Day 610 – Nu

[The next day: Ugh. You do 500+ words on it and then they move the goalposts. As history will now tell you, we… they?… actually named this new variant: Omicron. Anyway, on with the post, which has generated anger and hate mail (n=1), but which I stand by. Take care out there.]

There was a tweet thread alongside the Worrying Numbers that I mentioned the other day. It was about a potentially nasty new variant that was causing some of the cases. It looked horrible, but the numbers were very small. The Guru mentioned it to me as well, with the same caveat.

The numbers aren’t so small now, though.

And so now we’re red-listed in the UK again – completely understandably, given the situation. Who wouldn’t want to try and keep this out of their country?

But it’s a hammer blow to the local tourist industry, it’s upsetting for friends and family who had plans for the December holidays, and it’s a real gut punch for us, who were expecting to see my Dad on Monday for the first time in two years.

Not now.

And then there is the other side of this that the UK Red List announcement has made everyone overlook: this is potentially a very ugly development in this awful pandemic, and we’re going to have to deal with it, because even if the UK’s swift action has stopped it spreading to there, we don’t have that luxury: it’s already right here.

So what happens next?
Watch this space, I guess.

UPDATE: Massive and predictable backlash on social media against the UK for reinstating the travel ban from SA and surrounds. And yes, as I said above, it’s horrific for the tourism industry here. And if you look at the respective numbers of cases in the UK and SA, then you might be forgiven for thinking there’s something not quite right with them banning us. But then you remember that they are 70% vaccinated, and so the cases that they are seeing are not translating to hospitalisations and deaths like they are in other countries with much lower vaccination rates. Because of that, they have the luxury of handling things very differently.

Oh, and add to that the fact that – at the time of writing – they have detected 0 Nu variant cases there.

And if there was ever a chance of keeping this variant that the experts are calling “grim”, “scary” and “a worst case scenario” out of your country, you’d surely want your government to do the same. You don’t get a second chance at this.
Will it work? Maybe. Maybe not. I’d guess that the chances are fairly high that it’s already there.
But if it isn’t, well, then their quick and decisive action – unpleasant as it may be for us here in SA – may just have saved literally thousands of lives.

Safety first makes sense here. There’s always the option to relax the restrictions as more information becomes available (obviously assuming that information suggests that you should relax the restrictions).
You can’t retrospectively close your borders.

Day 512 – Rotterdam to Amsterdam

Not me, of course. I’m not allowed in other countries and this is very much in other countries.

No, this is a timelapse shot in 2013, but which (mysteriously) “couldn’t be published right away due to restrictions”. There’s no indication as to what those restrictions are or were, but at the end of last year they were either lifted or ignored and now we have a 10 minute trip through the flat lands of Holland The Netherlands (happy now, TA?).

In 2013 a special transport over water left from Rotterdam to Amsterdam. A timelapse camera was installed at 30 mtrs high. The resulting film gives a unique and stunning view of the old Dutch waterways, in 4K. And, you will pass a few dozen different bridges that all open before your eyes. Images were shot with a Canon 550d at an interval of 3 seconds, totalling around 30.000 pictures taken.

A couple of notes here: the camera appears to be attached to some sort of kite or balloon. And if the camera wasn’t attached to the boat in question, it would be able to get through a lot of those bridges a whole lot more quickly.

There are a lot of places along this route that, should you find yourself on the wrong side of the canal, you’re staying that side for a while. I was quite surprised about that in a country as small as Holl… The Netherlands.
Anyway, this video has made me want to go and do a European canal trip again:

But that would also mean traveling to another country, and as I mentioned above…

UPDATE: Thanks, Dave.

It’s a piece of equipment for (Royal Dutch) Shell, apparently.
That’s my balloon theory blown up out of the water then. (see what I did there?)

Day 511 – Animal pics

I promised a while back to get some more photos edited and uploaded and lawd bless ma soul, I have done it.

Here they are! Yes, mainly animal pics because we were very much there (which was here) to look at animals.
Some animal pics are better than others; some really good, some not so good, but these are the ones that I liked.

Inverdoorn is a private game reserve in the Karoo. It’s not deepest, darkest, wildest Africa. But it does offer the opportunity to see – and get close to – some really amazing animals that you might see in DDWA. They also do a lot of rehabilitation work, especially with their cheetahs, and with really good deals for locals (no, this isn’t a sponsored post) at the moment, it’s a whole lot cheaper (and a whole lot less hassle) than heading up north.

But of course, up north has its benefits too and personally, I think it’s unfair to compare this with a Kruger trip (and they probably shouldn’t try to on their website), but as a really easy standalone weekend away from Cape Town, with good food, good drink, great accommodation and the chance to see some big animals, I’d totally recommend it. Covid protocols were really well-observed, too.

But you weren’t here for my thoughts on the place. You just wanted to see the animal photos, right?


Day 509 – Recent photos

OK. The first half of the photos from our recent (ok, not so recent now, but I have a decent excuse) trip away are now edited and up on Flickr. Truth be told, I’m a little disappointed with the overall quality. That said, it was a really hard job packing all the sheer scale of the landscape into a camera, and we were there for family time rather than photography time.

And there are one or two of them that I still quite like:

Moody stuff. Go full screen for more effect.

The second part of our trip was less landscape and more animal. But it also makes up about 80% of the photos I took. I’m on it, but with energy and concentration at a premium right now, it is going to take some time.

Please bear with me.