Day 112, stage 86, 126km
Start, Konkiep Lapa Camp
Finish, Seeheim Camp
Finally an easier day, a manageable distance and slightly better roads. We needed it after the last two days. We camped tonight at a bizarre castle like hotel and camp next to a railway station. Once again it was in the middle of nowhere and yet they were busy – a forty-room hotel with bars, restaurants and swimming pool. We see few cars on the road. We see very few settlements or towns. And yet, after cycling 70km without seeing anything we show up at 40 room crenelated hotel that is busy. Where do these people come from? It is like the twilight zone or the X Files. You show up somewhere and all of a sudden people start appearing from behind and under rocks, from cracks in the dried earth and from between the ties of a rarely used rail line. Not only that, but in the middle of this dessert landscape, this hotel hand soft green grass. I don’t get it. The hotel had originally been built in 1906. The current owners had been there for 16 years, had expanded it and made many improvements. The lady of the manor had those dark sunken eyes of an insomniac (probably from staying up all night counting the money from the extortionate prices they charged – only game within 70km of course, take it or leave it). The Laird of the manor skulked around spectre-like in a pair of blue worker pants he hadn’t changed in three or four months. He weighed about 40kg and had the tight-skinned, cadaverous face of a recently unwrapped Mummy. Namibia is a fascinating and quirky place.
This morning we had a coke stop at around 30km in the town of Bethanie. I stopped because I needed to get some money. Waiting in line at the ATM I turned my phone on. There had been no cell signal at Seeheim so I had been out of communication for a day. The first thing I saw was a message from Liz with the news that Tim Manchester, a good friend who lives around the corner from us in Dar, had been knocked off his bike by a vehicle yesterday and killed. It was devastating news. I cycled with Tim. He was one of the world’s truly gentle souls. He was kind, generous and always to lend a hand. He will be deeply missed. It was very sad news. When I got back on my bike, I cycled for many miles with tears in my eyes.