May 6, 2008Namibian Adventure:So, last minute before we are to leave for Namibia one of our group members backs out due to a last minute assigned project. This means that all of our prices for gas and the car have now gone up and that sucks. So, while walking through campus on my way to my wine test (which we were leaving just after) I found Ellen (an American who has been here for a year now in the same program as me). I asked her if she wanted to go to Namibia for a few days and in the spur of the moment she agreed and the 6 of us were on the road (Alex, Chris, Jaco [south African], Anna [Irish], Ellen, and myself). Namibia only has about 2 million people, and I am pretty sure that all of them live in Windhoek or Swakumpund. We literally would drive for hours without any sign of life, outside of the power line running on one side of the road and the massive bugs that we kept running over on the asphalt. I have never gone such a vast distance without seeing people (causing there to be a few close calls for breaking down between petrol stations). Windhoek is one of the top 5 cleanest cities in Africa, and you could tell this immediately upon getting there. It was quite nice to be in a place where there wasn't trash blowing against barbed fences and sketchy people chilling on street corners. There is poverty there, however, as about half the population live on 2$ a day. I don't know how this is exactly though as I think the unemployment rate is only about 6%, but TIA.Anywho, we stayed with a friend of Jaco's (a South African we have met at Stellenbosch) who had a very nice house and just happens to be an amazing cook. So, we were fed very well on anything that we could braai... including dough on sticks over a camp fire. It was chill and very filling on African cuisine.Then for two days we went to the coast in Swakumpund where we stayed at a very nice little backpackers that hans-georg had suggested. From there we walked around the little beach town that seemed to actually have some of the lowest racial tensions since I have gotten to Africa. It was a nice feeling that wasn't pronounced or anything, but it just seemed that the people were a bit more at ease with each other and us. There was of course the usual African market people selling their handiworks by the beach and some children who came out to dance for some change. So, again while it was a vacation town there was also the usual touch of Africa. Saturday we got picked up by a local adventure company and went out to the sand dunes. If you have never seen deserts then you are missing out, because there is nothing like the site of miles of sand. So, we hiked to the top with our sand boards (just like snow boards only you have to wax them up like a surf board) and made our best attempts to make it to the bottom without eating sand. This did happen of course as the braver we got going down the faster we let ourselves go/ the bigger the wipe outs. But it was really cool, especially when I got up the courage to go off the jump and actually managed to land safely on the other side. The other cool part was we were also given pieces of waxed ply wood to sled down the hills. We flew down the dunes at about 75 km/h and it was intense. So, other than having the hike back up the dunes every time it was amazing!Then having had our Namibian adventure we packed back into the car that was made for five, not six, people and took the 13 hour trek back home. While you might think spooning in the back seat of a car for that long is unbearable, we surprisingly made it work quite well. Tensions got a little high when we thought we weren't going to make it to the gas station when it got dark, but other than that I actually quite impressed with the group. It was fun and definitely worth the hours and the money (about for everything $300).8 May 2008So, I got a call from Chrissy the other day during class and found that she was in Cape Town and would be coming to see me. Well, a few missed trains and some SMSs (text messages) later we met on Bird Street in Stellenbosch. This time we managed not to cry (when I saw her earlier in the semester in Cape Town we actually both teared up when we saw each other). She has finished her program and took the last bit of her trip to come to the west coast to chill with her South African boyfriend. Who, by the way, I met and very much approve of. After taking a brief walk around to see where I have spent the last few months of my life we met some of the crazy kids I'm living here with and then went out to dinner. It was great as we just sat around and talked about random crap that we have done in the last three years. It was great to just laugh at the times we had and for once have someone who could remember and understand my stories along with me. I feel that Nick (Chrissy's boyfriend) may have got a little bored with this at times, but he wasn't shy to insert random events from his life or tell me drunken Chrissy stories from the semester. Then after a night of recapping, meeting people, a brief stop over at a braai, and a movie we called it a night. It was definitely sad to see them go this morning, but it's her last day here so they were off to spend their last day together before she returns to the states. (I'm surprised I even got them to the train station though as I drove Nico's car and it did not want to stay running for the first half of the trip). In the end, I am soooo happy to have that piece of home come visit me, and it will help me get through the next few weeks. I can't believe I only have about 2 ½ weeks before I return home… shoot! I am sad to that there are some really cool people here who I will probably not see again, but at the same time I miss my family and friends and elon and Daniel and life back in the states. It's been fun! But time to finish up classes, say goobyes, pick up some last minute souvenirs, and fly back across the ocean.