Namibia is about 824,000 km2, slightly larger than Alberta, with a population of about half of Alberta’s. Windhoek, the capital has a population of about a half million, which makes it the perfect size to acclimate in.
The folks at the Olive Grove Guesthouse, a quiet and comfortable small boutique hotel, where we are spending our first two nights in Namibia, advise against walking at night. The sun goes down around 7:00, so we figure if we walk to a restaurant for an early supper and be back by 7:00, we will be good. We walk to Joe’s Beerhouse, a local institution, and have pizza and a lovely chat with a couple from Michigan. We were all surprised how much in common we had and talked hiking, skiing and traveling.
After a very long sleep and breakfast, we go out for a walk to downtown to see the local sights and buy a few groceries for the road. The first thing we notice is that it is very hilly here, which our unused legs complain about right from the start. Folks we meet on the sidewalk are friendly and offer a Goodmorning or Hello. The official language is English here, although Oshawambo, Afrikaans and German are spoken more often.
As we walk about in downtown, we notice local fellows with cameras and wonder what there schtick is. We eventually see one taking photos of a local mom and two kids dressed for church. Money exchanged hands so he took photos and perhaps sent them to her phone for a few bucks. Very entrepreneurial.
Seems the local place to grab lunch, supper or a snack is the Hungry Lion, a KFC like fast food place. We walk by three Hungry Lion’s on our tour and when a light lunch is needed, we pop into one by the grocery store and order a chicken thigh and fries from a very happy young woman dancing as she worked. We learned some terminology too…..we were asked “Swipe or cash?”. Swipe? Oh, credit card!
We find the local craft market, Namibia Craft Centre. We are impressed with the quality and variety of the crafts. We spy artwork and fabric that are possibilities, but we won’t buy anything just yet. We will look along our route and if we don’t find what we want, we have time when we get back to Windhoek for serious shopping.
We enjoy interacting with the locals and chat to the cashiers in the grocery store and a young fellow helping set up for a religious graduation outside Parliament House.
We finish our walk just when the heat of the day starts and are now sitting in the shade and slight breeze of the Olive Grove veranda. Tomorrow we head out on the road towards the sand dunes.