A Travellerspoint blog

Day Seventeen – Sandy pants and what is the Fish of the Day?

9th October 2011

semi-overcast 27 °C

We woke up and started talking to each other using words like ‘dude,’ ‘awesome’ and ‘far out.’ If I could have grown my hair a few inches, tanned overnight, gained a chromosome and taken back a weeks’ worth of showers I could have not just looked the part, I could have been it.

But we are tourists, we are British and we have never sand boarded before. So we got our excitement fix by talking in politely excited but hushed tones as we drove out into the Namib desert toward Dune 7. Not surprising really that, rather than name things after national artists, engineers and philanthropists, the Germans simply numbered everything. ‘Vee av six dunes already, vee shall call zis... Dune 7.’ Emma and Laura hadn’t snowboarded before. Even though I had, the nerves were still there, no one wants to be the nonce on the video that fell over first go!

We climbed Dune 7, boards in hand and I quickly became an out of breath sweaty mess. (The ladies perspired gently but otherwise continued to smell of flowers.) Thank God it was overcast because we’d have probably shrivelled up and died otherwise.

Emma and Laura were getting their first lesson of sorts as I attempted my first run, I think I got away without falling though I definitely lacked style. Somers and Em began their first descents with a grace and deftness only accomplished by an English Lady. Without being able to turn they both headed diagonally for the edge of the dune and off into the Namib Desert somewhere. Attempt two was always going to be the real moment where both had to commit to a turn. (For those who don’t snowboard imagine sliding down a hill with an ironing board strapped to your feet. If you face downward, board across the slope, then as long as you keep those toes up you’ll carry on sliding. The higher you lift your toes the slower you go. But turning means getting onto your heels and that’s where the problem comes.) Somers put in a great turn but those toes dropped slightly at the end. As they dug into the dune, the board stopped dead. Somers’ body jerked from her ankles all the way up through her belly, neck and finally her head as she was thrown face first down the hill. I’m not sure which bit of her hit the sand first but from where I stood it looked like her whole body landed at once. From my position halfway up the ridge at the side of the dune I doubled over in stitches as a flustered Somers sat up with half a grin and started wiping sand from her mouth!

Back at the top, because I’m a boy, I’d seen the jump and thought why not. We were being videoed continuously and no one likes a show off but everyone loves a good crash. True to form I ended up with a very sore bottom from landing on it repeatedly. On the slope Emma was now putting in some sweet turns but had yet to muster any real pace in doing so!

Next was the chance to lie flat on a board and go head first straight down the steepest dune. We lay down and pushed off plummeting downwards. We were hitting 74kmh, as proved by their radar gun, as we flew down the dune. Occasionally and very accidently we let a knee slip off the board to get an idea of what a belt sander feels like on your knee caps. It hurts.

Dinner was had in the faithful tug boat restaurant bar from the previous evening. Here Somers enquired as to the nature of the ‘ocean fresh line fish.’ Our skilled waiter informed her that it was a “fresh fish from the ocean.” “Oh,” replied Somers, “What type of fish is it today?” “It’s a very nice fish madam,” he replied. At this point we were entering Faulty Towers territory, and before Somers could ask whether the fish had a name, a next of kin or any views on the politics of overfishing, we all burst out with a previously well stifled snigger.
Our waiter couldn’t ignore this outburst and asked us not be rude as he was still in his ‘experience’ phase and he still had to learn. Back in our boxes we sat quietly still contemplating what exactly todays’ fish might be.

Posted by ibeamish 09:03 Archived in Namibia

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