Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Walking with Nomads in Namibia

The first week of my trip as a translator on a Nomad truck is coming to an end. Crazy shit.

Before I left CT I couldn't sleep because I was so freaked out - now I'm sleeping great! As it turns out, in tents.  Exactly one week ago I headed to the mother city for the last time, for a lovely lunch at the Ethiopian cafe with my now-ex flatmate Emma. From there to the office of Nomad, where I met my two fellow crew members  and the bus, Janis. Slept at the backpacker's on Long Street, and left early early the next morning!

In South Africa we saw !Kwa Ttu bushmen presenting about indigenous plants, and long stretches of road leading North. And realized that the desert - the Namakwa, in this case - is bloody cold at night, and you need extra blankets even if you have a down sleeping bag. I picked oranges off a tree in Citrusdale and went for a swim in the Orange River, with a break on the surf boards marking the SA-Namib-boarder.

At the boarder crossing my whole plan about cancelling my study permit upon exiting fell through, which means I may not be able to re-enter SA before the end of June... fuck bureaucracy. From here onwards through, yes, Namibia! Long rides through dusty deserts, sandwich lunches under the sole tree within a 100k radius, pee breaks with "the ladies in the back, the gents in the front of Janis" (remember, Janis is the bus). Cold, cold nights. Fish River Canyon - the second biggest canyon in the world - one sunset, sunrise over a giant red sand dune the next morning, Sesriem canyon and the dead, age-old riverbeds with acacia trees from centuries past in the afternoon.

After all that sand, we arrived on the coast at the "promised land"Swakopmund the day before yesterday. A sleepy holiday town, it is eerily reminiscent of a small town somewhere in Germany, complete with Konditorei, Buchhandlung and newspaper "auf gut Deutsch". Crazy! Here we stayed at a little hotel, slept in beds, showered a lot and enjoyed the civilized life. With real coffee. I went for two long runs to make up for all the bumpy but sedentary busrides. And made friends with the local fishermen to obtain a beautiful Kabeljou straight out of the ocean - I had some trouble preparing it properly (for lack of experience - only the second fish I've ever made in my life!), but once it was finally done it was spectacular. Oven-roasted, with some ginger, garlic and lemon slices. And while we're on the food, I also tried Oryx, Springbok and Zebra the other day - smothered in some sauce that made it impossible to distinguish the three. Schade.

Finally, I went quad biking in the desert! Absolutely awesome. Dunes, dunes, dunes, our super-fun guide Fillomon from Angola, fast turns on steep slopes, views of the ocean bordering the desert. And I only got stuck in a dune once, so bottom line I think I did well :)

And just to stress me out a little bit along the way, my beautiful ex-employers decided to not go through with the travel arrangements they had originally made for me, so now I'm trying to sort out transport from Cape Town to Dusseldorf with hardly any access to internet or phones - oh what fun! But the beauty of the place makes me forget about all that nonsense, most of the time.

(For the same reason, photos will be delayed until the next place where we have internet. Should be about 4 days from now.)

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