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  • Joanna

Forgetting British Humour

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

After dinner in the Fish River Canyon, we gathered for our nightly debrief. Malinga explained to us that we were expected to be up and gone by 5:30AM. We were heading to a view point to take in the sunrise.

He repeated the leaving time.


5:30AM.


Then he repeated it a few more times.


5:30AM. 5:30AM. 5:30AM.


... this is what is know in the world of literature as foreshadowing...


The only person to miss the debrief was Whaaaaaaaaat? and it was because she fell asleep. Park made a brief attempt to wake her up, but was unsuccessful.

Malinga was not impressed, as he is convinced that debrief is the most important part of the day. I assured him that I would take on the task of ensuring she was awake & ready to go.

My alarm went off at 4:45AM and I set about getting ready for our early morning excursion. Breakfast was set to be served at the view point and we would return afterwards to dismantle camp.


It was very dark in the morning and I couldn’t really remember where Whaaaaaat? had put her tent.. so I crept around each one, whispering “Takako?” Finally she woke and answered.


It’s time to get up?”


You can probably imagine her reply....


Whaaaaaaaaaat?”

My job was done.  I decided to let someone else explain the entire days activities to her because I think that would be too difficult of a challenge for my impatient character to tackle.

We all piled on to the bus and David pulled out of the campsite at exactly 5:35AM. Five minutes late. Malinga was not going to be happy.

We drove for about 20 minutes as the day was dawning.

The dusty desert road seemed to be taking us nowhere in particular. Barren & flat landscape for as far as the eye could see. An awe inspiring location to watch the sunrise seemed almost uncanny in this part of the world.


Oh, how wrong I was...


David pulled the bus over at the trailhead of a narrow path and we all got off, brimming with anticipation.

Once outside, Michelle looked around slightly puzzled. “Where’s Claudia?”


We FORGOT British Humour!


OMG.


David had to turn the bus around, leave us all at the trailhead and go retrieve her. Personally... I would have left her but then again, I don’t much understand British humour, so what would I know.


The rest of us began making our way along the path towards what appeared to be a small lighthouse in the horizon.

As soon as we reached our destination... something so grand and spectacular was waiting at the end to greet us. There we stood, at the very edge of largest canyon in Africa, the 2nd largest canyon in the world... the Fish River Canyon of Namibia.


Picture after picture, selfie after selfie... of the absolutely gigantic ravine and spectacular beauty that lay directly in front of us. The sun rays filtered through the majestic canyon, as the new day began and the sun rose over the canyon.

You can just imagine the “Wowwwwwwww’s” and the “Whaaaaaaaat’s” that ensued.

As I have previously explained, Takako takes English words and uses them to create these long winded, overly dramatic sounds expressing disbelief or awe or confusion... actually she uses them for pretty much any feeling that she is feeling... There is neither  rhyme nor reason for her dramastical outburst. It could be anything from a family of zebras galloping along side the road to someone buying rubber gloves. 

The boy who cried wolf... except the Japanese lady who always said “Whaaaaaaaaaaat?” 

The lighthouse was NOT a lighthouse, after all... but a stinky toilet. Had to throw that in, in case anyone was curious as to why a lighthouse was located at the edge of a ginormous canyon.

Apparently you can do a 5 day hike from one end of the canyon to the other, but you must pack enough water... and I would die. If you plan in advance, you can hire guides to run water to your campsites... but I fear it would be too much work for me and I will stick to camping conveniently located next to toilets, showers, pubs and pools.  It’s just how I glamp.


We followed a trail along the edge of the canyon that led up to another view point with a picnic shelter. David met us there- with the truck, breakfast and British Humour.


She walked by us going in the opposite direction, giving us all the cold shoulder. 

You forgot me,” she said in a very stern and accusatory tone as she walked by.


I didn’t forgot anyone. I had one job and I did it.

Takako was up and with us.

I was speaking with Pablo and Albero on our way to breakfast, in a responsible and mature manner, we deciphered that leaving Claudia behind was a little bit everyone's fault. Claudio wasn’t paying attention at de-brief... she simply did NOT listen to the time, although it was reiterated time and time again at the debrief. Her fault.... and once again, on her ownagenda.


Our responsibility - as a group - was to count and ensure all bodies were on the bus. Albero admitted that he did count everyone in the morning and he did realize British Humour was missing...  but didn’t think anything of it. She had opted out of participating in the tea plantation on the first day, so he naturally figured that she wasn’t interested in joining us.


Poor David. Inconvenienced.

Takako told us that Claudia feels embarrassed being a German in Namibia because of the Germans trying to conquer the country at one point in history. I can think of a million reasons for Claudia to be embarrassed, but funny... that one doesn’t make the cut.

Speaking of British Humour... today she was holding my charging cord and inquiring as to who it belonged to. When I spoke up and said it was mine, she dropped it on the ground... I didn’t think that was very live laugh love of her.

Did I mention that she is asking for a new tent every day until she finds the one that is perfect for her?...

Breakfast was an enormous bowl of curry baked beans. Nothing sounds more captivating than a day on a long and bumpy road after a feast of curried musical fruit. Friends, strange smells and emergency stops would be in abundance. 


After cleaning up, we all loaded back in to the truck and settled in for the long drive to Keetmanshoop.


Along the way, we made a quick stop at some off the road yard where old cars go to die. It was unique, to say the least...  The entire yard was decorated with old rusted cars. Some of them were spruced up to look like new... some of them had trees growing where engines once were. Inside was a pub decorated with stickers and old license plates. There was a very 50’s vibe to the entire place. 


We had not been there 5 minutes when David approached me to inquire as to whether or not I had rung the bell yet. 


The bell?

He motioned towards the restrooms and smiling as though concealing some hilarious secret, motioned for me to go. came up to me when we first arrived and asked me if I had been to the bathroom.

I made Ruth come with me.

Once inside, we both came face to face with an enormous picture of a naked black man. Directly covering his private parts, was a small box with a door. Upon opening the door, an alarm sounded in the entire building - meant to embarrass you for being pervy, I guess.


This began a series of alarms ringing throughout the building, as everyone had to have their go at seeing what laid behind door #1.


I can only imagine this intrigues all tours that pass through... and I am positive it drives the staff bonkers. 

We were instructed today to not wear flip flops. There was going to be a lot of walking... and a lot of uneven ground.


Anyone who read my Vietnam blog may remember the shoes I had there. I should say: Anyone who read my Vietnam blog may remember the unfortunate incident that happened to my with the shoes I had there. They became my human poo shoes... because, oddly enough, I stepped in human poo while I was wearing them in Hanoi.


I must have hand washed them more than 30 times... and upon arriving back home,  repetitively put them through both my washing machine and dishwasher in a desperate attempt to ‘get them clean & smelling fresh.’ After a while, I concluded the small was solely in my own head and I resolved to stop this insane, obsessive compulsive ‘washing’ behaviour and just wear them. 


Why didn’t I just throw them away?


Well, at the time, they were new, they were expensive and they were the most comfortable shoe I had ever worn. Still... to this day. The best.

The poo part... disgusting... but I managed to power through it.

I made the mistake of bringing these shoes to Africa. They were falling apart, wearing out, fraying and beginning to stink.

As luck would have it, they got completely destroyed the first time I put them on in Africa.

Zip lining in the mud and the rain.

Nothing was bringing them back. The only place they belonged now was the bin- and that is where they ended up. 


All conceivable foresight out the window... and suddenly I found myself without shoes on my last day in Capetown. What a way to explore the city... scouring the Waterfront for runners.

If I thought looking for a size-not-teeny bathing suite on a resort island in Vietnam was tough, I now challenged myself to finding size 10 runners in South Africa. I had to find them. Failure in doing so was not an option.


One of the staff literally thought I wanted them to go running.  I had to explain that “runners” is merely a name. I even unnecessarily elaborated that buying sneakers doesn’t mean that I need them to sneak.


Shoes. Big shoes, please..

Everywhere I went had NOTHING in my size.

I find this strange. Have I miraculously landed in a world of tiny only feet?

Surreal.


FINALLY I got one store with ONE pair of ladies size 10. White, mesh, ugly and NOT flattering to my clown canoe feet.

I’m Jerry Seinfeld.

This story must seem unnecceasirly to the day at hand. I will explain after these important messages...


Next stop was the Giants playground - which is an area of massive dolerite boulders, placed on top of each other creating cool rock formations and creating a series of mazes.


It was like being in a movie scene.

From there, off to the Quiver Tree Forest, where we walked around learning about the vegetation, the birds, the wild animals and the insects in the area. Once again, another movie scene. The Quiver Trees are the national, and very much protected tree of Namibia. They survive with hardly any water and are the most absurd, yet mind-blowingly peculiar tree. 

Back to the gripping shoe story...

My new, expensive ugly white shoes are now a lovely shade of worthless brown mesh... They were horrible before.  They are even more horrible now. Although I wasted part of my life searching for shoes for my trip... if I could turn back time, I would definitely have purchased some that were more durable,better colour and something I could continue to wear upon my return.


Believe it or not, we stopped at a little mall to load up on supplies.

I didn’t really need anything... except wine... so mostly I browsed through the clothing shops. I could use a couple tops to avoid laundry a few more days... but not sure how appropriate a short little frilly & colourful tank top would be for my body type... or how comfortable I would feel sporting around a t-shirt that read “Be My Baby” or “Always be Queen.”

I’ll stick to my dirty clothes...

...that are getting dirtier by the day...

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