Lets see what I can do with that. It's a big place, wide lens … it might be OK.
P.S. If you want to comment on how to fix this, that's great, but first we can eliminate some things. It's prolly not the camera body, the battery, or the connection on the camera side, or the camera operating software. These all have worked fine to date. And they work flawlessly with the newer wide angle lens. From the research I did, it might be the connection to the lens from the camera, or it might be a failing shutter. I think the err99 is a bad communication with the lens, a problem I once had while shooting under a waterfall in Zion. Apparently getting the camera damp doesn't help it work correctly. The "err99" seems somewhat nebulous as far as problems go, so may not be easy to solve on the road.
I packed somewhat sparsely on this trip, so didn't bring a lot of extras. Note to self: Next time bring the 50mm prime lens. Next time in China I want it to be 4 stars all around and 4x5's.
P.P.S. Ironically, right after I wrote this I went through the lens and cleaned it and worked all the controls and put it on the camera … and it's working. A hunch. One of the switches for IS or auto-focus was in a position exactly between the fully switched locations.