Saturday, we drove to Mt. Etjo lodge which took all morning. This is a game preserve created by conservationist Jan Oelofse, known for supplying and training the animals for the Hollywood film Hatari (1960) starring John Wayne as a hunter capturing animals for zoos. I remember watching the first hour on TV when I was little. (Come to think of it we used to watch a lot of movies on the CBS and NBC Night at the Movies, but only the first hour and they were all pretty bad, mostly starring George Hamilton.) Red Buttons was Wayne’s funny sidekick and Elsa Martinelli the love interest. I’ll have to find it on Netflix or Amazon Prime sometime. There were flamingos in the fountain and African ducks.
We swam in the hotel pool and met a German gay couple, chatting with them briefly. Tea was served on the verandah, then a three-hour game drive—much tamer and touristy than the ones in Etosha. We did see an elephant and two rhinos up close, and a baby giraffe with its mother. Hella said it was only a day only because we could see its umbilical cord.
After dinner of kudu sausage and oryx Bolognese, there was an extra attraction of a lion feeinding for $100 Namibian dollars ($20 US). Jerry was not interested, but a show’s a show, so I went. Interestingly, the event was like a piece of theater. Several of the guests drove in two buses about five minutes to a small building. The entrance led to a tunnel at the end of which were two concrete walls at right angles forming an L. There were two long padded benches in front of a ten-inch tall slit in the walls, covered with bars.
We sat down and could make out the corpse of an antelope on the other side of the wall. The lights on our side snapped off and were illuminated on the other side. Almost immediately a pride, consisting of one male and nine females, loudly pounced on the cadaver, loudly devouring it. The male was in the mating mood and mounted one of the females three times during the course of the meal. The sex was quick (about 30 seconds) and the partners growled a lot during the act. The male and his lover left the repast first. Slowly the other females stalked off after they had their fill. Once or twice the male looked right at me and it was scary.
Sunday, we were taken to a crafts market. It was very unpleasant because we had to bargain hard to get a fair price. Nothing was marked and the vendor would take a twig or letter opener and scratch a price on their forearm. Then you haggled. Hella said offer half the first figure. When I saw a nice carved elephant—which I collect from various trips—I offered half the vendor’s price and he replied “Oh no this is a good price. I give you a Sunday price” and the write down a figure much more than I was willing to pay. I hate bargaining and prefer it when something is labeled and you and take it or leave it. Imagine haggling in Barnes and Noble.
Then if you did buy something, the vendor would have another vendor take it to have wrapped and you would have to look at their store and the cycle would start all over again. I bought a few things, and probably paid too much for them.
We were going back to NYC the next day. Hella and Crystal dropped us off at our guest house back in Windhoek which was next to the Namibian president’s residence on Robert Mugabe Avenue. We had dinner at Joe’s Beerhouse on Nelson Mendela Avenue with all foreign tourists. The food was delicious, a seafood cocktail, fillet with peppercorn and bamboo shoot sauce, and for desert a pastry stuffed with raisins and apples, accompanied by ice cream and cherries.
Then we flew to Johannesburg for our flight to NYC, 15 hours. Plus we had about nine hours in Johannesburg and were so tired we didn’t feel like doing anything. There is only airport where I would want to spend an entire day—Paris. There’s nothing distinctive about Johannesburg airport. Anyway, we finally got on the flight and I finished watching The Avengers. I’m sorry but the Hulk doesn’t help anybody. Otherwise, I enjoyed it. But it wasn’t as directly thrilling as the lion feeding.