Today we rode to the Fish River Canyon. It is only a couple of days from there to the South African border. The canyon itself is the second largest in the world. Looking into its depths, I can imagine coming back here to hike it's length. Oddly enough, it made me think of the hiking trails in Alice Springs, Australia. Not for any physical similarity, but just for the sheer fact that they are two places that i will dream of walking through, but may never make it back to. Hard to say that right now, when all I can dream about is coming back. I'd like to come back with Rob, not a bunch of strangers, and to experience this land in the way that I would chose to, not as the morning map has laid out for me.
There was a break mid-day at a little lodge that served cheesecake. I bought a piece for myself, and then snuck a piece on the truck for Evelijn, whose birthday was that night. When I got to the end of day lodge, there was actually champagne there, so I bought her a bottle. There were so many birthdays on this trip that seemed to go unmarked, and Evelijn seemed to me to be a person who really loved her birthday. She, Erin, Peter and I sat up until late chatting, and passing around the champagne bottles (Peter had also had the same idea). This time we were far enough away from the campers, though I had been getting snide remarks about not putting my tent near anyone else's. I feel worn out by this whole adventure.
There was a little boy in the campsite who had mad a tin car out of pop cans. He rolled it along with the stick he had attached to it. I think of the toys in North America and how reliant we are on Hasbro or Mattel for childhood amusements. The one thing I have discovered from bike tours is that the best of the journey is the journey itself - the end is usually a let-down. I think of these kids here, who probably derive more fun from making their toys than playing with them, and I think that we're probably depriving our kids by just sticking them with the end result and not allowing them the journey. That would explain why the box is more fun.
The next morning I rode to Phelix Unite. Our last rest day. Our last day in Namibia. The following day we would be off to South Africa.
It was meant to be a rest day in the truest sense of the word. No nearby town, no food outlets other than our lodge. The road all day had been pretty bland. Hardpack with rough sections, hillish-mountains in the distance, headwinds. I was happy to get in. Others had stopped at the last grocery store. I wizzed past them. I wanted a room. I wanted privacy. I needed to be alone.
The pub that evening drew more remarks about our party. I left in tears. Peter, Erin and Simon swung by my room with a few bottles of wine and Simon's portable stereo. This time, the walls were soundproof. We danced on the beds and laughed and listened to music we all loved and had a great time. Forget the rest of the crew. They were good people, but good people can be frustrating when boredom and
close-quarters are in the mix. We had a great night. Erin wound up sharing my room, and in the morning we had a long, luxurious yoga session on the lawn overlooking
the river. We were literally looking over at South Africa. There is such a mix of emotions with the ending. I look on at the frustration of my co-riders, and can't help realizing that there is also a mix of frustration with this being the end of it. A few days left. We can make it, and it will be beautiful.