Monday, February 1, 2010

The drive to Swakupmund

Some of you might have known that this past weekend I was planning on going to Swakupmund, the closest town with another volunteer in it. After not being able to get in contact with her Thursday and knowing that I will probably be going next weekend since a bunch of vols from the north are trying to come down, I decided to just wait but asked one of my co-teachers how I would get there just for the sake of knowing. This co-teacher then came to me at around 11AM and said “you leave at 12!” so I got permission to skip out early on our goodbye party (which I found out later was also a welcome party for new teachers- i.e. me) and packed in about 10 minutes. Then it was a matter of piling into the cab of the pickup truck belonging to my neighbor the High School principal (the same knight in shining armor who broke me out of my room last week) next to an unfortunately large woman with her 5 year old daughter. Only unfortunately large because I had to sit in the middle and wrap my legs around the stick shift on a manual car, you can imagine my comfort.
The drive there was pretty uneventful. The first 2/3 of the journey is through desert and when I say desert, I mean desert. It is all sand and sun baked rocked, and some sparse grasses (which also look completely sun-baked but are apparently abundant enough to support a pretty big population of springbok and kudu). While driving though, after about an hour you look up and the atmosphere has completely, suddenly changed. The sky full of grey clouds and the air is perceptibly more moist, almost like a really light fog. If you look down there are the most bizarre plants- it’s pretty much still only sand but there are clumps that look like mounds over graves that are densely green. There are no green plants anywhere except on these bumps, it’s very weird.
We drove through Henties Bay, a cute small costal town and got onto the tar road to Swakupmund, so the last leg of the trip was much faster. It’s all along the coast too, which is gorgeous, desert straight to the sea, interrupted only by sporadic abandoned ships stranded during floods.
And then we arrived in Swakupmund. At this point, I still hadn’t been able to get in contact with Jana, but decided even if she wasn’t there I could get a spot at a hostel and enjoy the weekend. Still, I went to her hostel and some 6th grade girls said they knew her and could show us where she was. I showed up at her school’s all-day athletic competition just as it was wrapping up to discover she had also been trying to call and text me and was not at all upset to see me just show up. Phew.

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