Day 1 - Entering Windhoek, Namibia

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
1
5
33
Trip End Jul 17, 2013


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Sunday, June 16, 2013

 Well, I've arrived! Finally got my first glimpse of Africa as the plane descended toward the Windhoek airport. Awaiting my arrival was a man, Pedros (if I understood him correctly), holding a sign that said, in large print, "Polytechnic of Namibia" and in teeny tiny print at the very top "Ashley". We walked to the car, and I proceeded to move towards the right hand side of the car to get in the passenger side. I heard him laugh a bit and tell me that that side is his... Oops! Silly American I am.

We proceeded to Windhoek, which was about a 20 minute drive from the airport.  While we drove I played 20 questions with Pedros about animals, culture, and life here. He informed me that the wildlife is everywhere and could be seen at any moment. The first animals I saw were a group if impalas. They were quite far away, so I wasn't able to get a picture. Not long after that several dark four legged figures ran across the road (and by several I mean about 20). Pedros excitedly told me they were baboons, and he slowed down so I could attempt to grab a picture or two. I continued to keep my eyes peeled for wildlife, and we saw a few more baboons further down the road.

Soon we entered town. Pedros informed me about the separation of upper and lower classes via sides of town (East and West). He informed me that some people don't have houses, so they make their own shelter in allies to get by. I asked if he liked living here and he replied, "Well, yes, but if I had the opportunity to go elsewhere and have a better life, I would." Despite not being able to understand him half of the time, I really like Pedros. 

Pedros helped me check in to the hotel and left. I couldn't believe how nice the place was. Two beds with cute little pictures of meerkats , a couch with a cute little picture of meerkats, a desk with internet cable, a balcony, and, most importantly at that moment, the HUGE shower. Yes, I'm proud to say, I no longer smell. 

I was hungry, so I wandered to the front desk and asked where I could get food on my own. She told me that the restaurant opened up in an hour (it was about noon at that point). I decided I would fall asleep for half an hour and head to lunch. 

I woke up to a phone call, and a woman named Sophia informed me she had been nocking at my door and that she was here to escort me into town and show me around. She said she would be at my door once more in a couple of seconds, and she sure didn't waste any time. (Turns out I had slept until almost 5:00) In the short while it took her to get to my room, I managed to lose a contact on the floor (thankfully it was an old one), and was in complete disarray with one shoe on and one shoe off and unable to see out of one eye when she knocked. I then had to attempt to unlock the door (door locks with a key on both sides), and FINALLY let her. I had already forgotten her name... I was so foggy and embarrassed (and nervous!). Finally, when I became more coherent, we left. She took me to a store and I bought an adapter, as none of mine fit the outlets here (more about that later) and also water. 

Then, we traveled to the parliament building in Windhoek. Located next to it is the Parliament Garden, where we walked and took pictures.  So many beautiful flowers! I don't think I have ever seen such vibrant plants in my life. 
  
And the "tunnels" that were made of vinery were outstanding.  

We journeyed towards the large German church that overlooked the garden.


We then went a little ways down the road and viewed another German statue.  

Finally, we returned to the hotel's restaurant in search for dinner. Sophia asked if we could see a menu, and the cook informed us that we just order whatever we want. Well, that didn't help my indecisive tendencies, so finally I just said chicken and pasta. We waited for the food to get done as we sipped sparkling grape juice (Africa earned some more awesome points!). The food was decent, but I could tell I wasn't used to the way the chicken was cooked. 

Sophia went home, and now I am spending the remainder of the night in my room, attempting to get the electricity to work with my computer. Because of the weight of my converter, the connection gets pulled out frequently, so I've come up with a few solutions (the best and least successful one shown).  It seems that as long as I have the current on the high setting, the computer charges no problem. The only issue is that the instruction manual for the converter tells me not to use the high setting on electronics. Let's just hope my computer doesn't blow up any time soon ;-)

As for now, this girl is off to bed. Breakfast starts at 7:00, Sophia is picking me up around 10:00 to get a cell phone, etc., lunch is at 1:00, orientation from 2:00-4:00, and then supper and who knows what else. Hoping we drive around and explore a bit more, but since it is winter here it gets dark (and cold!) by 6:00, so that makes things a bit difficult. Maybe I can convince her to take me elephant searching ;-)
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