Saturday, July 15, 2006

Zim, Zam, Zoo

Feeling sorry for myself didn’t after all last that long, and on Thursday night we went back to Hippo’s, to prove a point to both ourselves, and anyone who might have wanted to scare us away. We had a brilliant night, and made sure we got a taxi from the door this time. On Friday we worked all day, and then had about half an hour to hurriedly prepare to go to Zimbabwe. I managed to squeeze everything in to my rucksack, and carried a sleeping bag separately, and along with Kate, felt quite unsettled about having to carry our passports and money around with us after what happened. Everything was fine though, we passed over the border with no problem, and then were taken to Villa Victoria where we were to stay. The place itself was by African standards lovely, and we arrived to find a BBQ waiting for us, which was wonderful. Before leaving Kate and I had discussed sharing a room, as I’ve said before that both Annette who I share with, and Lisa and Jenny who Kate shares with go to bed earlier than we do. Earlier on the Friday we were asked if we were ok staying with the people we were already sharing with, and immediately Annette said it was fine before I could object. So I went to have a word with Dave on the quiet, and explained that I didn’t want to share with her, and that Kate and I would like to share a room. So all was fine, and Kate and I were put in to a room of four with Kirsty and Meg, which turned out to be lovely, and Annette and most of the others stayed at another lodge. However, when we got back and I jokingly asked Annette if she’d missed me, she said that yes she was quite upset that we didn’t get to share, and that if I wanted to share with some one else it was ok, (sniff sniff, sounding offended). So now I feel awful, because somehow she must have found out that I’d asked to be put with some one else. Oops! Anyway, back to the trip.

On that first night in Zim we went out, intending to just stay for a couple, as the big night out was on the Saturday. Anyway, as you might have guessed we ended up getting hammered, and didn’t leave until around two. It was a fab night, and I don’t think I stopped laughing the entire time at one thing or another. So we finally crashed in to bed with four hours to get some sleep, having to be up for six to do the lion walk on the Saturday. When six o’clock came, I have to say I wished that they’d just forget about the lion walk so that we could stay in bed, but it turned out to be such an amazing experience. When we got there we were given a talk about the lion’s, and then were taken on the walk with them. They were from seven to eighteen months old, and ran in front, or walked alongside us as we made our way through their territory. It was quite scary, but awesome at the same time, and while they lay down we could go and sit next to them and stroke their backs, which was incredible. I should hopefully have some amazing photographs to show back home, and Kate bought a DVD which I’ll try and copy. After the lion walk we then headed to the Victoria Falls, and got drenched from the spray, again another amazing experience. The water is so powerful, that it really does sound like traffic rushing past, and it’s something else to stand and smell the spray, feel the mist on your skin, and listen to the roar of a million litres of water per second cascading in to the river below.

In the afternoon we went to the local market to do some shopping, and I ended up having to go back on Sunday morning as I didn’t take enough money out to spend. The money situation in Zim is crazy, it’s around 400000 Zim dollars to the American dollar, and around 1000000 Zim dollars to the pound, and it fluctuates drastically daily. The notes tend to come in small dinominations, and so if you go out with say around 40 notes, you may only have around two pounds, which was exactly the mistake I made at the market. Anyway after both trips I came away with a chess set carved in stone for my dad, two large stone ashtrays, one with a hippo and the other with an elephant calved in to them for mine and Lucy’s mum, a drum, a hippo made from reddy brown wood, a necklace and three stone statues, all for less than fifty pounds. I loved haggling with the traders, and when people saw how much I persuaded them to lower the prices, they were asking me to barter for them which was amusing. A taxi driver over there also commented that if I wasn’t going back to England he would have hired me as a negotiator, having knocked his price down from 2000000 dollars to just over 1000000 for a taxi ride.

On the Saturday evening we went to the Boma restaurant, where we paid 35 dollars for food and entertainment. It was such a good night, the food was delicious and the entertainment fabulous. I had roasted vegetables in a garlic sauce to start, and then for my main course I tried Ostrich kebab and Warthog in a sweet sauce, with potatoes and stir fried veg, which was surprisingly good and for which I was proud of myself for trying. You could also get a certificate for eating a caterpillar, but I wasn’t brave enough to go for that. While we were eating people came around beating drums, chanting and dancing, which was wonderful, then afterwards we were given a drumming lesson, which was very amusing. We also tried the Boma cocktail which was foul, had our faces painted with tribal designs, and for one dollar had our fortunes told. The guy said that I was with someone whom I loved deeply and thought of constantly, that I would have two boys and a girl and then seven grand children, that I would live a long and healthy life, and that I would come in to a lot of money in six years time. We will wait and see how accurate he was. After the restaurant we went back to the bar and had drinks, but the night before turned out to be better and everyone was home by around one.

The only bad point about the trip was that my phone battery died and my phone wouldn’t charge for some reason, so I couldn’t communicate with Lucy the whole time I was there. I knew she’d be worrying, which made me worry even more, and on Sunday morning I asked to use the phone of the villa, and managed to leave a message on her mobile. My phone is working now though, which is a relief, I really would go crazy if we couldn’t talk while I’m here. We arrived back in Zambia this afternoon to fine that the house has now become a zoo. Along with the goat and three cats, we now have a dog called Toby, who is adorable, but not exactly house trained as yet. It’s lovely having a dog around though, as I can’t stop thinking about what it’ll be like getting a guide dog when I get back. Well, that’s it for now, I’m now half way through my stay, and it feels as though I’ve been here forever in many ways.

1 comment:

doctorlucy said...

Sounds like it was right cosy! Hmmm, and note the parts of this entry which were ommitted during my telling of events! And yes woman... I can see that smile from here!