Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Namibia Trip

For photos of the trip, click here:

For the full archive of blog-postings during the trip, click here:

It's the archive of all the postings from May, actually. The archive is organized oldest to newest so start at the bottom of the page and read up. Unless you enjoyed the movie Memento, in which case you should read from the top.

Home safe

Well, I'm here! I'd type more but my limbs are all wobbly. Still recovering from the flight(s); I hurt all over. More later. But I'm here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Washington post

Well, it's 7:45AM and I'm in Washington, D.C. I left Windhoek on Thursday (yesterday), May 24 at 1PM, got into Johannesburg a couple of hours later. Flew out of Jo'burg at 5:30PM, arrived in Dakar at midnight for refueling. There, we all had to take all of our carryon baggage out of the overhead compartments and place them on our lap, so they could know what baggage might be being left behind by people disembarking in Senegal. Makes sense, I know, but what a pain for the people who were already asleep! Which didn't include me. I had already watched The Good Shepherd, tried to lie sideways and get some shut-eye but wasn't having any luck with that.

After an hour in Senegal, we took off for the remaining 10 hours of flight to Washington D.C. Amazingly, I actually got about 4 hours of sleep! I had a window seat and there was no-one in the seat next to me so I was able to able to curl up on my side and fit in between the armrests like that. I woke up with a sore hip from the stiffness of the seat cushion so I flipped and did the other hip. That lasted another 2 hours. At that point, having exhausted both my hips, I decided my sleep efforts were done. I think I got as far as I did because of the Advil I took when we stopped in Dakar. I was brewing a nausea-headache combo that was threatening to make the time much worse so I decided to nip it in the bud. I think the pain relief worked pre-emptively, making the hips not hurt so much for the first 2 hours. I tried to watch Apocalypto but couldn't get into it. I played Mahjong on the on-demand screen for quite some time. Then, I watched Bobby. The ending was a surprise for me. I didn't know that 2 political Kennedys had been shot so I figured it was a different kind of movie than it was. Good movie, though. I cried, which was pretty messy since my sinuses are bleeding from the dryness of weather the last couple of weeks. Gotta find a way to deal with that for the next trip.

We board at 8:20AM. The flight is just over 5 hours, I think. I'm a little spaced out right now, even though I hit the first Starbucks I saw after getting through customs. They just offered free tickets for people willing to be bumped (overbooked, of course) but I just can't do that. Not safe. Gotta get home.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Last full day in Windhoek

...for this trip, anyhow. I saw my first educational HIV/AIDS advertisement in the newspaper this morning, after reading about a week's worth of "The Namibian". It was about 4 inches tall, single column width, grey background width with white lettering. It read like this:


You cannot get HIV
by being friends.

[logo of sponsoring organization here]

I think the point was to encourage people not to stigmatize 'HIV-infected' individuals.

Today, I hope to walk over to the BSN and invite the KKG team to lunch. I say hope because this will be my first walking trip attempt since the knee incident on Monday. The BSN isn't far, though, so if I have to turn around and come back, it won't be a big deal. There's an Indian restaurant, Taal, that I'm wanting to try. Also, I picked up some of the new visa requirements at the visa office on Monday and wanted to be sure that both Shawn and BSN have a copy. I'm pretty sure they have a photocopier there.

I may call Shawn later this morning to see if they found the usb cable for my camera in Rachel's room. It certainly isn't at the BSN office. It would be a shame if I couldn't transfer any of the pictures of the last week without buying a new cable... for a camera that we're not going to be using anymore after this trip.

I bit the bullet this morning and looked at the headline on a paper that's been staring me in the face since I got here, sitting on the table in the entryway of the guesthouse. On the front page, in full color, is a naked torso of a woman, with only the very tips of the nipples covered with little white stars. I was taken aback at first until I remembered that Rob had told me that European types are far less worked up about nudity then North American types. Still, I couldn't imagine what the headline would be for front page frontal nudity. So, I finally looked: of course! A front page story on the rising number of breast implant surgeries in Namibia! Got it. Come to think of it, hey did look kind of augmented.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Revised schedule

Here's what the schedule was, as I figured on last week:

Monday -
➤ Visa office: DONE - the procedure is just as we had thought, though the new forms look slightly different
➤ Bushman art: DONE - went to the museum
➤ City Optics: DONE - by email
➤ Internet Cafe: NO NEED - I get plenty of speed here at the hotel
Orbit Tech: STILL TO DO - emailed, no response yet

Tuesday -
➤ University of Namibia: STILL TO DO - though, I probably won't; not information that I need prior to coming back

Wednesday -
➤ CycleTec: DONE - got a bike price for reference
Orthodontist: STILL TO DO - emailed but haven't heard back yet
➤ Canon: DONE - gt a price on a camcorder

I guess since those are the only 2 pressing things left to do, I could do them both on Wednesday, if I have to. I am also looking into going to Paulinuum seminary, if I can figure out where it is.

The "intruder"

Last night was pretty wild. A wind whipped up around dinner time and continued through the night. Now, I've been leaving the light on in the bathroom when I go to dinner because there's a motion-sensor porch light that doesn't sense my motion (I feel like a superhero) outside my door and Rob can tell you how 'good' I am with keys. Well, last night, it decided to start sensing all kinds of motion. I kept waking up because the outside light would come on and it was as bright as if someone had switched on the bedside table light in the bedroom. The wind was howling a bit, the trees in particular being all rustly. And it would take me a moment to realize that it was the light that woken me up... until I saw all the motion outside the sliding glass door. When I finally got up the nerve to go look, I saw that the tablecloth had blown off the patio table and there was a cat playing with it while it blew around against my door.

So, I'm a little tired this morning. Nearly didn't drag myself out of bed and off to breakfast. And it is cold here today! Though I said as much to the lady at the desk and she replied, looking at me like I was a bit demented, "It is winter." As if I had said, "Wow! I'm breathing oxygen today!"

The knee is much better. I can walk on it without adding to my discomfort. My only remaining issue is a little tenderness in front of my left kneecap and soreness in my left thigh. My back is still not as happy with me as it could be but it's been that way since the flight over. Not sure what I'm going to do today, yet. I'm leading towards not hiking around. Crossing the street is pretty athletic here as crosswalks don't mean anything. I found this out the hard way downtown. I was crossing with the 'little man walking' symbol when I realized that all those cars with the red light were driving like they had a green! I had to do a stop-start crossing, waiting for each string of cars to walk past before moving on. And they honked at me! So, I learned to ignore the signs. I cross when everybody else does, now. And if there's no-one else around, I wait until there are no cars in sight either way. That's the other difficulty; I'm used to checking cars coming from the left, then the right. Here, it's the opposite and I keep forgetting that. I end up checking both ways, both sides of the road, every time. Exhausting.

So, yeah; may work 'from home' today.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Excursion in the city

I picked out a bag of rocks at the House of Gems.

I left the hotel around 10AM and just got back at 2PM. I would have stayed out longer but I appear to have bunged up me knee by just plain walking around. Kinda frustrating. I had to try not to visibly limp all the way home. I hope it clears up quickly so I can go out again tomorrow. I did bring a supplement for rapid healing with me and I hope it helps. Ah well, I think I made some headway in the "living in Namibia" investigation. Here's what I learned today, all prices US:

➀ HP Photosmart C3183 costs $135; online, the C3180 is $100
➁ HP Deskjet D2360 costs $82; online, the same model is $50
➂ Raleigh M200X costs $114; couldn't find online
➃ Panasonic NV-G557 costs $613; couldn't find online
➄ Stagg 5-string bass at pawn shop for $248; someone paid $254 for one in a review online

I also got some information from the visa office. I asked about volunteering in-country, what the paperwork requirements are. They said they're the same as for paying work. Which we had thought all along. I just wanted to double-check while I was in the neighborhood.

I ate lunch at Wimpy's. I think I'm all done with Wimpy's.

I visited the Namibia Museum and the United Nations Library. I'd have spent more time but, you know, the knee.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hotel Pension Uhland

This is my official 'prop' of where I'm staying. I wanted to throw some pictures up so you could see the place.

These are the owners, Irmgard and Jürgen, with their dog, Schoko. Schoko appears to have somewhat of a free range of the place and occasionally pops up where I don't expect him - behind a parked car that I am passing, running into the lobby, walking past my door. He is very well-behaved though and has not acknowledged my presence in the least.

This is the breakfast buffet. The coffee is hot and is served with real hot milk, a decent approximation of a latte. Love the fruited yogurt and the fresh fruit salad. The Camembert cheese is good too.

The dining area. See the guy sitting near the window, second from the right? That's my table, where I usually sit. It has good light and a view on the hotel property. I bring a book.

I have yet to use the pool or the help-yourself outdoor bar, largely because I haven't seen anybody else doing so. Truthfully, I'm not much for swimming in pools. I'm more of a lay-about-the-pool type of gal, which I definitely don't see anyone doing here. Probably better off that I don't, anyhow.

More pictures and descriptions with a link for booking information can be found on their website.

Inner City Lutheran Church

Had a bit of a hectic morning with a pleasant resolution. I realized late yesterday afternoon that I didn't know where to go to church this morning so I went online to look for a Lutheran church to attend. I found references to an Inner City Lutheran in Windhoek West but there was only a phone number, no street address. When I called the number, there was no answer. I decided to email both the YWAM base in Windhoek and Jim at LBT, to see if they could help me find a church. I had no responses from either by the time I went to bed last night. And most churches don't appear to avertise in the phone book; I didn't even see a church section in the yellow pages.

At 8:30AM this morning, I checked my email and saw that Jim had written me back with an address and service time: 9:0AM. I had less than 1/2 hour to make it! So, I called a taxi and hurried to the church, went in and sat down. The church was full enough that I was sitting in the overflow seats at the end of the aisles. I had no service book or hymnal but was able to muddle through it for the most part. I was delighted to see that Rev. Petrus, of the Khoekhoegowab translation project, was the guest pastor that morning. I had had no idea that he'd be there! He gave a solid message on John 14:15-19 and I was glad to hear him preach. Afterwards, there were announcements and the welcoming of guests, where I stood and said where I was from. We had an offering and sang.

Then, they began to sing 'Trust & Obey'. Instantly, I was transported back to the last time I remember singing that song. I remembered being the kitchen at the YWAM house in Haiti and being in a time of seeking God's plan for my life. As I was working and praying, that song came to mind and I was compelled to go retrieve a hymnal and sing the whole thing through with a friend who was working with me. We sang and laughed for joy; I remember the feeling of trust in God, despite circumstance, that was given to me as I sang the words. And I knew that God had plans for me, that if I would just continue to trust his leading, he would show me what and how to obey.

To be standing there among my brothers and sisters in Christ in Namibia, singing this song once again, was a reminder to me of that season of my life when God first inspired me to the work of Bible translation. I felt that same joy again, as if God was reminding me, "You see? You can trust me. I have brought you to this place. Remember the promise that I made to you, before you could even understand what I was saying. As you obey, I will continue to show you how to obey. As you trust, I will confirm your trust." I'm putting words in his mouth, of course. But that is the jist of the impression I was impacted with by the serendipitousness of the singing of that hymn, at this time, in this place. I needed that.

After the service, I talked briefly with the regular pastor and another church member. Then, Petrus gave me a lift in his bakkie back to the Hotel. Where I am now. It's another beautiful sunny day with a delicious cooling breeze. I am resisting going out into it as I know I'll be running around outdoors alot for the next 3 days. Not wanting to push my skin's limits, me. I do have my sliding door wide open, though.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


I just ate, for the first time, zebra, oryx and kudu (pictured at the left, in order of consumption). I was nervous about ordering it, in case I didn't like it, but I needn't have been. Mostly, it all tasted like moose. Except the zebra, which just tasted like tender beef. So either those meats aren't that different from other free-ranging animals or I just got fed cow, named wrong. Either way, tasty. Also, a mountain of mashed sweet potatoes, which function just like ice cream; it doesn't matter how much you eat, the potatoes just slide into the cracks.

And I did take pictures but can't share them because I can't find my usb cable. Either left it at the Bible Society or with the Boylans.

Much tastiness

Now, I talk about the food. The thing I remember most vividly from any trip is the taste of what I ate. The next most vivid is the smell, of the air. Here's what I've eaten since coming to the Hotel:
dinner: pumpkin soup with bread, fruit salad and ice cream with Amarula (a local liqueur)
breakfast: whole wheat bread, fruit salad, full-fat fruited yogurt, biltong, camembert, some other random cheese and coffee with hot milk

Looking now for the local English-speaking Lutheran church. I've found only one, Inner City Lutheran, but the only thing I've found on its location so far is that it's somewhere in Windhoek West. Pretty open-ended. I'll keep looking for information, though.

I am resting today, completely. Not hard to do since everything shuts down here around 1PM on a Saturday.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Plenty of room

... at the Hotel Pension Uhland. Aha! it fits!

I've moved into my room and am taking advantage of the wireless internet. My connections have been spotty for the last few days so my internet activity has been sporadic, at best. This connection still seems to have some problems (messing with Mail and iChat) so I don't think I'll be uploading any pictures today. If you're reading this Rob: "I'll keep trying iChat because I really want to talk to you, sort of defrag a bit. Miss you. Love you. Totally wish you were here."

Today's exegetical session went well, I think. When he suggested that I take the exegetical session, I was hesitant. For one thing, I had already discovered on Monday that there are elements of the language that impact translation in a way that's specific to the language. In Monday's case, it was the translating of "we". Khoekhoegowab has forms of "we" that are inclusive (including both the speaker and the listener in the "we") and exclusive (including the speaker and some other folks but not the listener). Not only that, they also have a "we" for an all male group, a female group and a "mixed company" group. So, in translating Greek "we" (which doesn't have these elements), you have to draw from context and make an educated stab at the best option. See the trickiness of it all?

Secondly, it felt a bit like a test, which I'm sure it was. Not that they don't have the right to test me and all. They did fly me exactly halfway around the world to orient me (seems like an oxymoron, eh?) so they should be allowed to gauge their investment. But I'm realizing that I feel like the last 2 years have been akin to one massive job interview. I feel like I'm constantly being observed and weighed in the balance. I am finally recognizing the nature of the ongoing tension that I've been feeling, now that I've done something (today's exegetical session) that was totally like something out of a job interview.

I only hope that one day I can stop applying and get the job.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ascension Day

So tomorrow, I'll be leading the exegetical session on the rest of that translated Romans passage. I'll be working on that today, I guess, preparing for that. I just booked a guest house for Friday night through to Thursday morning. It's located just a block or 2 from the Bible Society, which is nice. It includes breakfast and offers lunch and dinner, another plus. Like, if I suddenly get freaked out and can't handle running around Windhoek by myself, for whatever reason, I can at least stay there, eat and do other stuff than what I had originally planned. The original plan was for me to fly back on Saturday and the extra days were at my request (which I'm paying for out of pocket) so I don't mind if I don't actually do too much hoofing it about. I may just work on the same stuff I'd be working on at home, since there's free wireless at this place.

You know, I haven't done city-wandering solo in years. Even when I was working in Bellevue, I would call Rob on my cellphone while I walked to the bus stop, so I didn't feel so alone. And I never walk anywhere after dark, so I won't be changing that policy on this trip, here in a strange city. Frankly, I'm not sure how I feel about going around solo. Rob has a finely tuned sense of his surroundings, probably from spending most of his life in cities, solo. I lived in Halifax but, even there, I know in retrospect that I lived there in a decidedly unsafe and naive fashion. It's only by the grace of God that I lived through my Halifax years, I'm sure. I just spent most of my formative years and a bunch of my adult life in small towns, where you don't lock your doors and can leave your car running when you run into the store. In Port Saunders, Newfoundland, it wasn't uncommon for me to walk the roads in the middle of the night, if I woke up and needed to go for a walk. And I felt as safe as one could feel. Ah well. This next week will be what it will be.

Well, today is a holiday, Ascension Day. Everything's closed today, including the Bible Society. So, I'll work on my exegetical prep, go to see Spiderman 3 with the Boylans this afternoon, dinner with them in the evening and then move to the guest house tomorrow after work. Done and done!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Chugging along

Tuesday was all about reviewing translation work that had been done. There were portions of Revelation that had been checked by the Bible Society transaltion consultant and he had things that he wanted them to double-check or revise. We spent the morning doing this. Shawn then helped me install my Bible translation software and get the fonts in place. I also managed to round up some documents from UBS and LBT on potential projects in Namibia that I hadn't seen yet. When we went back to the house in the late afternoon, I got a chance to chat with Rob about some relocation issues that had come up in conversations with the Boylans. It's been great to actually be in the same room as Shawn and Jill, to have access to them for information and input.

Today, there was some checking of the Khoekhoegowab radio texts, the old scriptures (Elobmis) and the new translation, to illustrate why a new translation is necessary. It's helpful to hear how different the texts actually are. In the afternoon, I worked on a plan for Monday-Wednesday. Here's what I have:

Monday -
➤ Visa office: got to see if there's anything that could be done to speed up the process
➤ Bushman art
➤ City Optics: can I get the contacts I use in country?
➤ Internet Cafe: in case I continue to have internet problems
➤ Orbit Tech: for Mac accessories, like a Namibia-compatible plug

Tuesday -
➤ University of Namibia: research on local cultures and languages for the day

Wednesday -
➤ CycleTec: see what bicycles are available, prices
➤ Orthodontist: can I get braces done here?
➤ Canon: checking out camera prices and support

Monday, May 14, 2007

The rest of the spa story

[continued from a couple of days ago]

After my shower, I sat in the relaxing room and they brought me tea. I was so refreshed! I just bubbled out of there, ready to face the next red eye, to Johannesburg.

And I've been bubbling about it ever since. In summary, the overwhelming yuck faded in light of the unusual blessing. And that's how life goes for me these days. I think that's a good thing. Like, spas on regular days are a dime a dozen. But a spa that breaks through the teary exhaustion between red eye flights during 3 days of travel and lets you sleep safely, massage, shower and drink tea for £15? Priceless.

I hope that makes sense to someone other than me. Now, back to my regularly scheduled blogging.

Fake shopping

Yesterday, we went to All Nations church for Sunday service and then went to Meruea Mall (I hope I spelled that right). We looked around in all the clothing shops for a bit (they were looking for a certain coat). I enjoyed the clothing selection very much and have decided to not even try to buy anything else until we get here. The styles are quite similar to what's happening in the US fashion-wise but there seems to actually be a better selection of more modest clothing; my kind of modest, anyway. Like, I saw a really cute sweater that I would have been happy to purchase, were I in need of sweater. And it was somewhere around $200 Namibian, which is almost $30 US. That's a fair price for a nice sweater, I think.

Also, I've been in several grocery stores and pharmacies now. I walked the aisles and fake-shopped, as if I were going to make some of our favorite meals. I found that, at least here in the capital city, the only thing I couldn't find was real maple syrup. We had a moment's pause when the first grocery store didn't have oregano but then the second one did. So, really, eating here isn't going to be much of an adjustment. In fact, there were products here that I'm able to get back in Newfoundland that are difficult to find in the US, like Cadbury Dairy Milk bars ... yum! That's my favorite milk chocolate. Mom and I used to eat Dairy Milk bars together when I lived at home so it has particularly pleasant associations for me.I always buy it when I get back to Canada for any reason. And I got a picture of a display of Dairy Milk products that I've never even seen before. I bought a 'Turkish delight' Dairy Milk that I'm kind of excited to try. The only reason that I haven't yet is that Rachel has been making yummy desserts and so a chocolate bar on top of those seems like overkill. She made a great carrot cake on Saturday and a chocolate cream pie yesterday, for Mother's Day.

So, I was pleased to find that while the cost of living isn't cheaper than the US, it will probably be comparable shopping for me, if not even easier, in some ways.

We've had braai twice since I've been here, once beef, once chicken. Very tasty. And it rained yesterday and the night before, contrary to typical winter weather here. I've been very comfortable, temperature-wise, having to put on a sweater in the evenings but otherwise running around in shirt-sleeves. It's overcast out there this morning but that seems to burn off by noon, then return in the evenings.

They have a dog named Pippin. We've gotten used to each other now.

Today will be my first day at the office visiting the Khoekhoegowab translating team. Looking forward to it, me. I'll be going to shower soon, get moderately gussied up so I can make a decent first impression. I do have wireless internet here at the Boylans' but it's been running slow for the last day and pages are taking a long time to load. So no Skypeing for me, though I must admit that I tried. I've been blogging into a text doc and copy/pasting when the blog page finally loads.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sunday news

I met with Barnie, of the Bible Society in Namibia, and Shawn on Saturday morning and we talked about future plans and possibilities. We had breakfast together at Fresh n' Wild.

Shawn and Jill took me around Windhoek and showed me grocery stores and pharmacies.

This morning, we all went to the Boylans' church and had a picture taken by a tree outside.

I'd write more but I'm having too much fun. ☺

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Still going on about the spa

I keep thinking about my trip here and how it seems like a mini-version of the last couple years. Lets see if I can get anywhere close to explaining what I mean by that.

I got to the airport in Seattle around 5:30AM on Wednesday, leaving plenty of time for my 7:40AM flight to Washington. I was supposed to be flying Seattle to Washington, DC to Johannesburg, arriving at 2:30PM the next day (Thursday). I was then going to spend the night in Jo'burg, flying to Windhoek at noon on Friday. The idea was that I'd be recovering from the red eye flight in Jo'burg and having a normal flight to Windhoek after getting plenty of sleep at the guest house. Great plan, right? Here's what actually happened.

I got on the plane just before 7AM. They loaded early since it was a large and long flight. We sat for what must have been a long time (I wasn't keeping track at this point) before the announcement came that there was a panel on the side of the plane that the flight crew had just noticed was missing. They ordered a new one from Boeing which they anticipated should be installed in time for us to fly by about 9AM. Now, my connection to the Jo'burg flight was going to be 2 hours after I landed so I knew tis was not going to work for me. I immediately grabbed my carry-ons and got off. The line to the service desk was already forming but I got in it. I was about 6 people from the front. I called Rob to get him praying specifically for this problem. Then, I got off the phone because my cell battery (which I refuse to replace, given that we're canceling our plan in the next couple of months) only lasts a few minutes at a time these days.

While I was in line, I remembered how just the day before I had been standing in Rob's folks kitchen with Rob and June, praying for this trip. We prayed for (among other things) the flight to go smoothly, that I'd make all my connections, that the bags and I would arrive safely, etc. Then, I thought about how, lately, Rob and I have been feeling like everything that could go bumpily for us does. I've been wrestling with that idea a bit. There are several schools of thought on trouble in one's life.
➊ It could be that we are under attack because we're trying to do something good. God is allowing this attack with the intent that it will be an opportunity for us to grow in faith. He will make all things work together for our good. This is the cleanest and neatest of all given options.
➋ It could be that we have some sort of undealt-with sin in our lives and we are self-sabotaging somehow, giving the devil a foothold, as it were. If that's the case, I'm still waiting for a "heads up" on what my problem is so I can do something about it.
➌ It could be that God is letting these things happen as way of telling us that we're not supposed to be doing what we're doing. Like, wouldn't it be easier if we are in God's will on the things that we try to do? Wouldn't an all-powerful God be inclined to make it possible for us to do the thing that he wants us to do? Instead, it seems like it isn't just that the normal things of life get in our way. It's like we're magnets for supernatural intervention of some ilk, be it fair or foul. Like, they just noticed a piece missing from the side of the plane? They don't have any spares? The delay is just long enough for me to miss my connecting flight? What's the deal here? Why me?

I decided, while in line, that I was going to believe in option ➊. I told myself that God must be protecting me from some unknown disaster that would have befallen me had I not gotten on a defective plane. I was thankful that the plane didn't leave the ground defective. I thought that maybe there was someone I was supposed to meet by being on different flights. I remembered what some speaker at seminary had said about church building programs; that the conflict resolution opportunities inherent in such mundane but distress-laden efforts are actually the best place for Christ to be seen in our lives to others. I thought that this might be chance for me to be Christ-like in a line-up of angry, stressed out folks... of which I was definitely one. I tried to calm myself down, believing that this would all work out for my good.

I finally got to the front of the line. The guy began to help me but I could tell he was having a rough time, given that I had rare destinations and tight connections. Also, he told a supervisor who walked by while he was working on my ticket change that he was too sick to be there and would be going home right after helping me. That made me a bit nervous about what he was doing but, oh well. He rebooked me for a red eye to London, getting in at 10AM, followed by a red eye to Jo'burg, leaving at 7PM. That would mean 9 hours in London airport. I thought, "Hey, I've never been to Europe; cool!" He also made a note on my baggage that they should be checked through to Windhoek, since none of my stopovers were longer than 12 hours anymore. At least that's what he said he was doing; more on that later.

I got back on the plane and waited for them to fix it. I called Rob and LBT, let them know of the plan change, settled in for the flight. We sat there for several hours as the piece that came in from Boeing didn't fit and they had to "make it fit". Then, I flew to DC. When I arrived, I thought I'd better get in line with customer service, to check and make sure of what I was supposed to be doing again. Also, I had a bad feeling about my bags. While in line, I chatted with several other rerouted people on my flight. One guy had a daughter who is a bush pilot in Windhoek. I got her name so I could look her up sometime. After about 1/2 hour in line, I got to the service desk. We quickly discovered that the bags had not been marked as needing to be rerouted and she took care of that for me. I had another brief "why me?" moment but, as I had gotten the niggling feeling that something was wrong with the bags and had acted on it and had diverted the problem, I couldn't be too grumpy. I wasn't really hungry but knew I should eat something so grabbed a protein-boosted smoothie. It tasted a little off but it was a flavor I hadn't had before so I drank it anyway.

The flight was rough. Whatever was wrong with that smoothie began to kick in after the people around me were asleep; 2 seated on my left and 2 on my right. Yes, I sat in the exact middle of the biggest row on the plane. I began to get gassy cramping but there was really nothing I could do about it. The girls on my right did wake up at one point so I scrambled out quickly, taking what was to be my one shot at the bathroom. I tried sleeping face-down on my table tray since that was the only option available to me. Man; I just can't sleep seated on a plane! I know that I dozed off occasionally because I woke up with drool puddles. But it felt more like they just materialized on my hand, cold and sticky. By the end of the flight, I was totally groggy, had a headache and felt like I was going to throw up. I staggered around the airport, figuring I'd get as far as my next terminal and then figure things out. The South African desk wasn't manned yet so I couldn't check the status of my bags. I went to a Boots and grabbed a Coke, water and some salt and vinegar rice snacks. I briefly entertained the idea of sleeping on the lounge seating but most of it had metal bits sticking up between each seating, probably to deter just that sort of thinking. I began to be seriously concerned that I was going to pass out and considered looking for the medics station. I was nauseous, after all.

By the time, I finished my Coke, I felt not so nauseous and headachy and decided to see if there was a sleeping place in Heathrow. I found a spa on the map and thought that I could maybe get a massage and sleep through it or something. God went one better; they let me have a room to sleep in! So, there I was, in a dark, private room with a solid, softish surface to sleep on, pillow and all. Sam said she'd wake me if I wasn't up by 5PM. I had nothing to worry about and a room that was only going to cost me £15. So, sleep only being slightly delayed by the fact that I had just drank a whole bottle of Coke, I slept from roughly noon to 4PM. I woke once an hour, looked at my watch and went back to sleep until I felt solid enough to get up. The first time I woke up, I momentarily had no idea where I was but figured it out before I freaked out. The second time I woke up, I decided to use the in-room massage chair because I figured that it was my cramped muscles keeping me from sleeping as well as I could have. I didn't feel sick any more at all by this point. I did the massage thing for about 5 minutes, went back to sleep. When I got up at 4PM, I found the shower room and had a lovely shower.

[more to come later.. gotta get cleaned up for breakfast here in real time]

Friday, May 11, 2007

I've arrived

After spending my first red eye night in 22E (2 people sitting on each of my right and left sides), I was totally worked. When I got off the plane in London (long story), it was 10AM. I had jumped 8 time zones since getting up at 4AM the day before. I was crazy zonked. While on the bus to the next terminal, I noticed that the 'yield' signs in London said 'give way'. I was sorely tempted to comply. Tears of exhaustion were threatening to spill out while I tried to think of a way I could rest during the next 9 hours before my next red eye, this time to Johannesburg. I got a British Coke, water and a snack and sat down to come up with a plan. I just couldn't see laying out in the guest area with all my crap strewn about me. What if I crashed, overslept and missed my flight? Why do North Americans have the crappiest tasting Coke in the world? What if someone walked off with my laptop bag? Worse, what if my bags would then be considered to be 'unattended'? A lovely-sounding British lady did keep saying that bags 'left unattended will be destroyed'. Why does even that sound pleasant in a British-media accent?

I consulted the airport directory and saw that there was a spa on the premises, Urban Retreat. I thought that maybe I could have like an hour-long massage or something, at least getting that much sleep and working out the kinks from having attempted to rest face down on my tray table. I walked in and opened their brochure; nap-pods! Sam, the attendant on duty, said that they didn't have any of the pods in at that location but that she could let me sleep in the nap room for as long as I liked for £15! Awesome! So, I did. I slept from noon until about 4PM. I also used the in-room massage chair, the incredible shower (shower head as big as a turkey platter) and, when I came out to the relaxing area after sleeping, they brought me hot tea, said I could stay as long as I liked. Love it. I was so thankful. Near-exhaustion averted.

There's more to tell but suffice to say that I'm safe in Windhoek now, at the Boylans. I'm super-groggy but staying up until normal time here so I can get back on schedule. I power-napped from 2PM-6PM.

Also, one of my bags was lost but now is found.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Just a few hours later and this is the scene, out the very same window as in my shot from earlier today. How's a girl to know how to dress around here?

Still packing

Tomorrow is our 6th anniversary! We're going to see Spiderman 3 in the morning. We haven't planned past that. We may take some gametime to play some Neverwinter Nights 2, something we haven't done in weeks. We'll eat good food in restaurants, most likely, an spend a quiet evening at home, together.

Today, I want to focus on clothing. I have one bag packed with most of what I'll need for the trip next week. I need to find out the weight limits for my flight and then weigh it, make sure it's OK. I'd like to just put whatever I was thinking of taking to Namibia in August right in an Action Packer, make sure it will all fit. If it won't, I then need to decide what will go and what will stay. That means washing some clothes first. I realized this morning that I should have done this part of the process back when I did laundry last week. Phaw.

We're doing well, I think. We have a whole wall of tubs that are ready to go stored directly, somewhere. Still deciding if they'll go here under Rob's folks house or back to Potlatch, with Larry and Suzanne.

We're lunching with Rob's folks today. I haven't seen them in days and days, not since Sunday.

It's raining like a morning shower out there.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Grimm tale

Rob finished his Neverwinter NIghts 2 module for the Grimm's Tales contest. Here it is!


An early comic that Rob found among his papers. He figures he was about 6 when he created it.

Here's the story:

➀ I was born too small.
➁ My father was killed.
➂ Running Cat took care of me.
➃ He sold me.
➄ I was bought.
➅ I am an astronaut.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Packing it in

We went to Woodinville's for Kate's birthday (what fun!) but we're now back working on our stuff.

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