Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weeks 22 & 23: Critters on Campus

Jan 12 - 25, 2009

The last two weeks have been mostly non-eventful. Bill flew out on Tuesday for his workshop in Jakarta, with extended time in Johannesburg in both directions. That left me with the depressing task of daily airport trips (2 hours each time) to see if the last bag had arrived. Bill arrived safely in Jakarta only to find himself with a very bad case of jet-lag & by the second day of the workshop, was so sick he spent the day sick in bed in his hotel. Fortunately he was able to get to the last day & catch up on most of what he had missed the day before. Ironically, he says it was the best workshop he’d been to for ages – it was very disappointing that he was feeling so poorly.

By the time he left Jakarta for the trip home, the missing bag still hadn’t arrived & my expectations of it ever coming were almost rock bottom. On day 15 after our arrival I spoke to the head lady for Air Namibia at the airport & was able to get her to photocopy the documents (tags & boarding passes) that had been taken off us on our arrival, as well as the luggage tag from the bag that did arrive. With confirmation of all the numbers, I got Bill to go to lost & found at Johannesburg Airport to search for the bag there, as well as make a report with KLM. Despite having all possible information, I found that I still couldn’t access the KLM website to directly report the lost bag online. In frustration I wrote a complaint to their customer services, but even then it took 3 days for a response.

Bill arrived safely back in Luanda (with his luggage) and was jet lagged all over again. No sign of the missing bag in Jo-burg, but the KLM person he spoke to told him there was no record of our bag being missing! (This is despite assurances from Air Namibia that they had sent telexes to Manchester & Amsterdam to search for the bag). I finally got an email from KLM, once again asking for all the information (this is day 19 & no sign of the bag). We forwarded the info to Bill’s mum in Manchester & she contacted both Manchester & Amsterdam directly with it. Amazingly, she spoke to someone who found the bag!!!

It had been sitting there all this time (who knows why) & she assured Bill’s mum that it would go on the next flight to Jo-burg & then to Luanda on Tuesday. So, as I write, it is supposedly on its way to us & I will go to the airport on Tuesday to see if it arrives. (Bill has soccer practice with the boys). We are both excited and sceptical at the same time.

Other than the luggage saga, we have enjoyed a quiet weekend together (Bill was away for 10 days). We went out to the Ilha for lunch on Saturday, but other than that, have spent the time at home. I was entertaining myself making geometric kaleidoscopes for a classroom display & Bill entertained himself by making a fantastic birthday card for his son.

Seeing as how all this is rather dull, I thought I’d throw in some photos of some of the wildlife that share the school grounds. The variety of birds is one of the delights of living here. Because they spray regularly for mosquitoes, there is almost no invertebrate life – the exception being the big black slugs that come out every night and the big black carpenter bees.

One of the most ubiquitous birds are the egrets, but there are also mousebirds, finches, a particularly cheeky weaver bird that loves to tap on peoples windows, sunbirds, and blue waxbills (my favourite – they are so impossibly bright blue & as common as sparrows).

As well as the birds, there are lizards that seem to survive the regular spraying. At the moment there is a male agama lizard that has bright blue colouration & another lizard (probably another type of agama) that has red colouration. They are living in the drains that remain dry as the rains have not yet come. It is impossible to believe that this is the rainy season – it is just very hot & dry. I have seen one agama on a tree trunk, but just the one. With the amount of spraying, I wonder what they live on (having said that, the ants don’t appear to be affected by the spraying either & I think they are the main source of food for the lizards.

Well, that’s our news for now – fingers crossed the lost bag will arrive on Tuesday. We have parent teacher meetings on Friday & early close so hopefully we will go camping or something to get out of Luanda.


Anonymous said...

passo per caso nel tuo blog
un saluto from Italy, ciao

Anonymous said...

wow...your blog is realy great! i have on my plan to start live in luanda, but i was realy afraid of diseases and the culture of this country. But now i think that this place is not so dangerouse as i think before:)

Greetings from Poland

Con said...

Great blog! Wish I found it earlier as I just moved to Luanda this past week. I considered staying at the Transfer hotel at the airport in Luanda but didnt due to the fact that they never responded to my email reservation or picked up the phone but Im glad as the hotel right outside the airport is quite nice.