game drive...

In West Africa, where we live now, you don't do game drives. This is because there aren't any animals. The last of the great wild herds bought the farm here at least 30 years ago. Eaten, killed off, trophy hunted, their demise is thorough and total.

So if you want animals, you have to travel. Botswana is a land-locked country in southern Africa, comprised mostly of the Kgalagadi desert, where wildlife still roams the acacia-pricked bush. We spent a few weeks there during March and April this year.

This is our first "game drive" in Botswana at the Gaborone Game Reserve, right within the city limits of the capital. Here we found wildlife to be plentiful -- at least on this wall of the derelict visitor centre.

Don't worry, though. We will have better luck elsewhere and at other times.

About the film: I don't know (yet) when/how this happened. This is the worst radiation damage I have ever had. The roll was really blasted, fogged and fried. It is terrible. If you ever need an example of what x-ray damaged film can look like, click your bookmark.

Luckily, I guess, no other film from this trip, or since, has had any trace of this damage. But lacking an explanation is unsettling. I live in fear of a random recurrence.

And I sure hope I wasn't in the vicinity when the film got wasted. At least my hair hasn't started falling out, yet...

Gaborone, Botswana, March 2008.

Rolleiflex T, Fomapan 200, severe x-ray damage.