We took the 8 am bus from Livingstone to Lusaka. It was a big coach bus and I had bought the front row seats, which are nice because you get some extra legroom plus a good view out the front windshield. It the road was in good condition and pretty straight, yet during the trip we saw two semi-trucks flipped over the side the road. This would the first of many flipped over truck sightings! I can understand on steep, windy roads how something like would happen, but on a straight, flat road?! I still have no clue!
We got into the Lusaka bus station around 3pm and were immediately swarmed by minibus drivers asking us where we were going and taxi drivers trying to take our bags and put them in their vehicle. After swatting away these guys like fleas we headed out to the street and walked the 15 or 20 minutes to our guesthouse. It was pretty dead, something we’d be getting used to, but we had the whole dorm room to ourselves at least.
After having a beer by the pool we decided we’d go out an see what’s around Lusaka. We walked past the bus station and onwards to the city markets. At this point Carmen was getting A LOT of attention, partially due the fact she was a dress that only went maybe halfway down her thighs. Zambians are pretty religious (well most Africans are) and tend to dress pretty conservatively. And of course the market areas aren’t known the have the classiest crowd, so Carmen got plenty of suggestive ‘compliments’, which was fairly amusing to me, but not so much for her. Cleavage is totally fine in Africa, but a little leg… no no no! So we headed to one of the stalls and she picked up some fabric to tie into a sarong, which what most Africans women wear, and decided we’d had enough fun for one evening.
We couldn’t really decide what we wanted to do yet… Zambia isn’t very well set up for travellers without their own vehicles, so we decided to stick around for the day, it was Easter after all, and we thought maybe there would be some sort of festivities. We contemplated going to church, but I really didn’t have anything remotely resembling church clothes, so we decided not to. We ended up walking around the city again, hoping to find something remotely interesting, but alas, we found nothing but the mall. Such a boring city! I guess I expected something more from a capital city.
Later that night we met another Dutch guy at the guesthouse and he was working in a place called Siovango, which was right on a nice lake, and mentioned in our guidebook. He said he could drive us there tomorrow and there was an extra room in his company sponsored housing unit. So sure… why not?! We left the following morning and it was interesting listening to his work stories, managing 140 Zambians on a fish farm. The gist of it was that they are hard workers when you watch them, but as soon as you don’t, everybody stops working! It sounded like a job that wouldn’t like to have.
So it turns out there really isn’t much to do in Siovango! The first afternoon we walked around and checked out the fishing boats and then wandered our way into the villages. We came across a group of people having a party of sorts, with some music and lots of Chibuku, Zambian beer, which is disgusting. They invited us to join in the festivities and poured us some drinks. Chibuku is like a weird brown liquid, with little chunks of something floating in there, and its got an off-putting sour taste. The bigger gulps of this stuff you can take the better! After I finished one cup, I had to try the homemade beer (Chibuku is store bought), which was also terrible, but not as bad as the Chibuku, as it at least had a sweeter finish. They tried to sell me 5L for like $3! No thanks! After staying far longer than we felt comfortable, we finally excused ourselves and had the whole lot of the village children follow us back out the road. It was pretty cute!
That night we went out to dinner at the only restaurant in town with the Dutch guy and his Portguese roommate. They had to work early the next day, so we’d have the house all to ourselves. Fine by us! Well of course there wasn’t really anything to in this town, so we went to the market to make eggs for breakfast and hung around the house. Carmen isn’t so good at doing nothing, so eventually she convinced me to do her 12 minute workout routine that’s on her phone, which was the first workout I’ve done in months! We ended up spending the afternoon at the nice hotel, which has a weightroom and a pool, so it was something to do. We went make to the market and made dinner to thank our hosts, Dutch meatballs (the butteriest meatballs you’ll ever have!) garlic mashed potatoes, and green beans. Frozen mangoes and ice cream topped with Amarula (similar to Bailey’s) for dessert. Not Bad!
We left the next morning and took a minibus/back of truck/taxi combination to a lodge on the lower Zambezi river, maybe 2 hours away. In the minibus I had the fattest African woman I think I’ve seen, basically sit right on top of me. In the minibuses if there isn’t enough room to get both your asscheeks in the seat you just sit down anyway and eventually people make room. These minibuses are basically like jigsaw puzzles, the one guy has to figure out how to jam as many bodies, backpacks, bags of maize, chickens etc, all into the one bus. But we got to the lodge easy enough and we were hoping to do a canoe trip. But canoe guys were actually on the Zimbabwe side and it would take a day for them to get organized. Well we didn’t feel like waiting, so we opted for a speed boat trip instead up the river. It wasn’t high season for animals, but we had a nice time spotting all the birds, hippos, and crocs that were scattered around the river! The next day we would head back to Lusaka and begin a hellish trip to South Luangwa National Park!