Fun, funky even wacky, these are words you might use to describe the Canyon Roadhouse not far from the Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia. Staid, dull and prim are definitely not. In fact, if you don’t have a sense of humour or a fondness for grinning like a basketful of baboons, don’t even bother to visit; the place will be wasted on you.
Once I’d absorbed the metaphorical smell of diesel and grease from the old cars and drifted back to the 20th century at the sight of old signs and posters that wrestle for space on the walls, I made a trip to the bathroom and came out giggling like a teenager.
A note nearby warned that I shouldn’t use the handle, should never, ever open the box.
It continued: ‘One day [some] women decided to put a stop to the Tjongololo’s doings. At night they waylaid him and doused him with magic water, which made him freeze and unable to move. They grabbed him and stuffed him into a box.
‘We have found that box and hung it up here to remind [women] that curiosity really is a bad, bad thing. The box may never ever be opened again, never ever. Not even in secret when you are alone and think that nobody will see you.’
Of course, you know what happened next; all that forbidden stuff just made me determined to open it. Heck, I’m a writer, I had to know what would happen!
Luckily, it was mid-morning and there was hardly anyone at the bar.
What fun everyone at the Gondwana Collection must have had collecting the memorabilia and old cars that fill this shed-like space; and what fun they’re still having with the Tjongololo box (and its counterpart, Pandora’s Box, in the Gents). Thanks for sharing your madcap world with us!