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Published: September 23rd 2006
Well day number three in Livingston and we embarked on one of the tours we had to actually pay for. This one was Livingston Island.
We arrived at the Royal Livingston Hotel at the leisurely time of 10.30. This is the place where we departed by speedboat to get to the island, however I can't go on without telling you a tiny bit about the sheer opulence of this hotel. Basically it is a place for those with lots of money and no manners. Crazy Americans dressed head to toe in old fashioned safari gear including the pulled up, long socks and silly hard hat. It was luxury personified. We sneaked into the toilets and I have never seen so much marble and gold - I'm ashamed to admit I took a photo.
So we caught the speedboat with a lovely Irish couple who were joining us. We sped very close to a crocodile basking in the sun and dodged many of the rocky parts, which I was sure would see us end up in the water. We managed to arrive safely and were met by a guide who gave us a native drink made of mead, it actually
tasted quite nice but no one had time to finish it before we were marching at full pace to the edge of the waterfall. We thought we had been close yesterday but oh no! I have the pictures to prove that we actually sat on the edge of Victoria falls. It was far more incredible up here than anywhere else.
We were covered in spray and the rainbow effect of the sun hitting the water droplets was just magical. Some people who had bought their swimming stuff were guided out through the flowing river into a pool of water that was situated so close the edge you could look over the side and be faced with the actual water fall.
The other part to this trip was breakfast and wow, it was a good one. The best bacon I've eaten In a while and served with the best silver. I have to say not all the people staying at the Livingston Hotel were eccentric fancy-dress wearing fools and we spend some lovely time chatting with two great American couples who couldn't have been further away from the crazies they were sharing the hotel with.
We returned to
the crusty scumminess of our lovely hostel and due to aching like a b*stard from yesterday’s rock climbing efforts, we chilled in the sun for a bit.
The Livingston museum was next on the agenda. This was a cross between the Yorvick Viking Centre and a local museum. I would say the really interesting bits were the history of Zambia, the witch craft stuff and the slave trade and oppression. I would say this part was a real eye opener. There were terrible pictures of people who had been literally gutted with their insides hanging out, all because they were loyal to the wrong side. At that point, feeling quite bad about being a white westerner I don’t know why we made the decision to go back to the epitome of white western opulence, The Royal Livingston - but we did.
We had been told that in the evening they have 'sun downers' (basically drinks as you watch the sun set over the Zambezi river).
The only down or up side to the hotel, depending on what you like, is the monkeys. Hundreds of them and as we found out, they are very naughty monkeys. We ordered
our pimms and sat in absolute comfort, watching the sun set over the river, spying the odd hippo that would snort very loudly and spray water in to the air. The only downside to this was listening to a stupid American woman who was speaking very loudly asking: ‘ so what river is this then’ and probably her best one ‘David Livingston, I thought it was Stanley Livingston’! my god Sarah s face was a picture of disbelief!
Then a waiter approaches us telling us to watch for the monkeys as they have a thing for cherries. Well there we were with two bright red cherries in our drinks and before we know it one of the little sods was grabbing for my glass, I managed to pull it away in time but Sarah wasn't so lucky. The monkey had hold of one side of the glass and Sarah had the other and there began a small tug of war. They stared at each other and suddenly the monkey thought he'd push his luck and with his other had tried to fish the cherry out. At this point Sarah won the tussle but the monkey was still on our
table. I thought I would attempt to gently shoo it away but I was holding my camera in the hand I did this with and instead of the monkey leaving it came at me, gabbling the cord of my camera. Thankfully it changed it's mind pretty quickly about scratching my eyes out and for a couple of seconds sat thinking. The next thing we knew, it had picked up Sarah's cigarettes and was running away with them, a kind of punishment for the indignant behaviour it had to endure from us.
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