April 4, 2016
In the morning I rode another twelve or so miles of gravel road north until I reached the small town of Clanwilliam in the Cederberg mountains. It’s actually a larger town than I expected, but still small and very attractive (you could say “quaint”). The pavement started again in Clanwilliam, and I rode out to the N7 to head north again on the highway.
After another hour and a half or so, I stopped for fuel and to stretch. While standing by the bike, a guy approached me, speaking Afrikaans.
“I’m sorry, I only speak English”, I said.
“Where are you coming from?”, he asked, switching to English seamlessly, as just about everyone here does, albeit with a very strong accent that sounded more Indian than South African, but then I’m no expert on dialects.
I responded, “Originally Texas, via South America, and the last couple of weeks in Cape Town.”
“I’m from Vindu. Would you like a puppy?”
I thought to myself: Seriously Dude? I’m on a very overloaded small motorcycle.
I glanced at his car, but the tinted windows prevented me from seeing how many puppies he had in there.
“Um, no, but thanks. And I’m sorry, but I have no idea where that is.”
“It’s a large city in Namibia, about twelve hundred kilometers from here.”
“Oh, okay”, I replied, wondering how I could not know about Vindu if it was a large city in Namibia.
After an awkward pause, he said “Well, safe travels”, and held his fist out. We fist bumped, and I climbed back onto the bike while he walked into the diner.
It was several miles down the road before I finally put it all together.
What he really said was, “I’m from Windhoek. Would you like a coffee?”
And I’m still chuckling thinking about it. I would love to know what he was thinking when I suddenly flinched as he asked me if I wanted a coffee.
I may not be able to understand people, but at least now I know how to pronounce Windhoek. Sort of.