Awoke this morning as usual ten minutes before my alarm, at around 6:15am and it was a bit chilly out. I got up, dressed and went to brush my teeth, I love how everyone else but me does this in the bathroom and I do it behind the truck with a bottle of water. Old habits die hard.
Today was supposed to be monster day on the truck, I didn't actually think it was that bad. We first headed up the road to visit the Humba tribe, these are the women who coat themselves in mud with ochre and dreadlock their hair with it. I had seen something similar in Ethiopia so I stayed on the truck in the heat. I went for a quick look at the shop before we took off again for a quick shopping stop. Now it was b****** hot, George bought me an ice block and I got myself the coldest can of coke I could find, these seemed to cool me off a bit.
We drove on in heat which made me think I would never been cold again. I vaguely remember being in Moscow and freezing to death earlier this year. I knew this heat was nothing on what I had experienced in Sudan two years ago, and I had been nowhere near this uncomfortable. I wondered if all the time spent in cold countries at the beginning of the year had altered my temperature perception, realized I couldn't even guess at the temperature my body was so confused.
We stopped again for cold drinks and I got a massive, freezing can of Coke, I sat on the truck organizing my stuff with the Coke down my shirt, both to cool me off and to hold the can while the truck was in motion. Nat commented that it was an interesting way to hold a can of Coke.
We continued on our way heading towards the coast, at some point I realized it had mercifully cooled off a bit, then it actually started to get cold, so cold I actually put my window up. We were driving through some of the most desolate country I have ever seen, and that's a big call coming from me. We drove towards the beach and when we saw the sea we all gave a big cheer. We set up camp on the beach and I got off the truck wearing my big coat that I used to wear in Moscow. I got about half way through chopping up some veggies for the stir fry when George asked me if I was going in.
This ocean is the Atlantic and definitely not warm like the Indian Ocean. I hurriedly got changed into my swimmers and shivering, ran into the freezing cold angry sea on Namibia's Skeleton Coast. As soon as the water hit me I experienced a similar experience to the plunge pool in Siberia. My mind went dead, my arms and legs flailed about, I couldn't think about what I was doing. I scrambled out of the water.
Determined not to let the icy temperatures beat me, I ran back in with the English and some of the Kiwis who were trash talking the wussy Australians. Oi, I'm here aren't I, I yelled. You haven't even put your head under! Said Scotty and I dived under in defiance. I stayed in for a while, and before long my body went numb and I could actually think enough to catch a ball the others were throwing around. I decided to get out when I felt like my body was on fire, this isn't right I thought.
I managed a graceful exit from the water, thoroughly prepared to shiver and shake uncontrollably, this is what I get for encouraging Valera to jump into Lake Baikal, I thought to myself. Far from being cold, my body now felt like it was on fire, I was covered in goose bumps and every logical thought I had told me I should have been freezing. I can't say the fiery feeling was unpleasant; on the contrary, burning was refreshing.
I walked around in my swimmers for a bit before getting dressed and resuming cooking duty. We then sat around the camp fire, which seemed to be getting bigger and bigger thanks to our pyromaniac guys on board. I wrote up some of my journal on my laptop and had to keep turning myself as the fire was so hot and the other side of my body was again freezing, by the time I finished writing my fingers had cramped up from the cold and had to sit in front of the fire and defrost.
I put my laptop away and went and sat on the deserted beach and watched the waves in the moonlight, it was really cold and again I had my big coat on. I had only been sitting there for about ten minutes when George and the guys came up behind me and stuck a load of fireworks in the ground next to me. I quickly moved and basically hid behind George as they detonated small pile of explosives. After the guys had their fun, they went back to the camp fire and I resumed sitting on the beach and listening to music on my iPhone, I waited until I could no longer stand the cold and went to bed in my nice warm tent.