Jen and I both had a little cold so I took some cold medicine, then set it out to take later and took it again by mistake. I had already taken a migraine tablet and my high blood pressure pills and walked out to go to breakfast just as the sun was rising and I threw all of that up along the way. Lesson learned. After that, I was perfectly well for the entire trip.
We had a trip planned to canoe down the Orange River. Ten of us decided to go on the trip and it was a beautiful experience.
We drove backwards towards South Africa and got to the resort we should have stayed at but they were booked with Easter vacation kids. We were switched to a different vehical with the canoes and driven 8 miles upriver. We got into the river in fiberglass canoes. I had strong Mattias from Germany paddle with Jenni and Boris from Ukraine and I were in another canoe.
We saw snake birds, Egyptian geese, cormorants and blue cranes. Halfway through the trip we pulled over to a beach and were actually back in South Africa. We took a swim and looked for alluvial diamonds in the sand.
We paddled back to our starting point where the rest of the passengers had joined us and we had a rice salad and a Greek salad for lunch.
In the afternoon, we just drove and drove. At a certain point the pavement ended and we were on noisy, bumpy roads for the next 2000 miles or so. Oh boy.
We got to Fish River Canyon. It’s the Grand Canyon of Namibia. It was huge and beautiful. The muddy Fish River snakes through the twisting canyon. We got to take a short hike along the top of the canyon rim, ending at a visitor station with a bathroom with a metal gate that had to be locked and unlocked to keep crafty baboons out of the bathrooms.
We drove on again into a mountain enclave which used to be a German and later a South African military base. It is a hidden valley with hot springs.
The hotel here at Ai-Ais (means very hot water) was odd. But there was a nice bar and we got our first look at the extraordinary starry skies.
We took a dip in the warm springs, wishing they were hotter. Others went for the cold pool, which turned out to be too hot.
Dinner was by the truck. Joseph made us spaghetti bolgnese, veggies and fruit.
Gift told us a campfire story tonight:
In a village near his home in Zimbabwe there was a famine. Everyone was starving. A certain family was really at the end of their rope so they went into the forest to gather mushrooms, but they couldn’t tell if they were poisonous or not. They decided they would feed them to the family dog and if the dog was okay, they would have some of the mushrooms the following day.
The next day dog seemed fine so the family had a big feast on the mushrooms. The day after that, they found their dog in the yard but he was dead.
The husband and wife decided since they were going to die from eating the mushrooms, that they should gather all the villagers at the church and give a testimony. The man said to his wife and the whole village, that the boy in the house next door was really his son. The wife confessed that their daughter was really fathered by the neighbor. At the last minute, another man, newcomer to the area, decided that he should give his testimony too that he had hit their dog the day before with his truck.