Time Change

The time changed this weekend by moving an hour ahead so the result is that it is now a 6 hour time difference between Eastern Standard Time and Opuwo time. Plan accordingly.

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.

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.

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…

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.

Question: What’s the Weather Like in Opuwo?

I may have answered this question before, but my grandma recently asked the question: “Is the weather hot and humid there or hot and dry?” It is winter now in the southern hemisphere so things are a bit cooler than the summer. It is extremely dry and mild. The temperature is in the mid-70s (F) every day and at night it can get a bit cold, even down into the 40s (F). It is fairly windy this time of year and dust devils are a very common occurrence. It has not rained here since my arrival in April so you can imagine that it’s pretty dry and dusty. Some days are better than others for dust and generally it’s very nice and very blue skies. Things will start to warm up toward the end of this month and into september, but the rains won’t come until December. I really lucked out because it has been the same sunny weather every day since I arrived…can’t wait to get back to the rain, clouds and humidity of Cincinnati.

Opuwo vs. The Outside World

NewsJust thought about something the other day.  The average person in the world really has no idea what is going on in the world, nor do they care.  What they care about is that they have some food to eat and a place to sleep.  5 liter plastic bottles seem to be the highlight of the day for a young girl who drops by unannounced daily.  When I’m generous, she takes the plastic bottles to a local entrepreneur and makes a quick N$5 on each one.  The local entrepreneur is using the bottles to make none other than illegal alcohol.  Am I liable?  Where was I going with this post?  Oh yeah…people have no idea.  Here in Opuwo we receive the daily newspaper a day late.  Television is fairly sparse.  Internet is unknown to most.  What would your day be like if you weren’t surrounded by all of this and had no idea what was going on with Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan?  My thought is your day might be going a little better and you could focus on the things that you can control.

Water

NASA has just confirmed that there is ice on Mars which means water.  I wonder if they can bring some of that to Opuwo.  It has now officially rained twice since I arrived in April.  My eyeballs are drying out.

Africa Day

Unbeknownst to me, but knownst to others, Monday, May 26, is Africa Day.  You may say, ‘Surely You Jest’ but I say nay.  Tis truly a holiday.  A little research shows that it commemorates the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)…that’s organisation with an ‘S.’  Don’t say I never taught you anything and don’t say that I only care about days that I’m not working because this one would have passed me by had I not had a late afternoon conversation…say…4:45pm…explaining the finer details of telecommunications.  Real nerd moment for me.  I still get Monday off though.