Brief Notes on my Vacation
Just 50km from my site rise the Naukluft mountains which boast zebra, springbokke, leopards, baboons and a 120 km seven-to-eight day hiking trail. I won’t say much about this other than to highly recommend it to your average African-adventurer-masochistic-tourist because it was essentially an endurance suffer-fest crossed with a safari. On the fourth day, the other girl on the trip caught a ride with a park worker back to my site (hence the misleading ghost/angel in the cartoon) and lived in my house for a few days, during which Ivan decided that a burglar was living in my house and was moments away from grabbing his rifle and going to investigate when she came out the front door and he decided that blonde American women don’t fit the profile of your average Namibian home invader.
For a little more than US$ 100 you can ride the Intercape 20 hours to Cape Town and 20 hours back, which means essentially that you can pay $2.50 an hour to be proselytized to by the evangelical Christians who own the company. I was informed, somewhere near the South African border, that Europe is the new ”dark continent” since only 3% of its citizens are evangelical Christians (this new nomenclature, I think, is not common knowledge yet in Europe). I guess they attempt a modicum of subtlety; the entertainment on the bus ride back was about a husband and wife who are headed directly for a divorce until the husband discovers GOD (although it really seems more like the husband discovers basic communication and compromise skills). Overall the Intercape makes up for its missionary zeal with things like, punctuality (only 5 minutes late for me) and reclining seats.
In Cape Town I intercepted a deeply jet lagged Julia Roake and dragged her up and down various local mountains while jabbering in Afrikaans (which she now wishes she had payed more attention to, hmmm, Julia?). We also enjoyed afternoon tea at our (rather swanky) hotel at the base of table mountain, where we mixed coffee, tea, cheesecake, samosas, chocolate, and cheese (The unfortunate fact is that my return to the Western world is frequently marred by debilitating stomach cramps because my level of restraint around the type of food variety in these places is essentially nil). On the last day we took a combie tour of the Cape on which Julia hit the high point of her African adventure at Simon’s beach where she found sunbathing penguins. We also stood at the Cape of Good Hope and tried to see Antarctica (because where did all those penguins come from?) but were essentially unsuccessful.
A brief aside- at home I looked up the Afrikaans word for Penguin, which is pikkewyn. I found this pretty disappointing since the word for ”skunk” in Afrikaans is stink muishond, or ”stinky mouse dog.”
I guess I hoped the word for penguin would translate something like ”fancy whale bird.”