Twelve photos from each day of our Africa adventure.
We re-supplied in Opuwo and headed southwest to Puros, or Purros, depending on the source. I’ve been spelling it with one r, so I’m going to stick with that. Puros is a tiny Bush village out in Kaokoland.
Grocery shopping in Opuwo was fun. Really. It was fairly early on a Sunday morning. I was well rested and alert. The appearance of the town was not a surprise. And we were on our way out of town, not looking for a place to safely and comfortably sleep. All those things make a big difference.
The unassuming store was well stocked, and at 9:30 a.m. was already crowded and hopping. While I get great pleasure from being well stocked with food, what made shopping fun was the variety of people in the store and the opportunity to watch and walk amongst them. I pushed my cart up and down aisles with the following models of humanity:
- Himba women clad in goatskin skirts, no shirts, ochre-covered bodies, and jewelry to beat the band: necklaces, bracelets, hair ornaments, and sandals with lacing half-way up the calves
- Herero women in long, voluminous European colonial dresses with triangular headpieces made to resemble cattle horns
- Regular old Africans in jeans, shorts, and t-shirts, often in combinations Americans would deem unmatching
Some smiling guy came up to me as I selected a loaf of bread and started yammering away at me, not in English, as far as I could tell. When he finished, I giggled, shook my head cluelessly, and said, “Sorry. I don’t understand.” He laughed like it was a great joke, waved, and went on his way with his loaf of bread. I put my bread selection back and grabbed one from the cart where he had gotten his.
When I hauled my purchases out to the car, Mike was studiously ignoring a small crowd of locals hawking their hand-crafted jewelry wares. He had long since given up repeating “No, thank you.”
I, myself, was accosted by a young Himba woman as I exited the store. “Hungry baby,” she said, hitching her baby up and thrusting a handful of bracelets and necklaces at me. She followed me to the car where the swarm around Mike quickly swarmed around me. Three women and one man holding baskets of handicrafts surrounded me as I stuffed the groceries into the truck anywhere I could make them fit. I was being mobbed, which is like being mugged but less dangerous. I think. I hope.
I hate that situation, and we face it pretty much everywhere we go. But I was in a good, sturdy mood, so I went ahead and engaged. I didn’t mind buying a bracelet or something, but I despise this scenario, the pushing hawking of wares and the refusal to accept “no” for an answer. Of course, by buying something, I’m rewarding and encouraging the very thing I hate.
One of the three women spoke English. She answered my questions: Each person made the articles in his/her basket; the “beads” were seeds; the fibers were from palm fronds. I selected a bracelet from the woman with the baby. “That’s no good,” said the English-speaking woman. “There are three of us.” The man didn’t count, I guess. She indicated that I should buy something from all three of them. Believe me, I understand how much more I have than these people, and I have plenty of guilt for not giving more and more and more, but I also don’t have the resources to help every person I meet who is needy or has less than I. This is a big part of why I hate these situations and generally avoid them.
So there it was: my limit. I would buy the one or none. I was finished with the interaction, no longer willing to engage with the relentless pushing.
I wound up buying the bracelet, and the English-speaker pushed one more time, but I was done. No amount of pushing was going to move me.
Finally, we got out of town and headed out to the Bush where we could relax and feel comfortable. We drove along dry riverbeds, through canyons, and over rocky passes. The scenery reminded us of the southwestern US. Take a look. What do you think?
That yellow-green ground cover is something, isn’t it?
This little tree is in Sesfontein. Not much else is. There must be six fountains somewhere, but I don’t know where.
This is an “ephemeral river,” which means that every once in a while for a brief period of time water runs on the surface here. Most of the time, however, water is underground, where only tree roots, well drillers, and thirsty elephants can find it.
Ostriches. That’s not like the southwestern US.
As we neared our destination, we finally found a mammal.
And it had found a tree big enough to provide ample shade.
There’s not likely to be a ton of wildlife here, you know? I feel hungry and parched looking at it.
The road to where we’re going.