We’ve arrived in Windhoek, Namibia. Following our 11-hour South African Airways flight from Heathrow to Johannesburg, basically sleepless, then three hours at Johannesburg and a 90-minute onward flight, also on South African, to Windhoek, we’re feeling somewhat brain-dead.
Our impression of South African Airways was very favourable. The only negative thing about the journey was an horrendous line waiting for a passport check to get through to the transit area at Jo’burg, followed by a slightly more tedious and lengthy queue to get into Namibia. There was hardly any queue when we arrived at Windhoek but then we discovered landing cards to fill in. By the time we’d done that the immigration hall was absolutely heaving. How nice it would have been to hand the cards out while we were flying, but no. However, we are here and it’s rather cloudy. There’s been much more rain than is usual, our leader tells us. One particular river has reached the sea for the first time in seven years. The previous tour got bogged down for five hours and everyone had to get together to push the truck. Well, it IS a safari. What lies in store for us?
Back to London. We had been more organized than I can ever remember prior to departure and had been packing over a period of at least two days. Our hold bags and our carry-on bags, our camera rucksacks, were weighed, were within our rather limited baggage allowance (15kg and 8kg respectively), and ready to go.
I had, however, performed some lens tests to decide finally which two lenses to take. On Sunday morning, prior to departing for Heathrow, I decided to top up my camera battery. Not strictly necessary but it seemed like a good idea; it was actually down to ~50% charge. On our home/spare charger and cable it seemed to be taking a while, so I tried using my packed charger instead. Soon the battery was up to 100%, though it probably would have been, anyway – they’re identical chargers and shouldn’t perform differently. I retrieved the full battery and put it back in my camera.
Taking our time, we loaded our bags and set sail for Heathrow. It was Sunday morning so the jaM25 was passable. We’d pre-booked getting a great rate at the official long term car park and that went well, too. The shuttle bus to the terminals was timely and we were soon dropping off our bags [13.5kg – gold star] and making our way through to the departure lounge.
Francine went checking out the shops, as usual. I sat. I know not why but suddenly a nagging suspicion formed in my head. Premonition, maybe? I unzipped my camera bag. A sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. My nagging suspicion proved to be nightmarishly justified. I had replaced my camera battery but, forgetting that I had swapped to the previously packed battery charger, rather than replacing the charger in my bag I’d stuffed it back in the camera kit cupboard whence the original one I’d been using had come. In my mind’s eye, I could now see myself doing it all too clearly.
We’re at Heathrow, about to depart on a 12-day safari in Namibia, both using identical camera batteries and therefore both requiring the same now non-existent charger which had been sitting safely in my camera bag for the last two days. We have two such batteries each. One battery will last about a day. What an utter and complete wombat, and all because I had decided unnecessarily to recharge one battery at home. Clearly, I wasn’t just brain dead as a result of the long journey, I’ve been brain dead for a while. Francine will kill me.
Before I was killed, however, I managed a last dinner of Kudu which was utterly superb. Keep your beef, give me Kudu everytime.