Getting amongst the Lederhosen November 6, 2006Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Namibia, Peculiarities, Raaah!.
‘Seriously! I don’t want to drink beer’, I protested last Saturday morning. After a riotous Friday night out and suffering from little sleep, the last thing I wanted to do was drink beer. It was the closest I’ve had to a hangover since I arrived, and blasting bright sunshine and oppressive heat certainly did not help matters. But it was Oktoberfest. Having never ventured to the week long event in Munich, I felt inclined to attend the all-German, lederhosen-and-bratwurst sponsored day of binge-drinking here in the Namibian capital.
We arrived at about 3pm, and things were thoroughly swinging along and the rather small SportsKlub Windhoek was packed with big Germans. Long benches of beer-guzzling monsters, some decked out in traditional German garb, filled the courtyard, which was surrounded by barbeques cooking all varieties of sausages and waffles, apart from one side where stood the obligatory German beer tent. Girls in milkmaid outfits paraded around offering test-tubes of Jaegermeister (I declined).
So our little group of real Europeans took our space on the benches, and got involved with a round of beer. I stupidly assumed that this was an occasion to try different beers and other German imports, and was disappointed to see that only one beer, Hansa, was available.
A small band played in the corner, of very merry men who looked like they needed a horn or a goat to hand, where a few couples who looked like they had escaped from the swamp clumsily stumbling to their own rhythm. The main attraction was on a stage in the middle of the courtyard: there was a big wooden log which pairs would attempt to saw sections off using a big two-handed saw in the quickest time possible. After a days worth of beer, this is a recipe for disaster. Every few minutes another pair would stomp onto the stage and attack this log with gruffness and efficiency that only these worn colonists are able. And once their chunk of wood fell to the ground, the sweaty and red-faced pair would fling the saw aside (!!) and embrace with a passion that only the chopping of wood could exude. Apparently a few women tried their hand at it, but I couldn’t say as I was struggling to distinguish between the sexes.
There was also a competition to see how many tankards of beer a ‘woman’ could pick up with one hand. Quite a magnificent site, I’m sure, but I had departed by this stage to attend the World Cup qualifying rugby extravaganza that was Namibia vs Morocco!
I know, I didn’t know Morocco played rugby either! The stadium was not even half-full, which I put down to people being too drunk to turn up, or the looming rain cloud that never quite made it over, and we managed to get pretty good seats in the only fully built stand – an added bonus to the free tickets we got from my journalist friend.
After months of football madness following the World Cup, it was so refreshing to see a rugby match, even if the standard was not quite Twickenham, let alone Murrayfield. But we entertained ourselves by watching the Namibian supporters go crazy, throwing things at the coaches and players, falling over in the stands; it created a very different atmosphere from the only-talk-if-it’s-about-team-tactics-or-pies supporters back home; not that they weren’t interested in the game, but that they were more into abusing the participants and having a good laugh. I also admired how this game bonded everyone in the stadium, regardless of colour, which was the first time I’d seen it since my arrival. Namibia came out triumphant over Morocco, 24-7, and should be competing in the next rugby World Cup. Hurrah!
We actually skipped off a bit early, partly through hunger, and partly through fear of these overzealous Namibians who, high on their win and drunk from having just been paid, would drive off bladdered, and could possibly end up wrapping themselves round a cow or ‘robot’ (Namblish for traffic light).