Tuesday, January 26, 2010

City Girl for a Day

I woke up this morning to a perfectly blue Wedgewood sky. No clouds or rain, a perfect day to drive to Windhoek. I have some things to print, copy, and send to NYC, so I made the 3 1/2 hour trip and am staying at a hotel here in the city. I admit, it feels weird to be back in traffic, see people, and hear noise. But here are some things I've noticed on this trip:

1. On the drive in, I saw five giraffes just standing and eating off a tree about 20 yards off the road. I know they must belong to a game farm, but it was a strange sight to those of us who still marvel at seeing a squirrel in the wild.

2. The "wildlife crossing" signs here don't have deer on them. Many of them have the silhouette of a warthog--and yes, they look eerily similar to the warthog in Disney's "The Lion King," whatever his name was. (Pumba?)

3. On the streets of the city, I've heard at least five different languages, at least one of which is a bushman tongue with clicks, clacks, and ticks. Very musical.

4. The gas stations don't have self-service options. I was forced to sit in my car and let others fill my tank (even toy cars need fuel), clean my windows, check my water, and take my money. What a luxury that my generation has nearly forgotten in America!

5. I listened to African radio, which on the same station in succession played schoolchildren singing a folk song, Shania Twain's "I Feel Like A Woman," an operatic Ave Maria, and then a hymn--which if I'm not mistaken, was "Nearer My God to Thee."

6. Water pressure! At Harnas my bathroom has no shower curtain--because the water pressure is so low that the water doesn't have the opportunity to hit outside the bathtub. In the hotel, I remembered what a shower feels like!

7. I visited my favorite street in Windhoek with local artisans displaying their goods on the ground. I pretend to bargain for the carved cheetah or the woven basket, but in truth, I'm just looking for an opportunity to give them more money than they ask.

8. The hotel TV doesn't have a lot of channels compared to America (maybe fifteen), but four of them were playing soccer (different games) and one had the Australian Open. Go figure.

9. And finally, Joe's Beer House--a local and famous eatery where I had dinner with Marieta's daughter-in-law, Melanie. Amazing grass roofs, group tables, and the best food in the city. Melanie saw at least 10 people she knew, and believe it or not, I met two people I knew! Big city/small town.

I forgot to bring the connector from my camera to laptop, so pictures will have to wait. In the meantime, I thought I'd give you a video of Petrus, the bartender at Harnas, speaking in the San language, telling you about himself and his family. Cheers! Back to the bush tomorrow afternoon.


  1. Showers sound like my experiences in Borneo.. you get used to the lack of water pressure, but my first shower back home probably lasts aobut 20minutes..with the hottest water I can stand.. then I remember what feeling clean was like!

    How much do you understand of the local languages?

  2. This is glorious. All of it. I envy you. Can't wait to talk to you about it all.