… these posts will be alternated with endurance riding post, so nobody gets bored 😎
Two mornings after my first endurance ride …
By Monday my thigh muscles were sore beyond anything I could remember. I was determined never to suffer like this again on another ride and began to work on my own fitness. Swimming without the use of your arms will build up your leg muscles. Find something that you like at least a little bit or you will not keep up with it.
In the meantime I had to find a house for us to live in and appointments with real estate agents were frequent. Rent prices in Windhoek are high due to the artificial shortage of available flats and houses for rent. Good for some people, hard for all others. It was the year 2011 and the rainy season in this dry country had been extraordinary. The rivers were running until May and I did not yet fully appreciate how special this phenomenon of water in rivers was to Namibians. One day I was going to look at an apartment near the Klein Windhoek River and the agent stood as if mesmerized staring into the flow of brownish water.
“What’s there?” I asked.
He glanced at me briefly with a look normally reserved for those slow on the uptake, to instantly turn back to gazing at the river. “It’s running, the river is running!”
“Alright, yes. There’s water flowing.” After several such incidents I finally began to appreciate how special any body of water is in this drought prone country.
Namibia could be categorized as ‘Africa light or for beginners’. Most things function all the time, there is peace in the country and the roads are good compared to many African countries. People are friendly and the suburbs for the affluent upper crust could be anywhere in Europe, except for the high walls and electric fences keeping the residents safe from burglaries. All this orderliness and functionality can lure people into negligence. Armed robberies do happen, just like in New York or Lagos. Namibia holds the sad world record in the largest gap between rich and poor. With 80% unemployment the largest part of Windhoek is taken up by the tin shacks in and around Katutura, a suburb where the black population was forced to live under South African rule. Katutura means: ‘the place where we don’t want to be.’ Still people leave their villages in this vast country to seek work in Windhoek, most of them will only join the unemployed and frustrated. The government which is identical with the SWAPO party pays lip service to these and many other problems. 23 years after Independence some action would be nice to follow. In this respect Namibia is a truly African country with all the cliches: corrupt leaders, corrupt anybody else in public service who can get away with it together with a severe lack in performance or standards which nobody calls for as they have not seen it since independence.
Namibia is also the holiday destination for many because of the unique thrills and adventure to be discovered in the desert, the wildlife, hunting, star gazing and many other past times that are on offer. It is not a cheap destination though a bit less expensive than exlusive Botswana. Luckily, camping is abundant and offers people on a smaller buget alternatives to the beautiful but also expensive lodges.
In the meantime I carried on riding lovely Asjas in the mountains of Elisenheim guest farm. It is a privilege to ride in such breath taking scenery and watch the black eagles soar over the deep gorge at the large dam. Mundane things also had to be taken care of like taking shirts to a laundry. My dear friend Heinrich took me to a dry cleaner as I am not too fond of ironing I was keen to check it out. In the shop Heinrich addresssed the lady behind the counter:
“Good morning. How long will it take for these shirts to be ironed?”
The shop assistant looked at my shirts and replied: “Thirty dollars,” and went back to checking some paperwork.
I blinked, and wondered what was going on. Heinrich however was seasoned in the ways of Namibians and unfazed went on to ask: “Ok, how much will it cost?”
Without looking up the shop assistant said: “Half an hour.”
“Perfect. Do I pay now or later?”
“Later.” She took the shirts from the counter and passed them on to a girl in the back.
Half an hour later I had finished my shopping and collected nicely ironed shirts for $NAM 30.