Take two .
We have settled into Namibia quite nicely. Hard to believe this is only the third day being in country. Need to go back to Addis Ababa to start. We had just finished a thirteen hour flight from Dulles, we are waiting in line to board a bus to take us to our plane, for a five hour flight to Windhoek. A tall, attractive man with his wife and three kids ( I’m guessing ages here - 15 yr. old boy, 12 yr. old girl, 10 yr. old boy) cut in front of us. Not just a small butt - a major cut under the barrier. I say something under my breathe to 9R and Barb but let it go. Fast forward to Windhoek. We are mixed in with a sea of humans waiting to just get into the queue to get our visas and enter Namibia. I see the family behind us. I notice the 15 yr. with an arrogant demeanor looking around. I can see his mind spinning, as he looks for his father. The kid is wondering when his father is going to FIX this. Doesn’t take long. As the man starts to lift the barrier ribbon and duck under, I turn towards him and say, “ REALLY, you’re going to do this again.” He says, “ We have kids, you are an adult woman. We have been traveling a long time. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. “. I turn around in disgust.
What I should have done is call BS. I should have pointed to the Asian woman with 4 kids, 2 quite young, the African woman with the baby tied to her back, to the elderly couple in the corner. I should have said this is not about me or you - this is about doing what is right for everyone. I should have asked him a question, “ What are you teaching YOUR children?” At 62, it is time to stop being polite to assholes.
After two and a half hours in line, we finally got our passports stamped and were allowed into the main terminal. Into the corral of drivers holding signs. 9R circled around like she was on a flat track course until she found our names — our driver, Wendy, was all smiles when he saw all three of us together. He had three people to collect and there we all were. We were very happy he was still there after waiting so long. As we are gathering our luggage, I am looking at something and trip over the bag Barb is rolling. I fall backwards. Luckily I land on my camera backpack ( camera survived - go LowePro). As I lay on the floor, I expect to see Lisa standing over me with a camera. Instead she is on the floor laughing hysterically, doubled over, trying not to wet her pants.
Klein Windhoek Guest House - very comfortable and very reasonably priced. Staff could not be more friendly and/or helpful. Natalie is my go to for any questions. Thank you to Alisa of Women’s Motorcyle Tours and Rene of Renedian Adventures.
After a couple of beers and pizza, we had a great nights sleep, even though our room was a bit cold.
After coffee and spinach quiche on our upper deck, we go to pick up our rental car. For the next two days we are on our own. Avis is only a little over 2 miles away, so Barb and I vote to walk. 9R caves. It is a sunny day, with a slight chill to the late morning air.
On the way, we discuss how nice it is to be at this stage of our lives. We not only know our strengths and weaknesses, but we own them. We also know each other’s. That is why Barb became our navigator for this trip. 9R and I have been known to get lost quite a bit when left to our own devices. Although, that is not always a bad thing. I quote Wendell Berry here, “ Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction.”
Shout out to Allison Dickinson for this reminder.
Down the roads, over the highway, down the railroad tracks, into a Harley Davidson store, and we arrive at Avis. It is 12:15. It is Sat. They close at Noon. 9R didn’t even hesitate, “You two HAD to walk.”
As we discussed plans B, C, and D, a taxi pulled in. We looked at each other and jumped in. Back to home base, Klein Windhoek Guest House and my Natalie. She made calls for us, helped me figure out how to actually use my phone, helped me with more SIM card time and handed me her phone when the AVIS contact called her back. When I finished talking to him for the third time, she looked at me and said, “ Are you sorted now?” Yes, but now we need a taxi right away instead of in an hour. No problem.
By three o’clock we were on the road to Swakopmund, on the coast.
I started driving, with Barb navigating with our travel phone and my National Geo. ADVENTURE travel map of Namibia. We finally found our way out of town and onto C28. After about an hour, the road turned to gravel/dirt and stayed that way for the next four hours. We literally saw three cars the entire way. We discussed whether we were voiding our rental contract by driving on this road. I was sure we were not, when the guy said not to drive on dirt, he meant not to go 4 wheeling, this was gravel —- TIA. — This is Africa. This WAS a main road. TIA has become our mantra — Things always work out, just not always as expected. Barb is our navigator but she is also our worrier and our old lady, just who she is. She was convinced we were going to run out of gas, break down, have to sleep in the car or worse. I didn’t tell her that I left the exact address of our airb&b in the printer at home. We had no cell service and 9R was determined to out race the setting sun, once she took over driving. Once we entered Namib-Naukluft National Park, there was more nothingness. There were farms, because we kept crossing cattle guards. Two huge Kudu (?) bulls almost jumped into us. 9R did do a good job on that one. Also came upon a herd of Zebras, that was very cool. As the sun was setting, and Barb looked at the map, she was convinced we would never survive. I must admit, I did feel like we were on LSD lost in the Twilight Zone. Tommy was with us however, my photos were showing orbs. I sent a message to our host via “What’s App” once we got service as we stopped at a fuel station to get beer and food before we went to our destination, exact address unknown.
Well, again TIA — it’s a Sat. Alcohol sales stop at 1pm until Mon. We were not happy. Grabbed some funky looking food and got back into the car. No fuel needed - despite Barb’s worry.
I pick up my phone, message on what’s app from our host, Tanya. Address and instructions. Her sister lives next door at #15 — just knock on her door. Whoo Hoo. Ten minutes later, we were parked, and Lara was showing us around our very cool cottage on the sea. AND........it was stocked with beer, wine, and water. Barb is starting to believe!!!! Although she still insists on telling us to be careful when crossing the street, and makes us lock every door. We have a new nickname for her — MB. Mother Barb.