• Joanna

Etosha... Today?

Updated: Mar 21

“There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and fell as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne. - bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.” Karen Blixen

I have now run out of muscle relaxants and I feel very much like Katherine Clifton... alone in the cave, running out of light.


It’s over.


On a positive note though, I’m certainly making my way through the Advil, the Aleve and the Tylonel. Even the anti inflammatories have come in handy.


On a serious note, the pain is crippling. Bumpy roads by day and cheap camp mattresses by night are not doing me any favours,

Today we took a step back in African time and managed to visit a Himba tribe today. It cost approximately $20 but I have been told that all the money goes towards the children attending boarding school, so well worth the visit.

The Himba live in small clay huts and live off the land. Very primitive.

Goats, fire, plants...  Here is a good website to find out more than being connected to wifi will allow me to say right now... https://www.namibiatourism.com.na/blog/Fast-Facts-The-Himba-of-Namibia

The kids run around in what looks like discarded old clothes or ripped up blankets tied together with rope. They are known for not washing with water, rather they use ash & smoke to clean their bodies. This combined with a lotion made from okra and butter work to keep their skin soft and moisturized.

**Ruth ran out of shampoo and instead of lending her any of mine, I suggested the ashes left over from last nights fire... but she didn’t seem that interested.


Our guide for the Himba was Snoop.


Snoop Dogg.


This guy was Snoop’s doppelgänger and had Gin & Juice written all over his face.

Snoop taught us how to say hello with a three grip handshake. We also learned how to say thank you and were told that we were able to take photos. I took a few but did not want to be too intrusive.


Ruth was handing out candy and chocolate... so immediately became a crowd favourite. Due to her friendly nature, she was surrouded by children begging to be picked up and coddled.


Takako not so much. 

She approached me about taking a photo. I took her camera from her and watched as she proceded to join the group of children fixated on Ruth. Instead of interacting with any of them or attempting to display traits of playfulness, she just swooped up one of the random toddlers from behind and turned around to pose for the photo.


As soon as the image was captured, down he went again and ran off from her.

Whaaaaaaaaat???? He heavy! So small but heavy.”


Awkward.

It was quite intrusive and demonstrated an absolute lack of respect for personal space. Eduardo made the comment about how he does something similar each time he visits New York City. Randomly picks up cute, small children for photos.


Don’t we all?


I have taken to thinking that everything bad that happens, Claudia is the culprit.

I had a small pool of water when I went to my tent last night. Claudia must have dumped something in it.

My water bottle is missing. I checked all the garbages because obciously Claudia threw it away.


Anything happens at all... Claudia.


I need to talk about the Nomad food experience briefly... 

It is definitely not 5 star cuisine.

We are on the lower end of the food scale with items such as squeeze pork-bologna,  spam, margarine, cheap sliced bread, thin rubber cheese slices, pink hot dogs and baked beans. A combination of these culinary classics make up the majority of our meals.


Malinga is actually quite a good cook and a fair percentage of his creations have been quite tasty. He does lack a bit of insight in to left-over creativity, vegetable rotation and the ability to use up product before it reaches the inedible mold stage.

I think that years of hosting after-hours, drunken food fests in Lake Louise has taught me that anything can become a masterpiece when everyone contributes what little food they have left in their cupboard. The meals that we used to conjure up out of nothing was nothing short of miraculous.  

Last night I approached Malinga to see if there was anything he wanted done and he pointed at some cabbage sitting out on the table. I never mind helping, but leaning over a low table, with a big knife, attempting to cut cabbage is quite a feat for me right now. I shuttered thinking of the pain.


Around the corner comes British Humour, offering her assistance to Malinga. I made motion towards the cabbage... she gave it a glance, told Malinga to shout if he needed anything and walked away.

She is the stupidest German I have ever met. 


Zero team work.


I cut the cabbage.

Other British Humour mentionable of the day;

  • We pulled over at a very small craft market today. Out front were a group of young children, and Ruth was sharing snacks that she had originally bought for her kids. Nuts and candy. As she was handing them out, Claudia piped up and said, “You should not give them such things. It will rot their teeth. You should give them healthy vegetables.” Ruth, of course, went back to the truck to grab her broccoli and celery that she had stored away for snacks...

  • I took a photo last night which looked like Albero was holding the rainbow in his hand. Ruth was positioned right beside him, and appeared to be overwhelmed with surprise. It was a cute photo, made for some fun and a laugh. Ruth took the phone up to Claudia to show her the photo and Claudia said, “I prefer the real rainbow.”

So odd.

I am counting down the days until we leave her in Windhoek,


I asked David if there is a process to dropping off clients or if we just pull over on a random dusty road and make her get out.


Kicked off the island.


Since stopping with my Malaria pills, my skin has cleared up. Yes, I have been brutally beaten up by a quad bike and maybe now I have malaria, but it’s a chance I am taking for the sake of beauty. 


The kids were trying to guess my full name today.

I got Joanna McBridge from Pablo. Close.

Then Albero wanted to guess my middle name. I told him that it was a very common name and a famous Christmas name.

His guess?


Joanna Natasha.

Wow... a very powerful guess.

It was so funny that it’s what he’s started calling me.


We are camping on the far side of Etosha National Park.

Although it was only 75km to get here from the original entrance, it took us almost 6 hours to arrive as we had to stop and look at every jackal, zebra, springbok, red hearted beast, lorax, stork, turtle, terrapin....as well as all colourful and unusual birds... along the way.


We even saw an elephant, but it was so far off in the distance that it was hard to photograph.


We had just set up camp and were walking over to the little concession at the park entrance to pick up a few supplies. David is obsessed with his phone and when he’s not driving or working in camp, he can be found scrolling through Facebook or What’s App. Even through dinner, he sits quietly staring at his phone. As usual, David was walking along, in the lead, head down, on his phone... and WHACK! Right in to the tree.

I find it funny that he can spot a tiny turtle waddling along the side of the road while driving 100km on a dusty road, but fails to see a tree in front of him. 


The powers of social media.


Not that I would know anything about social media. Internet is down.

Social media would have been a nice and much appreciated distraction to my pain. My back and chest are getting worse and I decided that my only cure was a handful of Tylenol and a few cider. 

It worked... temporarily.


Later on, relaxing around the table, Takako was looking through old pictures of me on my iPad. She seemed to get very concerned suddenly, turned to me and said, “You once so pretty and sexy. What happen?”


People wonder why I drink.


Now I’m determined to inundate myself with water. Trouble is that I can’t find my water bottle.


Damn Claudia.


While I was sitting there, contemplating how I was going to live the rest of my life in debilitating pain, Sandros and Pascale mentioned that they were going to go to the nearby camp watering hole.


Human watering hole?

Animal watering hole?

Animal.


So I set my doom and despair away temporarily and accompanied them to see if any animals had come down for a drink.


Our camp is a walled area in the middle of the park. Gates close at a certain time each evening and no one is permitted in to the park at all. In fact, if you are caught out of your car at any undesignated places, you are fined.

The risk of humans interacting... or should I say, being exposed to the ways of the wildlife is one thing... let alone the hazards that present themselves with insects, snakes... etc etc. We are not the top of the food chain here.


The camp has sanctiouned off an area to watch wildlife should they decide to come up and have themselves some water. The walls are high and the lights are positioned in such a way that the animals cannot really see us.

When we arrived, there was a family of 5 elephants enjoying refreshment. Two adults, one mid sized and two babies. They are so majestic. So silently majestic. You would think that they would lumber along loudly, but nothing could be further from the truth.


I knew how desperate Eduardo and Michelle were to see elephants, so after silently observing them myself for a half hour, I headed back to the camp to try and convince them to head to the hole.

I had no idea which tent belonged to them, so I made my way through the maze of canvas, quietly trying to yell out their names, without waking the entire tour and disturbing everyone. I found them and the moment I mentioned elephants, they were on their way. I told them to hurry... but they really didn’t need to. Upon reaching the watering hole, they were lucky enough to see 25 elephants come sauntering in to have a drink.

They told me that my advice to head to the pond was the best advice they ever received... and followed.


Pat on the back... 


**On another note;

Claudia is upset that she was not woken up to take in the elephant experience. She is angry that she is leaving Africa without seeing an elephant.


I figure, on the flip side of the coin, that we are all upset that we had to spend our African experience with her.


Even.

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