Our arrival in Windhoek, Namibia was rather auspicious. But I’m afraid that once again I’m going to bore you with a little history before telling you about our awesome first few moments.
As I’ve mentioned before, Hubby and were in Namibia six years ago for what was one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken. That trip also marked Hubby’s first ever time driving a stick shift. He had taken lessons back in DC but sitting behind the wheel of our rental car at the Walvis Bay airport was the first time he had been on his own. While we can never forget that first ride, neither, I’m guessing, will the car. Hubby, you see, drove the first 50 km with the parking brake on. He also ground the gears and killed the car more than a few times during our two-week holiday.
So it was with no small amount of trepidation that we stood in front of the car rental desk upon our return to Namibia. As luck would have it, his name did not appear to be on a “No Rent” list in their computer. Not only did they have a car ready for us – it was a Mercedes and for the same price as the Toyota we had reserved! This sweet ride would be ours for the next five days while Hubby put it through its paces in an attempt to see just how fast it could really go.
(One last note about the car... It is possible that they did have something in their computers about Hubby’s previous experience renting their cars – the Mercedes they gave us was an automatic!)
Our first stop was the hotel in Windhoek, which was serviceable if not great. In typical German fashion, we had separate beds but at least they were comfortable. That evening, we attended the conference’s gala dinner. Hubby’s keynote address would be the highlight of the next day so we spent the evening schmoozing the people who invited him and listening to speeches that wouldn’t die.
If only I were being dramatic about these speeches. They went on for at least two hours during which they didn’t feed us. And since I hadn’t had anything to eat yet that day, the wine was starting to effect me as speaker after speaker got up to pray, talk about agriculture, talk some more about agriculture, and then hand out awards for an hour. They wouldn’t stop talking no matter how restless the audience became. They did, however, have several pauses in the talking during which an excellent choir sang several traditional Namibian songs.
There was one brilliant moment of scandal when the deacon presenting the opening prayer decided to use his platform to explain why the current state of farming and agriculture was a way of addressing the history of apartheid in the country. The evening’s keynote speaker then took the opportunity (two hours later when it was his turn to speak) to say he disagreed and that agriculture was not a racial issue. The deacon promptly left shortly afterwards. When the meal finally began, this was the prime subject of conversation at several tables, including our own.
The six thousand speakers notwithstanding, it was a lovely evening and the people we met were extremely kind and served as a vibrant reminder of why we had often discussed moving to Namibia full time.