Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Beach. Part One: The Journey Begins.

What can I say? No, really....what can I say? I can't quite come up with the words to describe our trip to the coast, which is why it has been 2 weeks and I still haven't written down my thoughts. Today I shall try. But what can I say about the 4.5 hour drive that began on paved roads and turned to off-roading at the mid-way point? These song lyrics keep jumping to mind, “over hill over dale, we have hit the dusty trail...” But I'm getting ahead of myself. This trip began on your typical paved roads – well, typical Angolan-paved roads, anyway -generally not too bad, but with the occasional 3-foot-wide pothole in which you could lose your entire wheel if you hadn't been watching. This brings me to “the Leba”. If you were to Google images for “Lubango, Angola”, the Leba would be one of the main reoccurring photos you would see. While it's not IN Lubango, it is in Huila province, in which Lubango is the biggest city nearby. I had seen photos of this winding road of switchbacks – which snakes its way down the side of the mountain. I had seen photos of this road – which, granted, is impressive...but what took my breath away was not the view of the road, it was the view FROM the road. I hesitate to describe it, because I know it'll make you crave photos and I have none. Not one. I could have taken them. They would have been stunning, even though they wouldn't have captured the true grandeur of the mountains of various heights rising out of the misty green jungle vegetation, the sheer drop-off of completely unexplored rocky cliffs that made me wish I could call every climber I have ever met. But I made a purposeful decision not to take photos. I wanted to experience it full-on without thinking of artistic shots and angles and lighting. I wanted to just to stare at it as we drove tentatively down the steep sharp turns of the Leba. I wanted my first view to be unencumbered. So...I don't have photos. Yet. I will. I'm sure there will be numerous opportunities for photographic trips and sharing of this spectacular place. Until then, I'll treasure this beautiful spot in my mind.

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