Tag Archive | Lusaka

Shopping

After a leisurely breakfast and shower, we head back into Lusaka to resupply. We have only two hours of mostly pavement to drive today, so we are not in a hurry.

We find the Super Spar shopping center – how did we miss it yesterday? We park and lock the rover, and marvel at all the specialty stores. The first stop is a well-supplied book store: I have been trying to find a Zambian supplement to the southern Africa bird guides. We find some interesting books, but they seem mostly for children. We head over to the Super Spar – a good-sized supermarket. We pick up beer, tonic water, juice, produce and biltong (African beef jerkey).

We look for a coffee shop – would it be possible to have a leisurely latte? Not finding an independent shop, we go back to the Super Spar for their coffee shop. Their espresso machine is broken, so we settle for “regular” coffee. Although it is instant coffee, there was some sort of elaborate preparation going on, which made it quite tasty, but certainly not “instant.”

After fueling up – 6,999 kwacha per liter – we got back on the Great East Road, headed for the mighty Luangwa River. We leave coffee shops and grocery stores behind, having escaped all of perils described by the State Department. I wonder how their assessment of New York City or San Francisco would read, and if they would sound just as scary.

 

Urban Respite

After the hustle and congestion through Lusaka, landing at Pioneer Camp was a refreshing oasis. Although “pioneer” conjures images of rustic accommodations, the site was more like an urban park. An open air A-frame served as front desk, bar and common area, with the restaurant just outside. A rugby game muttered from the television, and several European languages could be detected from the clumps of guests. An expansive lawn area, shaded by trees, served as the camping area. A pool served as the first swim-able waters we’ve seen since Chanters in Livingstone.We meet Ann and Geoff from England, although Ann is actually an American expat from Ohio. We trade travel stories, and then retreat to our tent to cook dinner. While the background noise is more urban, this is one meal I can fix without looking over my shoulder for anyone hungry, besides my husband.

After dinner we indulge in a glass of wine at the bar and we send reassuring email to family and friends using the netbook we brought along and the available wi-fi. On future trips we will probably leave this piece of technology behind and family will just have to wonder whether we will return.

Health and Hubcaps

The US State Department runs a very comprehensive website devoted to international travel information for each country in the world. The site is full of useful information, and dire warnings. We approach Lusaka with a healthy dose of concern, especially since the US Embassy has issued several warnings about carjackings in Livingstone and Lusaka in recent months. We have to navigate from one side of the city to another, with maps with conflicting information. The route is laced with several roundabouts, adding to the challenge of driving on the left in city traffic.

Vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic all increase as we approach the city. The west side is the industrial side of town, as we started to get hemmed in with high walls surrounding large buildings and mountains of scrap. Building materials are piled along the road, and in places women are working, breaking larger rocks into smaller gravel by hand.

The congestion increases as we approach the city limits, as vendor stalls stand cheek to jowl outside the factory walls. They leave only a small pathway bordering the paved road, full of pedestrians, bicycles and carts. Many stalls sell clothing, cell phone minutes, shoes, tools, plastic baskets and buckets. One stall advertises “Traditional Medicine and Hubcaps.” One man goes by with a wheelbarrow full of cattle heads. Vendors on foot walk between the stopped vehicles hawking shirts, hats, or anything else they can carry. We did as advised by the State Department and Safari Drive: we kept our windows rolled up and doors locked.

My job was to keep us headed east, helping Steve exit each roundabout at the right spot. We watched for the big shopping centers, since Lusaka was our re-supply stop, but we missed them while trying to keep track of traffic and pedestrians. Soon we were at the Lusaka airport, so we knew we were not far from our stop: Pioneer Camp. We kept going, knowing that we had a short drive the next day. We would have plenty of time to backtrack to Lusaka for fuel and groceries in the morning.