Friday, September 26, 2003

The Fat Man Restaurant, Magaliesberg

Friday, September 26, 2003

Phone: +27 14 577 1802

Service: * * *
Food: * * *
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * *

Damon and I have taken a break from the Valley Lodge, and came to town for Friday night supper. We want to get a taste of the local colour.

"Are you an artist?" says Ilze, our waitress. She's twenty-years-old, and walks like a model.

This must be the number-one most-asked question I get in restaurants when I whip my sketchbook out and start flicking ink across the page. Every time someone asks me, it flabbergasts me. Really, what does it LOOK like I'm doing? Exterminating termites?? I answer her. "Yeah," I say.

"What are you drawing?"

I'm twisted around in my seat, facing the only fat man with a moustache in the restaurant. I'm sketching. Ilze's looking at the drawing. From my angle it looks like a drawing of a fat man with a moustache. I whisper, "I'm drawing that fat man over there."

"Him?" she says, mirth erupting from her mouth. She claps a hand over her lips and squeals. "He's the owner's husband!"

"Did she name her restaurant after him?" I've just finished the quiche, which was very tasty, but a tiny portion. Not really enough for supper.

Ilze has graduated from modelling school. She occasionally models for catalogue shoots. I'm too scared to ask if she's one of the underwear babes on the Game broadsheets. I'll never sleep again knowing such intimate details.

The fat man looks up, aware of all the attention. Ilze says, "Can I show him?"

"Ya," I say, "but please ask him not to punch me."

"No, he won't punch you! He's not like that!"

She takes my sketchbook over to his table. He studies it. Nods. "Interesting," he says. "Who is it?"

I point at him, and Ilze says, "You!!!"

He looks again. Suddenly he delivers a vast bellylaugh, and the owner comes running out from the kitchen. "Swannie!" she says.

"This man drew me!" he says, still laughing. She takes a look and smiles. Swannie gets up and comes over to my table. I stand up, and we exchange handshakes. "Hey," he says, still jiggling, "are you an artist?"

He's battling to speak English, so I switch over to Afrikaans. I used to have an Afrikaans girlfriend, so I'm fully bilingual. "Yes," I say, in the vernacular.

He's so relieved to be speaking Afrikaans. He says (in his mother tongue), "So, uh... is this me?"

Jeepers. How many more fat men with moustaches can he see?? "Yeah," I say.

He laughs some more, and takes the book round to everyone in the restaurant. Seems I've become a minor celebrity.

"Ilze," I say, in Afrikaans, "is there any chance at all that I might be able to taste a tiny bit of Helena's famous bobotie? Just a taste."

She comes back with the plate heaped with bobotie. And it's delicious. And yeah, it's actually worth travelling all the way to the Magaliesberg for lunch one day to have it again.

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