Thursday night Marieta asked me if I'd go on a road trip with her. It seems her John Deere tractor had broken down, and the only place that services John Deeres in the whole country of Namibia is a place called Otjiwarongo (O-chee-va-rango). I agreed so we left the next morning at 5:00 a.m. We were supposed to bring along a Bushman with us in case we had a flat tire, but Marieta forgot to ask one, so we left hoping we wouldn't need one.
I failed to mention that Otjiwarongo is a small town over four hours away--a trip that is entirely on gravel roads. (I'm currently looking for a donor to replace my damaged kidneys, by the way.) The road goes through the Herero tribal land, and looks amazingly like the deserts of Arizona (minus the saguaro cactus). And the scenery never changes. Ever. I mean never.
As you can see by the pictures, we had a good time. We did some shopping at the Pick and Pay, visited an upscale bar and then an entertainment center, finally picking up our parts for the tractor at Theo's.
I jest, of course. These are pictures I took along the way so you could see what I saw for four-plus hours there on Friday and four-plus hours back today. After seeing the scenery, I was a bit worried about what I would find at Ojtiwarongo, but in fact, it's a fairly good sized town for this part of the country--12,000 people? It's one of those towns whose sole purpose seems to be the place rural people come on the weekend to get supplies. So, fancy--no, but decent, yes.
Our hotel turned out to be quite a nice little lodge called C'est Si Bon! Hotel--translation for non-French speakers, approximately "It's Good! Hotel." But this time advertising lived up to its name--palm trees, tropical birds, grass-roofed bungalows, a decent restaurant.
The one interesting thing we did Friday afternoon in town was visit the crocodile farm--raised mainly for handbags, belts, and shoes. We had some questions about our croc eggs at Harnas (more on that another day), so we visited the place and took the tour, such as it was. The guide took us in the 2-year-old room where probably about a hundred crocs were swimming around behind a three-foot high cement wall. (They were about 4 feet long each.) Marieta kept saying, "Feel the water, Barbara. It's not as warm as you'd think. We need to remember this temperature."
Finally, to prove I wasn't a scared American woman (that I was) I leaned over the wall and reached down into a corner where there didn't seem to be as many bodies and touched the water. Just at that point, my sunglasses--which where hanging on my t-shirt--fell into the water. All the crocs moved at once, but these are prescription sunglasses, so without thinking, I reached down again and snatched the glasses, literally, from the jaws of death. All of them had moved in my direction--suddenly and quickly.
The guide just took the glasses (which were now covered in croc crap) and rinsed them off for me. Marieta was no help because she was doubled over, laughing her head off. I just stood there, waiting for the adrenalin to drain from my body so I could breathe again.
No more close brushes with being someone's dinner. We drove home today, me wearing proudly my sunglasses--that although they are leopard print--will always be known to me as my Croc Crap glasses.