09/05/2013

Waking bleary eyed to a sky painted in blues, purples and pinks was a delight after the 21 hour bus journey from Livingstone. As we travelled the last hour into Windhoek I watched the purples and pinks fade away to leave a blue sky staring down on a barren, wild landscape. A grin settled on my face along with the thought of photographic opportunities.

Once again I was taught the African lesson that technology is not reliable. I was to phone the car hire I had booked when I got in to Windhoek so that they could pick me up, though my Zimbabwean SIM did not work and it was a public holiday which meant 2hrs of hanging around before shops opened and I could pick up a Namibian SIM. After lugging my bags around long enough to earn myself some back ache I settled for a spot in the sun on a street corner.

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James, Child no. 183.

I hadn’t completed a page of my book when James sat down next to me. His well spoken manner and clear accent surprised me as did his story. He was one of the Ex GDR Children, child number 183, and told me tails of his life in Germany and repatriation to Namibia where he struggled for identity and subsequently found himself in Sheffield, UK before returning to Namibia to work in tourism. He was delighted to have someone who had been to Sheffield to talk to, I felt naive for not knowing anything about the EX GDR children.

My conversation with James ended as Norbert from Pegasus car hire arrived to pick me up. On the short ride to the office we discussed life in Namibia and compared it to South Africa, a comparison I would soon be witnessing first hand as I travelled the roads in search of scenery. What struck me in our conversation was the contrast between this born and bred, German Namibian and James. For him there was a strong sense of identity, there was no denying he was Namibian and not German despite his heritage. While I enjoyed the conversation, I censored my ideas on peoples’ places in this world and inter-racial relations. It wasn’t the first time and wouldn’t be the last time I would censor my views.

A brief stop to pick up provisions for my trip and a car park lunch later I was on the road heading north on the B1. After five hours and two Redbulls I pulled into Tiger Reef campsite where I relished the opportunity to sit outside in the cool sea breeze and enjoy a dinner of Frys veggie burgers before turning in for the night.

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Cooking up a storm
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Searching for something?
Woken up at sunrise to the sound of crashing waves and seagulls squawking, it only took a few minutes to get the coffee on and enjoy a chat with CJ over breakfast. He had grown up on the Namibian/Botswana border before moving to South Africa where he found himself caught up in the city life working as an IT consultant. After 13 years of hustle and bustle he decided enough was enough and moved back to Namibia. He now lives a far more relaxed existence as a campsite manager in Swakopmund where he says he is far happier and can’t imagine leaving. I could see why, with flamingos on his doorstep, conversations with worldly travellers and one of the world’s premier speed sailing spots a 45min drive away, it had me thinking whether I would want to return to the corporate world after this little adventure?

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Car park lunch
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Northbound on the B1
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Sunset on the way to Swakopmund
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Flamingo lagoon