There's something so wonderful and encouraging about flying to the other side of the world, making your way through airports, customs, and immigration, and then walking out into a busy airport and finding a man standing there with your name--YOUR NAME--written on a card. I felt validated. They know me here, I felt. I'm at home (at least one of my homes).
And that's what happened today about 2:30 p.m. Namibian time, after flying from Raleigh (where I went through security) to New York (where I went through security) to Johannesburg (where I went through security TWICE--long story) to Windhoek (pronounced vind-hook). It all took about 24 hours, during which I slept only about 4 hours. But it was worth it to walk out of the airport and shed the last layer of many, leaving me in a tank top but still sweating. Ah, summer!
Things got a little interesting then, though. My transport took me to a guesthouse called Casa Blanca, where they claimed never to have heard of me. A very long story that includes a previous guesthouse being bought, moved, sold again, and disappeared. It all turned out okay, though, because they found a room for me--a much nicer room than I'm used to for the same price as the old room. Here's the courtyard by my room. I took a swim and then a shower--24 hours of grime gone.
Tonight I dined with the owner, a woman of German descent who came here seeking adventure in 1965, fell in love with Namibia, and stayed, married twice, and had 4 children. I greedily downed my meal while she told me fascinating stories of her life during the past 47 years in an amazingly changing Namibia. Now I feel quite dizzy and tired, the last day and a half catching up to me. Tomorrow (I hope) another transport will pick me up at 9:00 to take me out to Harnas, another 3-4 hours to the Kalahari Desert. I'm ready. Being here again has touched that part deep inside me that says "you're home."