No post is good post

I almost forgot to blog again. Yikes.

We did a bit of (expensive) shopping for our upcoming trip today. I can’t bring myself to share how much we spent, but it was “significant”. April 2017 will therefore be a month remembered for the number of meals consisting of 2 minute noodles or dry Salticrax. And – hopefully – a really good trip to Namibia. The food on that one was included in the price of the holiday, so at least we’ll be able to eat for a few days.

Right now, I need to sit down and relax in a large tub of decent brandy, as I try to forget our spending today.

Also, mental note to self: how are you going to blog while you’re away?
If you get a house sitter and a beagle sitter, can do you also get a blog sitter?
Maybe I need one of those to remind me to blog on the days when I am here…

Photos and the NDCA

I have put a whole four photos up onto Flickr. [Author’s note: Actually, there should be another one. I wonder where it went?] You can see them here. We had some fun once the wind had dropped a bit on Monday evening, although my night shots aren’t really improving much.
Sadly, the wind didn’t drop enough for any Mavic fun.

And talking of the Mavic, there’s not going to be a lot more from me today because I’m spending my spare time filling in a FSS-GEN-FORM 081/14 form for the Namibian Directorate of Civil Aviation in the hope that I can take my little flying friend there next month.

They’ve been super helpful with their communication so far, but blimey, guv – they want quite a lot of information!

24 hours in Noordoewer

We’re going to Namibia next month. Not very far into Namibia, but certainly across the border. Normally, that would be the end of the tale, save for some photographs and a blog post or two when I got back, but there’s more to this story than that. We’re on a tour there and I thought it started on this date, whereas it actually starts on that date (which is a whole day later than the aforementioned this date).
Thing is, the beagle sitter is booked, we’ve taken the time off work, we have accommodation there.

So, why not make the best of the error and have an extra [movie trailer voiceover voice]:

24 Hours In Noordoewer

It would be silly not to make the best of those 24 hours, so I had a look at how one can pass the time in Noordoewer, population 219.
I’ll be honest – I was impressed. The Southern Namibian Tourist Board have certainly worked hard to make this the town in Southern Namibia to visit. There’s so much to do!


What To Do In Noordoewer

Watch the planes at Noordoewer International Airport
It’s a little known fact that approximately 50% of commercial flights worldwide include Noordoewer International Airport (NRX) as either a departure, an arrival or a stopover point. This makes it arguably one of the best airports in the world for planespotters, with flight action almost 24 hours a day (closed Tuesdays).

Ride the rollercoasters at Sammyland Theme Park
The Sammyland Theme Park covers almost 3,000 hectares and is based loosely around Namibia’s favourite cartoon character, Sammy the Sand Dune. Here you can ride the largest rollercoaster in the Southern Hemisphere, The Desert Destroyer. Pulling 8G at the base of its record 370m vertical drop, it has been responsible for the deaths of at least 12 people through cerebral haemorrhage each year since the park opened in 2009.

Go underground at the Caves of Noordoewer
First documented in 1791 by colonial explorer Anton von Arschganstracht, this sandstone cavern system extends at least 131km into the earth – we say ‘at least’, because there are still some tunnels yet to be explored. However, thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of our guides, modern day visitors can still become the first to discover new parts of this astounding natural phenomenon. Bring food and water. And candles.

Learn about whaling in Noordoewer at the Noordoewer Whaling Museum
In the mid 1830s, during the infamous Noordoewer Mielie Famine, mielie farming settlers in the area were forced to look for other means to support themselves as their harvest failed for the third time due to Mielie Blight disease, caused by the fungus we all now know as Pythorans mielicidous. Many simply grew wheat and potatoes instead, but a small number turned to whaling as an alternative means of subsistence. However, given that Noordoewer is over 100km from the nearest ocean, perhaps understandably, this ambitious endeavour quickly failed. Consequently, the Whaling Museum is very small.

Gamble your life away at the Noordhoek Casino and Revue Bar
The most popular nightspot on the famous Noordoewer Strip, the Noordoewer Casino and Revue Bar has over 10,000 square metres of floorspace – all covered courtesy of Noordoewer Carpeting Company: Carpeting Noordoewer since 1982™ – allowing patrons to enjoy Blackjack, Poker, Slot Machines, Roulette and hourly shows in one of the restaurants or clubs on site. The dress code is smart, unless you’re one of the performers, in which case dress code is minimal, if you know what we mean! Wahey!

Eat at the Noordoewer Wimpy
A fast food restaurant located in the Engen Service Station at the south end of the town.

Climb (or ride up) Noordoewer Mountain
Africa’s highest peak at 5,896m, geologists believe that this imposing giant has stood guard over Noordoewer for over 100 million years. Some energetic visitors do take on the climb – indeed it is the most summitted peak in Namibia – however, most people choose to take the cable car from the town centre (Metro Stop C7, Red Line). The journey takes a little more than 22 hours each way, so bring snacks and a sleeping bag.

And finally:
See the mad, flappy ears at the Noordoewer Beagle Racing Track
Beagle racing is as synonymous with Nambia as microwave production or frisbees, so this is ‘a must do’ if you happen to be in town for the weekly Saturday night beagle meet. Beagles from all over the region come to compete in this single 50m dash along a sawdust and mud track, and the enthusiastic hounds chase a vienna sausage on a string pulled by a local orphan. Please note that betting on dog racing is illegal in Namibia, but because of a convenient loophole, betting on dog and orphan racing is perfectly legitimate.

© Southern Namibian Tourist Board


Suddenly, I’m wishing that I’d messed up by far more than just a day, although obviously I would probably give the beagle racing a miss.

Noordoewer, hey? What a place. Who knew?

Booked 

It’s been a busy day. A difficult week. 

But there is some light at the end of the tunnel, albeit a very long tunnel. 

An Orange River Adventure sometime deep into next year. It’s not quite Iceland (in fact, it’s probably quite the opposite), but I’m already looking forward to it.  

Bye Bye Eye Eye…

We begin with a quote…

It is not a pleasant behaviour to observe, as the seals completely freak out and make a lot of noise.

So says Austin Gallagher, a postdoctoral researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. As if it would be pleasant behaviour to observe were the seals all cool about it.

“What’s ‘it’, though?” I hear you ask?

Well, it is the story about the Kelp Gulls pecking out the baby seals’ eyes and then eating the blinded corpses. (Come now, we’ve all done it…)
Suddenly, what that American tooth bloke did to Cecil the lion seems almost… well… humane.

Life for a Cape fur seal pup is pretty tough to begin with.
For one, the babies can’t swim and have to rely on their mother’s milk.

To be honest this is pretty much the same with human babies.

To supply that milk, the mother seals must occasionally go hunt fish, leaving the pups alone at the colony for several days.

Yeah? Well, new mum Sharon might go down to her local pub and then call in the kebab shop on the way back to the flat.

The unprotected pups might then fall prey to land predators such as lions and hyenas—and now, seagulls.

OK. I’ll admit that this is less likely to occur in a human, urban environment.

In the study, kelp gulls were successful in plucking out eyeballs in roughly 50 percent of observed attacks.

“A blind seal cannot forage, cannot find mom, and will get attacked by other gulls,” says Gallagher.

Nice. And from there, obviously, it’s game over.

I’m not saying the killing animals is right. Not for one minute. (Unless you’re making tasty burgers or ribs or something and then it’s totes fine.) But when Cecil gets a million column inches; when Rhinos get a billion hashtags – why is no-one going after the damn Kelp Gulls and their disgusting torture of these innocent little baby fur seals.

Where are Greenpeace now, huh? Where’s Sea Shepherd and their hopelessly misplaced, xenophobic protests?

I’ll tell you where: Nowhere, because seagulls make difficult targets for their daft campaigns when compared with the poor Faroese fishermen and the wholly landlocked Johannesburg base of the South African Department of Energy.

It’s pure, seagull-favouring hypocrisy, and I, for one, am sick of it.