Paradise has a new nameJune 2, 2017
The mountain-biker diariesJune 5, 2017
Text and Photographs Nina van Schalkwyk
L et me cut to the chase. I’ve been involved, indirectly, with the Namibia Tourism Expo since its inception many years ago. Yes, I was a young girl then, but my mother was part of the group that established it and drove it forward in those days. As a result, my memories of the Expo are not very pleasant, because I remember not seeing my mom for days or myself hanging around their stall, bored, uninterested as only a child/teenager can be.
This time it’s different. I’m all grown up and the Expo holds a different sort of experience for me now.
Already when I arrive it’s alive and buzzing with activity. Weirdly, the Tourism Expo has morphed into something more than just tourism. It’s become this place where Namibians come together, to take part in what makes us us. There are the car stalls, selling big 4×4 for dreams, then the beer restaurants, selling fun, food and frivolity and of course, the tourism stalls.
This year I was quite surprised to see a couple of stalls representing foreign countries, like Zimbabwe, India and even South Africa (or at least, some regions). I didn’t mind those, especially since I got to sign up for free yoga from the Indian stall. But it’s nice to think that these foreign tourism boards (or whatever they have to arrange themselves) deemed our local expo worthy.
I walked along the many stalls, past Air Namibia’s life-sized cabin which included real airplane seats, passed the many, many, Old Mutual stalls, and found to my delight the Bark Design leather creations and Elke le Roux’s artwork in a combined stall. For anyone interested to see the beautiful creations that young Namibians are coming up with, the skill and quality, this stall is worth it. Just follow the signs they so thoughtfully (see, enterprisingly) put up to guide you there.
I hung out near the Venture Media stall, so it’s no surprise that I was there when Chops, owner of Chopsies bar, made an appearance on stage to demonstrate how to make mojito’s. And yes, I had a go at it. My mojito was delicious, even if I do say so myself.
There’re still two days left, and I’m not done exploring the Expo yet. On my list is the Nomad Spa for a relaxing massage, to work through the food stalls one by delicious one, and to get a wire bakkie for my cousies to play with. See you there.
Stay tuned for more articles in the Nina’s Namibia series.