28.03.2009 - 08.04.2009
I left Namibia on a hot, packed bus, clutching a box of cheesecake and feeling slightly sunburnt, heading back to Livingstone, and my African motherland, Zambia.
Now, I wasn't hugely excited to come back to Zambia, but I did have a nice few weeks planned- it didn't include any working, eating nshima or fighting with men who wanted to pinch my bum. In fact, I was going to chill out in Livingstone a few days, see the falls again, and go to Mongu in the Western Province to see the famous Kuomboka ceremony. All planned, scheduled- well, scheduled a bit too much for my liking, but I am quickly running out of time-, and, hopefully, executed. Two weeks in Zambia, bye bye, off to Tanzania. Great, sorted. I think.
I keep going back to Vic Falls, because I'm a sucker for a bargain. Normally the falls cost 10 USD to view, but because I am a Zambian, I only pay about thirty cents, so really, there's no reason not to go. It was, however, Rich's and Fred's first time there. Unfortunately, we couldn't see anything. Nothing. We were faced with an impenetrable white wall of mist, through which you couldn't see anything. We crossed the rickety bridge linking the two sides of the falls, and, interestingly, I nearly drowned crossing the bridge, although it is about hundred metres above the actual river. Hmm.
Just as we were about to head for the Kuomboka ceremony, we met Liam and Gavin, few guys we'd run into in Tsumeb, who kindly informed us that the most important traditional ceremony had been moved because the original date did not suit the president's schedule.... Welcome to Zambia, I thought, and we quickly made plans to kill the week in between. We headed to Lusaka first, after I'd given Rich a long lecture about the reliability of Zambian buses, and how they never break down.
An hour after we left Livingstone, we had a puncture. Hmm. Seems Hanna's notoriously bad luck from Namibia was transferred to Rich.
Lusaka, Lusaka. The kids almost broke our backs when we got back to Chawama, jumping all over Rich and I, going through my bags looking for presents and generally screeching, dancing, and showing off all their new tricks; I loved it. It was at least good to be back in Chawama, seeing the family, and the new baby, Gracious, who was born while I was in Namibia.
To make matters more complicated (because, of course, travel in Africa can never be straightforward) it was my 30th birthday the following week, and I did not want to spend it in the dusty, hot Lusaka. So off to Siavonga we went, and two more punctured tyres later there we were, by the beautiful, lush Lake Kariba. I really just wanted a quiet room where I could spend a few days crying, feeling old, and feeling sorry for myself, mourning for my lost youth and lost opportunities. But it is hard to feel sorry for yourself in such a stunning setting, eating yourself silly and going on sunset boat rides. And in a way it doesn't change anything.
It will still get to you, even if you swear, kick and scream.
I am lying about my age from now on.
So I spent the 5th April making deals with the devil, cursing, crying and raging.
But the old age and the 6th came anyway.
Welcome to the next tick-box, honey.
And as far as 30th birthdays go, I had a great one. I sat by the pool by the palm trees, ate, swam and did nothing, and went on a sundowner boat ride with a bottle of sparkling wine.
And then it all ended, but surprisingly enough my life didn't, and in the hands of a mad minibus driver, we got back to Lusaka, and bought tickets to Mongu, killing a few days eating exotic food (read: no nshima) and spending time with my family. It's all coming to an end, but quite nicely so.