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Sailng on Windwanderer.
30th Nov 2015
Luderitz 30/11/15

Luderitz 30th November 2015.

Well we were up bright and early to meet Liz out the front of her shop, although she was not opened on a weekend. As most shops are like this, we have found in a lot of countries most shops are closed of a weekend, you get the little touristy shops that stay  open, and the supermarkets open in the morning and afternoon for a few hours only.

It's kinda nice in an old fashion way.

Liz was coming in to feed a couple of stray cats, that have adopted her or she them and also we were going to Kolmanskop ( The ghost town ) and needed to pay for the tour of the place.

It's a bit of a hike to Liz's shop and on the way we decided to withdraw some cash at the local ATM, after that we were wondering up to her place when two guys that could hardly speak English stopped us.

At first I thought they wanted money, which is not unusual, we often get asked for some, but no they said they were on the cargo ship that was leaving today and wanted to buy a few things before they left and only had American dollars.

They had asked around and being a weekend no one would exchange it for them.

Us being the kind people that we are, offered to exchange some for them as we could spend the American dollars when we get to the Caribbean, it was not much only about $40 dollars.

They were so happy and thanked us several times, feeling like we had done our good deed for the day, we continued on The Captain had an uneasy feeling that maybe we had just been tricked and it could be counterfeit.

We got to Liz's shop told her our story and she said I can check it, out comes a special marker she rubs it on all of them and nope all was good, I was intrigued with this marker, I never knew you could even get one, If it's not the real deal the colour changes when you rub it, I think we all should have one, she showed us a few that people had tried to pass off as real money, but with this little pen she was having none of it.

So why does she have some notes?

Well she keeps them, if she suspects they are counterfeit she checks if they are she keeps them and tells the guys to go get real money...haha

So off we set, Kolmanskop is about 10klms out of town, and you swear it was in a different country, serious we left Luderitz in quite cool conditions, get out of the car here and it felt like 100°.

This place was amazing, we caught up with the tour, and a local lady took us around all the old buildings and giving us a bit of info along the way, I was not listening real good as I was more interested in the buildings, but my ears did pick up, when she said to be aware of desert vipers, side winders, and few others, now these snakes are all over the place although we did not see any we sure did see their tracks.

The tour started in the main building a bit like a community hall, they used to have functions here, as well as a eating place, they had a stage were they had live performances ( it now has a display of the local wildlife) a gym with some of the old equipment, mainly gymnastic, which in a former life The Captain was very good at this.

I looked over at him and he was leaning on a piece and he had the strangest look on his face, it had brought back a lot of memories.

Also they had a massive kitchen still with two huge ovens and there used to be a kinda casino there as well.

It was quite a big modern town in its time, with a lot of workers who searched for diamonds as well so there was quite a population living here.

I think it was built around 1909 and the last people left in the early 1950's.

Why did they leave well the whole town was owned by the mining company, they used to find diamonds just laying on the sand, that soon dried up and when they found a bigger stake they just up and moved all the equipment and people to the new area.

Seems like such a waste to me, most of these building were very well built and actually look modern to us.

It's strange how trends keep coming back, I was looking at these old houses and recognised a lot of them being built today.

The sand is really claiming back the buildings, and they try and keep a handful neat and cleaned out of sand, for the tourist industry.

These are great to look at they have found a lot of old equipment and kept it up to date as well, well kinda.

We wandered through an old bowling alley, where the men used to all go at night and bowl and get drunk, the wives would lock them out at night, and they used to get hungry so they would go and break in to the local butchers and eat all the dried and processed sausages that the butcher would hang up over night to cure.

The butcher would get there in the morning, see it all gone, walk over to the bowling alley as the guys who played had to put their names up on a board, he would check the names and send them the bill...haha which they always paid.

As there was no fresh water at all here it all had to be shipped in, we went through a building that used to use this water for making big blocks of ice, and every morning, they had like a mini tram that took every household a big block of ice, a case of lemonade, and fresh drinking water, all for free.

This tram was also used by the women of the town as it ran along the front of every house, they would jump on it and go to the shops get their supplies and then jump back on and be dropped off at their front door again, sounds to me like this was a fantastic idea, maybe we still should be using something like this.

We also went through an old hospital which was one of the most sophisticated in the area, it actually had the first X-ray machine, but it was not only just for broken bones, everyone who left the area was X rayed for diamonds.

Actually a highlight was walking around a little display on the many attempts to smuggle diamonds out, from hiding them in all sorts of places in the body, even cutting a hole in the skin shoving some diamonds in sewing it up and waiting for it to heal before leaving, I'm not sure what happened when the X-ray machine picked them up, also a lot were given caster oil and sent to a building until they were passed.

They of course hid them in shoes cameras even a type writer books with false bottoms, you name it they tried it, some used bow and arrows, and would have a friend waiting on the other side to collect they even used pigeons, they would tie a little bag to their legs and off they would go, this one worked quite well and to this day no one in Luderitz is allowed to own pigeons.

The tour over we had a chance then to wander all over the place we poked our heads in here and there but the best house was the one that one of Liz's friend used to live in.

Liz came with her one day and told her this is where I slept and this is where my mum used to sit and sew and so on, it was great, you could almost see them sitting there, well kinda if there was not so much sand, man it really was crazy, how the sand dunes are just taking over it all.

We then did a little tour of Luderitz and Liz showed us old houses and buildings and such, we had lunch in a nice resort kinda place, then on to Agate Beach.

We walked a good length of the beach looking for agates and of course diamonds,  found a few agates and other interesting stones and gems but sadly no diamonds.

Eventually after a fantastic day but exhausting as well Liz dropped us off at the water front, ( thank you again Liz for a fantastic day and being so kind to us, we will always have fond memories of Luderitz thanks to you.) we got back to the boat and both had to have a nana nap...haha

Well tomorrow is another day.



Next: 2/12/15
Previous: Luderitz 29/11/15


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