Wednesday, March 21, 2012

the ghost town of Kolmonskop

My new European companions' decision to check out Kolmanskop made me happy, partly because I now had some company, but also because it saved me from having to try to hitch a ride out to the ghost town for a second day.

Kolmanskop looks like a mirage from afar. For miles you drive, and there is nothing but sand dunes in a desert that looks completely uninhabitable. And then from the sand rises this little town that once was the thriving centre of the diamond industry for decades, until the diamond business moved elsewhere and the entire town shut down, leaving it to the sands to slowly devour. Now the town is a still snapshot of the 1920s, with sand as its main inhabitants. Kolmanskop was the main reason why I had taken the long road trip down to Luderitz. I had seen photos of the place before, and I wanted to see a dead town for myself.

in the middle of nowhere: wow, that's a lot of nothing.

We arrived late and joined in the tour that was already in progress. Unfortunately, that particular tour was entirely in German. Luckily I had German friends to translate for me. What they translated for me was:

1. There are hyenas in the buildings. Watch out for the hyenas.
2. There was snakes in the buildings. Watch out for the snakes. They are poisonous.
3. Don't steal any diamonds.
4. Don't cross any fences. The bored guards will shoot you.

Eventually the tour ended and we were free to explore the ghost town on our own. I am a writer and I like to write, but I feel like these pictures can say so much more than I could ever describe.

photo from the old days when people lived here and gathered for parties. Nice flag.

"Dahling, this house looks divine. I think we should buy it," I said.
"I think we should buy that one," Claudio replied.

"I get this this room, with the balcony," said Till.
"Which one is my room?" asked Claudio.
"You can get the closet."

All I can say is that Kolmanskop was one of the most surreal things I had ever seen in my life. We trekked through the desert from building to building, as sand built up inside our sneakers. In each old building you could imagine how people had once lived - the tour guide had described some of the houses the way that a real estate agent would sell a house - but now all you could see was the piles of sand leaking in through the walls, the windows, and the broken floorboards. No diamonds though, and no ghosts - this time, anyway.

the boys take a rest after exploring the ghost town in the hot desert. They are slightly sunburnt.