The Old Bridge Hostel

We check in at the Old Bridge Backpackers hostel. They have truck camping for 80 pula a day (8 bucks). This looks like a killer hostel with a great open air lounge and bar by the water. 8 dollars is a steal, especially split 4 ways. The whole thing is on an island in the river by a hippo pool. We pick a spot and pull Belinda in.

First thing’s first, let’s get our clothes dried out finally. Clothes line redo. The place looks sprinkler-free and this heat should make short work of our soggy clothes.

“You’re my Underwall”, “The Gallaghers would be proud.”

Mark and I peruse the tours and whatnot that we can book through the front desk here. The staff is super friendly and eager to help out. A sunset flight in a prop plane over the Okavango Delta sounds rad. They say it’s too late in the day today so we grab one for tomorrow. There’s also a tour where you take a Mokoro up the Delta and then go on a bush walk. That sounds awesome too. We grab that for the next day and then I pay up for two more nights here as well. This is already proving to be a great place and it will be nice to chill in the same spot for multiple days. We’ve been on the move the whole time since Cape Town. Get up, go, find the next place, drink, crash, get up, go. Getting a few days here is gonna feel like a vacation from the vacation. 

It’s peaceful here by the water and the temp is wonderful. Everyone’s nice, it’s super cheap, there’s a bar with pool and a good looking menu, plus it’s gorgeous. Nailed it. Thanks Botswana

This would be cool

Order up some gin and we ask to try the Dry Lemon tonic. Yeah the sky blue can. Ohhhhhhh well well, hello. Highly recommended.

While we’re chilling we get some bar eats. The Lomo Saltado is great

There are some people just off in the river fishing from a little island.

We mix a drink and walk down to the old bridge around sunset. A few locals are moseying about, taking it in. There are some BMWs parked in the grass off the side of the bridge and walk way just bumping tunes with a few people dancing. I like this scene. The locals, the reflection off the water, being in a new country and just chilling.

Some girls on the bridge start heckling us a bit. African girls are fiesty. They ask for a photo and we get some selfies with them. Peter gets into pro photo mode and gets them posing on the river.

We get back to the hostel version of the Old Bridge and things have picked up a little bit. Hostel stayers are back from their daily exploits and a smattering of locals have arrived too. The pool table is in full swing and half the sit down tables are full now. There’s a good vibe in the bar. We grab a table.

I go up for another round of gin and dry lemons and some Windhoek draughts. It’s the fourth time this bartender has served us so I ask her name. She says her name is Ahnks. “Ahnks? How do you spell that?”, “O.N.K.S”, “Onks”, “Yes”, “What a great name”, “Thank-you”, “And what’s this cat’s name?”, “That is Winston. He’s very friendly”, “Seems so. Thanks Onks!”

KIM

A local girl invites herself right over to our table and sits down. “Hello handsome men, how are you!” She says her name is Kim and quickly asks us everything there is to know about where we’re from and what we’re doing. She will sometimes punctuate her words with a clicking sound, mid-sentence, like we’d heard in Namibia. She’s actually a riot and making fun of our accents and hair and Jamie mostly, “Why are you so quiet?”, “Because I choose to be”, “Ohhhh man of mystery! So mysterious and quiet. Deep in thought. What are you thinking over there?”, “About being quiet. How nice it is to be quiet”, “You can’t be quiet with me, Mystery Man! No, no, we’re having too much fun!”

Kim tells us that she’s a message therapist, “The fun kind, or….”, “What kind do you want, boy!”, “Just asking, just asking”, “Yeah but for real, happy endings or what?”, “Sheeesh you boys are all the same. I’m not telling you. You see these hands? You have to experience it yourself!” She’s now right against me feeling up my leg, “Ok, ok Kim. One step at a time now”, “Steps are for babies!”, “You massage babies?”, “If they pay! You boys are funny. I like you boys.”

Kim tells us that this bar used to be bumping until 2, 3, 4 o’clock. The best bar in town and lots of locals would come to it. They started closing down a bit early for the sake of the hostel goers but it’s still a good place. She also tells a local legend about a beautiful woman that lived in the area who was a doctor. Well respected lady and beautiful. One day she was down by the river with her kids and a crocodile came right out of the water and ate her. “What a shame. right in front of her kids, imagine! She was so beautiful.”

I go up to order another round from Onks and Mark joins me, “Sooooooo Kim’s something”, “Oh, are you interested?”, “Haha ahhhh noooo”, Onks raises an eyebrow, “You boys travel a lot?”, “Yeah”, “Ok, just be safe”, “Haha thanks. We’ll be fine, don’t worry.”

Back to the table with the drinks and Kim is now asking about our spirit animals, “I’m a Lion. From Botswana, you know? What about you?”, “I’m a Kobra”, “Like a snake. No, you are not”, Peter says, “I’m a Leo, so a Lion as well”, “Yes, my man!” (fist bump). Mark’s turn, “My spirit animal is a Rhino”, “Oh very strong. Good animal”, and we all turn to look at Jamie. He’s paying absolutely no attention to the conversation at all, looking off in the distance. Silence. We continue to stare, waiting. He senses a lull in conversation, “Why are you looking at me?”, “It’s your turn, Mystery Man!”, “I like sparkles.”

We lose it. Almost falling off the bench laughing. Amazing build up. “Sparkles? You’re spirit animal is sparkles?!”, “Yeah, I like sparkles, ok?!”, “No you cannot have a spirit animal of sparkles. That is no animal”, “Fine, I’ll be a Unicorn!” Oh this is too much. We’re laughing so hard it’s drawn the attention of the whole bar now wondering what the hell is so funny.

Alright, spirit animal pic with Kim!

“You boys are funny. How do I meet boys like you?”, “You just did”, “Tinder Botswana?”, “What’s this, Tinder Botswana?”, “An app. Is there Tinder here?”, “Probably”, and Kim starts getting Tinder lessons, “I need a man. A good man, that will be….” I use this as an out to take a Kim break and get back to the bar to order another round from Onks. She’s just shaking her head at us, having watched the whole Kimisode. “Last one, ok?”, “Oh, are we getting cut off?”, “Pffff no, no, it is last call”, “Oh ok. Cutting us off wouldn’t be a bad idea either, actually”, she hands me the drinks, “Ok, you are cut off. Officially”, she winks, “Good call.”

I sit by the water with the drink and Mark comes to join me, “Taking a Kim break?”, “Funny but a bit much”, “Yeah. I’ll probably hit the hay soon.”

We split off and Jamie joins him back at the truck. Peter and I do the usual stay up too late and have too many drinks thing. We end up down by a bonfire with some locals, a security guard named Frog, and Kim. Peter is passing out at the fire with the cat, Winston, in his lap. Kim is trying to convince me that it’s too dangerous for her to get home alone, that she’s had trouble with the taxis here, that she needs help, etc…. It could all be true, but it’s more likely a ruse to get me to go home with her. “You’ve gotten home from here before…” I get a nod from Frog on that one. I give Kim a hug goodbye. “Alright Peter, let’s go.”

 

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