844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

Sossusvlei & Carmy the Chameleon (Namib Desert, Namibia)

May 1st, 2011 (February 2011) – Sossusvlei. It looks and sounds like a nonsense word. The more I say it the more ridiculous it becomes. The ‘-vlei’ rhymes with ‘way’. Need remedial help? Go here. I did. It is a name worthy of Dr. Seuss himself and would blend marvelously in the pages of one of his books.  Roughly translated ‘Sossusvlei’ signifies something along the lines of ‘dead end marsh’. Rarely does the Tsauchab River accumulate sufficient capacity and thrust to inundate the area but it does occur. Thankfully, we were fortunate enough to be present at such a time.

Another early rise. Another cup of Nescafe Espresso. I can almost smell the instant coffee now. Unfortunately, the park staffers were late arrivals so we missed the sunrise but we still made it to the temporary lakes of Sossusvlei in time for the color spectacle.  I was hoping we would have the place to ourselves but, alas, those with their own 4wds beat us to the punch. Fiddlesticks. No matter, it was still a sight to behold and worth every moment spent absorbing it.

After negotiating the lagoons I made my way up the nearest dune. The most visually appealing route turned out to be the least expedient and sapped a fair amount of my strength. Dune slogging may be the perfect cardio workout although the apparatus may a bit difficult to come by. Once atop my sandy perch I soon forgot the effort it took to arrive there. What a view. My awe soon turned to laughter, however, when I noticed some unfortunates following my footsteps through the sand. They must have assumed I’d taken the easiest route. You know what happens when you assume. They never made it. Poor bastards.

I used my last opportunity to skip down the side of a dune wisely. With video camera in hand I bounced my way groundward with childish exuberance all the while singing my adaptation Tom Petty’s song, Running Down a Dream Dune. There are worse ways to spend a morning.

Photo by Leslie

Photo by Leslie

After we’d garnered our fill of Sossusvlei it was time to leave the Namib behind. Never have I seen such a place. I doubt I shall ever see another like it. It is the desert of Hollywood imagination and deservedly so. Life is all about timing. Who knows, had I arrived at a different time perhaps the aura surrounding the place would have been less enchanting. Then again…

From Sesriem we headed northwest to Swakopmund via Walvis Bay through the northern sector of Namib-Naukluft National Park.  As we floated once again through the endless expanse of nothingness a sudden violent jerk of the wheel on my part spared the life of a familiar friend. For some reason Carmy the Chameleon decided to sport a bright yellow coat of arms at a most opportune moment catching my eye and thereby saving his shape-shifting little ass. We turned around for a closer look and gawked at our mystical little friend for about fifteen minutes. He was an ornery little misfit but a short camera molestation was the least he could endure in exchange for my split second reflexes.

Not far from Walvis Bay the scenery morphed once again and became even more nothing than nothing was before. Never in my travels have I seen such a variety of nothing. So many shades of nothing in this world. I guess it is true, even nothing is something. Okay, that’s ridiculous but it does have a nice existential ring to it, no? 

Photo by Leslie

Photo by Leslie

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'Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.' -- Libbie Fudim