Saturday, February 20, 2010

Namibia, day 1

On our first day in Namibia we rented a truck in Windhoek and drove about 2 hours southwest from the capital to a small lodge to spend our first night before venturing further afield for the rest of out 10 day road trip. Beautiful drive. Incredibly hot, unbelievably dry. So dry you actually don't sweat--any moisture evaporates instantly. In fact by the end of the first day I had a pounding headache from dehydration. The rest of the trip we drank around 3 liters or more each per day.

After four years in London, I guess I've come to take water for granted. If anything, the English climate has turned water, in my imagination, into an ever present, gloomy, drizzly weight that must be endured for endless stretches with a scowl and an upturned collar. A roadblock to wearing my new high heeled turquoise suede ankle boots. A compelling excuse to skip morning runs and therefore a contributing factor to my body's modest but nonetheless alarming new tendency toward muffin top in the absence of regular cardio. All of these unpleasant things, rather than the precious stuff of life it is most everywhere else.

So it was humbling to notice, when we stopped our truck so I could hop out and open a wooden gate to allow our vehicle to drive into the lodge on a dusty, heat emitting road, a swarm of tiny purple butterflies coating a patch on the ground. Why? Because upon closer inspection, I realized they had gathered to lick a faintly moist patch in the sand, most likely deposited by a leaky vehicle that had stopped previously in this same spot to open the gate.

A hundred tiny creatures, whipping their little tongues at the dampness. This was life or death for them. I immediately poured half of my water bottle onto the ground, hoping to give them a party.

Most of them scattered as soon as I approached and started taking pictures...only a handful of brave (or extra thirsty) ones stayed behind. Click to enlarge...notice the little guy coming in for a landing to the right in photo four below.


Jasmine said...

I love you for loving insects. If ever I have to write you a recommendation for something, I will mention that. I may ban plastic bags, but you donate water to Namibian moths. So adorable and wonderful.

Jasmine said...

why did you reply to anonymous visitor and not me. hmph

CC said...

Sorry! Thank you for your nice comment...I am a little behind on everything these days. The Namibian butterflies are sorry, too. xo