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in the land of brangelina…

So, Saturday arrived and it was time for me to board a plane for Namibia. i was flying South African Airlines. It would never be my preference to fly an airline that was not US or Western European, but sometimes you do not choose your own way, someone else does. Such was the case on this cloudless day.

As we climbed out of South African airspace headed through Botswana and into Namibia I had the pleasure of meeting a Canadian chap who was in Africa to open a Uranium mine. Now, I must admit, this was the first uranium miner I had ever met. The exchange of conversation covered everything from hockey to nuclear power. He told me a little about where we were headed and clued me in to the fact that the airport in Windhoek (pronounced vin-took) was 40 km out of town in the desert. He did not exaggerate in the least. Usually there are hotels, gas stations, businesses, etc around an airport. Here? Nada, nothing, zilch…unless you count sand and brush. It was the most bizarre thing I have seen.

Namibia has been in the news of late because Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie bought a place here and then adopted a child. Currently, Vin Diesel and another actor/actress are here filming a movie. It is a fascinating place. Desert in the center, Tropical forest in the north, and arid mountains in the south make up Namibia, only a nation since 1990.

The German influence here is unmistakable in the architecture and style, having been a German colony until WW2. Now, streets carry the name Fidel Castro Blvd and Robert Mugabe Avenue. The communists and dictators were influential here for a time. Now, it is a tranquil democracy and a model among African independent states.

On Sunday, we went on a game drive outside of town. I never knew giraffes, wildebeest, oryx, zebra and their like lived in arid, dry locales such as this, but they do. I saw them up close and personally.

My hosts were Schalk and Monica Pinnear and they were fabulous. In fact, Schalk looks like Sean Connery to me and on Monday as we walked around town I thought I was with a celebrity. Schalk is very well known here and casts a striking pose. We definitely were noticed and spoken to by many. Their daughters, Carina & Loise, are master equestrians and Loise is on the national team that competed in last year’s World Cup.

I loved my time here. My next post will share more.

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