Edit Blog Post
Published: April 20th 2008
Kerry - At Glasgow airport just prior to departure
Ladies and gentlemen, please have your boarding cards ready...
It is so surreal sitting here in an internet cafe in Lusaka, Zambia, editing my first proper blog entry of the trip! We have been planning and speaking about this for what seems the longest time and it's just CRAZY now to be actually here.
So, where to begin?! Well, the flights were great fun... for me that is! Not only was Kerry setting off security alarms for body checks, she was (unwittingly, so she says) carrying a pair of nail scissors in her hand luggage which caused a fracas with one of the security guys at Glasgow International Airport cos it kept showing up on the x-ray machine but he couldn't find the darn thing in her bag. It eventually turned up in a box of plasters - tsk, tsk Kerry! On top of that, Kerry was then selected for random liquids testing at Heathrow. Hmm - I always thought Kerry looked shifty! That's 3 times in total she's been stopped - once for a body check, once cos of the scissors and once for liquids. I think I'll keep count as we travel on. My baby fresh innocent young looks mean I sail through security with ease and
that's even with my 'Prison Break- check me - I've shaved all my hair off- new look'! Well not exactly, but a number four all over is the shortest I've EVER gone! But what a great decision - practical and low maintenance.
The flght itself to Lusaka was great. I was so impressed by the BA in-flight entertainment. Each seat had its own screen and set of controls - you could choose from literally thousands of movies, TV and audio programmes to watch/listen. I watched Enchanted (cheesey, I know, but a hugely entertaining and feel good movie), I Am Legend (scary - I was jumping out my chair), and some Gordon Ramsay Kitchen Nightmares. I hope this choice-thing catches on and becomes standard on all flights. :-D
At Lusaka, our visas were obtained with ease - all good! We collected our luggage - all in one piece (phew!) - and then met up with our driver James - "Home, James!", indeed. At the airport exit, there was a gospel choir singing a big welcome to all new arrivals - just lovely. James took us to our accommodation - Cha Cha Cha Backpackers. The place and room are both
very comfortable. Not really got chatted to folk yet but I think that's because we've been soooo tired. Friday and Saturday all ran into one and seemed just the longest day. We were in beds for 8pm last night!
Our worst discovery yesterday was that the principal currency here is the Zambian Kwacha. Guide books had suggested that the US dollar was the more favoured form of currency. Whether becuase of the weak dollar or other, this advice was a load of tosh. Everyone wants Kwacha. We weren't able to find a bank open on our first day and so had to use a cash machine. You get a lot of Kwacha for 1GBP. I withdrew ONE MILLION KWACHA!!! Technically, I must be a multi billionaire here - hey - maybe even a Squillionaire (is there such a thing?!)
Today we've been scouting about. My overwhelming impression of Zambians is that they are just a lovely, pleasant, courteous and happy people. And what a great and beatiful country they have! Everything looks so lush just now. I am not sure to what extent other times of year might differ - I remember reading something about now being the
optimum time to visit.
We have visited the National Museum and the Freedom Statue. A lot of the exhibits, art, etc. are very much about celebrating breaking free from colonialism. It's astonishing reading some of the articles about White views on Blacks of only a very small number of decades ago - makes for some seriously shameful reading as a visting white Brit! We've not encountered any anti-UK sentiment tho. People are just glad to see us here, holiday-making and spending money.
An interesting experience was had at the Lusaka Inter-City Bus Station. We were there to get tickets for our bus trip to Livingstone tomorrow. There was quite a mele of people there all trying to grab our attention and touting for business. This could have been very intimidatingbut again, the people are so lovely and, while loud and in your face, they always thank you for your time and for listening. We made a bee-line for one particular stall for a bus company which the hostel had recommended as reliable. We've bought tickets for the 06.30 service to Livingstone tomorrow morning. An early rise but with James to make sure we get there on time we
should be just fine!
I'll go for just now and update you when we hit Livingstone.
Sorry - no pics yet! Not had the chance. Will sort that hopefully in Livingstone.
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