Feb 15, 2010

A Taste of Namibia

The beautiful Namib desert, with our footsteps on the crest of the dune...


Tomorrow morning I will be stepping into the steaming entrails of the A380, curling up into an awkward ball while I lobotomize myself with movies I will immediately forget and, 24 hours later, I will land in Melbourne, Australia.

Australia holds a very special meaning for me in my "life journey" (don't you love those self-aggrandizing notions, makes me feel like I'll soon be the subject of an Oscar-winning epic starring Julia Roberts). A little over three years ago, I quit my job as a law-firm grunt, moved back in with my parents, bought a backpack and ran away to the land of the 'roo. And started writing a blog. Sound familiar?

So the big question is, have I actually gotten anywhere between then and now?

Well, my blog is certainly more active (the first one died after a grand total of 7 posts).

I have an MBA.

The wrinkles are a tad more pronounced.

And in the recesses of my laptop, about 25,000 words lie in wait, wondering if I'm EVER going to get around to writing what comes next. (I will. I promise.)

So no massive advances, then.

Nevermind. I made a wish on a falling star the night I slept outdoors in Namibia (under a canopy of no less than three very visible galaxies and at least a few planets - and I am pleased to report that stars really do twinkle). And the star told me all was well dans le meilleur des mondes.

So off I go to Australia to see what happens.

Feb 12, 2010

Out of Africa

Settle down now, children, Res is back and fresh (or rather not) off the plane from Cape Town.

Before you harrass me, yes, there are pictures, but no, you can't see them yet. Patience is a virtue. I learned that from a ketchup ad.

So instead of pictures, for now you will get a run-down of my trip, day by day, which is already quite good but if you're the type of person that can't focus on anything unless there are big, colour pictures above the text, I apologize. I'm sure you will be able to find satisfaction elsewhere.

So here we go:

* Wednesday: Arrive in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. Realize that, besides the heat and obsession with animal print, this looks like your run of the mill small European city. Where everything is written in German. Drive to Kalahari desert. There, that's more like it.

* Thursday: Wake up at ungodly hour to ride around and pester animals. They are pretty. I am not. Fortunately, I'm the one with the zoom. Hang out with some bushmen who click their tongues while speaking and look at least a couple decades younger than they actually are. Consider stealing their beauty secrets until I figure it must have something to do with antelope dung. Drive to Namib desert.

* Friday: Wake up at ungodly hour to climb Big Daddy (stop it, you two at the back, and get your minds out of the gutter this minute). At 300 meters, it's the tallest sand dune in the world. My thighs doth protest. Especially when I then take them out for a run afterwards in the desert and 36°C heat.

* Saturday: It's crazy how much desert there is in Namibia. And every bit looks different (apparently, not every desert has sand. Or an absence of vegetation). This confuses me, and I firmly resolve to tell my primary school geography teacher about it. Then we run over a chameleon who thought it would be a good idea to disguise himself as the road. He survived, but promised never to pull a stunt like that again. Later, while driving past a "town" called Solitaire (which boasts some fine apfelstrudel), we see a Japanese man who has been walking around the planet since 1986. I consider joining him, except I don't speak Japanese.

* Sunday: Wake up in Swakopmund, which is basically Germany. The bit by the Baltic Sea. Good for jogging. Then climb into a freakishly small plane and pretend to be James-Bond-type action hero while loop-dee-looping between mountains to find a rhino. It's more or less convincing until I throw up. Fortunately, the Himba people we hang out with that afternoon aren't too picky and kindly offer to cover me in ochre to make me feel better.

* Monday: Brave very cold, windy, rainy weather on a small boat to check out our friends the seals, pelicans and dolphins. Yes, this is still in the desert. Well, on the coast of it anyway. Then it's time to head back to Windhoek.

* Tuesday: Off to Cape Town now, which is a bit over-civilized and over-populated for my taste after a week in Namibia. Straight off the plane, head to Robben Island to pay homage to Nelson Mandela. Then drink wine to pay homage to the clever French people that came out here hundreds of years ago.

* Wednesday: Drive down to Cape of Good Hope, the very bottom tip of Africa, only to realize it's not the very bottom tip of anything. Feel a bit ripped off. And surrounded by tourists (there were no tourists in Namibia. Heaven. Don't go there and ruin it now.) My afternoon is improved by all the penguins checking out the really loud Italian people.

* Thursday: It's almsot time to go. But not before hiking up Table Mountain. My thighs protest again. As does my skin, because even though my grubby little hands are careful to cover my whole body in sunblock, they forget one thing. Themselves. Am therefore doomed to walk around with bright red hands for a few days and scare small children and dogs.

* Friday: After very long series of flights, am back in Paris. Which is covered in snow. And freezing. And where a rejection letter from that job (yup, THAT job) is waiting for me. Had I known I would have skipped the nightmares.

But whatever. I have a tan. Pretty pictures (which I will show you eventually). Rooibos tea. A date with my TV watching the Olympics for Valentine's Day. And then another plane. To Australia. Where my favourite Ozzie Chick is waiting for me with sea, sunshine, parties and tickets to my first ever cricket match. (Cricket game? Whatever.)

So all is well in the world.

Now if only my skin didn't smell like crispy duck.