June 11, 2002
On the way from Serus the topography is incredible–perfectly formed mesas and buttes-almost Utah-like. We stop in the tiny wide spot in the road called Bethanie. Bob mails a card to his mom and I buy some pop and sausage in the little market. We notice some light skinned women sitting around-told Bob they
looked exactly like Central Asians; James says they are probably mixed Bushman and White.
Later I read Laurens Van Der Post describe the Bushman in his “The Lost World of the Kalahari” as having the face of a central African black turning into “a lovely Provencal apricot yellow” and that “he moved in the glare and glitter of Africa with a flame-like flicker of gold like a fresh young Mongol of the Central Mongolian plain…his cheeks high-boned like a Mongol’s….” Some description!
It’s Bob’s turn to read “Bang Bang Club” about the experiences of four photographers during the last four years of the war in the townships of South Africa before Nelson Mandela’s release and the first election to include blacks. If you want to know what it was like on the ground in those days this book is graphic. Michael, who is from Johannesburg, says that his dad had the
photography shop that sold the photographers their equipment.
The Bohemian Rhapsody is lifting us high on the stereo-Freddy Mercury singing in that glorious and sadly gone away voice!
We arrive at the camp and Rod registers us with the camp operator in his native Afrikaner and then directs us to “toilets and ablutions” (showers).
We eat lunch while the wind blows sand in our faces and our food; to keep the tents from rolling away we have to put our baggage in them and detatch them at the top from the frames. Adrian asks if anyone has any clothes “pigs” (pegs) and I am mystified until I realize he wants some clothes “pins.”
The truck drives us to Fish River to watch the sun set over the canyon. When we arrive back at the camp a Catholic school has brought about 150 middle school children from Windhoek to hike the canyon and they are all ready to sleep out on the lawn next to our tent. Needless to say, Bob and I quickly move our tent to the other side of the park and then we have Kudo steak, mashed potatoes and carrots and peas for dinner.
In the middle of the night it starts to rain and we hear the kids…then in the morning we find them all sleeping in the camp bathrooms.