It would be the last normal meal we had that day!
Then we sat with Charlotte from ATI and reviewed our trip. It was good to be able to go over things with her and besides giving them feedback on some of the places we camped, we also were able to pick her brains about our travels for the next four weeks.
When we were done with Charlotte, we had made plans to meet up with our couchsurfing host Antoinette at her apartment. The only thing was figuring out how to get there. It was only about two kms (1.3 miles) away, but we had our bags with us plus some leftover food that we wanted to keep. So we decided to take a taxi.
There are quite a few taxis buzzing around the city, so we thought about just going to the corner and flagging one down. But the guest house says they will arrange one for you. So even though we knew this would be more expensive, sometimes the convenience factor is worth the extra.
This time, it was not.
We had asked for the taxi to pick us up at 10:00am. He was 10 minutes late, which was frustrating because we knew Antoinette was waiting for us. Then, we tried to explain where we were going, and the guy was clueless. Because this was a "car service" for tourists, this guy knew where the airport was and where the tourist accommodation was...and that's about it. We even had a map with us, but it seemed to me this guy wasn't that good with the written word.
We ended up guiding him there ourselves, and for the five minute ride we had been told it would be N$40 ($4.32) each. Then, the guy says no, it's N$70 each ($7.56) each. I handed him his N$80 and told him that was way too much, knowing that a regular cab would have been half that. I hate it when the locals try and take advantage of tourists.
Sure enough, Antoinette was there waiting for us. She's a chartered accountant and just works around the corner so she had taken a few minutes to let us into her apartment and give us some keys so we could come and go as we please until she got off work.
We made plans to go for dinner, and you'll have to continue reading to see our dinner!
Then, we set off to walk the sights of downtown Windhoek. It was very BUSY! Apparently people only get paid once a month and it's towards the end of the month. And Christmas is big here, so the stores were full of people. Too full.
We needed to get a card to top up our cellular internet stick and found the MTC store but the lineup was out the door. We eventually found an independant seller who wasn't as busy. You buy a little card for a dollar amount and then scratch a code which you SMS to the cell carrier. This tops up your account so that you can buy a data package. It's pretty expensive, with 1GB of data going for N$235 ($25.38).
Big Greensport Camping store!
As we were wandering shops, we came across a huge GreenSport store. This is a camping and outdoors store similar to MEC in Canada or REI in the U.S.. Really interesting looking around around in there and seeing some of the camping implements and tents and fridge systems available. Camping is a big deal in Namibia, with both locals and foreign tourists. GreenSport makes top quality equipment and some of the things are of far better quality and design than what you would find in North America.
Meteorite display. There was a huge meteorite shower in Namibia in prehistoric times, and 35 of the meteorites found are on display in an art display in the outdoor mall in Windhoek.
Christ Church is a well known Windhoek landmark.
Found our way to the park at the Namibia Parliament. Pretty spot, and we found a bench to sit and eat.
Pretty spot at the Namibian Parliament.
Yikes. Good thing they let us eat our lunch there!
This is a new museum. It's not open yet, but what an interesting building design!
We had seen a sign for the Namibian Tourism Board. Yes, they are the people who paid for our trip, so we decided to go to their office and find someone to thank! We met Rebecca who has been following our facebook page updates and had a good talk with her. She also let us use one of the windows in their 8th floor office to get a good pic of the city!
City of Windhoek.
We met up with Antoinette back at her apartment and she drove us to the Xwama restaurent in Katutura. This is the township where the colored people were relegated to live during apartied South Africa. The guide books and tourist people will tell you to only go here with a guide, but we found that during daylight hours it would be perfectly fine to go by yourself.
Xwama restaurant bills itself as an "authentic" African experience, and sure enough it was!
Deciding what to order!
Want some "Grilled chicken livers, sided with Ox fat spread and a hot chili sauce"? Well we had some. And how about a bowl full of "Omagungo"? Boiled mopane worms!! Sure, we'll have a bowl.
Mopane worm. For dinner, or a nice light snack!
Ruth, about to take the first bite!
Antoinette, eating out of her comfort zone!
And Kevin, about to crunch down!
Ha, ha! Not sure!
So what did the mopane worms taste like? We sort of thought it was like dried salted fish! Not bad, but not something I would eat on a regular basis. I think we liked the deep fried grasshoppers we had in Mexico better. Except when the legs got stuck in your teeth.
And for main course, Marathon chicken with Marula nut sauce. Oh, and a side of "Omboga", a free range growing vegetables similar to spinach. but with crunchy bits that feel like sand. Now we know why Namibians are not so fond of their veggies!
Our waitress Frieda, dividing up our maiz meal.
The chicken was good though! Oh, and so was the bean soup, which was not so much like soup but a kind of paste. Good thing because you had to eat everything with your fingers!
Total bill for the three of us including tip, four beers, and a cider? N$340 ($36.72). Reasonably priced, and a great experience. Really worth it, and thanks to facebook fan Leonora for suggesting it!
After dinner, we went to a pub near Antoinette's apartment. They do a Monday night quiz night there and it's a busy event! We were welcomed to a table of her regular friends where we competed against 8 or 9 other tables in a variety of abstract questions. Our table came in second place!
Our second place table!
Some of the random questions?
"How many points are on the maple leaf on the Canadian flag"?
Lucky that our table had a couple of Canadians sitting at it!! Ruth got it right with 11.
"What is the German company "Recarro" known for producing?"
Kevin added to our tally of correct answers by getting this one right. Bucket seats for cars!
It was great fun, one of our best night's out for a long time!
Getting the blog posted early this morning as we're headed out for a long day's drive to Etosha Safari Lodge!