Day 11 – July 24
(CHRIS) Once our morning rituals were complete, we paid for our campsite and left Ai-Ais. We had figured out by then that there was really no road access to the canyon from here even tho it was technically in the park. The river bed was there and the opposite bank had a 100 ft cliff, but the best of the canyon could only be accessed by leaving the park and re-entering at Hobas to the north.
So we drove the dusty desert road thru small rocky crags until we reached the shady grasses of Hobas. Our receipt for camping included access, so we did not have to pay more. We drove to the first overlook just down the road.
(SAM) Fish food canyon was like a smaller version of the Grand Canyon but it was cooler because it was in Namibia, and we flew a plane 30 thousand miles to see it. There were some cool birds there. They were black and had fire orange eyes. I don’t think they could blink. We threw pieces of bread and the birds would catch them out of mid air while diving down into the canyon.
Over the picnic tables there were neat thatched roofs. Chris was especially fond of these. A bunch of tourists began to arrive all singing cherry Garcia songs so we drove to the next overlook. Then we drove to another overlook and so on and so on. At one point, we hiked out onto some boulders even though we did not have a permit, and Paul and Sam marked their territory. The terrain was just chuncky monkey broken rocks as far as the eye could see. I thought nothing could live in the fish food canyon, but we did find life in a variety of shapes and sizes. It was here that we were first introduced to the springbok, one of the many variety of deer-like creatures we have seen. The springbok is a deer with a little bit of Tigger mixed in. It has stripes and is very bouncy. We also spied a chubby hubby little creature called a dassie. It is like a two foot long slug with fur. Chris threw rocks at it to try and make it move for the camera, but it just sat there and looked at us.
Paul then drove the mostly plastic asia along the rocky road of desolation for hours. The two veteran T-weeds began to abandon all hope, but Paul persevered. He drove us through hell and back again, but along the way we discovered the beautiful silver and gold quiver tree. This tree, also called the kokerboom tree, can grow right out of nothing but rocks. The San people call the quiver tree the “click click quiver click tree click”. They hallowed out the branches and used them to hold their little click poison click arrows click. We had our fun with one of the kokerbooms, growing there solitary and defiant in the seemingly overwhelming desolation, click. Next stop, Keetmanshoop in the hopes of finding Mass, food, money,
(PAUL) But first, before Keetmanshoop, we had to eat lunch. We approached the Hobas gate at the North End of Fish River Canyon and they had a nice campsite area. There was a lot of green grass – something we haven’t seen in quite some time. You see, most of the campsites are very sandy and dusty – like the dust bowl.
While I went to the ablution blocks, Chris and Sam made a delicious lunch of tuna fish sandwich (dolphin-free by the way for you environmental-conscious readers), chips, pickles, and ginger beer. During our meal, we saw a woman close-by, sunning herself while writing in her journal. We had set up our lunch area around the pool and she just happened to be within range.
I plotted and schemed (with some help from Chris) how to approach this young breath of fresh air. Basically, after lunch, I went up to her and asked which tour group she was traveling with in Africa. From then on the words flowed like the Zambeze (sp?) River. Her name was Suzanna; she was from Canada. She and her boyfriend (oh well – can’t win them all) were taking an overland tour of Africa for three months. She was very friendly and helpful with the advice on our upcoming sites. She then introduced me to her friend, Neisha. Chris says “Neisha” is Canadian for “Nice.” And she was nice. Dark looks, friendly, good personality, and also helpful with advice. She also was into bird watching.
Then we had to go, so we said, “goodbye” to Neisha. As I go to unlock the door, EGAD – the door won’t open. To my horror, there in Neisha watching this strapping American thwarted by a cheap car door. Not the best way to impress a woman. Turns out, the driver’s side door is broken and would not open. I had to crawl through the passenger side. As of this date, the door is still broken. So we drove off for Keetmanshoop.
(SAM) We found a “neisha” camp site and set up the tent in dust and sand as usual. Chris went to find the pool and Paul and I went into town to find gas, money, food, and the Catholic church. Everything was going well and we even found a “BOB” ATM that would take Paul’s bank card. As soon as Paul picked up his 1000 namibian dollars, three men came out of nowhere right behind us. We both bailed out like frightened springbok. We fled so fast that we thought we might have left something important behind (receipt). We hung around and realized that one guy was a slobbering drunk. The two men holding up the drunk were also helping him withdraw money from his account. Once we made sure it was not Paul’s account, we moved on.
We found the Catholic church after talking to fifteen people who told us we could not miss it. Then we hit pay dirt. When you hear the word pizza, you think Italy, and when you hear the word Hawiian, you think of girls is grass skirts. But we found the perfect hawiian pizza in a little town in Namibia in a pizza joint run by germans. It is a hard saying, who can hear it, but it is true. The girl who took our order was begging Paul to settle down and marry her, but he would have none of it, unlike the former casanova who will remain nameless. It is a good thing Chris was not there because she might have become violent. We took our pizza and ran.
Back at the campsite, we awoke Chris who told us that the pool where he planned to go skinny dipping was just a water holding tank. We inhaled our hawaiian pizza, realized that life is good and slipped into the land of vivid malaria pill induced dreams.