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.