All the social rules, priorities, logic or behaviors that you been taught wherever you were born lose all its sense when you start to travel.
For example if we were completely sure that move the head up and down could means only a “Yes” when we got to Greece we discovered that is more a “No”, or if in the city where we came from the first thing you keep in your pocket before leaving home is the mobile phone in the Amazon of Peru is a machete, but more shocked was when we understand that there was possible to have a shower without water, suddenly Namibia shows us that donkeys have sand baths or that himbas women wash themselves with smoke during the whole life.
Travel means to see the contrast of different lifestyle, of people from different cultures, but the contrast more interesting happen when these two cultures so different merge and as a consequence we have a magic and unexpected moment. For a traveler to found himself in a place where this happen felt like to win the lottery.
We experienced it when finally we arrived to Opuwo after several days riding the Namib desert from South to North. Until there all what we see was orix crossing our path, the infinite horizons of the desert, heat, dust, loneliness and dehydration, but suddenly this small town, beginning and center to the land from the colorful tribe himba.
There is a lot to be seen and experience in this region but first thing first, after few day eating only bread with tuna when we got to Opuwo we ran to the supermarket to get a fruit. This day, unusually like when we arrive to a new place where we will pass the night, we didn´t look for a family who host us or find out where is the gravel route that we would take the next day until Epupa falls.
However the more strange was not to find in the middle of the desert a capitalist concept of supermarket as we know it, with cash registers, with refrigerators and products not only from local production (with all the limits the desert bring to this aspect).
The real magic was what happened in there. Western culture mixed in the most graphic way with an African nomad tribe who base its economy in livestock. Inside the supermarket women half-naked with the body completely smeared of a cream that they produce themselves with cow grease and red sand are doubting for choosing one of the 20 different types of chocolates they have in front.
In an environment much more festive of what we relate with the idea of a supermarket we find all around the place these stunning women, that without hiding too much, are opening bottles of beer and drink them while they eat a very salted chips as if they were in the free bar of a wedding. So many new colors and flavors on those packages to be managed for a community that for centuries lives in the desert and so far they didn´t experience more flavors than the taste of milk, meat and blood of their cows. Certainly this combination was destined to have an impact, and we could find it looking at each corner of that new supermarket in Opuwo.
The packaged and frozen meat arrived to change bows and arrows for shopping baskets, the same way that bartering of product between neighbors want to be conquered for a system where the most important thing is collecting small papers that open the doors of the this paradisiac supermarket, a real “Las Vegas” experience for the people of this town. Four us to face a contrast of cultures that radical make us doubt between be happy because we can be witness of that fusion of cultures or get depressed for understand that what really happens is that one culture is devouring another.
One thing we are sure is that judging becomes a tough job to the traveler when you just get to a new place, at the end we focus in enjoy the delicious fruits, buy few more cans of tuna for the next days and write in our dairy for this precious moment that the route offer us as a present in a supermarket.