Mouth of the Swakop – Swakopmund, Namibia

Coming to you from Swakopmund, Nambia today. After a week, internet is available once again. Here is the lowdown from the past week. We left Cape Town headed north towards Cederberg. We arrived in Cederberg a little before lunch, ate lunch, explored the area around our campsite, and eventually ate dinner.

A picture of our camp:


Something about the tour group:

The tour is participation camping style meaning that everyone is responsible for the chores that must be done. The group was divided into five teams and each day the duties of each team is rotated. The duties include cooking, packing the truck, cleaning the truck, keeping the ice chests clean, and day off. A team is given a day off after being responsible for cooking.

Back to the tour:

The next day we got up and headed out to the Garieb(Orange) River area. On the way to the Orange river, the truck broke down after stopping at a gas station in Bitterfontein. Our truck is a brand new Tata and the fuel line design is flawed. This flaw resulted in the exhaust burning a hole in the fuel line. Luckily we were in walking distance of the gas station, so we got our truck towed back to the gas station and waited for around 4 hours while it was getting fixed.

Our truck being towed by a very small tow truck:


The Winner’s tobacco advertises in Bitterfontein:


Playing donkey at the gas station:


This evening we stayed at a place called Drifters. The following morning a couple of members from the group went on a canoe ride down the Orange river before the entire group headed out to Fish River Canyon. This is when the tour started to pick up.

Sushi and Champagne while watching sunset and moonrise at the Fish River Canyon:

It is times like these the quality of your tour leader can be seen. We were not the only tour group to watch the sunset, but we were the only tour group that brought sushi and champagne to watch the sunset. Our tour leader Janet has got it together.







Namib Desert:

The next day we began on a 10 hour journey to the Namib Desert. A lot of driving, but the cool thing is a guy on our tour named Dave introduced us to a card game named Shibby or Shivvy that makes time fly. We renamed it to Shizam and have been playing nonstop while on the bus. We got to camp late, pitched our tents, and then began cooking dinner. Tonight we had a huge BBQ and went to bed early because we had to get up at 4 AM to climb Dune 45 in order to see the sunrise in the desert.

Bus Ride:






Dune 45:


Sunrise from Dune 45:


After sunrise we ate breakfast and went on a guided walking tour of Sossusvlei.

This included learning about the animals, insects, and geology of the area. Got a snap of the boys and I in a salt pan:


After the tour, we went back to camp, ate lunch, and headed off to Swakopmund. On the way, we stopped to assist another tour group that had broken down. Stopping is not a problem when you can play shizam. The roads are so desolate that you can play a game a cards on the highway if you please.


We have finally slowed down for a day and are spending two nights in Swakopmund. Not only that, but we are staying in A-Frame houses, sleeping in real beds, and taking showers in a private bathroom. Internet is available, laundry can be done, and much needed rest and relaxation can be had. Tomorrow we head out to Damaraland.

Lessons learned: Keep a daily journal to document your experiences. Trying to remember a week’s worth of history is difficult. A short pencil is better than a long memory.


Cape Teezy aka Cape Town, South Africa

Made it in last night around 10 pm sa time/3 pm stateside which makes it around 28 hours in transit. Luckily, I was able to sleep virtually the entire time. Flying from dc to joburg was long, but not as long as India. The food on saa is the best airplane food I’ve ever had and the service is great. I’m stayed at the Tulip Inn last night and will be there tonight again. It is pretty nice, in the middle of downtown, and the rooms are clean and beds well kept. Breakfast is included too.

It is overcast today and has been sprinkling on and off. I checked out breakfast, got some weak coffee, and then began the hunt for internet. Internet at the hotel is around 9 USD an hour, currently I am at a 2 dollar an hour place, but am looking to transition to a 1 dollar an hour place after this hour is over. The internet is slow and I have a 500ms ping to, this place charges by the Megabyte if you exceed 30mb in an hour. maaaaaan, I’m used to burning that much in around a minute. Going to grab a South African hamburger and then see if I can get into a short tour of Cape Town. haven’t taken many pics yet, but have taken some pics and been geologging.

Lesson Learned: The kensington plug adapters do not work in South Africa. This is the first time they have let me down.

Close Call: Some peeps at the airport check-in in joburg pretended to be airline employees and tried to get me to give my bags. However, I realized they were frauds. Unfortunately, the people behind me fell for it. Not sure if they lost their bags or had to pay them to get their bags back. Seen something like this one before in India. Many of the sites require you to take your shoes off and people will make you pay them to get your shoes back if you are foreign. Workaround: take shoes off and carry them with you.


3 hours out

next post will probably be from Cape Town


A day at the lake before leaving?

yes – check out the geolog

some sick vids are posted here:

now its time to pack


24 Hours Left

I haven’t started packing, organizing the documentation, or duplicating the documentation. But whats a plane ride to south africa look like? not as bad as you would think

Below is the itinerary:
Austin to Washington

Flight 1 Sunday, July 13, 2008
Departure: 11:15 Austin, USA –
Bergstrom International
Arrival: 15:31 Washington, USA –
Dulles International
Airline: South African Airways SA7487
Duration: 3:16
Canadair Regional Jet 700
Last check in: information not available
Operated by United Airlines
Fare type: Economy
Baggage: information not available
information not available

Washington to Johannesburg

Flight 1 Sunday, July 13, 2008
Departure: 17:40 Washington, USA –
Dulles International
Arrival: 16:45 +1 day(s) Johannesburg, South Africa –
O.R. Tambo International
, terminal A Note: includes 1 technical stop(s)
Airline: South African Airways SA208
Duration: 17:05
Airbus Industrie A340-600
Last check in: information not available

Fare type: Economy
Baggage: information not available

Johannesburg to Cape Town

Flight 1 Monday, July 14, 2008
Departure: 18:30 Johannesburg, South Africa –
O.R. Tambo International
, terminal B
Arrival: 20:40 Cape Town, South Africa –
Cape Town International
Airline: South African Airways SA365
Duration: 2:10
Boeing 737-800
Last check in: information not available

Fare type: Economy
Baggage: 20 kilogram(s) per traveller


2 more geotag tests

now time to work on embedding the results in a webpage and making the photo tour look better


phototrackr test2

i know this is geeky, but i came home during lunch to upload some pics and geologs and create a new album – I had to offset the picture taken time by 40 seconds and after that everything handled great – the logging indoors is not that great, but I am on the second floor with an entire floor above us

here is a link to this mornings results


Strengths Finder Strengths

someone at work reminded me about strengthsfinder so I decided to look mine up again and post them here

Your Signature Themes

Darran D Kelinske

Your Signature Themes

Many years of research conducted by The Gallup Organization suggest that the most effective people are those who understand their strengths and behaviors. These people are best able to develop strategies to meet and exceed the demands of their daily lives, their careers, and their families.

A review of the knowledge and skills you have acquired can provide a basic sense of your abilities, but an awareness and understanding of your natural talents will provide true insight into the core reasons behind your consistent successes.

Your Signature Themes report presents your five most dominant themes of talent, in the rank order revealed by your responses to StrengthsFinder. Of the 34 themes measured, these are your “top five.”

Your Signature Themes are very important in maximizing the talents that lead to your successes. By focusing on your Signature Themes, separately and in combination, you can identify your talents, build them into strengths, and enjoy personal and career success through consistent, near-perfect performance.


The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?” This recurring question helps you see around the next corner. There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacles. Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections. You discard the paths that lead nowhere. You discard the paths that lead straight into resistance. You discard the paths that lead into a fog of confusion. You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path—your strategy. Armed with your strategy, you strike forward. This is your Strategic theme at work: “What if?” Select. Strike.


Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day—workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied. You have an internal fire burning inside you. It pushes you to do more, to achieve more. After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment. Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you. As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. It does have its benefits. It brings you the energy you need to work long hours without burning out. It is the jolt you can always count on to get you started on new tasks, new challenges. It is the power supply that causes you to set the pace and define the levels of productivity for your work group. It is the theme that keeps you moving.


You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered—this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences—yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”


Competition is rooted in comparison. When you look at the world, you are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. Their performance is the ultimate yardstick. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how worthy your intentions, if you reached your goal but did not outperform your peers, the achievement feels hollow. Like all competitors, you need other people. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete, you can win. And when you win, there is no feeling quite like it. You like measurement because it facilitates comparisons. You like other competitors because they invigorate you. You like contests because they must produce a winner. You particularly like contests where you know you have the inside track to be the winner. Although you are gracious to your fellow competitors and even stoic in defeat, you don’t compete for the fun of competing. You compete to win. Over time you will come to avoid contests where winning seems unlikely.


You love to solve problems. Whereas some are dismayed when they encounter yet another breakdown, you can be energized by it. You enjoy the challenge of analyzing the symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding the solution. You may prefer practical problems or conceptual ones or personal ones. You may seek out specific kinds of problems that you have met many times before and that you are confident you can fix. Or you may feel the greatest push when faced with complex and unfamiliar problems. Your exact preferences are determined by your other themes and experiences. But what is certain is that you enjoy bringing things back to life. It is a wonderful feeling to identify the undermining factor(s), eradicate them, and restore something to its true glory. Intuitively, you know that without your intervention, this thing—this machine, this technique, this person, this company—might have ceased to function. You fixed it, resuscitated it, rekindled its vitality. Phrasing it the way you might, you saved it.


Geologger test run complete

heres the run-down:
i got the geo logger today
hardware works great so far
software install was finicky
software operation and hardware operation are not that user friendly either
regardless of these circumstances I was able to successfully geolog a trip to Fry’s to get some extra ram for the laptop

I haven’t been able to figure out how to embed it into the location page yet, but I put the test run on the net here –

i like the current output – improvments that I want to make are better auto tagging of location, removal of image scaling and compression – i want to retain the original picture quality

also, I uploaded the same pics to picasa – once the photos are geotagged picasa automatically places your pics on a map, you do miss out on your route though.

check out the picasa upload here

and finally I uploaded the pics to locr:

locr pics

slideshow in locr:

locr slideshow

I also switched the live streaming from to yahoo live temporarily – seems to cut out sporadically and not recover. Yahoo live doesnt have a standalone stream window which is kind of weak – it also does not have as much configuration abilities as the or

now im switched to – the interface for mogulus is the best so far – well see how it performs overall


more updates

i needed a digi watch to keep track of time in africa – not sure if my tent has electricity or not – scooped one up at target and added it to the gear page – still making a few changes here and there like the header image – cam is rolling live, but nothing interesting is going on

if you’re wondering what im listening to, the techno is radioblagon coming straight to your ears from paris

they have multiple streams – the following is the one that im jammin

the african music is from KLH News International