The boys chilling on the roof of the bus at break down point #2
That's about how late our bus was getting us to Windhoek. We were supposed to leave Livingstone on the noon bus Wednesday. Noon came and went and finally an employee with the bus company indicated we likely wouldn’t leave that day as the bus was broken down, and if we didn’t leave by 3 p.m., we wouldn’t get to the border before it closed. We sat around until 3 p.m. (four hours) just in case it would show, but then back we went to the hostel for the night with no promises when the bus would leave. One day wasted hanging at the bus stop. When I say we, four British fellas and one Tasmanian guy were also in the same boat.
The next day we headed back again about 11:30. Again, no bus.
As 3 p.m. approached again, we thought screw it, we’ll just get a mini-bus to the border and figure it out from there. We thought we best check with the travel agent first about getting refunds, so I headed over there to chat with them. They finally told me what was going on with the bus. It was broken down in Livingstone not far from where we were. The mechanic didn’t show up the day before and only started working on it that day. He called to find out the status of the repairs and they said we should just wait. We had already waited two days in a row, four hours at the bus stop each day. Ugh.
Hanging at the border - just after taking this a guard with a machine gun told us no picture of signs
I went back and told the group what the deal was, and someone came up with the good idea that we should just send two people to the bus where it was getting repaired and figure out what was going on.
So we chose one engineer and Tasmanian so get the scoop. Their taxi driver came back in relative short order without them and said the bus was running. Yeah! So it finally rolled in about 3:30 and we were off about 4 p.m.
One of many villages we passed on the way.
We started to make our way to the border which closes at 5:30 with promises that they sent someone ahead to keep it open. Not. Guess where we slept? They just parked the bus right at the Namibian border and we waited there until it opened at 6 a.m. I actually thought it was fun as we threw on some movies and they got us dinner. A couple of the guys threw their sleeping bags on the roof of the trailer we were hauling and slept there.
I opted for inside hoping it would reduce the number of mosquito bites. The next day we got through the border and into Namibia. The bus broke down about three times on the way, in some cases in the middle of nowhere, and we also had to swap buses at about 10 p.m. somewhere. Luckily a mechanic was on board. We finally reached Windhoek at 2 a.m. All the hostels we called were closed or full, so the bus just drove us to the one we wanted to go to that was closed and we woke up the security guard and dogs and he let us in to sleep in their common room. I got the one couch while the guys threw their sleeping bags about. Shortly after two guys came into the hostel that we saw at the bus stop in Livingstone. They took a different bus and had already been in Windhoek since Thursday.
Group of kids that came up to visit us during one bathroom break
They laughed at how long it took us but said, at least you have a story. When reception opened this morning at about 6 I finally got a bed!
Cutie on the bus - this baby was so good. I've noticed the children here are very well-behaved. I've seen 3-year olds sit in their mother's lap for a 15 hour bus ride.
So it is now Saturday morning when I should have arrived Thursday morning. I’m so glad I don’t have a schedule! I really have not been too distressed about this situation because of it, and the fact I knew I had no control over any of it, so I just watched the scenery go by. Windhoek by the way is so different. It is a proper city with a lot of German influence, and actual street lights, street sights and Christmas decorations! It is so odd, especially because it is so hot here. I was kind of bummed when I saw it because I’ve enjoyed the smaller towns without malls and large skyscraper hotels, but it is also refreshing.
Now I need to figure out just how I’m going to see Namibia. There are roughly only 1.7 million people in this country and a lot of nothing in between towns, witnessed on the way here. If you don’t rent a car, you need to join a tour to get around, which is very expensive. So after all that I went through to get here, I may just be here only a week. I plan to try to meet some folks at the hostel to share rental car expenses, but if not, a quick look at the coast and onto South Africa.
Tas' backpacker repair job on his foot he scraped up (killing time at the bus stop)