A Flamboyance of Flamingos and it’s flippin’ cold! - Day 330
We are off to Namibia for about 10 days and was expecting it to be hot..hot..hot. Instead we saw a flamboyance of Flamingos and realised it's flippin' cold!
We arrived at O. R. Tambo International Airport in plenty of time. This airport originally was named Jan Smuts International Airport, then in 1994 was renamed Johannesburg International Airport. The ANC government at that time implemented a policy of not naming airports after politicians. That didn’t stick for long as just 12 years later the airport was renamed again. This time after Oliver Reginald Tembo, a former ANC President. Tim and I realised that in the UK our Airports are all named based on their location. The only partial exception is Liverpool John Lennon Airport. As we arrived a Porter in an orange polo shirt came up to assist us with the self-service machine. This so-called Porter obviously thought we looked like a couple of naïve travellers. After he showed us where passport control was, he suggested that we paid him 200 rands for his service. 200 rand? You’ve got to be joking. £10 for less than 5 minutes for something we are very capable of sorting out for ourselves? Tim offered him 20 rands. When he complained, Tim grinned and said: “Take it or leave it”. He quickly took the money and left. Haha – lesson learnt for us. We arrived at Walvis Bay Airport. We had done little research about this place so no expectations, however landing in what seemed like a middle of a desert was surprising. This particular trip was based on a whim. Our friendAnna’s neighbour in New Zealand encouraged us to visit her homeland, so it was on our list. By the way, we are now in Namibia. Within a few minutes, Emsie arrived to collect us. She and her husband Henk are old neighbours of our friend Sue who we’ve been with recently and they own a BnB in the next town north from here where we’ll be staying for a week. Emsie very kindly drove us around a bit, taking us to the new container terminal that opened recently which will be able to double its capacity for international trade. With its huge blue container cranes constructed on reclaimed land, I can imagine that it has dramatically changed the landscape from a nice refined bay to an industrial hub. Interestingly the new terminal is being constructed by China Harbour Engineering Company. No surprise there, the Chinese do seem to be involved heavily in major construction in Africa. Sadly, they don’t use local labour but bring their own staff over from China. Our next stop was to see a flamboyance of flamingos. What a sight! Tim popped out of the car and just missed capturing a wonderful sight of one of these graceful birds flying, with its black and deep pink wings spanning out and its long pink legs dangling down. I have a sneaky suspicion that Emsie loves to come here to watch these wonderful birds. Emsie then drove the 40km very straight road with desert either side up to Swakopmund. Eventually, we saw the town in the distance and arrived at their lovely BnB. Our balcony gives us a view of the beach and the roaring waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Surprisingly, the weather is a bit nippy. One thing we were expecting was nice hot weather, however, Emsie explained that in this part of Namibia it doesn’t warm up until December, whereas inland at the capital Windhoek, the temperature is 10 degrees hotter. Good job we have our puffer jackets. I think we’re going to need those for the next week! We did have a walk down to the nearby mall in the evening (felt nice and safe even though it was dark, unlike yesterday). We found out that it was nearly Christmas time! What? Christmas decorations in October? Pleeeease!