Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Adventure Continues

What IS this place anyway?

Five days ago we stayed at a campsite in north-western Namibia and I got to hold a Meerkat (cue "The Lion King", Timon!) The local springbok wandered through the bar and lounge, and I showered that night in the desert under the stars while a local tribe played music nearby. The next morning we visited rock paintings over 2000 years old. To stand in front of these rudimentary yet somehow sophisticated paintings that have literally survived ages was a humbling experience.

The next night we stayed at another site with an elephant watering hole. Also, with about 30 resident elephants. We stood transfixed (and upwind!) while they drank their fill, splashed about, and had dust baths. Babies nursed and the mothers broke branches from nearby trees. That day, we saw different ancient rock engravings which depicted the transformation of shamans and healers into various animals -- giraffes, springbok, cheetahs, lions.

Camping beside the Zambezi River means that we must be on the alert for roaming crocodiles and hippos, which snort and snarl all night like a band of giant, angry, aquatic pigs. Driving through the desert and countryside, we stumble upon bands of elephants foraging for lunch. Kudu and springbok bound across the streets, and warthogs trot alongside the tarmac as we speed by.

The other day we ventured to see the famous Victoria Falls. I can finally say without a doubt that I have finally seen a natural waterfall which dwarfs Niagara -- and yes, I am still a proud Canadian.

It's hot here, impossibly so. We have left Namibia for Botswana. In the last two weeks, we have seen and done more than I can possibly describe. The contrast of natural awesomeness and devastating poverty and desperation is, at times, overwhelming. My mind reels with the complexity of it all; it is impossible to comprehend, even when you find it staring you in the face.

I am seeing Africa as best I can, but I cannot begin to understand it.

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