Monday, February 16, 2009

The heat was hot and the ground was dry

But the air was full of sound

Ive been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain

In the desert you can remember your name
cause there aint no one for to give you no pain

-America
, Horse with No Name
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I love Namibia. We pulled into Walvis (pronounced Vall-Fish) Bay two days ago, and as we disembarked we were greeted by a local children's choir. Then we drove off into the desert. It is a unique climate here, known as a "cool desert". There is sand everywhere you look, but the gentle breeze of the ocean keeps the temperature quite comfortable. The African sun, however is intense and I have seen a lot of students, faculty and staff sporting some seriously red lobster skin.

The Germans settled a city in Namibia called Swakupmond. The signs are in Ge
rman, people speak German, and the food is German. Yet there are palm trees and sandy beaches and....it's in Africa. Most people here speak English, but some people speak what's called a "click language". It is really unique and interesting to hear. Here are Shirl and I on the waterfront in Swakupmond:

We also went to the highest Dune, known as "Dune 7". Some people chose to climb it. I did not.


Everything in Na
mibia is a conundrum. There are flamingos, yet there are oryx. There are seals, yet there are giraffes. There are dolphins, yet there are zebras. On our drive back from Swakup (as the locals call it) to Walvis Bay we saw many pink flamingos casually lounging just at the water's edge. Less than a few kilometers away was a young oryx wandering through the desert sand, right beneath a palm tree. He looked like a small deer with antlers. It was a strange backdrop for such a creature.

Outside o
ur ship were seals playing in the harbor.

We found a bar that was also a pet shop. There were parrots, kittens, puppies, love birds and goats for sale. I had a very sweet Valentine's Day. I went with Sarah, Nate, Kate, Lisa the Librarian and Andrea to dinner and then to the pet shop bar. The owners couldn't have been any sweeter. Walvis Bay is a harbor town, but it is not really a cruise ship harbor. It hosts mainly freight and cargo containers. The locals were so excited to have us and to hear that we were from the US. They had many questions, as foreigners often do. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with them and playing with their pets. I remember at some point one of the guys asking me why I wasn't dancing and I told him "Oh because I've been petting goats." And he just nodded. I later thought about how very little sense that reply made, and it made me chuckle. But I didn't have the heart to tell him "Because I dance like Elaine from Seinfeld!" The next evening I went to dinner with Julie, Erik with a K and his wife Amy and their toddler Eleanor. We tried ostrich, oryx, and alligator. I loved the ostrich. It was a juicy steak and so rich and flavorful. The whole thing was less than $100 Namibian dollars, which is like ten bucks USD. It included escargot and wine and a german potato salad. We all fared well in Namibia.

Guess I should mention Erik is Kevin. Julie is Andrea. She reminds us of the cruise director from "Love Boat" so we renamed her. Kevin is from Minnesota, so it's only right that he would have a Viking name. My name is Dominque because I like to speak French and it's exotic. Shirl is Dani. Kate is Biscuit. Becca is Vicki. Nate and Sarah are Rupert and Roxy. The other Kate is Trish. Janetta is Bonquisha. Brad is Dougie. Are you confused? Yeah, I understand....I sometimes get confused about these names as well.
But, you see it doesn't take much to amuse us. And somehow it adds to the adventure and the spirit of our voyage to rename ourselves. This morning Biscuit, Vicki, Bonquisha and I went to a local harbor-town bakery and had coffee, then we walked back to the ship where some locals were selling their wares. These beautiful hand-made wooden crafts that were already reasonably priced, but worth bargaining for. I got some wonderful souvenirs for a great price. I can't wait for you guys to see what I bought and to give them to you!

Oh- and another funny story: Biscuit and I went to an ATM and had a conversation that went like this: "how much cash are you getting?" "I dunno.....how much are you getting?" "like $50?" "yeah, that sounds good" And after that, we realize $50 is the equivalent of 5 measly American dollars! Which made us laugh. But then we got a huge pizza and sangria AND a beer for $5 USD.

Each port is so very different.
Can't wait to see what adventures Capetown will bring....see you there in two days!

**Sidenote: I have a LOT of cool photos to upload, as well as some videos that I took in Namibia. But the internet connection is not cooperating. But by then I'll have new adventures to share....in the meantime I was able to upload one more of our City Tour of Swakup.
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