Perhaps this is a European thing, a British English thing, I suspect, but if you're taking a break from work, driving around, eating out, and enjoying loads of free time, you, my friend, are 'on holiday,' not 'vacation.' On holiday, on vacation, whatever, but yea for May break!
So I met a guy from PC Namibia group 3 at the Windhoek premiere of Episode III the other night. He flies over from Jersey several times a year to work with the ministry here, and when he asked how I liked Namibia, I couldn't help myself: "Well, I've really enjoyed being a tourist here." Not the most positive comment, I admit, but it was a sarcastic attempt at humor that I, at least, enjoyed. Jason and I felt depressed when we had to leave Swakopmund; it was so beautiful, and, yes, so refreshingly Western. All I can say is, imagine Fredericksburg on the beach plus some sand dunes, tropical plants, and thick fog that rolls in every afternoon. We mainly ate, read, got coffee, ate by the beach, read, tried a different coffee place, watched a movie, ate dessert . . . you get the picture. It was a relaxing time. The more active, exciting events took place before our friends left town. Jason went sandboarding with several other people from our PC group (I was still fighting a phlegmy cough, so I was the photographer), we went sea kayaking with Mike Lawson where we played with seals and saw some dolphins, pelicans, greater and lesser flamingos, and we ran into Tamara and her parents towards the end of our stay who treated us to a fine bottle of shiraz and banana splits. Good times . . .
We had a go at hitch-hiking, and a tourist from Italy picked us up, a retired wine exporter. How Italian, right? When we told him why we are in Namibia, he exclaimed, "Oh, so you are teaching the black children?" I've thought about that question off and on since then. I guess it's fair, but if flies in the face of being pc about aid work. Plus, there was a black kid who had hitched with us in the car, acting as my conscience? What did he think about that question? I felt so white. In the north, we are pretty much the only white people and don't have to deal with other whites viewing us as part of the "racist Afrikaaner" demographic. This guy wasn't even Afrikaaner, but he seemed to view us as citizens of the West coming to instruct the African indigents. In the end, our response was, "well, yes, our students are black" as we eschewed his inuendos that they are inherently difficult to teach. The truth of the matter is that they are hard to teach, but it's because of the poor quality of their primary level education, not their skin color.