When I was in Year 7 or 8, I did a project on the Kalahari and the San Bushmen that lived in it (think The Gods Must be Crazy…but don’t dwell on the stereotype or Coca Cola product placement). It was a really good project and I got a great mark. But I digress and get ahead of myself.
James and I are now in Windhoek, Namibia. It took a 20 hour bus ride, numerous stops at roadside cafes (no, James did not eat anything) and movies (The Perfect Man and some Jim Carrey movie) to get here from Cape Town. Not too bad, despite Hillary Duff’s not so great acting.
We are staying at a hostel called the Cardboard Box and have completely settled into a laid back frame of mind. We arrived at 6am yesterday morning and pretty much had breakfast and then crashed for a couple of hours. We got up around 12 noon and headed to the shops. Did you know that shops close around 12 noon on a Saturday in Windhoek. Thankfully, the supermarket stays open just a bit longer. The shopping centres are very western except for the markets on the walkways outside with carvings of African animals. You should see the sizes of some of the giraffes! Anyways, we managed to buy Weetbix for brekkie and pasta for dinner.
So, we were kicking back around the pool, browsing through brochures about day trips around Windhoek. I was super excited to discover that we could take a day trip to meet the Bushmen and learn more about their culture. We booked ourselves in and were picked up early on Sunday morning.
The trip out to meet the Bushmen took about an hour and a half. Once there, we were introduced to our guide/translator and two of the San Bushmen (well, one Bushman and one Bushwoman). Side Note: Although the government tried to stop the San and Himba tribes from living their traditional lifestyles as they did with other tribes, both tribes resisted any attempts at inteference. They continue their lives as they have for hundreds of years.
From the meeting point we went on a two hour walk, stopping every ten minutes or so for one of the two to show us a plant or hunting method. I was totally amazed at how short it took him to start a fire with two sticks. I now understand where I was going wrong!
After the walk, we had lunch at a B&B run by a French couple who have ‘given up’ Europe. I have to mention the dessert: pancakes drizzled with Amarula (like Baileys).
Because we got back to Windhoek a bit earlier than expected, we asked the driver to give us a tour of the township (Katatura) outside of the city. It was quite interesting to compare it to the townships of Cape Town. It seemed a lot more developed, similar to a poorer suburb of Sydney.
Before I finish, I just want to make one comment about Windhoek. There are taxis everywhere. Everybody who drives a car, drives a taxi. Essentially, they have their little plastic taxi signs which they whack on the car, then drive around beeping their horn at anyone walking down the road until someone actually hails them down. Handy for us. Much better than Perth (no taxis at all).
Anyway, that is it for now. Off to Etosha tomorrow!