Published: February 25th 2009February 25th 2009
Sorry for the ridiculous amount of time between posts. I have been so busy since Namibia with school work and another big trip in South Africa. But now to the point of this post: Namibia.
I went into Namibia expecting absolutely nothing special, thinking of it as more of a stop to make sure we do not lose our minds on the ship. This mindset proved to be the best part of this stop. When we reached Walvis Bay (pronounced wall-fish), we were greeted by a young girls choir. The girls came onto the ship and sang to us and afterward we showed them around. The girls were so happy to meet and talk with us. We took them to the computer lab and let them print out their names on sheets of paper. It is amazing that something so small could mean so much to these girls. After the full tour of the boat, including a foray into some of our rooms, we said goodbye to our welcome committee. I was pretty sure that we would find some girls hiding in closets they enjoyed the ship so much! After the choir left, I went to my SAS group for a
tour of the Namib- Naukluft Park. This is a tough place to describe. The best words that I can think of are hot, sandy, and big. I know that this does not paint a very descriptive picture for you but it does aptly describe the area. I must now emphasize the hot part of the area. This was a heat that even living in San Angelo most of my life, I had never experienced before. It was like an oven. The cloud cover, which most would think would helped, performed the opposite role of just trapping heat in the desert. When I asked my driver about the heat, she responded that if the guides were having a hard time with it, it was really bad. I can say that by the end of this trip, the guides did not look so good. The high point of this trip was at our first stop. After walking up onto a small hill, our tour guide found a black scorpion. Right when he saw it, he shuffled a bit and reached down and grabbed the insect by its tail. Our guide proceeded to bring it over to us and tell us about the
Will never eat this again
dangers of doing the exact thing he just did, which is messing with a scorpion. The one that he picked up was particularly dangerous as it injected a neurotoxin when it stung you. Needless to say, all of us watched where we stepped for the rest of that trip. After the scorpion incident, we learned about the native plant life and the many adaptations that they had developed to survive in such an arid environment. After a bunch of stops, we took a break and had some juice and a Namibian standard, an oyster. Now I came on this trip determined to try new things so I grabbed the shell and basically drank it right from the shell. Never again will I eat oyster. It pretty much tasted like fresh fish with a ton of salt thrown on it whit a hint of really gross. But at least I can say I tried it. After this stop, we headed to one of the famous Namibian sand dunes. The dune was about 80 meters high and most of us were determined to get to the top. This was easier said than done. You start out running but by about a fourth
Yeah I almost got the top
of the way up you are crawling and just trying not to sink to far in. This sand dune was literally the exact opposite of an upward escalator. After every step you take, you sink about four inches in making the next step that much harder. I was also unintelligent enough to where my shoes up the dune which added a lot of weight after they filled completely with sand (yes my nice walking shoes are now full of sand, Mom). A few of the really in shape people reached the top but most of us got about ¾ of the way up when the guides called us back down. Even though I didn’t make it to the top, it was a lot of fun and it definitely helped me go to asleep early so I could prepare for the next day.
The next morning was a short seal and dolphin tour. We went out on a smaller boat to the area of Namibia which has a ton of seals (I think the guide said they have over 500,000). We saw a lot of them and even had a few get up on the back of the boat. There was
Guy in the Shade
One of my first sights in the township
one pretty bad part about this trip though… I forgot my camera on the ship!! It was so cool being close to the seals and I could not get any pictures. I am in the process of trying to get some from people on my trip but we will see what happens. After the tour, I headed back to the ship to meet up with some friends for lunch. Afterwards we went out to explore Walvis Bay. The town was basically a very small port town with a few banks, a KFC, some supermarkets (one was called OK Food, which I found funny), and a restaurant called Crazy Mama’s. We decided we would have an early dinner and went in. The place was surprisingly nice and the food was great. We left and headed back to the ship for the night.
The last day in Namibia, I went on a tour of a local township. For those of you that do not know, a township is the area that blacks were sent to during the apartheid era in Africa, and these areas are very poor. The trip was quite the eye-opening experience. We started out in the main market where
Too gross for me
we learned about the food and drink of the township and were offered some of the native food, such as worms. Now I had mentally prepared myself for the worm eating, but I was thinking of an earthworm. This was more like a grub with green slime stuff on it. I know I am supposed to be trying new things but that was a little too much for me. After the group had finished their “meal”, we headed to a person’s house to see what life was like in a township. When we arrived at the house, the owner came out and showed us their blanket/ rug, milk churner, and a few other household items. The most emotional part of this trip was the kids. Some people had brought the plastic clappers and glow in the dark wristbands for them. I have never seen anyone so excited about receiving a gift. The children were so happy but we had to teach some of them how to use the clappers. I ended up talking to a particularly shy boy for a while. He did not want to be in any of the pictures, but after talking to him for a while
One of the Neighborhoods in the Township
Apparently eight people live in each room.
and showing him how to use the clapper, he warmed up to me. He even joined some of the group pictures at the end. After a last few group pictures with everyone, we said our goodbyes. This visit really opened my eyes to the extreme poverty that these countries face. However, the thing I really enjoyed was that even though the people were happy, even though they did not have the best economic position. And they were hopeful. They believed that they would overcome the hardship they face. I know this trip influenced a lot of us to want to do more for these people and I have talked to people that have already changed their plans in the next few countries to try to do more for the people in townships.
Overall, Namibia blew me away. From the sprawling desert, the beautiful ocean, and the city and townships, it all exceeded every single expectation I could have had. I was surprised that as I left I wished that I would have had more time in a country that I had never heard of before this voyage. But South Africa was only a day away, and I had to start
Boy with Toy Car
Not quite as nice to the ones we are used too
preparing for my next adventure.
There are more photos below