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Published: November 25th 2006
Yes, I have been fortuned enough to be hopping to several continents this year, even to my own surprise. (Remember that I had plane phobia until fairly recently).
What and I doing on the southern tip of Africa? Well, it all started back in March, with the unpretensious submission of two abstracts with the data from my own clinic on diabetes education/control, for presentation at the annual International Diabetes Federation meeting. Unexpectadely they were both accepted and, of course, I couldn't let the opportunity go by. You know... since I got the "travelling bug" and this was a "business" trip, I just HAD TO venture to yet another curious place.
The meeting will be held in Cape Town, South Africa. So, what and I doing in Namibia? Well... The more I read about South Africa, the more I drew a mental picture of a westernized society, with little left of it's traditional African roots/culture. Despite the beauty of Cape Town, the history of appartheid and Mandela and the gorgeous wine country, I just couldn't get excited enough. The itinerary lacked the "pure" African culture I envisioned as I thought of this continent and I felt that the cities weren't safe enough for a woman traveling alone (Yeap. I'm travelling solo again).
Searching the net and travel books, the neighboring country of Namibia caught my attention. NO, it was NOT because Bratt Pitt and Angelina Jolie took refugee here. Actually, it wasn't until after I made up my mind that I became aware of such an "important", NOOOOT, piece of info. (Although I wouldn't mind bumping into Bratt, of course!)
Back to real the reason for my pick, Namibia spiked my curiosity for being the youngest country in Africa, as it gained independence from Germany only in 1990; being the least populated as well, with less than 2 people per sq mile; with incredible and unique landscape, such as the dunes of the Namib desert, and with people of different ethnicities, most still retaining its own identity. As a bonus, it's a safer and cheaper country than So Africa, and I found a company offering economy safari. So, how could I not detuor, just a little, to experience Namibia for a week?
Preparing for the adventure was an adventure in itself. I searched for info on the internet repeatedly, trying to narrow down an itinerary in a condensed time and budget. I quickly learned that without the luxury of extended time, I had to abandon the idea of complete intdependent travel. Although I am definetely a people's person, I traveling with a group ties you to a set schedule and destinations, taking away the freedom of the "wondering person" in me. Oh, well! The idea of travelling all the way solo had to go and the search fo a group started.
Safari: very expensive, unless you arrange a "safari on a shoe string", camping (yes, on tents), and letting go of comfort. Without much choice, I embraced the idea of a 7-day camping safari to Northern Namibia with enthusiam, adding challenge to the experience.
Tickets bought, it was time to learn about the "ins and outs" of such a trip: antimalaria meds, the strongest possible bug repelent, disposible syringes and a ton of meds (just in case), sleeping bag, travel insurance, and so on. I was eager to learn about toilets and I read: "Werstern style (our type) are available in the cities but popular are the holes on the ground elsewhere". "Oh, noooooo!!", I screamed, as the memories of the horribly, smelly, uncomfortable and unavoidable latrines of China/Tibet are still fresh in my mind.
So far I have met a lawyer from Jacksonville, a ADA (American Diabetes Association) top CEO, a Vietnamese girl, a Swedish guy who has been to Maceio, an American painter who lives in Africa, and a Namibian woman who will take me around tomorrow with her family.
Okay. Let me not bore you any further. I am eager to focus on the positive and I'm fascinated by this opportunity and determined to make the most of my African experience.
It has been 35 hours since I left my comfortable bed back in Gainesville, and it will be 4 more hrs before I crush into the bed at the Chameleon Lodge in Windhoek, my first stop in Namibia.
I will write (less) and with pictures as soon as an internet and time come my way.
Bye for now.
Tot: 2.268s; Tpl: 0.046s; cc: 26; qc: 119; dbt: 0.0676s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb