Sunday, April 27, 2008

Namibia

We entered our 8th country on April 24th. Just across the border Namibia seemed different: there was a hill. We hadn’t seen a real hill in Botswana in our 10 days there. Also, the vegetation changed a bit to tall grasses that lined the road. Apparently in the dry season, there are no grasses and only rocks. Thankfully, there was something to look at because when you are biking 6-7 hours a day having some scenery to look at makes all the difference.

So far, I have been the most surprised about Namibia. I suppose it is because I knew absolutely nothing about it. It is clearly more modern and western than the other countries we have biked through. And the landscape has been phenomenal to me. It is fall here so part of the riding feels very familiar and like home as the coolish breezes brush against our bodies as we are biking. It too is empty as Namibia’s population is only 1.8 million. As we are biking our long miles we see flat, flat land but in the distance the land is punctuated by three or four separate high hills. For some reason it is more fun biking in Namibia. I think it is because it is more picturesque to me, the wind reminds me of home, and the roads aren’t completely straight: there are some slight turns that one has to make. The ride into Windhoek was especially fun. There was a headwind in the morning which changed to a cross-wind thankfully. You are going along, going along and then you see these hills which are becoming bigger. All of a sudden, you are in the hills going up and down; in biking parlance they are called rollers. Windhoek was much higher than I imagined and set in such a pretty setting. Namibia is one place that I would come back to and spend some more time in. The Skeleton Coast is supposed to be something to see as well as the sand dunes and the Himba people who cover their body with ocher to protect them from the sun and plait their hair with mud. As the anthropologist, I certainly wish I had time to visit.

I think the most surprising thing to me is the presence of a lot of muzungus (white people). There are still more black Namibians that live here but the presence of white people, especially Germans is noticeable. Windhoek, the capital city, is modern, has German architecture, amenities galore, a mall (where I splurged and bought a pair of Levi jeans, an outfit for our last night, and some odds and ends) and loads of German restaurants. Ummm..ummmm good! We have two days off in Windhoek and my main goal was to eat, eat, eat, and relax. Boy, have I fulfilled that goal. Of course I have never biked 100 miles a day for 5 consecutive days before but I have an appetite like no other. For example, yesterday I had breakfast, then fish and chips for lunch, two cakes at the German restaurant, two cappuccinos, and later for dinner we went to the famous Joe’s Beer Garden where I consumed a plate of wild game: zebra, gemsbok, oryx, ostrich, and kudu. For dessert I had ice cream and another cappuccino. It is funny how much one can eat; I feel like I am back to my high school appetite. Apparently, some people’s GPS’s tell the number of calories that one consumes in a day of biking and it has consistently been around 8,000 calories.

I believe in the last blog I said that I was looking forward to the biking to be over. At this moment we have only 13 more days: one rest day and 12 more biking days before we enter Cape Town. The biking has become more fun again lately; we are going the same long distances but there is much to look at, I feel that I am getting stronger, and we are supposed to be doing a few off-road days near the Fish River Canyon. The off-road days of this trip have been fun so I am looking forward to more of them.

Still EFI! Barring any sickness, I will ride into Cape Town healthy and without having had to take the truck.

Sorry-no pics until there is a faster internet upload.

8 comments:

Dan Myers said...

Hey Kerri,
Today when I was talking to a lady about big scholarships and she asked where I got my interest in anthropology, I told her that it came from a really cool anthro prof I had who's biking across Africa right now. It turns out Leah was talking with her earlier today and mentioned something about you too. So I just wanted to let you know that you're having an impact on people back home. Good luck finishing the trip! I get so jealous reading your blogs.

edju1960 said...

Hi Kerri, cousin Eddie here. Man, I thought I was doing a fair amount of riding going to Kensington a few times a week. Well, when you get back and you've recuperated I'd like to ride with a "pro". I wish I could be there when you get to Capetown. I'm sure it would be an awesome feeling. Your parents will be so proud as well as your family (and "oldest" cuz).

I just had dinner w/your mom, Tracey and Scott. We had a good time, but missed you of course. Well, hopefully I get to see you soon after you get back.

Love,

cuz Eddie

Anonymous said...

Ker you sound exhausted! I love the wildlife stories! I'm thinking of you often!
Beck

Anonymous said...

Kerri,
Everyone says how tough are. Bah! I'd take you on any time, ya girl.
Hey, by the way, I'd like a souvenier. I'm thinking a dik-dik. Don't you think that would be cute? I'll name it after you, if you want. Don't worry about getting it through customs. Just stuff it in your dop kit or whatever. It'll be fine. Thanks. You're the best.

Steve V.

Anonymous said...

Still EFI!!!! Awsome! Kerri you stud!
~Thomas

Andrea said...

Kerri,
I just caught up on your blogs! I am really happy for you and your success, and that you're catching your second (really third, fourth, tenth) wind to stay strong until the end. We miss you terribly, and can't wait to see you when you get home.
Love and hugs!!!
Andrea

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing your blog with all of us. My sister-in-law has been living in hospital taking care of her husband and your blog has helped to fill her many long hours with African Adventure! Enjoy this last week of cycling the magnificent country of Africa.We look forward to your next entry!
Ellen
Josh's Mom.

Anonymous said...

Kerri-
Jim & I watched "Man vs. Wild" on TV last night. This guy was in Namibia on the Skeleton coast and in the Kalahari Desert. I hadn't read your blog yet, but I was like "Kerri's there!" The coast was very cool so if you ever go back, that should be on your list to do. He said it was 110 degrees there and I was thinking about how one survives in all that heat. Luckily you are there in a cooler season (perhaps only 90 deg :) ) and don't have to eat snakes and beattles off dead carcus like he did! Thinking of you often. So glad you will see the rents soon.
- Fro