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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Do I Make Myself Clear?

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

“David... please... please.... please... take the paved roads today.”

Everyone had a good chuckle at that.

Are there even any paved roads in Namibia?

I think I’ve seen 2.

I have run out of ways to describe them; bumpy, dirty, dusty, dry, remote, vast, barren, desolate... all over the back country desert of Namibia.

I packed up everything ready to go last night because I just had a feeling that I would inevitably be useless in the morning.  I was right.

Back to last night quickly... and the last night of the year. New Year’s Eve.

Did I party? No.

Was I in a party mood? No.

Was I in pain? Yes..

Did I put on a brave face and attempt to have some fun? Also yes.

There was a few of us looking for suggestions for dinner so David recommended a restaurant close by called Ocean Basket.

Ocean Basket.

I think the name sums the cuisine perfectly.

Known for their variety of Mediterranean seafood... they prided themselves on their fish n’ chips, their deep fried prawn platters and ....

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

...their sushi.

Shame on David for bringing us, with Takako, to a restaurant that serves sushi.

She spent every available opportunity up at the open kitchen counter criticing their rolling style and the products used. Sternly and with much invested concern, she schooled them on how to properly prepare rice. The salmon was too watery. The rolls were too loose. Too much soy sauce. Add less of this. Take out more of that.

Simmer down, tiger... we’re in a restaurant with folded laminated picture menus.

It was irritating beyond measure listening to “ Japan...” but I mentally agreed to cut her some slack because at the ripe old age of 67, she went Sky Diving today. Very impressive. 

But then again... I did have an 800lb piece of machinery have its way with my body, so I was allowed to be slightly irritated...

Once back at the backpackers, David gave me one of those small battery-operated hand-held massagers to try and ease the pain, but I think it did more harm than good. What I need is a hot tub, strong muscle relaxants, heat cream and a comfortable bed... and rest.

Albero and Marina told me that Claudia laughed when she found out about my accident.

I’m going to laugh when I throw her passport at a lion.

I made a valiant effort to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I was determined not to let my mangled body keep me down. While everyone else made their way to bed, I accompanied David to the beach to try and find the others. 

We found no one.

Literally no one.

We walked in both directions, trying to make our way towards any sounds, lights, music... anything that sounded slightly promising.

We heard tales of dancing on the beach as the fireworks went off... but we couldn’t find anything. There will be no dancing in my near future, but it was good to walk, as I can already feel everything seizing up when I sit or lie down for an extended period of time.

Time was ticking though and once midnight hit,  my muscles were aching and the bed was calling. David suggested we walk even further but my body was suffering. Time to go back. I was already dreading the inevitable pain I knew would be waiting for me in the morning.

Suddenly I was missing the days when only one of my arms was messed.

Getting up out of bed this morning was challlenging... 

Pulling up my shorts, putting on a bra, laughing, sneezing, coughing, yawning... All very taxing and tough on me at the moment.

I was dreading the bus... and as luck should have it, the only seat left by the time my slow, sore, fat ass got on, was over the wheel. The worst seat.

Bump! Rattle Rattle! Bump... 

I eventually gathered my things and moved up to the very front seat. I had to be there if I was going to make a decent attempt to survive the journey today.

In the absolute heat of the afternoon, we pulled over at Spitzkoppe, where we met a guide ready to take us to see some ancient rock art, indicating significance to the San people who lived there many years ago. Surrounding the area were massive granite formations towering 700 metres above the desert plains. They were impressive and very much reminded me of a scene in the English Patient. Out of interest, I inquired as to whether any movies were filmed there.

The Gods Must Be Crazy.

Although it was interesting to see the art and hear the stories, it was too hot to be bothered with anything... let alone wandering through the desert. History was not high on my list today. After absolutely everything that the guide said to us, he followed up with, “Do I make myself clear?”

I felt like a delinquent teenager, not paying attention

“Do I make myself clear?”

Of course, he had no idea of the manner of which that saying is known.

We made our way up one of the granite formations, which they like to call ‘the Arc’ and I prefer to call bubble mountain. They look like a bunch of bubble rocks piled carelessly on top of each other.

As soon as we had all made our ascent, we were met by a group of Russians, who were less than happy to see us.

They had just completed all their ritual group photos & selfies, and decided that they wanted to photograph the entire area in its glory... without us. We had come along to destroy their plan.

The Russians descended to their favourite photo location, cameras in hand, while an older man stayed behind, with full intention of herding us along. He insisted that we either hide or climb back down from the boulders. His game plan was to remove us all from sight immediately. 

All for the sake of a picture... that could easily be downloaded from Google Image.

Me.... in my crippled state... looked at the steepness of the descent and decided to tackle it prior to the group coming down... just in case it took me longer... or if I fell. Falling is now a reality for me.

I managed to make it down in one piece... and I arrived front row & centre to the Russians complaining. Photo after photo... no one relented and their beautiful photography was ultimately ruined.

We set up camp at Brandberg White Lady. Very primitive location but only due to the fact that it was a 20 minutes walk away from the lodge, the pub, the pool and the internet. Scorching hot again when we set up our tents. I have gone from fast & efficient putting up my tent, to slow & shit.

I hate quad bikes.

“Do I make myself clear?”

Whaaaat? lost her 2nd tent pole today. Instead of profusely apologizing for being careless, she insisted David find it. I suggested googling the nearest WWII tent supplies shop and popping in to buy an extra pole or two. Apparently these are specially made tents. 

They’re not.

Now I don’t want to complain, because, after all, I was the one who willingly signed up for the African camping experience. All and all, it’s been ok... but after you’ve been raped and pillaged by a 800lb piece of machinery, perspective changes. Assembling and disassembling an old tent is annoying but... it’s the easy part.

The tough part?

Getting in and out, putting up the rain flap, sweeping out the sand, opening the awkward & often stuck zipper, laying out your mattresses and sleeping bag...

Every single move I make reminds me that I’m going down...

“Do I make myself clear?”

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