About next week

I mean, there’s no other word for it. I’m off on a jolly.
In the English, informal noun sense of the word.

Away far up North (in this country, at least), in order to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

I’m trying very hard not to feel too guilty about leaving the family behind for almost 6 days, but I am looking forward to a few days in Kruger, observing the animals and sampling the local beer.

My only previous Kruger experience was taking (camera) shots of the fences between the Park and the citrus farms that backed onto it: good fences, well-funded. And while that was great fun, and there was wildlife around, the chance to see some animals close up and then talk about it over a braai in the evening is something I’m very quite excited about.

No idea about internet coverage there, so I’ll be pre-loading some posts before Wednesday’s red-eye flight and the 8 hour drive to – almost – the Mozambique border. But as ever, keep checking in here for additional impromptu posts, and Instagram for ‘togs on the fly.

Day 236 – Happy Birthday to…

Happy 1st Birthday to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (you may know it by its stage name: “Corona”).

Yes, according to this March 2020 report in the South China Morning Post, the first case of Covid-19 – it’s a disease of which you might have heard mention – was identified in a 55 year old man from Hubei on this very day last year. So I suppose it’s actually Happy Birthday to the disease, rather than the virus, but by this time, who even cares about minor details like that?
You get one, you get the other.

A lot has happened since that guy decided to go for the fresh bat soup instead of the beef with noodles, hey?

55 million cases. 1.3 million deaths.
And those are the ones we know about.

And even though we’re twelve and half thousand kilometres away from the source and start of the outbreak, tucked away here in the bottom corner of Africa, we’re still on [check notes] day 236 of an ongoing state of disaster and lockdown. What an incredible timeline. What a weird world.

What a horrendous year.

To be honest, I much preferred those halcyon 120 days when the disease was raging in other places that weren’t here. But then I think we all much preferred those even more halcyon days when it wasn’t raging anywhere.

It’s not often that one can pinpoint the exact day that a new disease appears: most of the stuff that we get infected with has been around for hundreds of thousands of years. And so, despite the appalling toll which it has brought upon the entire planet, as a microbiologist, it seems almost required that this day is marked somehow.

It’s done. Let’s revisit this on November 17th next year.


EDIT: Oh wow. And look who shares this big day…

Cue the “who’s done the more damage to South Africa?” comments…