Wednesday, September 21, 2011

my neighbourhood klein windhoek

well, I’ve been slowly settling into the daily rhythm of living in Windhoek. Our landlord, a kind old German man, took us out for a drive last night around our neighbourhood Klein Windhoek. We drove by the giant complexes that were the South African high commission and the American embassy...and then the tiny house that holds the Canadian embassy.

Suddenly I got a sense that I had too little time in this country, and I felt a real reluctance to ever go home. There is so much to see here! Of course there are all the national parks, the beautiful ocean coast, the deserts, the northern towns all over Namibia. Then within Namibia, is the city of Windhoek, and there’s the urban life to explore, all the music festivals, craft markets, literary readings. Now I’ve realized that within Windhoek there’s my own little neighbourhood I must discover.

Klein Windhoek: rolling hills and Lays potato chips

It’s occurred to me that Klein Windhoek is somewhat of a Namibian version of Vancouver’s Kitsilano, or Ottawa’s Glebe. Away from the bustling downtown streets of Independence Avenue, Klein Windhoek is quietly tucked in a mountain valley. It’s much quieter than downtown, but it’s full of designer boutiques that create custom fashions, music stores, trendy cafes, butcheries selling fresh game meat biltong, farmers markets selling organic produce, classy mountaintop restaurants with surreal interior décor, and romantic beach bars. I’m in heaven!

bougainvillea shopping

I also found an Asian grocery store steps from my apartment, and a Chinese restaurant for days when I’m missing home. Win!

My daily walk to work involves me going past a lot of fancy schmancy houses guarded by barbed wire and big barking dogs. Also, cactus plants. Back at home, I don’t normally worry about accidentally stepping on a wild cactus with my sandals, but I guess this is what it means to be living in the desert. It means you can’t just lean up against a tree when you’re tired, because a lot of these trees have thorns. Living in the desert also means there is dust everywhere. Everywhere! I keep thinking that my feet are getting really tanned, but then I realize that they’re just really dirty.

Tonight, Allison, Eliza and I decided to ditch Dean at the office and went for after-work drinks at Am Weinberg, this lovely mountainside restaurant with a million-dollar view of the valley – and, to my delight, a beach bar. It was a tad bit pricey (not surprising given its location) but worth it for the atmosphere. If I ever get my own property, I’m going to replace the lawn with sand and find a way keep palm trees alive through the winter.

no dean: time for a girls' night at Am Weinberg

view from the beach bar

Allison's pineapple cocktail

sunset at the beach bar