July 16, 2013

Days 4-5 (auspicious beginnings)

"Sick, no money, rain, rainbow, rain, wet, hail, cold, still very very sick," is how my journal reads from these first few days on the road.  After a few days in winterish Cape Town, our overlanding trip finally departed, amidst torrential downpour, on the morning of June 2, 2013.  

Within the first hour, there was the distinctive pop of one of our massive truck tires.  Our guide called it, "auspicious beginnings," as we delayed an hour on the side of the road.  He also said it was good luck when we passed a goat giving birth several days later.  Clearly a person whose glass isn't just half-full, but spills over with unrelenting optimism.  

Our truck, on sunnier days

The trip itinerary for this first day had said: 
"Leaving Cape Town, we head north through the wine growing regions. We cross the Piketberg Pass into the rich fruit growing area of Citrusdal. Our first night is spent in a picturesque campsite surrounded by local wine farms. This afternoon we have the opportunity to sample some of the nectar of the gods or to explore the surrounding beautiful Cederberg Mountains"

Which really sounds like the most lovely of days, and was true in at least some ways, like driving north through the wine growing regions.  

That happened

Although the scenery was more often this

And I'm sure the campsite would have been "picturesque" if it hadn't started hailing when we were setting up our tents.  After running back to the truck to shelter from pelting ice-bombs, I finally emerged to find that the inside of my tent had become a lake that no mopping could fully drain.  To attack the last remaining puddles, I had to resort to sopping them up with socks.  (Which I then carried around damp for the next week, never having enough warmth or sun to fully dry them, until I had to shamefully hand them over to a laundromat in Swakopmund, reeking of sour something.)

And too sick for any "nectar of the gods."  

The following was another of day-long driving, with only one short stop in Springbok to buy blankets.  Others grumbled, but, being sick, I couldn't have asked for more.  All I want to do is sit on the bus and nap all day until this cold is resolved; I don't want everyone else enjoying activities that I'd have to miss out on.  Because, clearly, I'm just that selfish.  

And just like that, with 2 full days of driving, we were at the boarder of South Africa, looking out at Namibia across Orange River.  

Camping with a view of Namibia across the water

Which is about when things started looking up.  Because that placid river?  It ignites by evening.  As though Namibia were a phoenix, smoldering through the night to rise again come morning.

Orange River

Namibia in flames

And I thought, despite the cold (chilly rains) and the cold (sniffling and sneezing), there's something special happening here.  

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