Archive for the ‘3. Anticipation’ Category

Anticipation: Uh oh…

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Weight restrictions. Geez Louise, weight restrictions. How do you carry a kazillion pounds of camera equipment when the airline says you can only bring 17.6 pounds of carry-on baggage onto a plane???

The test packing yesterday and today was a marginal success. Marginal, because I have no real trouble getting to the 20kg (44 pound) weight limit for checked baggage. Even with the camping gear — sleeping bag and all — I’m managing to come in at or under the limit there, and if I do what I’m thinking of doing and trade in the full sized tripod for a small tabletop unit (there’s really not all that much use for a tripod anyway), I should be just fine on the checked baggage.

But the carry-on is another story altogether. I want to carry on every bit of camera equipment that I would be absolutely devastated if I didn’t have. That means, in addition to cameras and lenses, the storage unit, batteries for all, and chargers for all. And getting all of it into one bag and under the weight limit is NOT going to be easy…

Sigh… off to see what else I can jettison or move into checked luggage without causing a panic attack…

Anticipation: ONE WEEK to go!!!

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Okay… I’m not excited. No, nope, not me. The fact that I’m bouncing off walls and scaring my cats is JUST a coincidence…

I finally settled on the camera gear to take. I’ve been dithering (horribly) going back and forth and back and forth over whether or not to try to rent a very long lens (100-400 zoom) and finally decided to bite the bullet and do it. I will have both of the lenses (the 70-200 f/2.8 and the 100-400) for at least a little bit of time to decide whether I’ve made the right decision or not, and who knows… depending on the weight issue, I may end up taking them both!

And speaking of the weight issue… today’s agenda: test pack the camera bag and the suitcase and see whether I even come close to staying within the weight restrictions…

Anticipation: Less than two weeks to go…

Monday, May 19th, 2008

I managed to distract myself nicely from going completely bananas over this trip by escaping to the National Genealogy Society conference in St. Louis for five days. Getting down into the details of finding German Church records from Thuringen from the 16th century sure took my mind off the details of going to Africa in the 21st century!

I still have this nagging fear that I’m going to forget something. I’ve made a list, I’ve checked it twice, I’ve put backups on backups in the list, and I’m still convinced that something critical is not going to be there when I need it.

Oh well… let’s see here:

Camera: check.
Lenses: check.
Batteries for camera: check.
Charger for camera batteries: check.
Device to charge the charger for camera batteries: check.
Passport, medicines, tickets: check.

I think everything else will take care of itself…

Anticipation: Three weeks to go…

Friday, May 9th, 2008

… and a cat who used up at least one of his nine lives…

I woke up this morning, dreaming of the trip (as usual), hauled myself out of bed for an early morning meeting and stopped dead in my tracks. There, in the middle of my bedroom floor, was the lanyard for my iPod. Of course, it was no longer attached to the iPod… and the iPod was nowhere to be found.

Now I love my cats. They’re actually still catlings — not yet a year old (though Clancy is closing in fast). But they have GOT to keep their cotton-pickin’ little paws off my iPod. You see, I have this grand idea of recording the sounds of Africa as well as the sights. And my iPod — a second generation Nano — is one of only two ever made with really high quality sound recording capabilities. And there’s this handy little Griffin iTalk pro microphone you can use to record sound with which you then use in iTunes to turn your recordings into WAV files. Well, of course, I just had to buy it for the trip.

And there I was, this morning, with a microphone and no iPod and two furry suspects. I had to dash off for this meeting, but started turning the house upside down again tonight when I got home. No iPod here, no iPod there, and still two furry suspects (more likely Clancy than Ciara — it’s his style). I went online and found that getting a second generation Nano now would set me back a very large sum of money — the cheapest refurb I could find was well over $100 and the only new one I could find was well over $200. (I could get a brand new Nano with more capacity for less money, but not the high quality sound recording capability.)

After a good deal of effort and a great deal of whining, and an enormous number of threats against the life of at least one cat, the iPod turned up under the radiator in the dining room. It still works, the microphone works very well, and the cats have been reprieved… At least for now…

Anticipation: 30 days to go!

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Oh my… it’s May 1st. And the flight out to South Africa is on May 30. I can’t believe it… just 30 days to go.

At times this whole trip doesn’t seem real. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so very long, it’s just very hard to believe it’s really going to happen. I mean, packages keep arriving with gear I’ve ordered for the trip, and my credit card and bank account most assuredly reflect the fact that I’m certainly paying for the trip (and will be paying for it for a long time to come). But it still somehow doesn’t seem real.

And there is so much to look forward to:

When we first arrive in Johannesburg, we stay overnight at the Zulu Nyala Country Manor. (For more on the Country Manor, check out photos here or here.)

The next day, we fly South African Express Airways to Richards Bay, where we are met by folks from the Zulu Nyala group and motored to the Zulu Nyala Heritage Lodge. There are so many things to look forward to there, especially the game drives and other activities there. (For more on the Zulu Nyala trips, check out these wonderful photos, or the photos at this blog here or here.)

In addition to those, I think we’re planning to go to the Tembe Elephant Park and the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park.

At the end of the week, we fly back to Johannesburg, and will spend another overnight at the Zulu Nyala Country Manor. That final Saturday night, Fred will fly in and join us, so we can all at least have breakfast together Sunday morning. That day, Evan, Gina and Dana will fly home, and Fred and I will be off on our additional adventure.

First, we fly to Maun, Botswana on Air Botswana. (Read the blog on how not to do business as to buying those tickets…) We’ll be met at the airport by someone from Grant’s staff where we will leave all of our gear except what we need for the Okavango Delta. That’ll be a short charter flight up to Gunn’s Camp. We’ll stay there for three nights. Activities there include mokoro (or mekorro or mekoro or…) boat rides and game walks.

On Day 4, we fly back to Maun, meet up with Grant and (after stopping off to stock up on the necessities of safari life… yep, beer, wine and other spirits!) it’s off to the Moremi Game Reserve where we will camp at the Khwai campsite. We’ll be there for two nights.

On Day 6, we head into the Chobe National Park where we will camp at the Savuti campsite. On Day 8, we go further north in Chobe to camp at the Ihaha campsite on the banks of the Chobe River. On Day 9, we will spend one final night at a campsite at Kasane and do a sunset cruise of the Chobe River.

On Day 10, we’ll transfer by land over the border into Zimbabwe (if the political situation allows) or Zambia (if Zimbabwe is too unsettled) to spend two nights in the area of the Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Then on Day 12 (June 19), we head back to Johannesburg, one more night there, and back to the States on June 20.

Sigh… I absolutely can NOT wait…