Wednesday, 23 August 2006

The Story (2)

Day fifteen, at least I think it is day fifteen as I lost count. I know, because I asked today, what day it is, but traveling is at its best as you lose track of time. Which I officially have now, so it must be good. I am writing this at the second story of a lodge where the bar is situated and it is made of wood, stones and with sheer roofs. It is like the pictures of very expensive places you see in travel brochures. We are now in a fancy lodge (but not so expensive) near Twijfelfontein and we have lounged a bit at the pool yesterday and today. Redmer and I did go cycling this morning in the fog and cold at 7 for about 1.5 hours, but the rest of the day was rather lame. We went to see some rock formations around here in the morning and at 15hours we went on a 3 hour drive to try to see some elephants. They passed the lodge a couple of days ago and the guide has tried to find them since and follow their path, but he hadn’t succeeded so far. Until today of course, as we found the family of 18 with a couple of young ones. I have never seen my mother so ecstatic and happy. It was a great sight though and much better then in South Africa. Now we had a lot better (and more) light and this herd was so much bigger. The weather happily also changed and from the cold south (and coast) we are getting into the warmer zones where the temperature starts to rise to a decent 34degrees C at mid-day.
Tomorrow we will leave north for the Angolan border to see the Epupa Falls. After that we will move to the east and enter the Etosha Park for 4 days to see lions, giraffes, rhinos, buffaloes, elephants and hopefully some leopards. Leopards are the only animals of the big 5 that I haven’t seen, so I am really hoping to see them in Etosha, but they don’t show themselves so often, so I will probably not be so lucky.
Along the road you see a lot of women and children selling stuff. From puppets to gems, and from necklaces to wooden carved elephants. We can’t stop everywhere, but we did a couple of times and bought something. My dad then also always takes the opportunity to make some pictures of locals as he has bought a HUGE telelens for his brand new Nikon D200 (he also dropped his normal lens on day 3, which broke in 2 perfect halves). Quite a few times we are also asked for food and/or water. Yesterday my mom gave away a package of macaroni and spaghetti and these people were so happy with it. On the camp site 2 days ago, Redmer and I were asked for T-shirts as well and since we have plenty, we gave the local youth 2. When we handed them over the T-shirts they also started asking for pants and shoes… The downside of this handing out is that their friends now also want a T-shirt and you can start a full time job, by just handing out T-shirts and other clothes. You do see a lot of youngsters walking in rather expensive shirts and a lot of Arsenal-wear. Strange.
Day sixteen was a bad day as my parents had a flat tire in the morning, which had to be fixed first and then the rest of the day we had a very bad gravel road. Normally the gravel roads aren’t too bad, but this one had too many big stones and ups and downs. I have a headache now simply from driving all day. We went a bit back from the lodge to the Petrified Forest, which is a “forest” that turned into stone. Tree trunks were swept inland with floods and covered with sand. This sand caused the trees not to disintegrate, but to change their cell-structure and they became from stone. We expected more or less a real stoned forest, but it was trunks lying between rocks and not so impressive as hoped. We are now in an old German fort where my parents stay in a suite (they were too tired of the trip as well and didn’t want the hassle of building the beds etc) and Redmer and I occupy both a camper.

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