Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A Southern African Safari (a travel memoir) #7

Good Morning!  Please enjoy part 7 of my travel story. 

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A Southern African Safari  Travel Memoir  
South Africa - Botswana - Zambia - Zimbabwe - Botswana – South Africa  
17 December 2011 - 24 December 2011 

Entry into Zambia was expensive. Ferry cost, carbon tax, third party insurance, vehicle tax, etc. The Vulture had somehow found his way to Suhale, and assisted him with foreign currency on hand, a convenience that we would pay for. The Zambian currency, Kwacha, was communicated to us as R1 = R500 000 Kwacha. It was at this point that we were ripped off as we later discovered that R1 = R580 000 Kwacha. The Vulture made R300 off us in excess of the R100 tip we provided him with. He pretended to humbly accept our tip while deceiving us through pretention. The border cost us R1400. We paid him ignorantly and made our way to Livingstone, after a 6.5 hour wait at the border.

7. Sunbird Guest House 

We arrive at Sunbird Guest House in Livingstone at 20h30. This was not too late, since we had mentally prepared ourselves for a midnight arrival time, should we need to travel through Zimbabwe. We meet Jacqueline, manager at Sunbird and she shows us to our room. She opens the door, her face revealing guilt and embarrassment. Suhale had planned the trip, made the bookings and communicated with various lodges as to accommodation and rates. His shock convinced us that this was no joke to push us over the edge into the territory of hysteria. This was what we paid for and this is where we’d sleep the night. 

I drew a deep breath, reminding myself of the safety and survival challenges experienced and consciously decided to accept the situation with grace and humour. Arshad and Zarina are not pleased. They enquire if there is another room, with no success. We share a room for the night. All four of us, slept side by side in the two beds, one snoring, another complaining about sinusitis and the ironic smell of peaceful sleep circulating through the room. We were the grandparents from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – too close for comfort, pleasantly bickering with suffering laughter.  

We awake early the next morning, or perhaps it was that we never really slept, apart from Arshad. Suhale returns from a morning jog, incredibly unharmed and we sit at the dining area for breakfast. Livingstone is hot; there is a humidity that feels almost tropical, an image consistent with the number and size of flying insects that inhabit interior spaces, floating lazily, drunk from the heat. 

Jacqueline serves us our continental breakfast. Continental breakfasts generate an image of a substantial meal with a variety of food choices and all-you-can eat glory. Instead we were served bread, bread, one egg and tea. On that day, Jacqueline apologetically informs us that two items are missing: onion and milk. We eat our breakfast, use Zarina’s packed milk for our tea and then leave for the day.
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This is the last part of my written journal, which I might conclude if there is enough interest in this story.  In case you missed it, all parts of the story can be found here.  

Thank you for reading and please stop by again.
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