Sunday, January 3, 2010

Heading Into Town

The power lines stretch off into the swakopmund desert like a herd of Daliphants migrating under the whitewashed sun.

As the truck trundled along we passed by new, and different vistas, Africa continuing the impress with its vast diversity. We were told that we'd be making an unscheduled stop to see flamingos. This took us to a village where the homes were beautiful, and expensive, and – almost totally white... It's strange to think why someone would buy their retreat house three hours from the nearest airport in Africa though.

When we got to the birds they were – well, they were alright. Had we not been told that we were going to see any, and then we just came across them, we might have thought how fantastically wonderful it was, but expectations were built up, and seeing them in their white glory (not yet pink enough from eating shrimp, except for some spots under their wings) it was just – alright.

Human nature I guess. The same could be said about the Apple Pie in Solitaire, Namibia. This town is only on the map because of the apple pie made here. It's claimed to be the best in the world. And don't get me wrong, it's pretty good – but others seemed to love it more than I felt it deserved. Did expectations play into their reactions? Did they play into mine?

Next thing we knew we were in the city of Swakopmund (or however you spell it – I had a hard time learning how to pronounce it at first.) We headed straight for a burger joint which was said to house the best burgers in the country by our fearless leader Raymond. He had ordered them some time ago, before we even hit the city. But when we got there – they were not ready. Half an hour later, they were not ready. One hour later they started to come out. This laid back attitude seems to be spread across all hot countries – but, when you've been on a truck for hours, and are starving, you really start to notice how it all plays out.

The burgers were actually quite good, and quite large, covered in a sauce I'd never seen before, and would probably never see again. But it was good. I felt bad, however, for the people who ordered a veggie burger. Throw all your thoughts of tofu, or Lick's burger out the window. The African veggie burger? A bun, with egg, tomatoes, and lettuce on it – with mayo, and a ring of pineapple.

You figure it out.

After the food which was more filling that could have been hoped for, we headed to the adventure centre where a video was played for us, displaying all the various activities that could be taken over the next two days: there was sky diving, and 4x4ing, and horse riding, and sand boarding – I would have gone sand boarding, if not for the fact that you had to walk up the dune each time – and after Dune 45, I'd had just about enough of that, thank you very much.

Everyone looked at the forms, and picked their activities. Save for a small few of us, whose funds were not quite as fluid as the others. We would spend the next two days in town.

Our place of sleep for the night was not a campground, but rather a little cottage, for four people each, with two bedrooms, a fridge, a kitchen, and a table. This was luxury if I'd ever seen it. A toilet and shower, just next to your sleeping area. The things dreams are made of.

Rachel (Previously Rai) and Anne (previously... I forget, Aye?) and Hamish and I headed out to town to check out what there was. We stumbled upon an internet cafe, where we could make contact with the world outside for the first time in ages. I copied my e-mail to flash drive so I could read them offline, and reply to them later.

On the way back we headed to a bar to grab a beer, and then rushed to meet the rest of our group at Nepolitana to have dinner. My dinner as Springbok covered in Skydiver sauce. I don't know what skydiver sauce was, aside from cheese, and spice – but it was the most beautiful sauce ever, and I believe it may taint my opinion of Springbok, as it is what comes to mind when I think back on the meal.

When dinner was winding down, Mia made a request to the guitarist just setting up. He told her to look at his set list, she didn't believe it. She returned to us telling us to wait:

The party bus had just come in, of course they did, preparing for their meal. The guitarist began to play, “in the town, where I was born, lived a man, who sailed to sea...” Really?! This was his first song. Wait for it – wait for it – chorus: WE ALL LIVE IN A YELLOW SUBMARINE! A YELLOW SUBMARINE! A YELLOW SUBMARINE! WE ALL LIVE IN A YELLOW SUBMARINE! A YELLOW SUBMARINE! A YELLOW SUBMARINE!”

We put the party bus to shame, and confused / scared all number of other people there to enjoy dinner. They tried to out sing us when poppy songs were played – but they failed. We then required our second favourite tune, which Hamish and I sang loudly and proudly as the rest of our group tried to catch some much needed sleep at the camp site, nights before: Bohemian Rhapsody. The guitarist stopped playing just before it became hard rock. We would not let this happen – singing throughout his next song, finishing the Queen legend that he began. Please, you can't stop just before you announce that “BE-EL-ZE-BUB has a devil put aside for ME! FOR ME! FOOOOOR MEEEEEEE!” Cue head banging.

The only song we came together with the party bus on was Oasis: Wonderwall. For one song only, a white flag was raised, like Christmas in the trenches.

Next stop? The club upstairs of the adventure club. I called in Adventure Bar – I think the real name was banana bar? I don't know. It hardly matters. Raymond argued us past the dress code – none mess with the giant monster. And in we went for a night of dancing to what the DJ played, and when I say DJ, I mean iPod set t shuffle left by the DJ as he went to drink. This led to “Tonights Gonna Be a Good Night” being played twice with just one song in between.

I didn't bring my camera, and while I wish I had pictures from the night, the freedom that allowed was fantastic.

I danced it up, came together with our crew, and had a fantastic time. There was a bachelorette party there celebrating. Hamish and I made a game of stealing things from them, he grabbed the cowboy hat - grabbed... well I got a small beanbag plastic – man part. I won the theft game. And all was well until we noticed test tubes of strange viscus liquid on the floor.

In the urinals a filled tube beside a condom was discovered. Best not to think of it, any further.

When Rachel wanted to leave, Anne and I left also. Rachel was arguing with Raymond about why she couldn't just go home alone. He begged her no to. She didn't understand. Outside the bar, when we were stalked for a half a minute by a car with fully tinted windows, before I looked over, and it finally peeled away, she understood.

On the walk home I tripped and nearly stumbled into an electric fence which surrounds most of the houses here. Nothing will clear your head, and wake you up faster than nearly being zapped.

I was asleep the second my head hit the pillow.

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