amw (amw) wrote,

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flying south for the winter

So, i booked a flight to Namibia. It's not fully confirmed because the airline didn't have direct electronic payment and most likely my transfer will go through tomorrow, but, yeah. The past couple weeks i have pulled quite a bit of overtime at work, and then Thursday morning i woke up at 4am after having a nightmare (!) about an issue relating to one of our customers that i have put a lot of time into, so i figured it was time to cash in my outstanding vacation days.

I've been pondering a vacation for a while. I miss the desert of Nevada and have been thinking about Western Sahara, which - ironically, as a disputed territory littered with landmines and ringed by a 1500-mile-long wall - is apparently the least risky country in North Africa to visit right now. But a work colleague just came back from a Christmas trip to Morocco, and although he enjoyed it, he did say the gender segregation was odd. And i don't know if i would have a lot of fun in a place like that on my own, especially not in the more remote areas. I did consider splitting the trip between Western Sahara and the Canary Islands for a more typical holiday, but eh.

So my next plan was China. No deserts that aren't Arctic wastelands at this time of year, but it's a massive nation with an insanely rich history, amazing cuisine and lots to explore. I had almost decided on an itinerary when i discovered i would need to apply for a visa to go. And not just fill out a form online, but visit the Chinese Embassy with German residency docs and plane tickets and hotel bookings in hand. People recommend booking a hotel, getting your visa, then canceling it. But fuck me, that's a giant pain in the ass for a spontaneous trip. So i decided to hold off. Maybe something for the future if i ever learn to plan my personal life as well as i plan shit at work.

Once i got hit by the visa thing, i did a bit of research and realized pretty much every "exotic" country i have a passing interest in visiting requires UK citizens to get a visa. Which wouldn't be a huge problem if i was going for 6 months and could bum around waiting, but sucks for a vacation you are planning two weeks beforehand. So i looked at Sub-Saharan Africa, since, you know, less terrorists, more Commonwealth nations. I had never really considered going there in the past because my image of the region is a bunch of rich white people owning all the land and other rich white people flying in to go on safari. But then i saw a picture of the Namib, and i guess i am going to be one of those rich white people on safari, because wow.

It makes me a little uncomfortable because South Africa used to own it, so, apartheid. I have a few nations on my personal boycott list, Israel way out at the very top, probably followed by Saudi Arabia, but South Africa has always been up there too. Not that the white man didn't fuck up every other nation he touched, but there's something particularly disgusting about a tiny minority disenfranchising and segregating an entire nation based on skin color. Even 20 years later, many i know who have visited say racism remains rampant amongst whites, which makes me sick. I couldn't even handle it in Australia. I am worried Namibia might be the same, especially if i just stay on the tourist circuit. But yeah, apparently show me a picture of a sand dune the height of the Empire State Building and my morals go out the window. Perhaps somehow my tourist dollars will trickle down in a Reagan-esque fashion (ha). I did book on Air Namibia to avoid giving money to any Arabian Peninsula or British carriers. We will see.

I haven't booked a hotel or planned anything yet, so i have some time... Well, about 10 days to figure out what i am going to do.
Tags: travel

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