Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Six Stoned Sisters: A Mission - Pt. 2

... continued from here

Despite normally being a 'Morning Person', when I awoke at the Bullenkopf Campsite I was not in the best of moods - my eyes felt puffy and my back was giving me hell - I struggled to roll-up the tent and bedding.

I took a last pic of the intriguing Cave. I'll be bach sometime and I'll sit in it for awhile.

I drove to Büllsport and gulped down two cups of coffee. I told the Owner that I'll return later in the year on a trip northwards and collect a few rocks from her.

Now, to complete my Mission ... I headed south and found the road where I'd seen the Rocks I wanted.

It wasn't long before I before I found them, standing like Sentinels where I'd left them a few months ago - awaiting my return.

I pulled-up to the Farmhouse and knocked on the door. The windows were all closed and nobody answered.

I walked around the back and an elderly man shuffled towards me from some tin shacks nearby.

After exchanging greetings, he told me that the owner lives in Rehoboth and only visits the farm occasionally. He couldn't give me a name or contact number.

So that was it - there was nobody to buy the rocks from, I'd come this way in vain.

I felt deflated.

I didn't want to drive back to Büllsport so I drove back about a kilometre to a hilltop where I'd spotted some rocks on the road verges.

Ignoring my back, I found a few nice, smallish rocks and huffed and puffed them onto the Pickup - at least I had something ... not that it made me feel much better.

After resting for a few minutes I continued on my way south ...

Fifteen to twenty kilometres down the road I stopped to photograph a Guest-Farm Entrance Sign for my collection.

I noticed a swarm of about 25 long, thin rocks standing erect, near the gate - they'd obviously been planted there as a feature.

In negative mood, I was about to press-on without even taking a photograph of them.

As I hit the accelerator, something - perhaps it was Intuition - caused me to swing the wheel sharply right and drive into the farmyard.

I found the owner, Mrs S and told her about my interest in the unusual rocks of the area. As we walked around the garden I drooled over her beautiful rock creations. She said they were her hobby.

Mrs S explained that she had been recently widowed and, unable to handle the Guest Farm on her own, the property will be auctioned next month.

She said that there were more rocks on the farm but a four-wheel drive vehicle is needed to get to them - they were beyond my reach.

I asked her, (in as pleading a voice as I could muster without sounding like a Wuss), if she would consider selling some of the Long Rocks I'd seen near the gate - I promised to respect them ... and create something beautiful ...

... she looked at me for a few seconds then, with a faint smile, said "Yes" - I could take some.

Henry, the Gardener, was assigned to help me load the rocks. Together we wrestled Six long Rocks from the Earth and loaded them onto the Pickup.

Even though I could probably have fitted in another four, I decided that six rocks were enough - we were sweating in the sun and my back ... also, I didn't want to appear too greedy ...

Henry thought I was crazy when I insisted on wrapping the rocks in my duvet so they wouldn't rub against each other and get scratched - he looked at me kinda strange ...

Mrs S and I agreed a price and I drove away, elated.

Relaxed and in good Spirit now, I continued my journey south into the desert, stopping to photograph anything that caught my eye.

I had not succeeded in bagging the Stones I wanted but, I had six others of equal beauty.

When I drove over this creature I thought it was a Chameleon crossing the road. Surprised, I turned back to check it out.

It's big, about 10cm long and has no wings - a flightless Locust.

I drove deeper into the Desert, stopping to photograph landscapes, some of which I've captured before.

The Desert is not static, each time you view a scene there are subtle changes in light and colour.

Considering the foul mood I'd been in when I awoke and my disappointment at not getting the rocks I'd come for, my day had turned-out OK ... but it wasn't over yet - there was a Cherry On Top:

To my delight I was able to meet up again with Leslie - I hadn't seen her since our first contact in July last year.

After her stint as a volunteer Teacher in northern Nam, Leslie was offered a job home-schooling two kids at a Guest Lodge near a small village - a village through which I had to pass.

She looks healthy and happy.

I still had a long way to travel and couldn't stay long ...

... a Crow welcomed me back to the desert.

OneStonedCrow and SixStonedSisters.

I don't know why I've assigned the Feminine Gender to them, the only feminine thing about them is their quiet, solid strength - and possibly, their curves ...

So what next? - my Mission isn't over yet, I still have to haul the Six Sisters another 1,200km to my home in the North ...

... and the Sentinels await my return ...

Six Stoned Sisters: A Mission - Pt. 1


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Six Stoned Sisters: A Mission - Pt. 1

When I left the North for the Desert last week I was on a Mission.

Shown above is the uncompleted Northwest corner of the house - I call it 'Ishtar's Point' (don't ask why) - and it's my intention to clad the sides with beautiful stones ... create a 'Celebration Of Rock' ...

... and on top I want to place a distinctive, large rock, something like this:

I'd seen this rock on my last journey South and mentioned it in a post on Büllsport.

The Rock, together with two others, was standing on a farm and, it seems, had once served as a fence-post for a cattle enclosure, or 'Kraal'.

I had a suitable vehicle and it was my Mission to find the rocks again and persuade the Farmer to sell them to me.

500km down the road from Home, I turned West onto the gravel road at Rehoboth, heading for Büllsport on the edge of the Namib Desert - it was the first time I'd travelled this road.

I passed the small Mining Village of Klein Aub. The village itself is about a kilometre off the 'main' road.

It says something about our society that, in most villages and towns around Namibia, the most prominent signs are those advertising liquor.

This was the only sign I noticed in passing - a 'Bottle Store' is a store where booze is sold.

My first encounter with the beautiful rocks of this area was at this farm entrance close to Büllsport - I was a bit upset that that the farmer had mistreated the best of the rocks by painting 'Welcome' on it.

I wonder if I could have rescued it, loaded it by myself ... I mean, what could happen if I got caught stealing a painted rock?

... but, on the other hand, this farm may be a source for rocks on a future expedition ...

I arrived at Büllsport late in the afternoon and decided to camp there - the rocks I was after were still somewhere further down the road South.

I wasn't prepared for camping - I had no food or camping equipment except for a small mosquito tent, a blow-up mattress, my duvet and Dream-Pillow.

There wasn't much in the Büllsport Farm Store so I settled for a 5-litre bottle of water and a tin of Sweetcorn - I'm not fussy about food ...

The Camp Sites are in the Naukluft Mountains, about 5km from the Guest Farm itself and I was escorted there by a guy on his Quadbike.

A view of the Camp Site nestled in the Naukluft Mountains.

There was a Young Couple and their Baby camping at the adjoining site - you can see the top of their Overland Vehicle above the roof of the ablution block.

In the top left hand corner of the pic is a Cave on the mountainside, a small black speck ...

I learned more about this Cave and the amazing historical and archaeological significance of this area from a brochure detailing the surrounding Hiking Trails.

It goes without saying that this knowledge immediately triggered my imagination and put me into Ghost-seeking mode.

A closer view of the Shelter our ancestors had lived in in the days before Anything - before cars and planes, the Internet and cellphones ...

My humble portable Cave - it's made from a mosquito-net type fabric which allows me to see the stars all night but, it's no good in rainy weather.

I hacked-open the tin of Sweetcorn with a useless pocket-knife and drank it down, quelling the grumbling of my stomach.

As the sun set I sat on some rocks contemplating the lives of the Ancient Ones.

Were they aware as we are today, as individuals with identities, as in "I am"? Or, were they aware in a more animal, survival-centred way?

Were there amongst them some who gazed upon the mountains, plains and stars and wondered ...?

... or were they content to just Be?

By this time I was exhausted and fell into bed. Two black birds perched momentarily on the beam of the camp's shelter and in the background Jupiter and Venus followed the setting sun, hand-in-hand like Lovers.

It was a moonless night, the sky was crystal-clear and I could see Forever.

The Milky Way stretched bright across the sky, Orion was above me - but, most beautiful of all was the Southern Cross, rising slowly behind my head.

I fell asleep and awoke sometime during the night - Scorpio hung above me now.

The air was still, silence prevailed.

The Babe in the next camp stirred restlessly ...

... and 50,000 years ago I heard an infant's cry pierce the night from the Cave on the Mountain ...

Six Stoned Sisters: A Mission - Pt. 2


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Strange Days Indeed

Whew! ... it feels like I've been off-line forever and have to learn how to operate the Internet all over again ...

Hello Friends - I hope that you're all well and happy. I'm OK, just a bit disorientated after a long journey and I haven't had the chance to catch up yet.

Here's what I've been up to the last two months:

When I left the Desert in January the rain season was in full swing and the further north I travelled the wetter it became.

The weather has been fantastic - I even heard one farmer complain, (not too loudly though), that it was a bit too much rain ...

Shortly after I arrived home I was visited by two lovely ladies from Holland - Eva on the left and Mana right. Mana is the daughter of an old friend and they stayed two nights before heading on to the Etosha Pans.

On a trip to Tsinsabis, 30km to the North of me I photographed these kids, (probably siblings), wading through a pool of water - they could have stayed dry by crossing over the bridge but it seemed more fun to go through the water.

Love Triangle - They stopped to pose for some pics - the little guy in front looked so serious, he never smiled once ... what an old, wise face he has hey?

Two women sell mushrooms along the side of the road.

This was the best Omahova season ever - because the atmospheric conditions must be just right for them to appear, the mushrooms are usually only available for about a week but, this year, I found people selling them for almost a month.

Four young guys selling their Omahova.

My buddy Stretch visited for a few days and we feasted on the mushrooms for two nights - by this time Stretch was literally 'fed-up' because he'd eaten them for five nights in a row ...

It was only after I arrived home that the realisation that Spirit was not there really sunk in - a few times I caught myself calling at the spot where he had made a nest in the long grass ... it's a good thing for venomous snakes that I encountered none of their kind during this time.

... I miss his youth and playfulness - the other two cats are old farts and no fun - I was stunned when I watched a confused little pointy-nosed mouse run around in front of them and neither batted an eyelid ...

... perhaps I feed them too much.

I had no building action-plan when I arrived home ... I had a vague idea what I wanted to do and when I started working all seemed confused, I was frustrated by the apparent lack of progress - it was only as I was about to leave that everything came together and, looking back, I'm satisfied (and slightly surprised) with what I achieved.

I installed a roof over the shower/toilet and cut it to size so that I can build the outer walls up further; did the plumbing, installed the throne and window panes, and had the walls plastered.

I also knocked down and rebuilt the inner walls for the adjoining main bedroom, had it plastered and installed a ceiling and lights - this whole section of the house is almost complete now.

When I started working I was full of fears and doubts but I managed to muddle through them and in the end learned two new skills: plumbing and how to install a hanging ceiling.

Stoffel seems to approve of her new expanded living space.

Here she is putting her brush into her mouth in order to bring it to me so that I can groom her ... she carries things in her mouth because she only has one arm, which she needs to move around with.

There's nothing in the world that Stoffel likes more than being brushed and, if I'd let her, she'd lie stretched-out on my lap for hours while I groom her.

During the whole time at home I hadn't seen the pair of Damara Dik-diks which had been regular visitors during the winter - I thought that the reason was that there was ample food available.

On the afternoon before I left for the desert I spotted them on the edge of the bush. I grabbed my camera but they bolted as I approached and I only managed this fuzzy shot of one of them jumping a low fence.

Later, after the sun had set and I'd put my camera away, I was packing the car and looked up to see them grazing peacefully in the twilight, not more than 20 meters from me ...

Well that's about it - It was an unsettled period for me, I had a lot of pain in my back and much of the time I was uptight and restless, as if I had a mental itch that couldn't be scratched ... hopefully the desert will enable me to regain some sort of balance ...

Lovely to see you again my friend.
Walk along with me to the next bend.

Tells us what you've seen in faraway forgotten lands.
Where empires have turned back to sand.