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Namibia - Swakopmund



Folks,

  Swakopmund is a resort town on the Swakop river - with a
heavy german influence. Where else could you buy German
memorabilia from the last war ?

The landscape is remarkable for the desert sands that come
fsright down to the sea.

I rode down on the minibuses that all the black folk use -
15 people squashed in for $10US to take you 200Km.
there was an 18 year old University student on the bus,
who could answer all my questions on Namibia. Very aware
of the country's strengths and limitations. One of a
family of 6, with a computer, and Internet, at home. He
was the only one in higher education.

Between him and a few other folks on the bus they figured
out where I should stay - a backpackers lodge very convenient
for the center of town.

I met a group of Peace Corps volunteers that were in town for
a UNICEF conference for the week. They had just done 4 months
training, including learning the major ethnic language (well,
hello, goodbye, etc.). They earn $250 US per month with all
food and accomodation, such as it is, paid for. It seems a
hard and lonely assignment.

Walvis (Walrus) Bay is Namibias main port - having been wrested
quite recently from South Africa (RSA). A lot of industry also,
and fishing.

On my way back to Windhoek I stopped off for a private tour of
the Rossing Uranium mine - one of the largest open-cast mines
in the world. Mention of Rossing in Namibia is bound to start
a controversial argument. They are one of the largest foreign
currency earners in Namibia - however they use about 50% of the
available fresh water from the coast, in a desert country. 
There is also concern about the tailings piles and their
pollution.

The big dump trucks were big ... from what I could gather they
are diesel electric, with electric motors per wheel, like a
railway locomotive. On the steeper upslopes they have pantographs
that dip down to the trucks for power assist. I love it ..

The other major producer of Uranium is Australia. the Russians were
in the business, but on the breakup of the USSR they dumped all
their stocks on the world market and closed their mines. Probably
a good thing.

One barrel of Uranium oxide from Rossing is equivalent to about
20,000 barrels of crude oil.

Cheers,     Andy!

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