Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bach and Forth

Hey Friends,

Tomorrow I head north to continue building on the house - my mind is in a bit of a muddle because I'm still procrastinating as to how to complete the top section of the en suite bathroom.

I've kind of made up my mind but I have two viable options, each with it's own challenges to overcome ... decisions, decisions ...

I'll be off-line for about two months. I do have a portable USB device called a 'Netman' which allows me to access the internet from anywhere except my home - just out of range of the signal ... I will be able to check mail occasionally, using my old and painfully slow connection.

In the meantime, a few pics:

An aircraft flies past the moon.

Sign at Tsaobis Leopard Park.

Sign at the entrance to a Wine Farm in South Africa - I guess when they're closed they just drive the tractor away ...

A dry river bed.

Sign at one of the large grape farms, Aussenkehr, Namibia

I couldn't resist snapping a pic of this woman with five kids in tow.

Moose McGregor's Desert Bakery, Solitaire, Namibia.

Game grazing around the waterhole at Twee Palms, Etosha pans - I hope to spend a few days at the Pans while I'm in the North.

I fell in love with this worm in the garden of a restaurant

On my way north I must stop in Windhoek, a city I dislike intensely - I'm desperate to find some suitable long-sleeved shirts to keep the sun off my arms. Lately I've noticed that cuts and sores are taking longer to heal and I'm terrified of skin cancer.

I want to thank you all for continuing to visit this blog. I love interacting with you and indeed, without your comments, I wouldn't be blogging.

Most off all, I value your kindness and friendship.

Keep well Friends - I'll see you after awhile ...


Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year Bash - Evening

Late in the afternoon I slouched back to the park where the New Year Bash was being held.

I was worried that I wouldn't get any pics because I didn't have an external flash.

It was still hot and as the sun set the artists started performing again- later in the evening there was a spectacular fireworks display over the desert.

By 10pm a stiff breeze was blowing chill air off the ocean 70 km away. I was feeling cold, my feet were sore and my brain had been rattled by the giant speakers ...

I cut-out before the end of the show - I think I've just become a little more deaf ... :)

Related Post: New Year Bash - Afternoon


Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year Bash - Afternoon

This last weekend I was invited to a New Year Bash and asked to take photos. The Bash was organised by a Mining company for the community of the small town.

I took about 1300 pics - a small selection in two posts:

The Bash started at midday and when I arrived the music was already beating-out and this Nama lady was dancing alone on the grass, seemingly in a world of her own.

Namibia's cultural diversity was highlighted by people in different costumes - here two Owambo Ladies make an entrance, swaying and dancing to the music.

Herero ladies in bright dresses - the dresses originate from the German colonial period of our history and are based on the fashion of the time.

Baby on mother's back, secured by a strip of goatskin.

A group of Nama people perform a traditional dance.

A local TV channel was there - here a presenter is interviewed.

After the traditional dances, the live groups started performing. They seemed to be all Namibian artists and I must confess I didn't know any of them - it became apparent though, they were well-known amongst the younger generation.

It was a very hot day and at about 3 pm the artists took a break. Games were organized for adults and kids and I slipped away for a few hours to find some shade.

I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the quality of our local musicians - I should try get out more ...

Our own reggae band, I wish I knew their name.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Southeast Namibia: Karasburg & More Poverty

After leaving Warmbad the day's destination was Karasburg, 48 km to the North.

Instead of going directly there though, we headed South first, 78 km to the Orange River and Vellorsdrif, a remote border crossing to South Africa - just to see what there was to see.

I'd seen 'Tantalite Valley' marked on a map and was intrigued, so we took this road which ended 20 km later at a deserted Mine. The buildings were still in reasonable shape and it looked like mining may resume in the future.

At the time I had no idea what Tantalite is - I thought it had something to do with Mica because there was a lot of it around but it's turns out that it is a source of Tantalum.

Tantalum is a chemical element, used in alloys for strength and higher melting points, in glass to increase the index of refraction, and in surgical steel, as it is non-reactive and non-irritating to body tissues.

The countryside around Warmbad had been pretty drab and featureless but this changed approaching the Orange River, to scattered Quiver Trees and hills, the sides of which were patterned with roundish black rocks.

A furry Goatherd turns to check me out.

Sociable Weavers' nests in a quiver tree.

This rock tower suddenly appeared on the skyline on the road between Ariamsvlei and Karasburg - it's probably about 15m high - it's what I'd originally envisioned for the en suite bathroom I'm building on my house.

I'm impressed with the straightness of the walls, quite a tricky task.

In Karasburg I heard that the farmer had constructed it in order to deter poachers.

Late afternoon we reached Karasburg - a drab town set in a desolate landscape. I have no idea what caused it to come into existence, the only industry in the area is a few large farms.

Although Karasburg is in better shape than Warmbad the majority of the population also lives in abject poverty.

Many people were obviously intoxicated and openly consuming alcohol. To me, the overall impression was depressing.

Two women and children walk along the road carrying their possessions.

Horse and Donkey transport is common in Namibia and generally the animals are in reasonable shape but I was disturbed by the poor condition of the many horses I saw in Karasburg.

These girls, aged between about 12 and 14, were hanging around in front of a general store and when they saw me sitting in the car with a camera they asked me to take their pic - taking great delight in viewing the images in the LCD screen.

I saw that the young lady in the left of the pic was talking to me and indicated to her that I couldn't hear what she was saying - with all the familiarity in the world, she grabbed my head with both her hands, pulled it out of the window and shouted in my ear that I should give her some money.

I asked her what she wanted money for and she replied that she wanted to buy bread. I hesitated a moment because I've given kids money before, only to see them spend it on sweets.

I gave her some money and watched them rush into the shop - they emerged with a loaf of bread.

Looking at close-ups of their faces makes me feel sad because I know that, barring a miracle, these kids will be trapped in a cycle of poverty for the rest of their lives - and there are millions more like them throughout the world, living without hope.

This smartly-dressed lady posed for a picture - she was with a friend and both were dressed in identical outfits - one of the girls from the previous pic photo-bombing the scene ... :)


Monday, January 2, 2012

More Far-out Farm Signs

More Farm Signs which have caused me to stop and take a pic:

In the last few years I've seen a proliferation of farms which have become Guest- or Game-farms in Namibia.

Tourism must be booming - even in these tough economic times I've seen an increase in the number of tourists self-driving and in Tour Buses, particularly on the more remote gravel roads.

An old mining ore-car marks the entrance to farm 'Kanabeam' near Ai-Ais Hot Springs.

I've always known these ore-cars as 'Cocopans' but I can't find any on-line reference confirming this. The closest I get is that the word is derived from the Afrikaans 'koek pan' - cake pan - and I guess that with a little stretch of imagination, it could resemble one.

Not very imaginative but hard to miss - an old tyre on a fence post.

I found it hard to believe that this family name is genuine - "Die Fokkense" is probably the Afrikaans equivalent of the "Fockers" of the 'Meet The Fockers' movie.

Hehe ... and the "Greatly Blessed, Deeply Loved" above the white heart made of an old tyre ...

A Hornbill adorns the sign at Ohange Lodge.

A Vulture-friendly farm.

Vultures are being endangered by farmers who use poison to kill vermin - the Vultures feed off the carcasses and are also poisoned.

On the edge of the Namib desert, a farm marker with a strange metal trunk attached to it - the box was empty.

'Berg' means 'mountain' in Afrikaans - this sign has been skilfully cut from a thin metal sheet.

Two male Oryx engaged in battle on this farm gate.

Kobo Kobo hills conservancy.

Often farmers in a particular area join together to form a Conservancy - I'm not sure exactly what this means or what the purpose is but, I'm guessing it has something to do with abiding by certain conservation principles.

Related Posts:
Where The %/*# Are We? - Can't Find My Way Home
Far-out Farm Sign