It’s nearly 11pm in Windhoek, Namibia. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I try to put the best spin on my travel missives, but I’ll be honest: Africa isn’t easy–especially when you do it by yourself on a motorcycle. Rare is the day that I am not dealing with some issue around mechanical, technical, logistical, money, document, or you-name-it types of issues. I enjoy the adventures, not just of travel, but of things like locating someone to help me design and build a unicycle bracket, or to repair a tear in bag, etc. Meeting people and making friends while learning how to navigate a new (to me) society in order to accomplish some task is really a fascinating experience. But it is not a stroll in the park, and I still need the occasional day at the beach!
The friends you make or are referred to along the way are often what make such a trip possible (or at least bearable). Compared to my first African adventure, this one has been a bit easier from a riding perspective. I am getting my old chops back in terms of being able to handle long days on the motorcycle, the endless checklists I review in my mind, the eternal vigilance required–both in terms of inspecting the vehicle and luggage as well as watching the road, the animals, the other vehicles coming at you and up behind you.
But this time, the weight of the responsibilities I left behind tugs at me (and competes for the limited bandwidth of my time and the internet access I can get here). And I feel a responsibility to the readers of this blog because I know some of you are living vicariously through my journey. So, I want to post the best photos and videos I can. And try to give you a sense of what being here is like (even when some of it is not new to me).
Africa is not all zebras and giraffes. There is plenty of that, of course, but a whole lot more in a lot of different ways. It is an animal kingdom of every sort, which also means there are constant battles within that kingdom–and things you must beware of, from scorpions to malarial mosquitoes to deadly and aggressive black mambas. Yet, two of the best nights I have had here have been sleeping under the stars and moon in a tent, and helping a friend shoot night photos in fantastic rock formations.
It’s late, I’m tired and I’m rambling. Internet access here is horrible because they are apparently doing an “upgrade”. I’m working on uploading a whole bunch of photos tomorrow (got a connection in the wireless business here). In the meantime be patient 🙂
Windhoek is semi-desert with warm climate and a fairly laid-back feel to it. There has been a thunderstorm here every afternoon, which is quite refreshing!
Finally, to the subject line of this post, I thought I’d give you a sample of South Africa advertising humor, so I’ve posted two Nando’s commericals. Nando’s is the KFC of Southern Africa, and they make hilarious commercials–several of which have been banned. The first one, at the top of the page, shows that here in Africa, the “dumb blonde” is also a popular stereotype.
The second one, below, is political (you need to know your country leaders, especially Robert Mugabe, to appreciate this one).
Goodnight from Windhoek (hoping to get to Swakopmund tomorrow and ride in big sand dunes!)
Jim (aka SpinCycle