A nice surprise
09.04.2013 61 °F
Docking at Walvis Bay’s industrial harbor didn’t promise much. We took the shuttle bus into town, passing middle class houses with attractive little gardens but no one in them. Once in town we walked on its eight streets past shops and restaurants and churches shut up tightly. It looked like the Rapture had indeed come and sucked every living creature - and every car and truck - from the place. The Nokia store was about the only one with a window display - of hookahs. Apparently it is too cold for folks to go out now and folks stay inside on Sundays.
At 5:15 we set out in busses and 4x4s for the dunes, huge sweeping hills of sculptured sand. And someplace in the desert we stopped beside silk tents and walked toward African women singing and ululating, trays of champagne, camels available for rides, a national chorus singing moving anthems, and teens playing marimbas. Some of us climbed up the dunes and stood silhouetted against the sky, and as the sun fell behind the dunes, the luminaria that covered them were lit as were the fires in pits surrounded by pillows. During dinner with our friends Gail and Togo West who joined the cruise in Cape Town fire twirlers twirled. A weirdly empty town followed by a magnificently full desert...
The next day we took a small boat from the harbor to the ocean. The captain, Sanel, was an intelligent kind naturalist (the only blonde sea captain in the port, she says) who knows her animals by name. Up close we saw pink pelicans, Nelson, the gull who is Sanel’s co-captain, seals, two kinds of dolphin, and terns and birds galore. Junior, the seal, came on board to get his fish and a pat; Sanel called the pelicans, including Lady Gaga, in the air and they swooped down to get fed too. We had a feast of fresh oysters, oryx sandwiches, hard boiled eggs and chocolates. It was wonderful!!