Saturday, 18 February 2017

DAY 4, Sunday, 18th of Feb

Farewell to Cape Town, a belated flight to Windhoek, no luggage and rain!

A howling wind kept us awake during most of the night. To my eternal surprise my husband suggests another walk up a hill!! So we take a cab and drive up to Signal Hill which allows fantastic views to the coastline and Cape Town itself. I ask the taxi driver when the last fires here destroyed all the trees and bushes – the answer is: not now! I ask him what all this storm was about last night – the answer is: what wind? So far to my fragile attempts to communicate with the locals. We walk along the ridge of the hill and pass a few Muslim graveyards, a deserted model gliding strip and Sunday strollers with their picnic boxes.

But for us its time to say Good Bye, pack our belongings and go out to the airport to board our flight to Windhoek, Namibia. A new country for both of us. But from here on luck is not in our favour: we sit in the aircraft waiting whilst I am fighting for space in my seat with a snoring and gorilla looking fat guy next to me. After one hour delay without being told the reason for it, we finally take off and catch a last sight of Table mountain, this time covered with its notorious white “table cloth”, a long band of clouds. How lucky have we been yesterday! But that was yesterday and today is today. So when we get our food (“here is your seafood meal, but actually its vegetarian!”) Phil's table is loose and coffee drips all over our cloths. But that’s not all: opening his pen to write, it explodes and leaves us covered in black ink!

Image result for windhoek in rain
Windhoek in stormy weather
(sadly from now on I have to revert
 to using a couple of internet photos as all my other world'tour pictures are in Bristol and we are still here in Burma)
Then suddenly the sky blackens and we see a strikes of lightening and disappear into pitch-black clouds. We land in a downpour of rain and its freezing cold. Welcome to Namibia! Well, this is indeed VERY different to whatever I must have imagined to arrive in a desert country.

The next experience of Africa follows shortly: we all wait for at least 40min at an empty luggage belt that occasionally starts excitedly to move but not to produce anything. Where is our luggage? It finally turns out that that Namibian Airline has offloaded all of our luggage in Cape Town allegedly due to “weight problems” – well the guy next to me certainly had one. Now chaos breaks out. Nobody has a clue as to what should happen next and the airline boy only shows a stoic face not knowing how to handle a twenty angry passengers. We finally leave the airport having filled out a report file and move on to our hired car. Well, its not quite a posh Mercedes. A tiny dodgy looking white mobile box will be our vehicle for the next two weeks of exploring Namibia. That might become very interesting. Driving for 45 minutes through heavy rain we finally arrive in Windhoek city. The town seems to be deserted and we have trouble to find our “Chameleon Backpackers Lodge”. Exhausted and relieved we are finally let into to quirky lodge and “warm up” (its freezing cold!) with a good local cider.

18 Feb/Day 4

Well we didn’t get to Robben Island after a night made sleepless by howling mountain winds which made us nervous both about the comfort of the 45 min. boat journey or even the possibility that the return might be cancelled thus  risking missing our flight to Windhoek – which, as will later be revealed, we rather wish we had!

Anyway, a walk on Signal Hill overlooking the city and adjacent coastal resorts was a great substitute offering quite different vistas of the encircling mountains.

The day began to go downhill on the way to the airport Allie revealed she had forgotten to bring her driving licence, meaning on our several planned car hirings would be with me alone as approved driver. This had happened before on our US trip and led to some fractious exchanges then. I had reminded her several times to pack the document for the RTW trip but…..This made me irritable, a feeling compounded when our newly set up iPass internet access failed to work as advertised at Capetown Airport. After a 40min delay we took off for Windhoek squashed in to our seat row by a snoring 150kg man and at the end of the two hour flight descended through a violent electrical storm to be told (after further delay) that our bags had been offloaded in Cape Town due to excess aircraft weight (probably extra fuel to allow for the storm). They would, we were told, arrive next morning, but meanwhile Air Namibia didn’t feel inclined to be of much help.

Into town in torrential rain to find downtown Windhoek looking dreary and frankly threatening. After a bit of a trail around we found Chameleon Backpackers – an oasis of hippie life but with a nice bar & pool and quiet , clean rooms.A bad night for Allie, disturbed by my snoring, I suspect.

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