Day 15 – a friend for Jessica

Another early start this morning – we had a major day of driving ahead of us. We had well over 500 km to get through, and only 60 of those were on sealed roads! Lots of time to catch up on sleep today on the truck, I thought!
Not that I could sleep of course – I got far too much sleep the night before to nod off; plus the road was pretty bumpy. We drove for hours and hours with nothing much interesting out the window until the last hour or so.

Because we had so much ground to cover, Misheck planned to have us eat on the truck while he was driving. Not that we had much else to do! So, we stopped to get a takeaway lunch at a little campground/ restaurant. 

First we dashed to the grocery store across the street to stock up on drinks. There was a curtain in front of the beer section that I assumed was there to hide the beer from the underage consumers – given the signage everywhere stating they wouldn’t sell to under 18. But, when Grant pulled aside the curtain to load up on beer, the lady who ran the store came running over scolding like a magpie: “we DO NOT sell beer on a SUNDAY!!” Oops… remind us to scold Misheck for specifically telling us we could go buy beer because we had a fridge that evening! 

Of course, one by one, the entire group did precisely the same thing we did. I’m surprised we didn’t give that poor old lady a stroke! We bought non alcoholic drinks and some snacks and hightailed it across the street to get our take away.

It was definitely the highlight of the drive as they had a tame springbok running around. We patted it – so soft and so cute! Jess is now somewhat questioning her newfound taste for springbok! It was even playing soccer with some of the kids there – it would butt the ball around a bit with its head and horns. Very very adorable!! 

We tried the “best apple crumble in Namibia” and found it decent but noting to write home about. (Although I guess technically I AM writing home about it!) We found out in later days that this is a claim made by pretty much every restaurant that serves apple cake/crumble. We also discovered that the restaurant would sell us beer as take away. Go figure. Grant was eating apple crumble and drinking a beer – can’t even imagine that particular taste sensation!

We finally – FINALLY rolled into desert camp around four. It was a supremely cool tented camp in the middle of nowhere! We were warned to to leave the windows of the tent unzipped as sandstorms can blow up out of nowhere and fill the tent with fine sand and dust. Having experienced a lot of that lovely dust on the drive, we heeded that advice!

The tents themselves were pretty cool. We had a self contained kitchen outside on the patio – complete with BBQ. We chucked our drinks in a fridge that smelled like someone had stored a dead animal inside for too long. The tent itself was large and Jess had a futon to sleep on – though when it was pulled out it was a bit awkward to get around. (That’s a bit of a theme for this trip unfortunately!) 

The tent had a cement floor and canvas walls. It also had a big bathroom with a big shower. Tony and Eva (who always seem to have water issues with their room) had a mini flood in their room that took awhile to sort out. 

Our view was spectacular – desert as far as the eye could see, with a few hills scattered across the horizon to catch the light and give the photographers something to shoot at! 

Once we were settled, we headed over to the main lodge to relax on the patio by the pool. I tried unsuccessfully to get onto wifi some of us could get on some couldn’t. Jess jumped into the teeny – very cold – pool and froze herself for a bit. 

Then we watched an absolutely amazing sunset. African sunsets all seem to be incredible but I think there is something particularly special about a desert sunset. Of course, I took a million photos, but missed the first bit because my camera was WAY back at the room and I had to fetch it when the sun started setting. Oops. 

That evening we joined up with the remainder of our group – four Italians and two French Canadians. They had opted to do the two week version of the tour and they were all a bit astounded we’d already been at it for a week! 

Jess made fast friends with the 14 year old French Canadian girl Alexandra who speaks very little English. She speaks some Spanish so it’s amusing to watch two Canadian kids trying to communicate with three languages between them. Jess knows very little French. They are making it work though.

We jumped into the truck to head to another lodge where they served the dinner. It was a ten-fifteen minute drive and only then did we find out that we were eating OUTSIDE! None of us was properly dressed for dinner outdoors. Brrrrrrr. 

The restaurant was beautiful though. There was a waterhole slong side the deck with a spotlight trained on it. (Didn’t see much though) the deck was covered with tables a lit with candles. The sky was alive with stars. So so pretty! So so FREEZING! 

The main BBQ area had four stations where you could have different dishes cooked to your taste. Many of us made a beeline for the game section where they had eight choices of wild game in smallish pieces so you could try a few. I chose hartebeest, blesbok, and eland. Blesbok wasn’t favourite. Jess tried a few meats as well and buzzed around with Alexandra trying everything on the massive buffet.

We headed back to our tents to have a hot shower and warm up! We also had to get ready for the really early start tomorrow – 6 am on the truck – need to get to the dunes before its baking hot!

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