Even though we didn’t necessarily feel like it after spending so much time in the wild, we had to get ready for city life again. At least we were looking at a potentially calm city life in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital with a population of 300.000. Botswana had just reopened its borders for international travelers and even though we were already in the beginning of the rain season we were thinking about visiting and needed to figure out our next steps for the journey. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves - as it turns out there was another adventure waiting for us in Windhoek.
The plan was to get the COVID test done for Botswana and stock up on essential staples. We had booked ourselves into the Urban Camp which offers set up tents as well as pitches for campers with their own vehicle. The place itself is awesome and we highly recommend staying there if you need accommodation in Windhoek: it’s an escape from the city hosting many like-minded overlanders, offering a relaxing community area including a small pool, working spaces and a well-stocked bar. And what is not to love about their neighbor Joe’s Bierhaus where you can indulge in specialties like Eisbein Burger or Joe’s Jägerschnitzel. Too bad we’re vegan.
So, as we were going about our business, shopping for food and trying Windhoek’s coffee scene we also managed to make appointments at the local test center which was right around the corner from our camp. But when you are in Namibia you take your car everywhere since people who walk around town are…rare. So, we parked across the street and waited in quite a long line to have yet another nasty stick inserted in our nostrils. While doing so we listened to the story of the guy in front of us who had to get tested after having performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on someone who had then died and tested positive for COVID at the morgue. AHHHHH.
"…it slowly dawned on us that the backpack must have gotten stolen out of the car on the parking lot…"
The next day, as we were waiting for our results at the camp, Björn couldn’t find his backpack which had been in the back of the car for the entire trip. Soon we were both looking all over but how long can you actually look all over in the back of a car measuring 2 square meters? After thinking hard and then even harder it slowly dawned on us that the backpack must have gotten stolen out of the car on the parking lot while we're getting tested the day before. Bjoern had apparently not locked the side doors of the car and thus, someone had decided to try their luck and grab the next best thing. Well, it was a pretty good catch - the listing included both of our spare passports, a Bose soundbox, a GoPro camera, Bjoern’s glasses, Boggy’s spare keys and a couple of clothes. BIG DOWNER.
We definitely didn’t expect to see any of our belongings again, nevertheless we decided to file a complaint at the local police station since we needed an official form in order to be able to apply for new passports back in Germany. We entered a modern looking building and were directed to a counter with 2 female police officers sitting behind glass windows. One of them was working on a report with an elderly couple who had lost a wallet. The other one was chatting with a colleague her back towards us. Being orderly Germans, we waited for her to call us to the window. After about 5 minutes we realized, this wasn’t going to happen so we stepped forward. Standing right in front of her, she slowly turned around, apparently irritated by our presence. She didn’t say a word and just kept staring at us. We told her we wanted to file a report about a stolen backpack and then I could see it: the slow, very slow realization that today, at work, there was actually going to be - work. SHE DID NOT LIKE IT.
"Never in our entire lives have we seen someone fill out a form in such slow-motion..."
What followed was the display of a textbook example of how public service works. NOT. And how at the same time the public service worker seems to scream into your face: I DO NOT NEED TO GET WORK DONE IN ORDER TO GET PAID. Never in our entire lives have we seen someone fill out a form in such slow-motion, in fact time might have as well been on reverse. First of all, a proper pen had to be found. Yes, a pen. No computers. Then, a cardboard file had to be labeled. This was followed by the very precise tearing-out of a sheet of paper from a notepad. If you are thinking: Now she’s ready to take notes while we tell our story - wrong!
a) I had to dictate the story word for word. Literally. Think dictation for first-graders.
b) The officer did not really take notes. She painted letters. Think literacy for first-graders.
And while we were standing there, watching her in awe, we both realized we HAD seen something like that before:
But the climax was yet to come: after having finished 3 sentences, she slowly turned around to the wall behind her, looking at the clock. It was 4:50 pm. Then she turned back towards us and said: “My shift is almost over, it’s not worth for me to start this. My colleague will help you in 10 minutes.” And just like that she took the piece of paper, teared it apart and threw it in the trashcan.
I could go on for a while but let’s leave it at that: we did manage to finish the report and, of course, have since never heard back about the case. Well, at least not from the police station. Some nice guy did find our passports that had been tossed and did a little detective work to find out my email address. He was so kind to send them back to Germany which we were very thankful for!
So, after our luggage had just become a little lighter, we were ready to tackle the next adventure: BOTSWANA!
TRAVEL TIME: December 11-13, 2020
Windhoek: Urban Camp