Published: November 30th -0001October 5th 2010
Our group decided that rather then go back on a short drive to Mama Rulas, we would get up at 4:00 and make the long haul to Victoria Falls by way of Lusaka in two days instead of three. It was brutal getting up so early and we had a very sleepy truck full on this long drive. After the 3-hour bone jarring, teeth rattling 'back massaging' ride back out to the highway, that is. We marvel that our truck is still in one piece. Good old Mercedes. Our driver Hungry Man does on the spot maintenance daily.
Once again, we chose to watch the passing scenery instead of sleep. More fascinating country sprinkled with little villages, scattered homes and a web of footpaths leading off into the countryside. We estimate that 99.9% of the population in Zambia does not own a car. There aren't any driveways leading to these homes, much less an electrical wire. The main highway is not filled with cars and we only see the occasional truck.
The big burn-off is continuing here in Zambia, just like in Tanzania and Malawi. The sky is filled with smoke and we are treated to a vey red sunrise. We smell grass burning everywhere we go and smoke fills the air. This is the time of year when old grass is burned off so stimulate new growth.
As we hurtle down the highway at breakneck speed, we wonder what Africa looked like before the advent of plastic bottles and plastic bags. Garbage is everywhere, but most of it seems to be the plastics. Our fellow travelers tell us that Rwanda has a unique country-wide cleanup program. For a half day each week, everyone is expected to pick up trash. No exceptions. People get the afternoon off work. And it's working. Rwanda is the cleanest country in Africa. We decide that Coke should be responsible for the cost of cleaning up and recycling all plastic bottles, since it is their products that are littering the countryside.
We are gradually getting used to the heat. When we stopped on the side of the road for lunch, Richard's thermometer read 33 C (97 F) for inside the truck. That's in the shade. We couldn't even imagine what it was outside in the sun - hot, hot, hot! We are told that Victoria Falls is having a heat wave and we can expect even hotter temps there. Last year, it was over 40 C, so it looks like this year will be similar.