READING

Being an American Woman in Windhoek, Namibia

Being an American Woman in Windhoek, Namibia

In a New York Times interview, the author, Annie Proulx, observed that after a woman turns 55 she becomes invisible. She gave as an example sitting in a cafe in Nova Scotia next to a couple who were plotting a murder.

Wherever I am  in Windhoek – cafes, restaurants,  taxi stands, buying a bottle of water from a street vendor, not only am I not invisible, I draw a small crowd. Americans in Namibia are rare. The white non indigenous residents are English, German, and Dutch stock.  Why are you coming to Namibia? people ask. I reply that 25 years ago I read about the elephants of the Namib desert and vowed to see them up close and personal one day. Beaming smiles in response.  Everyone is clearly flattered that an American wants to see their country.  But how do they know I am an American? As an American white person why do I look so different from the European white people?  Even if I am not speaking? After all, my forebearers were of English and German origin. My server at dinner last night said in response to my question of why did he know I am American said only, “You look like the white people in American movies.”

Being a traveler stirs my sense of gratitude that it is  my good fortune to have been born in America.


  1. Marc Levine

    20 January

    Hi Tarpley, I’m enjoying your blog, keep on posting. Looks like you are having a blast so far!

    • tarpley

      26 January

      Problem is getting an internet connection so whenI have connectivity. I post a bunch and then there is a dry spell. By the time I reach Australia there should be less of an issue with this. Hope I can keep it interesting and thanks for reading!

  2. Beverly Bishop

    23 January

    Doing a good job…..and I like the company you’re keeping.

    • tarpley

      26 January

      Thanks, Beverly. Will send personal email soon.

  3. Beverly Bishop

    23 January

    And, the photographs are excellent!

    • tarpley

      28 January

      Damn slow internet on this side of the world! Some of the best pictures will not upload.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *