed that a figure had approached my table and I heard a deep voice say:

“Howzit, doll,”

I could not believe the audacity of this man and began lifting my head with the full intention of blurting out:

DON’T YOU DARE CALL ME DOLL !

But as I looked up, something stopped me and I realised that I would have deeply offended (or amused) our good friend Erik, who relocated to Windhoek six months ago.

I had to remind myself that not too many men want to pick up a chick who’s eight months pregnant – at all – and certainly not at ten in the morning in a coffee shop.

This past week, however, “it” happened again. I was sitting at a table outside at Europa, Melrose Arch, guiltily devouring actual sushi with raw salmon and everything. (I was busy convincing myself that French women eat unpasteurised cheese – and probably don’t give up coffee, cigarettes or wine either – throughout pregnancy, so what was a bit of sushi between me and the 3.2kg buffeltjie still  apparently growing in my tummy? He’d survived 30 Stopayne tablets the week before so I was sure he’d survive a bit of raw fish…)

I was looking down at my food when I caught a glimpse of a strange man approaching my table. From my experience with Erik, I’d learnt that it was unlikely he was trying to pick me up, so I was a little more pragmatic this time. Was he a husband coming to chastise me for eating sushi at 38 weeks pregnant? I felt slightly unnerved…

“You look like someone who’d know this,” he began. “Is there a spa in Melrose Arch?”

I guess you can take the girl out Keurbooms and put her in Sandton, but you can’t take Keurbooms out of the girl: when someone in a shopping centre asks me if there’s a spa around, I think of the Spar.

I was about to respond,

“No, sorry, there’s only a Woolies.”

But then I caught sight of my newly pedicured feet, clad in open-toed, bedroom slippers on loan from the Melrose Arch Spa. I also noticed that my “suitor” looked like the quintessential metro-sexual. He’d noticed my red nails and toes as opposed to my face – a face which still lives in fear of Botox, can’t be bothered with facials and which boasts bushy, dark eyebrows which I’m too afraid of waxing for fear the therapist will virtually denude me of any eyebrows to speak of.

I may feel more at home in a Spar than in a spa but at least I had fabulous red nails and toes which The Princess took note of immediately when I fetched her from school:

“Mommy’s nails are RED!” she announced.

That’s my little Sandtonite girl! 🙂

Fishing Competition


Despite my fear of piranhas (a very healthy fear, if you ask me), I was determined to give piranha fishing a try myself. I mean, how many times in my life would I get to fish in the Amazon? The more appropriate question would have been “how many times had I fished – ever, anywhere?” There had been a couple of occasions in my pre-teens but I now suspect that my Dad did everything for me all the while making me believe that I had some skill.

Anyway, by the time I got going with my rod/ stick thing, Hemingway (a.ka. The Husband) had already caught about six piranhas in succession and was looking mighty chuffed with himself. Now, I know that I need to grow up and simply accept that he will forevermore be better than me at basically everything related to sport and/or the outdoors.

But I can’t.

And so, given that Hemingway has never expressed any interest in fishing whatsoever in the ten years I’ve known him, I decided to take him on. After many failed attempts on my part, Ricardo, (the junior guide) decided to intervene in an attempt to be helpful and took hold of the fishing rod.

With me.

Fishing “a deux”.

At the age of 30.

How cute.

I felt like saying: “I know, that you know, that I know, that you are the one actually doing the fishing here, so for goodness sake, LET GO!!!!!!”

But the poor, sweet Spaniards had caught their one piranha each, taken their photo with the monstrous fish and were now plastered to their seats, drenched in sweat and yawning up a storm. So I played pretend fishing with Ricardo.

E V E E E E E E e e e e e e e N T U A L L Y, I (Ricardo) had something.

I (Ricardo) pulled it up out of the water.

It didn’t look like the same species of piranha the others had caught. It wasn’t bloated like a blaashoppie, with reddish bits on the edges. Instead, it was slender and silver.

I was thinking, “maybe, I (Ricardo) have caught a really RARE type of piranha. That would be cool.”

No such luck, as it turns out. I don’t think Ricardo had the heart to break the news to me because he just kept quiet and looked at Victor.

“It’s a sardine,” Victor announced.

Awesome.

So that’s the story of how, in a two square metre stretch of water, infested with piranhas so starved they had begun to feed on their own family members, I – The Fabulous Fisherwoman from Keurboomstrand – caught the one surviving sardine.