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Published: August 15th 2018
There is a song somewhere in my head about 3 countries in one day, can’t get the tune though. Anyway, today we did 3 countries in one day......
Left the ship with heavy heart, what a great experience in such luxury. Then we had to do customs clearance from Namibia, enter into Botswana again. This is where things turned interesting. We had been warned that the immigration people in Botswana may want to do spot checks of some bags. Wrong, every bag had to be opened, do you have curios, how much did you spend, do you have receipts (bit hard when you buy from a village market). Took a while to clear this effort, especially as they only had a small table under a tree in the dust opening bags, asking what was in this particular bag in the case - power adaptors and USB cables - hmm, off you go. After all that we then had to do the passport stuff in the old house/office with only 1 person checking passports. All in all, an intriguing morning.
Bus to the border of Botswana and Zambia. As we approach there is a line of B Doubles as far as you can see. Told they can wait here for days to get onto the ferry across the river. We get special access and jump the queues. Into our Botswana exit building, then back in the bus to our boat to cross the river. Beside us they are building a new bridge to cross the river (Chinese money in this project). Huge engineering feat that won’t be open for a while yet.
At the river, bags start coming off to go on the boat. Only 7 people can go in the first trip with the bags. Someone volunteers us strong men to go with the bags - I get to go, not sure how I fit that criteria but away we go. The tour director also is in the first fleet as he has to pay our visa money so we can enter Zambia. Get close to the shore and we are inundated by trinket and curio sellers. I give them the short shrift, but a few of the ladies in the first fleet are succoured into the buying game. I just stand guard over the bags while the bus driver gets them safely into the bus. Job done, my strong man duties are over......
Remaining crew arrive, again the throng of sellers flock to the boat. Finally everyone safely on the bus, including our passports, new visas and the tour director. Away we go on very dodgy roads until we get out of the port area. Make it to Livingstone and can see the spray from the Victoria Falls.
Arrive at the hotel. Very colonial and grand. Greeted by some dude in an interesting frock. Into a room where we are given 2 speeches on the hotel, then our itinerary. Rooms are ready for most and we get ours in the first wave. Drop hand luggage off and our bags are actually at the foot of the steps and are delivered as we open the door. Nice timing. Down to the riverside deck for a drink and bite to eat. Great views of the river, then we notice a hippo not far from us with his mouth wide open. Yes, the camera is back in the room...... Food and drink were good, pics not happening.
Showered, changed and back in the bus to the royal Livingstone railway for our special dinner. We go forwards, backward, much further backwards, then even further backwards. Finally not sure which way we were going, but we get to the bridge over the Zambezi river and get out for pics, etc of the river and the falls in the background.
Wander up to the engine (steam) and take a few pics. Engineer motions for me to come up and have a good look. Get out of my way. Up I clamber, camera in one hand, climbing the steep steps like a gazelle. Chat about heat then he opens the fire box. Bloody hell, just like hades....He then says to sit in the main seat. This is the whistle cable and he says I should give it a go. No second thoughts here so give it a tug. Feeble whistle effort so he suggests to go again. This time it works like it should. Where is someone with a camera when needed. Then I hear one of our crew call my name. Leigh is one serious photographer and he has spotted me in my moment of Casey Jones glory. Pose for pics and then climb down thanking the main man profusely. Wowee....... Also remember to thank Leigh as well.
Back on board and we go. Dinner is starting so we move to the dining cars. We all thought we were eating on the bridge with views of the falls, but our actual views were of the road in the distance and very dark bush scenes out the other side. Anyway, the food was good and the wine flowed.
Found out over dinner that one of the guys got asked for a photo (mullet man). The person said thank you very much Kurt. Huh, turns out this person though that Les was Kurt Russell. Oh dear, are we in for it now. He hasn’t shut up about being called Kurt Russell.....
Back home and walking back to our rooms. People eating on the balcony and paved area. Beside them, only feet away were 3 zebra Feeding on the manicured lawns. Thought we had seen it all, nope...
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