Today we left Etosha National Park and headed Northeast towards the Hakusembe River. This river is the border between Northern Namibia and Angola. On our drive we did see a family of warthogs grazing on the side of the road. We also got held up by several traffic jams of goats crossing the road. We have seen more animals on the road than cars or people. I must say, all of us are a little excited about heading to somewhere that has a little more humidity and water. The boy's skin has been so dry and itchy, I've been having to put a layer of aquaphor all over them. We surprisingly had a short drive today - only around 5 hours, half of which was on tarmac road! We were excited to get to this lodge because according to our travel agent, you can do boat cruises, water skiing, fishing and knee boarding on this crocodile/hippo infested river. Once we got to the lodge, the kind lady told us that since there is currently a drought, none of the river activities are available. I asked if there are any activities in the nearby town for the kids, she told me the only option is a massage? Once we realized that we were literally staring across the river at Angola, we decided to take a chance of entering a new country. Since all the activities at the lodge were a no go, we didn't have anything else to do so why not! We drove to the biggest city we have seen in weeks called Rundu. We stopped at a local supermarket to grab some water and snacks. The kids were overwhelmed with the amount of people and cars surrounding us. It has literally been weeks since we have seen this many people! When we were standing in line, a lady passed by us and dropped her giant 2 liter of coca - cola that spewed everywhere including on all of us.
After we left the grocery store, we passed several meat markets - giant parts of meat hanging in a tree that are for sale. I can not imagine how bad these taste or smell after being hung for who knows how many hours in the baking hot sun on a tree. That image alone is enough to make us want to be a vegetarian. It was absolutely grotesk to see this. And the sad part is, we didn't see a random one, we saw a ton of these. How is it this popular? How does this meat stay fresh when it is not on ice? It is over 100 degrees here. It is a roadside butcher shop with a quarter of a cow hanging on a tree. As I am typing this, Paul walks in and asks "what's wrong with you?" I told him I'm writing about the roadside butcher shops. He says, "yeah, that's an appropriate face". That is how disgusting it was.
Anyways, I got sidetracked, back to us going to Angola. It's hard not to get sidetracked here- so much poverty. So many people living in metal tin shacks. Children carrying babies in slings on their backs. Trash piled up endlessly all over the roads while the donkeys graze about this liter mine field. Everyone is smiling, waving and appearing to be super happy. Paul and I both say, how can they be so happy? Ignorance is bliss?
We get to the floating bridge and border control spot. It is pretty desolate, Not much going on around here. We could have easily driven the car past the "security" guard and continued our way to Angola. Paul was kind enough to stop, park the car and go ask the border control police the proper procedures for entering a new country. The kind lady told Paul that if we are not African residents then we need a visa to enter Angola. She told us we could walk across the bridge into Angola but don't go past the bridge. We walked into a new country but didn't get the official passport stamp. I think it still counts and for the boys, they checked it off their list!
Once we got back to our lodge, we just walked around and checked out the river area. A beautiful spot but unfortunately we can't do any activities this time because of the drought. Thanks global warming.