Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I just got back from a few days vacationing in Namibia. Screech on the
tires though, I should backtrack to a few days before Namibia, or
rather, week before. We had the Kings camp, then the US ambassador to
Botswana came to New Xade to visit. She came to my beloved standard 1
class and read from them a really sweet children's book. Then I
followed her to D'kar, another settlement where she met with village
elders who unashamedly begged her for money. From there, it was off to
Regionals, the annual Peace Corps conference where those of us in the
same region (hence "regionals") meet for a few days to discuss
regional concerns and best practices. We stayed in a swanky hotel with
aircon and all you can eat buffet for breakfast lunch and dinner and
then came home spoiled by the luxury of it all.

A few days later, it was off to namibia! Well sort of, I had a little
detour since I accidentally stole the friend I was staying with's
mobile modem and tried to take it with me on vacation. I had to drop
it off with a friend in another village who said she'd try to get it
back to its rightful owner. After that swanky little detour, we were
on our way to Namibia! We stopped halfway to Windhoek at a little
village called Gobabis and had cappacinno's, apple strudel, and
sandwhiches at the Gobabis Bakery/Restuarant/Cafe. A lovely affordable
little stop. We continued to windhoek where we slept at Cameleon
Backpackers an had dinner at Joe's Beer Hall and cocktails at Piguel,
a new tapas place that has better cocktails than it had food.

The next day we continued on to Sessriem, a canyon near Soussisvlei
(Namib's #1 tourist spot, even though all roads to Soussisvlei are
made of lumpy bits of gravel and dirt and it felt like we were on a a
roller coaster ride as we HARUMPHed! our little rental toyota camry
the 300+ km there. We drove this road with the promise of rain always
on the horizon, as we got closer to our campsite, every turn revealed
darker and darker clouds until finally it did start pouring and we had
to try to set up our tent in the windy, damp, chilly air. I insisted
on setting up the tent myself so that myf riend could take some good
pictures. Afterwall, it was a tiny tent. but the wind was blowing hard
and nearly took the tent and me with it as the storm picked up, so I
wound up holding on to the tent and screaming for dear life with both
hands as my feet blindly searched for the pegs which should've been
nearby byt, unbeknownst to me, had already flew a good 20 feet away...

Soussisvlei was a beautiful set of bright red sandy dunes which we
clambored up and down to enjoy the sun rise/sun sets. Though half way
up the sunrise dune I realized that i was deathly afraid of the climb
and had t be coached down by complete strangers who urged me not to
stare down the steep sheer falls on both sides of me.

After my near death experience at the top of Soussis, we went to
Deadvlei, a valley of, you guessed it, dead trees. The first few km
could only be reached via 4x4, but luckily we met a nice couple from
America/Singapore (the singaporean girl and i stared at each other the
night before at the bathroom awkwardly trying to place each other--
you look asian... but you don't SOUND asian... stare...). We walked
together the last 1.1km to deadvlei, took lots of pictures of dead
petrified trees, and then headed back to the car, shared a brownie,
and said our goodbyes.

From there, it was off to Swakopmund, the beach I visited last year
during New Years and enjoyed immensely. We had 3 days of seal
sea-kayaking, full body massage, seafood, and I snuck off for a couple
hours by myself to watch the new Daniel Craig movie, The girl with the
Dragon Tattoo (well done btw, much better than the Swedish version
which left me agahst ten minutes into the movie, indignant that they
could ruin such an awesome book with such a boring screenplay). From
there, we shot all the way back home to Botswana. Now, a few days
later, I am on my way again, this time to catch a bus to Johannesburg,
a flight to Dar es salaam, Tanzania, and then another flight to
Moshi, to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Wish me luck. I'm told that less
than 1/3 of all people who attempt to climb Mt Kili actually make it
each year, let's hope I'm one of those few! I am diligently preparing
for the big climb by sitting at a bar, drinking a mojito, and eating a
cheeseburger with cheese that looks more like puppy vomit than actual
cheese... well done, me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This post is to all you's out there who read my blog and encourage me
to write-- because write now I really don't feel like writing. In
fact, I really don't feel like doing anything. The past few months
have been a whirlwind of activity, culminating in one hyperintensive
week that included not only a camping vacation, but an overnight
training activity where I had to host 4 local trainers in my house in
New Xade, entertain 400 children, lead a tour of 2 U.S. embassy
officials including the U.S. Ambassador herself (who I think is quite
awesome by the way), and participate in a Peace Corps Training 400 km
away. I finished training with the Peace Corps, came as close to my
home in New Xade as I could get, and have been in a sleepy stupor for
nearly 3 days.