We Have Tomatoes People!!!

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I came to the realization some time ago that if I have my plant inside that it’ll never be pollinated and thus no tomatoes. Dad, please put my coffee plant outside…I believe this might be why my plant is 4 years and have nothing thus far. Any way…I’ve been watching the plant closely and it’s been flowering a lot and today I noticed what you see in the picture. Sure, they’re only about the size of a pea, but they’ll be big soon. Any ideas on how to keep the locals from taking the tomatoes once they get bigger?

New Pictures: Opuwo Sunday Bike Ride

Click the Photo to Enter the Album: 2008.8.31 – Opuwo Sunday Bike Ride

Headed east of Opuwo and decided to just go off the road. This ended up being an excellent idea. I stumbled upon a Himba village…oops. They were nice though and told me which path to take to get back to Opuwo…this path was great fun. I’m convinced that someone here needs to start offering mountain biking trips.

Sure, it’s 12:15 but it’s a Heineken

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For all those youngster readers out there, beer should be enjoyed while cold.

Opuwo Breaking News: Telephone Pole Down

That’s right folks. At the junction of C41 and C43 there is a telephone pole down for some repairs. Watch out for those big trucks with high clearance requirements as you can expect some delays. Sure…you could always just drive through the market and go around the OK, but what fun would that be? Actually…probably a lot of fun. Goats for sale, second hand Superbowl 89 tshirts (I wish), beer drinking, the Opuwo termite mound. Forget this blog..i’m going to the market today.

Kunene Camping Trip – Day Four

It’s been so long not sure what happened on day 4.

Day Four

I believe this was the day we woke up in Palmwag and drove back to Opuwo. We headed north on a rough road and made our way through Sesfontein. I listened to a lot of music, we took a lot of detours and we saw a lot of nice landscape.

Lunch was at Fort Sesfontein where they stain their chairs red so when you sit down you get red on you. Really though we had no idea why the chairs appeared to be bleeding. I’m no chair doctor, but this can’t be good. One expensive and no so great lunch later we were back on our way.

Lots of Baobob trees can be seen on this route and is a great place to go looking for them. I personally prefer heading up to Epupa for this, but this is a close second for large and old tree viewing. Anyone know how old these trees can be? I don’t know, but would like to know.

Arrived in Opuwo later that evening and I have to say I was happy to be home after so much traveling. Too many restless nights in a tent can really wear on you.

See…not that exciting of a day, but it’s about time I closed that chapter.

New Pictures: Opuwo On The Hill


Click the Photo to Enter the Album: 2008.8.30 – Opuwo On The Hill

New Pictures: Walk to Work / My Office

New Pictures: Opuwo on Sunday

Kunene Camping Trip – Day 3

It’s been about two weeks since this day so could be a little hazy.

Day Three

Woke up that night to windy wind. Sounded like the trees above my tent were going to blow over. As a result, my night of sleep was not as sound as I had hoped for as I slept in constant fear of large limbs falling on my head. There was a great sunrise that morning and felt pretty good about how nice it was out. I cooked up some eggs for everyone which took a while because it was so windy that the heat wasn’t reaching the pot…plopped it right on the coals. Penny was not enjoying the wind.

Next stop was the Skeleton Coast. We paid our N$30 and went through the gate. There’s nothing there, which really is the appeal of it all. We were close to the coast and pop fizzle whiz bang…we got a flat tire. This time there were no helpful Namibians around so this one was on me. Now I understood why I was invited on the trip. New tire on and we were forced to turn back as now we were all out of spares.

We made a quick stop by Wereldsend and picked up a guy to take him to the town we had been in the previous day. We got there and needed to get our tires fixed and found some more reasonably priced repairs. During our repairs our friend, let’s call him Oscar again, showed up. This time extremely intoxicated. Lucky me, he picked me to talk to…or at least have a one way conversation with. He asked me a question about what party do I vote for in the U.S. Here’s another fact for you…most people outside of the U.S. ‘know everything’ about our politics. So my response was simple, ‘I don’t vote for a party, I vote for the person.’ This was apparently not the answer he was looking for and had no idea what it meant. I repeated, but no understanding. He then proceeded to get a bit angry and I ignored him as we were working with the car. It escalated to my being a racist by the end of it all (his feelings) as he yelled this as loud as he could to pretty much no one. Good times.

Next stop was Palmwag. This is where we were going to camp for the night. Nicest campsite by far. Immediately grabbed lunch and a drink at the bar. Jumped in the icy pool and jumped right out. Set up camp. Had drinks as the sunset and sat down for a nice dinner with us 3 and a friend of Penny’s who worked there. Food was excellent and off to bed. Yep, I just rushed through the details there, but not very exciting stories in this one.

Day four soon to come.

Preservatives


Opuwo bread does not have preservatives. What does this mean? Day one…this is the best bread you’ve ever had, it’s warm, soft and tasty. Day two…still pretty darn good. Day three…marginally edible. Day four…didn’t I buy bread because this has a slight taste of terrible and dry. Day five…I have created a science experiment. Day six…I think I have something living in my kitchen that comes out only at night. Day seven…this is a scary day indeed that will not be talked about…please avoid if possible.

Opuwo Made Famous…Again

A NY Times article here talks about Opuwo. This is where I live and work and may provide an alternative and perhaps socially more reputable point of view. But I ask you, what is more reputable that my point of view exactly?

Don’t Want It? Put It Outside

That’s right. If you feel that you want something to magically disappear all you have to do is put it outside. Shirt, shoes, pans, bikes…whatever…just put it outside. This is the secret code message for please take me away as fast as possible for the owner clearly does not want me anymore. I’m pretty fortunate in this area…for the only thing I have had taken was a tupperware bin. Ed had his bike taken. Richard and Mark had their shoes taken. One advantage…don’t want something that has been sitting in your fridge for weeks, but might be edible? Put it outside.

It’s Gettin Hot(ter) In Here

Apparently it’s that time of year in Opuwo where things start to get warmer…mark it on your calendars. Clouds have returned for an almost daily appearance since last Friday. Personally, I kind of liked the cold nights, warm days and cloudlessness that was my Opuwo. It’s even a little warm in my place as I write this around 11pm…sure, I could open a window, but that would be too easy.

Castlevania Conquered

That’s right. I did it. Dracula and Death tag team were no match for my twirly bible and vampire killer whip. They talked a big game, but at the end of the day they lost like the rest of them…Frankenstein…dead…Werewolf…dead…Medusa…dead…strange big guy with brain popping out of his head…dead.

Only problem…now what am I supposed to do in the evenings?

Kuene Camping Trip – Day 2

Let’s see here…it’s going to be a bit hard for me to remember the days here so I’ll do my best to quickly rely some of the happens.

Day Two

This morning was some of the best weather I’ve had here so far. Brisk and breezy…very nice. We packed up early and were off for another day in the car. Again, I had no idea where we were going other than west of Kamanjab.

Our day started with a stop by one of Penny’s prospective campsites. I was a bit underwhelmed due to the openness of it all, but with a little work it could probably be just as nice as all the rest. We picked up a man whom I’m going to call Oscar as that may have been his name, but I really don’t remember…it’s my best guess. He will play into Day 3. I promptly fell asleep and awoke in a small village where we were to drop this guy off. As luck would have it, a flat tire. The locals were quick to jump at the opportunity to fix the tire…fine by me. We were there for about 45 minutes while Penny met with a local to discuss the campsite and the tire was changed. We paid the man N$20 for the tire change and he protested that it should be N$50. I told the man to say thank you just as I said thank you for him helping and we were off.

Next stop was a place called the Grootberg Lodge…why not? The road up to this lodge is not awesome. Scary is how I would put it and I kind of wanted to walk. The video clarifies the drive a little. This lodge is something else though. It’s situated on a cliff at the end of a huge canyon…it’s as cool as it sounds. This is a 100% conservancy owned lodge so all profits go to the local people. We were offered some free drinks and we enjoyed some time there. My parents and I will be staying at this lodge in their upcoming visit so more on it later.

The rest of the day was spent driving to Wereldsend where we would be spending the night. Nothing too eventful here except for more napping, the occasional sighting of an oryx and some delicious dried pears.

Wereldsend is the HQ of IRDNC, the organization Penny works with. It’s pretty much in the best middle of nowhere you could imagine. Quiet is an understatement. No shabeens for miles around…this makes me happy. Lions and leopards are in an assumed abundance; however, we would not see any this trip. Only prints on the ground…some pretty big ones at that.

The evening was spent by the fire with Penny scaring Jesse with stories of lions and such. Always nice to sit by a fire…especially with your back to a very large open grassy plain area.

Hyenas could be heard close by as I went to sleep. The night would prove interesting…

Goat Trail Bike Ride

It’s Saturday and with little to do today I figured I’d get outside and try my luck at the bike trail that I failed at so miserably last time. This time I planned ahead, spacer, extra tube, pump, multi-tool and water. All preparations made I headed off for the trail.

Let me tell you, this network of trails is awesome. These are goat/cattle trails that cover the entire landscape surrounding Opuwo so you’re guaranteed that it’ll lead somewhere. My anti-thorn lining was doing its job and the flimsy rim wasn’t failing me, although it did bend a bit.

After going a bit further away from Opuwo I headed back and decided to see if the trails would lead me all the way back to the airport. Frankly I have the time and I’m always up for an adventure. I passed a few goat herds along the way. I found myself smack dab in the middle of a Himba village about half way back. This probably was not the best thing to do, but at least I approached from the north. No one chased after me so I think I’m in the clear. I got to the airport and was able to find the trail that surrounds the airport. I came upon the Opuwo water reservoir…there’s a water reservoir in Opuwo? I was shocked and amazed and I was surrounded by goats and cows. I think the herdsmen were even more shocked and amazed to see this white guy on a bike out in the middle of nowhere.

All-in-all this was a great bike ride. The effort was minimal and the enjoyment was tops. I think someone should open up Himba tours via bike in Opuwo.

Enjoy the time line pictures from this afternoon’s ride.

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Video: Kunene Camping Trip – Day 3 & 4

OK Runs Out of Water

My go-to supermarket here has been out of water for more than a week. I’ve resorted to reducing water intake and upping Sprite intake. Now, this is probably not the best idea so today I decided to expand my shopping horizons. Agra, the agricultural supply store, low and behold, had 5 liter jugs just sitting around. I hope that no one else finds out about this.

Kunene Camping Trip – Day 1

I’m a little late on getting to this but thought I’d tell you a little to go along with the videos.

Day One

It’s Friday and we head off around noon to go have a weekend of camping. I’m joined with Penny and Jesse, two other vols, and we’re going south. I really actually have no idea where we’re going, but it’s always great to get out and see more of Namibia. I also quickly find out that we aren’t coming back to Opuwo until Monday and here I haven’t told my boss…I hope he forgives my afterthought.

I hop myself in the backseat and prepare for the open expanses of road that Namibia is so fond of. I play some music for the women and they quickly find my music to be too awesome so I put my headphones in and spend the rest of the trip with my music and thoughts. I catch numerous naps in there as well.

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I wake up and we’re at the campsite. I know that we’re by the west gate of Etosha, but other than that I have put myself at the mercy of others. Looks like a cool place, lots of big rocks, hills and nice white trees. We plop ourselves down at designated campsite 4errrr…that one is taken….campsite 5, set up camp and are quickly overtaken by the mini-special forces-flies. I have not been attacked like this in a while. The women retreat to the tent while I start on the wine and try not to think about the bugs. I am not very good at detaching mind from body so my next course of action is to shower and get rid of all unnatural smells…this kind of helps. My next plan is to hike and keep moving as a moving target is much harder to hit. Even better, but now I’m sweating and the bugs love any liquid. Once realizing that there is no way to win the sun starts to set and the bugs retreat.

I have a few questions. We’re in the middle of presumably nowhere and within 5 seconds we are attacked by flies. How does this happen? What/who do these flies annoy when no one is around?

Next I start making dinner, we’re doing a chicken braii with some sweet potatoes, onions and cherry tomatoes. This is about 6pm. Fire is good to go, sun sets, food is placed on the fire. 6:30pm it’s dark. Our camping neighbors, family of 5, are already in bed…What? I keep running this through my head over and over but can’t seem to make sense of it. You come all the way to Namibia for car top camping and you go to bed at 6:30pm? We think maybe they’re getting up early…nope. Maybe they are jetlagged…nope…from Europe so it’s the same time zone. Anyone have any ideas out there?

Dinner was good, wine was good, no bugs was good, marshmallows were good…nap time. Day 2 coming up and again, I really had no idea where we were going.

Clouds in Opuwo? Say It Ain’t So

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I woke up on Friday morning to a bit of surprise, it was kind of dark outside. My original thought was that I had somehow tragically awoken hours before I was supposed to. A quick check of the clock and nope, right on time. Hmmmm. I looked outside and the image you see is what greeted me. Imagine my surprise since I have not see cloud cover since April; that’s 4 months!!! I must say that is was kind of nice not being blinded by the Namibian sun for once and you could actually feel some moisture in the air. After the clouds burned off I was happy to have the sun back…now it better not scare me like that again while I’m here.