Can I feel the sand between my toes?

June 20, 2009


Hello Hello Friends!

I'm not sure who is actually checking this anymore, but here is an update from the last couple weeks.

Last I left of it was my birthday and then a couple days later I had one of my final exams. The day after my exam, my friends: Guy, April and Lull and I set off on a road trip Adventure to Namibia. We had a great time!

First we drove almost the whole day 10 hours to Fish River Canyon, in Southern Namibia, right over the border. On the way we stopped in a town called Springbok, which was cute. As we were driving through The north of South Africa everything was very green, with rolling hills from the rains that have been happening. When we got to the border, things were very smooth and we had no problems getting through, my passport is stamped, Namibia!!

Then we headed on to Fish River Canyon. Other than the two lane highway (reminds me of maine roads) everything is dirt road. For miles all we saw were rock like mountains, and straw grassed landscapes, hitting little itty bitty towns and shanty towns on the way, a gas station here or there. We stopped a couple times to get out and stretch our legs which was nice. Me and Lull layed down in the road and just listened to the desert silence. There is nothing like it. ( FYI: Namibia has 2 million people total). I'm pretty sure Cape Town alone has 5-10 you can see the difference, its just you and the earth.

We arrived at Fish River Canyon at the Canon Lodge just in time for the sunset. It was beautiful, the view of the canyon, and then we settled in at the Lodge for the night. We rented a campsite for R85 with indoor plumbing and showers, we just set up the tent, and made speghetti and potatoes on a wood fire...impressed right! The stars were illuminated but the moon was shining so bright it was hard to see all of them, everyone felt really crisp in the air. The desert really is cold at night! We woke up for the sun rise and headed to the canyon. In the daylight it looks so big. As we were driving we could see the sun hitting all the openings, a phenomial sight!

After a good look at the canyon ( since most of the hikes are 3 day long – and we only had 5 days on our little adventure) we headed to Soussevlei, which has the highest sand dunes in Namibia. and maybe in Africa- I'm not sure I haven't looked it up. On the drive there we stopped in a town called Bethesda, and had coffee at this cool coffee shop and gas station combo. As I’m discussing South Africa with a Namibian coffee shop owner and her friend Gipie from South Africa, I come to find out Lull has locked the car keys in the trunk. For this little town, there are huge hearts. A bunch of towns people surrounded our car and some how managed to break in and get the keys out. It involved a window , a flat head screw driver, and a piece of bronze wire, and some nifty hands to say the least. After this adventure we were on our way to the dunes. We arrived in Soussevlei just before sunset, and decided to see the dunes in the morning. We stumbled upon a nice man named Niko who rented us a camp site with a toilet and wood burning operational shower. It was right in a little vally, so it was perfect and quiet. The sun came up between two mountains in the distance and it was pink, purple, blue, yellow and orange all at once. He also gave us wood and food, and we had a nice little camp fire with some meat and , stew. ( I made the veg stew)= Yes I am still a vegetarian!

The following morning we woke up a bit late. We headed into the entrance to the dunes. They had a little restaurant there and I got coffee and met this girl who wanted to study at UCT. We headed to the dunes. We got to the point where you either take a “shuttle” or walk. We decided, 5km, we can do that. Walking through the sand was amazing. It felt so soft. The first big dune we came across, lull, april and I just ran up it and layed on top basking in the sun. Then we headed all the way to the farthest point where the huge ones were. They climbed the trail while I decided it would be better to go straight up. It was work, but I made it. We layed there for a while, and a possy of ostriches came and joined us. It really is nothing like you’ve ever seen. The sand is bronze and soft and the dunes are just massive, and you wonder how you don’t sink into them. The best part was when I ran down them, although a huge potential to break all your limbs in the process hitting the sand and just sinking and going down down down, was phenomenal. The desert is really like the opposite of the ocean, but, the sand does really move like water….no lie! We headed back to the car around sunset, and then drove to the farthest dune, climbed up and watched the sunset. As the sun was setting the moon behind us emerged and a purple sky lit the desert. We drove to the campsite and had another campfire night. The next morning I got up before the sunrise went out into the middle of the field of wheat grass in the valley and watched the sunrise and wrote in my journal. Its crazy to think only a week ago I was in Namibia!

The plan was to drive back to the border, and stay on the Orange River somewhere, but I think we were all anxious to get home, so we drove straight 14 hours with a couple breaks all the way back to Cape Town. We left at 9am and got back into Cape Town at 12am on Monday Morning!

On the way were party tunes and lots of beautiful highway that stretched forever. It reminded me of Utah…it probably looks like something else, but I’ve never been to a lot of the places in the Midwest that I probably looks like.

Around sunset we approached the Namibian border, and that wasfine, we got through pretty quick. Then for about ½ a kilometer we drove through “ no man’s land” where the land belongs to neither South Africa or Namibia, and then to the South African border. We parked right in front of the border, infront of 10 guards who were really really bored… We got our stamps and headed back to the car. One of the officers said, You play that guitar in there, so my friend Guy got out our friend Ben’s guitar that we brought along and started strumming a tune, we were all trying to sing. Then he tells them that I sing, so I had to sing a song. They I point to Lull and go, she can rap!. So lull stands up and goes “Ya’ll know Salt and Peppa by JayZ” and starts wrapping it, and they all start beat boxing. It was hilarious. Then she starts fresstyling her own rap about Namibia. It was hilarious, the officers were dancing and free styling and it was amazing. And we knew we were on our way home.

So that was my Namibian desert trip. Although Soussevlei is a “tourist attraction” going to Namibia didn’t feel like touring around South Africa, it was different, it was like you had to go there and have an appreciation for what you were seeing and find peace, it wasn’t about the biggest whatever or whoever kind of thing. All the people we met along the way, and we met a lot ( the ones who helped us with the car and stuff) were so friendly and welcoming. We felt safe the entire time ( which is more than I can say for South Africa at times).

So onto other things Since I got back I had a final and then I was done with UCT and the semester. The rest of last week is a slght blur, because so much happened, but pretty much everyone in our program hung out every day and night and just made the most of Cape Town. On Saturday 25 of 30 of us left to go back to the United States and moved out of our houses. It was a very sad day I have to say. There were a couple of us still around, and there is 2 girls still here, one is volunteering and one was staying an extra week, and my friend Ben who is in South Africa for 2 weeks in Port Elizabeth and then off on another adventure in Africa. Sunday I moved into my friend Valmy’s apartment, she’s letting me stay there while she is on holiday which is so nice of her. This week I’ve been going into my internship and trying to figure out some volunteering in Manenberg, a township with a Arts youth Program that I was involved in over the semester. I’m also meeting with a woman to help the local neighborhood of Rosebank with some initiates for the homeless, and trying to hang out and make the most of Cape Town. It is strange that so many of my closest friends are gone, and I had to move out of my house ( there are new Americans there now), but Cape Town is Cape Town, still beautiful. This past week I climbed Table Mountain, which felt good, and I’m trying to get into a routine.

I will be in Cape Town until July 30th, which then I will be flying home to Boston. It looks like the month of August will be out West with my Dad, doing the Grand Canyon, Southern Utah, Las Vegas, all the way to Yosemite, for camping, seeing Hannah, and Lydia and then up to San Fransico to visit my aunt and family, and grad school touring, back to School on the 31st of August!

Its crazy how time flies.

I’ve been feeling good about the volunteering and interning I am doing here. It’s a great opportunity, and sometimes its just nice to live somewhere new, and on your own, although it is challenging I think its good for me to experience this. I know everyone is doing their own thing around and about, but if you have a chance email me and let me know what is up for the summer ( winter here ).



The pictures are of the family visit during my birthday, some amazing landscapes of Stellenbosch, Table Mountain and Many Bays around Cape Town, and then of course, I’m sure you can tell which ones are the desert in Namibia……Have fun!

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