First day in Namibiaaaaaaaaaaa

Emphasis goes on the AAAAAAAA! At the Johannesburg airport I stopped to pick up lunch I planned to eat at my gate. Little did I know I had to go to the international departures gate which takes you through security again, where they deemed my coke to be a threat but at least left me the curry. (I garnered strange looks in the line from my fellow travelers.) The curry proved to be a problem at my gate, because the Indian food was spicy, my drink was confiscated, and I was short 3 rand for a soda (or “cool drink” as they refer to any drink preferably consumed cold). What’s a girl to do? I explained my predicament to the the smartly dressed woman next to me who spotted me 5 rand (essentially 50 cents). SCORE. Being shameless works out sometimes. 🙂

On my flight to Walvis Bay, Namibia (on the coast) I counted 15 passengers total and a single flight attendant. The man next to me was silent nearly the whole flight until he asked me if I speak French? Nope. Portuguese. Sorry man. Spanish? Ah, sí! I helped the Spaniard fill out his boarding card which was in English and then we chatted about our travels to Namibia. I stuttered and sipped and stumbled through my rusty vocabulary and sentence structure, but he complimented my Spanish anyway. I mispronounced “dollar” and said “pain” instead (“How much pain do you plan to spend in Namibia?”) but quickly realized my error. He giggled at my word choice for “car” and say I was so Latin American, which actually just made me proud. What I was most proud of, though, was telling this story in Spanish.

Last summer I was swimming in the sea in Menorca. A boy started pointing in the water and saying, “My glasses!” So I looked and asked, “Are they in the water?” He kept repeating “I don’t have my glasses!” and pointing excitedly. “Medusa! Medusa!” he would say. “What is medusa?” I finally asked. Looking under water, it clicked. “Sí, es medusa!” I yelled as I swam away. And that is how I learned the Spanish word for jellyfish. 😉

We exchanged many comments about the starkness of the desert once we could see it from the plane. I translated for him to the border guard an we both sailed through to the tiny airport. I learned the Spanish word for rolling suitcase, picked up my backpacks and mumble the overly formal “go with God” goodbye. I perched on a chair to wait for my hosts, pre-arranged by Zena. After 20 minutes passed, I asked for a pay phone and was loaned someone’s cell. Samantha and Dirk were waylaid by horse and traffic troubles and would be another hour at least. There was another traveler whose taxi had forgotten him. This is a 2 flight per day airport so I was eventually evicted from the building to wait outside. Reading in the shade, I didn’t even notice the car pull up until the airport employees for my attention, much to their amusement.

Samantha (English) and Dirk (German) and Amy (terrier) welcomed me to Namibia with a dusty drive to Swakopmund. I tried to be less “overwhelming” which was Zena’s advice and suss out what they think about horses. It was an easy subject to broach with two horse trainers.

They had been out of town all weekend and had driven 2 new horses up from the capital, Windhoek, that morning (hence the hour and a half delay). Since they were out of food, we stopped in Swakopmund to grab some.

Of all the countries I have been to, languages I’ve heard, monuments I’ve visited and cultures I’ve studied, do you want to know what ALWAYS overwhelms me? Grocery stores. For crying out loud, a grocery store in a me place makes my brain shut down. “What do you need to eat?” ceases to be a simple question when I have too many options, possibly written in foreign languages, and I’ve no idea where to look or what the protocol for bagging fruit is. I swear, I didn’t buy any food the whole week I was in Portugal because my IQ drops to zero every time I walk in a market. (Which was twice in Portugal. One time I literally walked out empty handed.)

I explained this, in less horrifying detail, to Samantha in the hopes that she wouldn’t draw too many conclusions about my personality and intellect based on the next 20 minutes. She chuckled and did her best to remind me of stuff I could borrow or obvious things I’d forgotten. Luckily for me, my Novel Grocery Store Stupidity evaporates once I leave said premises, and usually doesn’t stick around past the third visit to a shop. Let us just say I was happy to be done with that particular errand, and that I did manage to collect some foodstuffs that would last most of the week (though the latter is mostly due to Samantha’s patience at wandering back and forth through the aisles, endlessly.) I am a strange combination of clever and ditzy, my friends. 🙂

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    It took me 2 months to figure out that there was peanut butter in my grocery store, which I go to at least twice a week. So no judgment here…


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