Tuesday, November 25, 2008


And here I am, getting back into work. We'll, kind of. I'm sitting in the bookshop at the Waterfront, proof reading the first few chapters of my book (again).

It's pretty warm out there today. I don't have air con in my little Golf, but at least I can open the window now. It was stuck shut for a few months, which is not what you want for summer - especially when the air vents blow out hot air all the time...

But it's a beautiful day! And I'm quite hungry now. Maybe it's time for me to get that bacon sandwich ...


Monday, November 24, 2008


And I finally made it back to Cape Town! How awesome it was to see the Mountain hovering over the City, waiting for me like an old friend.

After disembarking from the coach, I decided to complete the journey in the manner in which I started it, and eschewed the comforts of a metered cab for the raucous bustle of a minibus taxi.

After a potent reminder of how impossible it is to get yourself and two backpacks from the backseat of a taxi with a shred of dignity, I walked from Shoprite in Main Road Claremont back here to my flat. And this photo is the view from my flat window, bringing a neat photographic end to my trip.

Athough it was such a lengthy journey (over 40 hours of travelling in 3 days) I feel tired but emotionally invigorated. I feel imbued with a renewed enthusiasm for my work, and for Africa in general, and I can't wait to finish my book so I can go on the next adventure!

Meanwhile, I need to chill for a couple of hours, and take that shower I've been thinking about since Springbok...



It's 4:30 am and we've just crossed the border back into South Africa. And I have a shiny new 3 month Visa!

Still a long drive ahead, but the scary part is over.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Homeward bound ...

And so it begins - the long drive back to Cape Town.

The guy that gave me a lift from the Guest Lodge to the bus depot went to Reading University, about 3 years after I left. His brother was in my year. Talk about small world!

Scheduled arrival time in the Mother City is 1:00 pm tomorrow. I hope the border crossing goes smoothly.

Will post again when we stop!


The Gibeon Meteorites, Windhoek

Out and about ...

Thrilled that I managed to get my data connection working this morning!

I spent most of last night wrestling with a mosquito the size of a small dog. It was one of those quiet ones that sneak up on you. Every now and then I would catch it feeding on me, but it would vanish before I could get it. This morning I woke up with welts the size of R5 coins on my neck, and without any antiseptic cream I envisioned an itchy return trip to Cape Town!

Then I had the crazy idea to put toothpaste on the bites, and I must say it worked a treat. Swelling went down, and no itching at all. So remember to pack your Colgate if you're heading into mosquito country!

I hung out at the bar last night, but wasn't very impressed with their gin & tonic. It was like drinking a beaker of paint thinner. My friend Sarah can whip up awesome G&Ts in the most rugged of surroundings, so maybe i've been spoilt by her special skills!

Right now i'm sitting on the steps of the Namibian National Museum. A little street boy just joined me for a bit, dressed literally in rags and definitely in need of a bath. He asked me about my phone, and I explained to him what the internet was. He earned N$10 by letting me take his picture. I was struck by his intelligence and fluency in English.

The Museum is a bit of a relic in its own right. They could do so much with with it if they just had a bit of funding. Definitely on the list of potential projects for the MIAA.

Now I'm getting hungry, it must be lunchtime. While I go looking for lunch, I'll leave you with some random pics of the guest lodge and museum...

Chat later,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Poolside in Windhoek

Well, dawn finally broke this morning to put an end to a very long night. Gee, I was glad to see the first hint of light on the eastern horizon! We were stuck on the bus at the Namibian border post for about 2 hours - something to do with delays over declaring the new bus engine at customs... (Intercape, when your job revolves entirely around getting a bus back and forth across a border, you really should be getting good at it by now ...)

Ivan got off at a stop somewhere in the desert about 2 hours before Windhoek, clutching his box of fish. He's a really nice guy, I hope he emails me. He's back home to join his family for a memorial service - 1 year since his brother died in a motorcycle accident. Very sad.

I was met at Windhoek by the driver from the Chameleon Guest Lodge, and that's where I am now. It is crazy hot (being the desert and all), and I would probably be quite irritable if it wasn't for this bottle of ice cold Windhoek Lager. First thing I did was sleep for an hour or two, then wandered into town. Unfortunately, everything within walking distance closes at 1pm on Saturdays, so there were shutters slamming down all around me. If I had more time I might have gone on a safari, or to Walvis Bay or something... Next time ...

Meanwhile, I have no choice but to sit on the grass with a cold beer, and watch the scantily clad bodies frolicking in the pool... :o)

I did get an Namibian SIM card for my phone, but couldn't get the GPRS working. Which is why i'm writing this in the internet cafe. So i'll have to wait till i'm on the way home to post my pictures from my phone.

Meanwhile, I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!


Friday, November 21, 2008


Made it through customs, and a full night of travel lies ahead. Arrive in Windhoek tomorrow morning.

I may have to get a Nam SIM card to continue posting. Hope to chat soon!


Border post ...

In line at the Namibian border post, on a very warm, sultry evening....

Evening draws in ...

Well it's about 7:20 pm SA time, and the bus just keeps on going.

The landscape has changed quite dramatically, having become mountainous with a very jagged horizon. The sun has just sunk below the peaks, and I think we'll be losing the light soon.

The hostess came by with a small plastic cup of coffee about an hour ago, and stopped to chat for a bit. She, like Ivan here, seems to delight in calling me "Mister Anderson". Seems like The Matrix will never die.

I've got 2 books keeping me company. This is my big chance to get past page 7 of Wilbur Smith's "The Leopard Hunts in Darkness". I really love all his books, although the first chapter of this one was pretty horrific. If anyone knows how to rip off an elephant's legs, it's Wilbur.

The other book is an archaeological one - a new publication bearing the fruits of a research initiative at Wits uni. It's called "500 Years Rediscovered", and it is pretty good. And I'm not just saying that because I co-authored one of the chapters... It's in Exclusive Books now folks!

So, evening draws in and i'm resigning myself to another few hours of driving before the next stop. It's quite chilly now, so I'm glad I kept my hoodie with me.

Cell reception is becoming intermittent, but I'll post again when I can. Glad you are with me! :o)


Somewhere in the Karroo...

We just started moving again after another rest stop at some unpronouncable place in the Karroo.

I've got chatting to the chap sitting next to me - a Namibian dude called Ivan. His only piece of luggage seems to be a big box of fish. Hope it doesn't start stinking ...

Managed to sleep for an hour or so, but the loudspeaker booming over my head is gonna put paid to much more of that - the soundtrack to the budget movie they've just put on the TV...

My fingers are uncontrollably reaching toward the xanax in my backpack ...

Rest Stop in Malmesbury

Stocked up on Coke and chocolate. Wasn't expecting the prayers over the intercom from the stewardess... Something they're not telling me??

The bus

Yay, it's a double decker! No bacon sandwiches though ...

Cape Town Bus Depot

And so my journey begins!

Somehow I already managed to get on the wrong bus between Claremont and Rondebosch - still in my own neighbourhood. Oh dear, I've got to find my way to Namibia! Doesn't bode well.

Luckily, two lovely ladies on the bus sussed out my foolish mistake, and told me to get off and walk to another bus stop...

Anyway, bus leaves in about 20 mins. I hope its a double decker, so I can sit on top! Quite excited now, while fully aware that the novelty will wear off after the first of many, many hours...

Now, time for a bacon sandwich ...


Thursday, November 20, 2008

First one

Hmmmm, not sure about this whole blogging lark. So much pressure to say clever and interesting things, which is way beyond my abilities at 11:00pm on a Thursday night. Or pretty much ever, come to think of it.

Gotta go to bed fairly soon as I have an early start in the morning. Got a bus ticket from Cape Town to Windhoek. Always wanted to see the west coast, but have mixed feelings about "seeing" it constantly throughout a 22 hour bus ride... Most of which will be at night...

One night in Namibia (was that a song?) and then back on Sunday. Wish my iPod was working... A few good books must be taken! And I might even make some progress with my own book while i'm at it! Not sure if these fancy coaches have power sockets for laptops tho... Anyone travelled with Intercape? I saw one of them crashed in the Karroo last week. hmmm .....

Well, i'll try to upload any pics I take, and round about the 7th hour on the bus i'll be ready to chew off my own tongue, so be prepared for another blog out of sheer desperation!'

Nite! ;o)