Well my first work related trip is now under way and of course it started with a bang. We will see if Oscar ever takes me anywhere again. Having been dropped off at the WUSC office first thing this morning by Tabuche so I could attend at least the first part of an Organizational Development Advisor meeting I can came to work dressed for the office not travelling.
Here the work dress code is significantly more formal than back home. In fact, Oscar referred to it as formal wear. I am expected to represent my organization so I must dress appropriately. This coming from a man who is consistently dressed in jeans. In fact the one day he wore a suit to the office I had to remark on how handsome he was. Yet his standard is that I must look the part. It is now a familiar joke with us. But I am happy to say that when Oscar collected me and my suitcase at the WUSC office to head to the airport, even with my professional wear my suitcase is half the size of his. He claims that his is full of books and papers – we will see.
We were delivered to the airport by Lawrence who poor man must mediate between Oscar and I constantly. Half of our drive to the airport was about dress code. Lawrence of course stayed entirely neutral. The light hearted banter continued into the airport while we waited to be checked in. The poor gentleman checking us in could only grin at times – I think that it is safe to say that Oscar and I will likely cause scenes where we travel together.
Proceeding through security clearance was a whole other story. Oscar proceeded me and to be honest I thought that I was going to end up stripping down and walking naked through the scanner. Oscar proceed with no issue other than what identity card he need to show and the removal of this belt. I on the other hand had to keep removing items. First my belt, which really is holding up my pants as I am continuing to lose weight. Next my watch and the clasp holding my hair up. Still it was beeping – the only thing left on my body that contained metal was my bra – we had a debate about that. Do women here not wear bras with metal clasps and under-wire? When I threatened to remove mine to prove that is where the metal was, they graciously allowed me to proceed through. It took me 10 minutes in the ladies room to put myself back together.
Oh, I left out the best part. As Oscar and entered the waiting area I spoke to two white young gentleman as I thought I saw them using Canadian passports. So I inquired if they were Canadians. Their response was no they were Americans. Oscars rejoiner was that I was just newly arrived from Canada was looking for homeboys – see the trouble we were are going to get into travelling together! It simply won’t be safe for Africa or anyone we encounter. It turns out the Americans are two 4th year medical students doing a two month internship in HIV and AIDS at a Gabs hospital.
Now to the best part of the journey – our plane – I have video . When Oscar saw what we would be flying in he was very vocal to say that it was awful. I on the other hand figured that it was just the type small puddle jumper that we Atlantic Canadians are use to taking between Halifax and Charlottetown. How wrong I was! During the check in process, Oscar who really is a gentleman when he is not baiting me asked for front row seats so I had room to stretch out my ankle. When he saw the plane he knew what we were getting into.
This plane is tiny and free seating. Okay you know a plane is tiny when even I have to hunch right over to make my way down the aisle. Once you get to a seat you can’t sit right away because all of your snacks are strewn on the seat. No body can get by you until you sit down – it took a long time to board the plane. Than once I stopped laughing, I had to start all over again. We were sitting near the back and before take off the co-pilot knelt on the floor at the front of the plane and gave the safety speech.We could not hear a thing – lets hope it doesn’t go down. I told Oscar that he really knows how to show a girl a good time.
Less than an hour after arriving in Kasane, Oscar had arranged for us to leave on a game drive through Chobe Park – the pictures speak for themselves. I can not begin to describe the experience of being less than two feet from an elephant and less than 20 feet from resting lions. This only a taste of what we saw, I promise to post more pictures and video when I return to Gabs. Would someone please pinch me, I can’t believe that I am living this life!