Tuesday, September 27, 2011

erongo: omandumba, part 2

(continued from part 1)

Sebastien, the empty-handed hunter

Sebastien didn’t have any luck hunting and so returned to the farm without his prize. No San women singing the oryx song for him! Meanwhile, Allison woke up with an upset tummy and couldn’t have any of the delicious breakfast provided by our hosts, which included fresh eggs from the farm and guava spread to put on our buns. We left poor Allison in bed and took off for a nice hike in the grasslands.

This wasn’t really a thoroughly planned, carefully organized hike in the African wilderness with an armed tour guide showing us the way. No, that’s for tourists. Instead, we jumped in the back of a pickup truck and had one of the farm folks Vi drive us for what felt like forever into the grasslands, drop us off, and drive off, leaving for us to find our way back home. Kind of like what you might do to abandon a dog you don’t want anymore.

Vi leaves us in the middle of nowhere.

“Er, there isn’t anything here that might eat us, is there?” Dean asked nervously.

“No, only the leopards,” Vi answered. “I’d avoid the leopards.”

“I read that if we see a leopard, we should stand still and not run away,” I said, trying to be helpful.

“No,” replied Vi, “You should probably run away.” And then she drove away and left us there.

No matter. We felt confident in our wilderness survival skills. I once skimmed a novel about the Namib Desert, you know. I even remembered how to use your wristwatch as a compass, match the hour hand to the sun...except that my watch was digital. Also, Elisa and I were wearing Converse sneakers, and Dean was wearing every single bright and unnatural colour that you would never find in the wilderness. Oh well. We set off toward a vague direction, and spotted a herd of kudu running away from us.

Dean and a bunch of butterflies lovingly surrounding him re-enact a Disney scene.

I’ve been learning a few things about the Namibian landscape. It's hot and full of sand. Do not try to fight the heat. Do not try to fight the sand. Accept the sand in between your toes. Embrace the heat, preferably with a bottle of Savannah cider (which I had not brought with me).


whoever left that coke bottle there obviously didn’t watch The Gods Must Be Crazy, and clearly doesn’t understand the political damage such litter can do to the residents here.

We found our way back to the farm, Allison was still feeling sick but had momentarily stopped vomiting, which we took as a good time to head back home.

On our drive back, we saw a lot more animals. We saw wart hogs running along the road. “Pumba!” I yelled at one, but strangely enough it didn’t answer. There were monkeys off in the distance, just sitting on boulders as though meditating. We also nearly hit a pair of baboons running across the highway – those things really aren’t afraid of anything. Every time we spotted an animal, we braked the car to reach for our cameras, while Allison turned green and swore at us quietly. Needless to say, we weren’t going fast enough this time to get pulled over by a cop.


By then it was getting quite hot. We pulled into the quiet town of Omaruru for a pit stop, and we bought basically every bottled liquid in the gas station store to make up for our previous stupidity that we had gone into the wilderness without any water. Allison felt sick again and sprinted to the side of the gas station property, heaving again. The gas station attendant, who just seemed happy to have company, informed us that Allison probably had a demon in her. He walked up to her and prayed for her. Then he asked if I was really not from China. Personally I think his prayer worked – Allison didn’t throw up for the rest of the car ride.

On our way home, we sang all the songs from the Lion King.

on the drive home: doesn’t this look like the Jerry Bruckheimer logo?