Can You Hear the Drum-Sticks, Fernando?

Classic interior design in Fernando's.

WE HIT,Port Elizabeth at midday. All cheers. Maroon Porra soccer shirts and scarves. Driving in the Toyota we looked like chorizo stuffed in a tin-can on wheels.

Nobody knew where the hell we were. The Porra driving us almost wiped out three motor-bikes, four Mercs and an old lady pushing a trolley of toilet paper. This happens when you are hungry.

There was a technical expert in the car. Pieter BlackBerry Bubbles Ferreira. He hit the phone, surfing the Net for a place to eat. “I’ve got it,” he remarked with the kind of enthusiasm the blind monk Dom Perignon showed upon discovering Champagne. “Fernando’s Chicken House.”

Pieter typed the address into the phone. An electronic voice emerged. Told the Porra where to drive ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ if this was possible.

But we get there. Just ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ Porra driver almost decapitated a Cote D’Ivoire soccer fan showing us the finger. Fernando’s is on the shady part of Port Elizabeth, which is difficult to find as the whole town is shady. We find it. We are street smart. We have cred. We are bro’s.

The city belongs to us. And, it would appear, the whole Porra population between Cape Town and Durban. And they are all at Fernando’s.

We walk in. Faces look up. Questioning. Porra gives the owner the eye and the secret Porra thumb signal. Relieved, Fernando asks as what we want. He is behind the bar. The place is packed. Laurentina’s are ordered. We drink them from the bottle. The place is packed. Soccer supporters. Check the chicks with the olive skin. Hot!

But not hotter than Fernando’s. A waitress guides us to a table. It is a long one. We share it with about eight other ladies and gentlemen of Portuguese persuasion. We know they are the real thing: the guys wear enough jewellery to weigh-down a rap star. The chicks look at pictures of Ronaldo and smile. Dreamily.

We have to get eating. Kick-off is two hours away. The waitress writes. Chicken giblets. Grilled chicken peri-peri. Prego roll. Portuguese salad, which is like a salad only Portuguese. And a chorizo.

Wine is orderd ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ Casal Carcia, what else. Adam Mason checks the wine. Pieter Ferreira checks the menu to see if we’ve missed anything. Alcino, the Aussie Porra and his charming lady Emily check their cell-phones to see if they are in the right country.

I get up to check on the bar. Our waitress is multi-tasking. She is opening beer, grilling the chicken, writing another order and crapping on a non-soccer patron who is giving her the eye. They make them like the used to over here.

Back at the table, food. Giblets swimming in a glutinous garlicky sauce. Chickens perfectly grilled to crispiness. Fresh rolls. Piping hot home-made chips. A chorizo that looks eerily schlong-like.

Joaquim Sa assists Adam Mason from Constantia in getting the hang of Porra culture.

Wine is drunk and we dig in like no tomorrow. After the previous evening’s experience at Psycho Italian we are hungry as a pack of dogs on the Low GI diet.

Hey, pass The Sauce. The Sauce stands on the table, glaring at you from a one litre bottle. It is home-made peri peri. It is bright red, the colour of the heels of an ostrich in mating season. The consistency is something between oil, peanut butter and hair gel. It is frighteningly hot, spicy and exotically delicious. It is lashed over chips, chicken, chorizo and even over the Portuguese salad.

The chicken is moist on the inside and the skin crisp and spicy. The chips are perfect as only perfectly cooked chips can be. I want to take two chips to the stadium to use them as ear-plugs for keeping out the sound of the vuvuzela, but can’t resist from finishing the bowl.

Man, but it is noisy with all the Porra talk. We mop plates with bread. Wash everything down with cool Casal Garcia. This is the real deal. The main sardine. We’ll be back, but first we must head to the stadium: Forca Portugal.

Pieter, Alcino, Madeira Ambassador and Emily.

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