About Me

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Hello! Welcome to my online travel-food-life journal/virtual scrapbook. I am a poet, playwright, journalist, editor and basic jack-of-all-trades writer. I was born in El Salvador and raised in Minnesota. I have just returned home from a year and a half in South Africa.

30 August 2012

Namibia: Canyon Climbing, A Tale of Insomnia


"♪ Young(ish) (wo)man, there's no need to feel down.
Young(ish) (wo)man, get yourself off the ground ♫"

Well alrighty then, don't mind if I do!

This is a canyon near Sossusvlei.  What's the name of the canyon?  I have no idea.  Why you wonder?  Ah, well.  I guess I haven't mentioned it before but while this trip was A to the amazeballs, this trip was also a hellish experience in sleeplessness.  The nights were really cold, children.  And I'm a really light sleeper.  And because of the cold I had to sleep in a cocoon sleeping bag, which for a starfish sleeper (as in, that's the shape I take on whilst sleeping) like myself = clausterphobic torture.  Wish I were exaggerating kids.  But I slept horribly, if at all, most nights.  So by the time we got here, I was becoming delirious.  I can cope with many things, but give me night after night of sleeplessness and I.  JUST.  CAN'T.  With, like, anything.

So yeah, I don't know what the heck the name of this canyon was.  BUT.  I loved it.  Cuz I love climbing things.  I like heights.  I love scrambling on top of rocks and seeing how high I can go.

So, thank you, canyon-somewhere-in-the-middle-of-the-Namib-Desert, for making me gleeful in the midst of feeling like an insomiatic zombie!

27 August 2012

Namibia: Deadvlei

Wherein I proudly show you my favorite set of pictures of the past year and a half.  There's not much I can say about this except that the Namib Desert is one of the most eeriely gorgeous places I've ever been in -- or hell, imagined being in.

I'm gonna let the pictures speak for themselves, but I'll explain a bit: The super eerie ones are the remains of a vlei (wetlands), long since dead and standing ghostly sentinel in the middle of the desert. 

Also, there are a couple of different ways of getting to the Deadvlei (or Dead Swamp, get it?), one is around the bend, the other is straight over an ENORMOUS dune ridge.  Due to some miscommunication/confusion on my part, I took the, uh, path less traveled.  And damn near died.  I swear my heart was about to explode.  And not in the, "Oh, the BEAUTY!" kind of a way, but in the "CHEST PAIN" kind of a way.  Anyhoo, Aaron (who took the other route) documented my epicness.  (It's the photo with a green arrow.) 

OK, I've blathered enough.  Enjoy the BEAUTY!

23 August 2012

Namibia: The Dunes and Sossusvlei


So after a week in the Kgalagadi, we were off for a week in Namibia.  We were quite excited, especially Aaron, who is very interested in the archeology of the region.

This is the route we took:


(Uh.  Kinda.)

Anyhoo, our first stop (other than to get groceries) was Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert.  According to good ole Wikipedia, Sossusvlei is: "a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, in the Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia. The name "Sossusvlei" is often used in an extended meaning to refer to the surrounding area (including other neighbouring vleis such as Dead Vlei and other high dunes), which is one of the major visitor attractions of Namibia."


Like, you actually feel you are on another planet.  A more breathable Mars or something.  It was stark and alien and stunning.

How high are these dunes?  Well look below:

I'm the black and white figure.  So yeah.  Pretty dang big.

And of course, you gotta climb them:

And climb ...

And climb some more ...

And then you die a little ...

And you stop to admire the view and then you keep going ...

And then you get to the top (or you know, mostly.)

And the views are kind of heart-achingly beautiful.

And then the sun sets ...

and you go back to camp and have lots of beer.