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Yippee, Livi’s back in Africa!
We flew from JFK airport (New York) to Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday, arrived Wednesday afternoon after a 15 hour flight (non-stop this time), stayed the night at a hotel near the airport and continued on to Windhoek, Namibia, today at noon. Since I’m so small plane rides are not particularly uncomfortable for me, so I didn’t really care but my buddies were really glad the flight from Jo’burg to Windhoek was only 2 hours. Windhoek International Airport is tiny, I think it’s even smaller than the airport in Nürnberg, Germany!
Anyway, after clearing immigration we wanted to get some local money, Namibian Dollars that is, from the ATM but much to our surprise the machine gave us South African Rand, which we already had in our pockets! But it wasn’t a problem since the N$ is linked to the ZAR (the exchange rate is 1:1) and the rand is widely accepted in Namibia (but not vice versa). So on we went to pick up our rental car, which turned out to be a 4x4 instead of the regular small car we had pre-booked – they were out of the small ones and we got a free upgrade – not bad! From the airport we drove into Windhoek (about 40k) and checked into our place for the night, Rivendell Guesthouse. Now Rivendell is a great little place with friendly staff, a friendly dog, a pool, beautiful plants all over, internet access (you can log on at the guest computer in the office), mosquito nets in the rooms, an attractive common area and secure parking. Oh, and the rates are very reasonable, too.
We unloaded our stuff – unlike me, my buddies do not travel light ;-) – and drove into downtown. And that’s when I got confused … I knew we were in Africa, most people we saw were black, it was hot, there were palm trees … and yet – if this is Africa why are streets called ‘Bahnhof Street’ or ‘Promenaden Road’ and why do buildings have names like ‘Tintenpalast’, ‘Christuskirche’ and ‘Kaiserliche Realschule’??? And why are there election posters in German for candidates in the presidential election that had been held earlier?
Well, I decided I needed some lessons on Namibian history, so here I am, in a café in downtown Windhoek, equipped with a guide book. I also figured that a nice cold beer would help my understanding of past events … Ah, lekker!