01 September 2009


From makeshift soccer games to sand boarding the massive sand dunes that surround the country, skydiving over the desert, or even driving speedy cabs along the shoreline, Namibians are people in constant motion. They contrast their barren surroundings and make even the smallest towns seem sizable with bustle. In between the towns is when I become aware that I am in one of the least populated countries in the world.

The cab ride from Walvis Bay up the coast to Swakopmund is one of my more vivid memories from the entire voyage, perhaps because I became surrounded by 360 degrees of sand instead of water.

Only separated by a thin strip of highway, the white beach merges into skyscraping sand dunes. We travel a half hour before seeing any verve; finally we notice a tattered ship rocking next to a sandbar. Our cab driver crushes our excitement about a potential pirate ship, or signs of any life in general, when he tells us that the ship has been wrecked for more than two years.

We zoom further North through sand and dust clouds to arrive in Swakopmund, a beach resort spot with no tourists. During the week to follow hundreds of American students would mob the town’s variety of hostels, shoreline market, and three small bars that quickly ran out of tequila but seemed to produce an endless stream of Jagermeister. Once a province owned by Germany. Namibia maintains many of its colonial roots.

At sunset we walk past half-timber style buildings to The Tug Restaurant pier, which I later read about in a SkyAfrica on a plane in South Africa. The magazine rates the eatery as one of the top ten in the world to enjoy the sunset. It’s truly breathtaking. It’s so mesmerizing, in fact, that all I can write in my journal that night is picturesque pier.

Almost a year later those are still the only words I can think of.

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