Sunday, 6 November 2011

A Holiday at Lajuma

Holidays are a bit different in a small isolated place like this. People have to try a little harder to celebrate things that would just happen back home, or to celebrate different cultures' holidays.  Halloween was going to be a big deal: Pete made a huge fire, we got pumpkins to carve, and I had balloons and candy vampire fangs. Unfortunately a big storm blew in just around sunset. The fire went all horizontal so you couldn't get near it, then the torrential rain put it out, then the lightning knocked the power out. Drinking beer while shivering in the cold rainy dark got old pretty soon and we all went to bed early.

Only one of the pumpkins got carved so I used another one to make pie. It worked surprisingly well but you can't get pie plates here so I had to make it in a big rectangular cake pan. Pumpkins here are a bit different: I got two that were pumpkin shaped but pale green and one that was dark green and covered in lumpy warts. The flesh was orange and tasted like pumpkin at least. 

To make up for the disappointing Halloween party we were determined to have a good Guy Fawkes Day party. Camilla made a cake but baked it too long so it was more like chewy squares or cookies. It tasted good though, especially with a melted marshmallow smeared on top. 

We couldn't find the baboons that morning so I had the afternoon free to make a guy. It is surprisingly hard to make a life sized dummy out of sticks and string but I managed. It's all in the choice of sticks. We used the carved pumpkin, quite moldy by now, for a head. I had to hold it up since the dummy wasn't strong enough to support the pumpkin. The last few days have been hot and dry and the fire was really going so the guy didn't last long. It was kind of sad actually. We had a good brai over his ashes and talked until the coals were barely glowing. 

It looks like Christmas is going to be a small affair. Most people will leave in December and new ones will arrive in the new year. The ovens here are not up to roasting a turkey, assuming we are able to purchase a turkey, but maybe we can roast it over a fire. People used to cook a whole ox that way so we should be able to manage something. 


  1. Are you picking up smatterings of other languages? If I remember right, there are 11 official languages in South Africa...
    Exactly what is rainy season - I thought it meant rain every day, but I am guessing from your post that it means long and heavy rains?

  2. Sounds like good times.

    Your pumpkins have probably interbred with squashes; unless they are very strictly segregated, they will do that. Except for shape and colour, there really isn't much difference between them.

  3. Squashes and pumpkins taste a little different too, but you can't really tell unless you are eating them by themselves. Squash tastes better for that.

    The Guy Fawkes day celebrations sounds like fun. It's too bad we can't have bonfires in the city.

    The glowing spider eyes in the dark, from a few posts back, sounds really creepy. It's interesting that the jaguars' eyes are blue though