Arrival in Namibia
En route to and arrival in Windhoek, Namibia
On the plane, an announcement that the staff speak English, Afrikaans, German, Setswana and Zulu. An 11 hour flight down the length of Africa.
As the sun rises, Namibia first presents itself, from the plane, as nearly entirely flat land, criss crossed with tracks, dotted with squat trees. It shows in the colors of cream, gray and black. A rare stone hill carries moss green; a color I would think is only found in the presence of an unexpected, new rain. We land between billowy clouds and the gray sky-to-earth streaks of thunder showers that flank us left and right.
On the ground, we step out of the plane to a steady horizontal wind blowing with the scent of just-wet sand. The airport is an informal space of just two rooms, representing well the capital of one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world.
A tall silver sign proclaims "You in Namibia."
We arrive 50 kilometers from anything, far out in the bush and in our drive to the capital the cab driver talks of Namibia's sparse population, diamond mines, sand dunes, how the capital is too expensive for most and how many live just outside its borders. The lilt in the speech is hypnotizing. We drive through a desert landscape with deep, dry riverbeds that show the possibility of great and sudden rains.
Road signs warn of warthog and kudu crossings.
In the capital, a handful of women sit on the side of the road, hair reddened, traditional clothing. But otherwise Windhoek first faces out as a western city. Everything is crisp and in good repair, street signs awash in German. It feels like Europe. I wish I had a few days to find and explore the 'non-europe' of Namibia's capital.
Now sitting on an open porch having dinner, the scent of rain and the steady warm wind. Bougainvillea and a candle on my table. Flashes of lightning in the distance. A completely foreign star-scape in a patch of clear sky just above. A dark outline of a figure standing by the hotel gate, backlit by streetlights.Tomorrow, the multi-hour drive to Harnas, 100km north of Gobabis.