It was another different day. We got the car loaded to go to San Diego and then we went to coffee!It is a good 6 hour drive but Vicki was able to make it all the way without us spending the night in Yuma. It is nice to be able to do that but we both get grouchy by the time we get here! We arrived here and it is winter....57 degrees....everyone in hats and coats and there we were in our short sleeves, sandals and capri pants. Winter is in June...May gray and June gloom....everyone prays for the sun to be out by the 4th of July!
|Sister Judy is making us sandwiches! Yum yum!|
This is all I am doing for today as it is late and I am very tired! I don't think I can get away with going to my cabin and calling for room service!
Where we did not go today...but the Amsterdam did!
Postcards from Paradise!
Walvis Bay, Namibia Day Two April 12, 2013 Friday
Our second day in Walvis Bay found us sleeping in and eventually having a light breakfast in the dining room. The weather was much the same as we had yesterday, with the day starting out overcast and foggy, but nothing like the peasoup fog we had last night. After dinner around 10pm, we took our usual walk on the promenade deck to find the fog had swallowed up the ship as well as the entire town. Downright creepy.
Anyway, our plan was to take the complimentary bus to the center of town, where the main shopping district was located. The streets and roads are laid out in a grid pattern, made very wide for the big trucks that use them. It gave less than a cozy feeling about the town. Less integrated. And speaking of integration, we had the distinct feeling that there is none with the local tribes people and the existing British and German residents. Our guide had briefly mentioned something about townships on the outskirts of the city, and that is where we believe the native folks live. They are the port workers, taxi drivers, security guards, grounds caretakers, craft vendors, the nannies, and construction crews. We did not see many of the local white folks, as they must tend to stay indoors. Perhaps they do not welcome the rush of sudden tourists from the cruise ships.
Once we were dropped off in town, about a 10 minute drive from the pier, we noted what Joan had told us yesterday.......there wasn't much there in town. All the basic stores were there like grocery, pharmacy, clothing, and a few souvenier shops. A few cafes dotted the streets in between the furniture, tire, and insurance shops. So we decided to head back to the lagoon, where we had seen all the flamingos yesterday. It was a long hike but not too uncomfortable, because the sun had not fully appeared yet. Shortly after leaving the commercial area, we came into the more residential streets with neighborhood churches on every other corner. What stood out was the lack of people around. All the smallish homes were surrounded with cement walls with locked gates. Some of the fancier houses had electirc fencing with locked gates and guard dogs. We passed by one man that was pruning his cacti, and talking to his dog. We would have spoken to him, but it was obvious to us that he was speaking strictly German, which we do not. He made no eye contact anyway.
With eight long blocks behind us, we found ourselves at The Esplanade, the lagoon avenue with the expensive estates. On the shoreline was about a 3 mile long walkway for running or biking as well as strolling. We were about the only ones there, except for two nannies and their charges of three little girls. A few gardeners were working around the grassy areas set aside for weekend BBQers. Since the tide was out, there were fewer birds there. We still had enough of the flamingos to get some more photos, as if we really needed more. We walked the paved lane for another one or two.
It was getting close to noon, and we remembered what a young couple from the ship had told us about having great pizza at The Reef, a seaside restaurant built over the water. We had passed it yesterday on our way back to the ship, but mistook it for a closed down cafe, due to the darkness of the wooden structure, and odd-looking things on the roof. Looked like there had been a fire there. Well, upon walking the long wooden pier to gain entrance to the restaurant, we saw that the roof held rough logs of wood for the wood-fired pizza oven. That was a good sign that the pizza would be great. Since there were only a few customers this early in the day, the waiter took our order right away. Margherita was our choice along with two diet cokes. We have to agree that the pizza was delicious, although this place specialized in seafish and shellfish. A sign advertising a special 30th birthday for someone here tonight looked the the highlight of the weekend. Drinks would be 2 for 1, with dancing and live music. Too bad this wasn't last night instead.
By looking at the ship's map, we realized that we were very close to the pier gate and the ship. So we hiked back to find the vendors with their treasures at the fenced dock. Last chance shopping. These people were a little more willing to bargain, not like those guys yesterday in Swakopmund. They had tarp after tarp of carvings, jewelry, and utensils made of more wood. One African animal carving we did not have was an oryx. We found one that was to our liking and priced right... eventually. Picked up two pairs of earrings, one made from coconuts, and from polished horn of some kind. Last items bought were a pair of wooden masks. The bargaining would have been better if another bus was not arriving from town. It stopped, letting some passengers out to shop, while we boarded to go back to the ship. Worked out perfect.
All aboard time was 3pm, because we were required to attend another immigration procedure to have the exit stamps given for our passports. We were called alphabetically, and it seemed to work quickly. Really, the officials did not even look at our photos, comparing us to our faces. It felt more like these jobs were created instead of funtional. The passports were then collected from us by the staff to be stored for the remainder of the cruise.
We had gotten back in time to catch the end of the local show in the Queens Lounge. Kids from the Bernhard Nordkamp Centre, a safeplace for orphans and vunerable children of local tribes from the capitol, Windhoek area, came to perform for us. This charitable organization lists too many things to write, but it is a very important part in the lives of many lucky kids. As well as a choir, they offer sports programs in soccer, tennis, basketball, cycling, and swimming. And we know we read somewhere in the daily newsletter that the passengers and crew had made a donation to their cause in the tune of $7000. We had seen the kids and their supervisors boarding this morning when we were getting on the bus. They looked extremely excited, because they were going to be able to eat cheeseburgers, fries, hot dogs, and all the ice cream they would handle. Kids are kids everywhere.
The sailaway festivities began at 4:30pm. It was starting to get chilly, and was very cold by the time we exited the bay. It was fun watching the buoy markers in the channel, because several seals were laying on them, basking in the sun. They never moved when we sailed by them only a few yards away. So with that, we said goodbye to the continent of Africa for this year. We sure did have a marvelous time visiting the many diverse ports, not to mention enjoying the safari of a lifetime.
Bill & Mary Ann