There are so many great reasons for choosing to study abroad in Africa. Even in the peacefully modern city of Gaborone, you see a part of the world that is quite different from any place in America. This in itself has provided platform for the once in a lifetime experience that I have been a part of. The ease of travel, however, is not an advantage. Travel is difficult, to put it mildly. To make things even more difficult, my fellow travelers and I are not the most organized planners. For myself, this is not a major problem as I am always open to spontaneity, but for some it can cause major stress.
For our part, we did decide that we wanted to travel to Namibia a good while in advance. The equivalent of American ‘Spring Break,’ called ‘Short-vacation’ here at UB occurred in the last week of February and the first week of March. As the time for travel approached however, we were in the midst of mid-term tests and only vague ideas were put forth about our plans. We wanted to see the capital city of Windhoek, and then go to the beach where we were advised that Swakopmund is the best option. Several days before our departure, we purchased bus tickets with a company called AT&T (no relation to the phone co.). Prior to the morning of our departure, we arranged for a cab to pick us up at 7:30am, in time for our 8:00am bus. Unfortunately, the cab arrived early, and several of us were late in being ready. The driver was not happy, and claimed to have another customer to attend to, for which he had scheduled 10 minutes after our own pickup (clearly not enough time). As his anger grew with our lateness, he decided to leave us in the parking lot, as we had not yet all arrived. The seeds of our non-preparation had begun before our trip had. I immediately called another taxi driver, who had been very dependable in the past. In reality, I had no expectation that our new driver would use the haste necessary for us to catch our bus. However, he arrived in the extraordinary short time of 5 minutes, and drove us swiftly (and probably dangerously) too the bus station. Just as our luck seemed to be turning towards the positive, our back door was opened, and a car immediately drove into the door. There had been minor damage done to the other car, and door of our taxi was too damaged to close properly. We gave our driver our information, and promised to help as we could. Unfortunately, most taxi drivers do not have insurance, and the price was significant. However, we were willing to put our unfortunate start behind us and set off for Namibia. As we boarded the bus, we soon realized, that it would be a long 14-hour ride to Windhoek. The seats in this bus were not built for adults, at least not average-sized adults. I can only assume they are built for children. Although, here, these buses frequently carry adults. No matter, I settled into the back seat, nestled between two people much larger than I. Throughout the trip; we would have to switch when to lean back, since our shoulders were much too broad for our seats. Luckily I had my Kindle and was able to accomplish some serious reading to pass the time.
We spent the rest of our first day in Swakopmund hanging out on the beach with some beer, books, and great friends. In the following days, our time was filled with exciting adventures. We began by exploring the odd town a bit further. As I said, our house was about a mile down the beach outside of the town. We were able to easily walk into the city to find restaurants, bars, and casinos scattered throughout this small tourist town. The most striking part about both the walk in, and the town itself was the odd architecture. The buildings were far from anything else we had seen in Gaborone or any of the surrounding villages we had visited. The architecture was clearly of German influence but they also had a very modern style. The buildings simply did not seem like something that belonged in Africa, especially from what we had seen thus far. After exploring the town, we stopped at a restaurant that was set on the beach and enjoyed some delicious seafood. Being from Nebraska, I have never really understood the seafood obsession, however all of my friends are nothing short of passionate about it, so it was fun to join in their indulgence. The next day, we went quad biking in the Namib desert, which contains beautiful sand dunes very much alike to those seen in the desert of Tatooine (for any Star Wars buffs, this is a point of pride in the brochure). We arranged this the prior day, and were picked up from our house by a man named Charles. Charles took us to the administrative office to cover financial and legal requirements, and then we were off to the desert. Being in the midst of the desert was an experience unlike any I have had before. In the
|Sand Dunes in the Namib Desert|
|The view from our house.|
Okay, this post became more detailed than I thought was in me, so I will end it here. Some of the finer points may not be in the exact order in which they happened, so if any of my friends disagree with the order of events, I apologize. I will also soon try to post about my recent trip to Durban, South Africa. I am planning a trip to Cape Town, South Africa as well, so stay posted for more updates. More about health care is soon to come as well. Classes are officially over now, and tests begin on Tuesday. It doesn’t seem possible that the semester is nearly over!