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Published: August 12th 2013
Day one in Zambia, and I was very happy to wake up to a clear blue, sunny sky. We sat in the grounds of the hostel having a cup of tea and breakfast (included) as the day began to get warmer with the sun rising higher. Temperatures dropped notably in the evenings, which I wasn’t quite prepared for with my one hoodie!
We ventured out on foot along the streets of Lusaka and found our way to the Freedom statue on Independence Avenue. The statue shows a man breaking away from chains, to commemorate the Independence of Zambia in 1964. It was not as prominent, or as large as I had imagined it to be, but significant nonetheless.
The pavements are dusty lanes alongside the main road. We passed many friendly Zambians saying hello. It was good to just walk and observe, getting a feel for the place.
Round the corner from the Freedom Statue was the National Museum. A visit to the national museum did not take very long after we had seen the photo exhibition on the ground floor and then a few artifacts on the first floor. I got
the impression it was due to be renovated and we had arrived to see the bits they hadn't got rid of yet!
Post museum, we walked over to Levy Junction which is a new shopping mall, and upon arrival there was a group of about seven people singing and dancing, both male and female and in colorful clothes. Those ladies could seriously shake their booty! With the drums and the tones of their voices, I got goose bumps. It was real, and I was there – the sound of Africa!
The reason we had made the effort to walk to Levy Junction was to check out a "traditional food festival" as part of the 100 years of Lusaka celebrations. We went up on the roof but were too early so we made the mall our lunch stop. Afterwards, we went outside again but the festival was minimal and we were only interested in the entertainment, so we watched a group of performers sing and dance and play drums. They were all dressed in bright orange and one of the male dancers was wearing a belt with loads of wooden pieces hanging on it that
made a lot of noise when he moved. He also wore noisy legwarmers although I'm pretty sure that's definitely not what they are called! It was very impressive regardless. We realised the scale of a Zambian city's centenary celebrations were not quite what we had anticipated.
The inter-city bus station was an interesting experience. Real hustle and bustle. Luckily we quickly found the booth we needed and lined up for our tickets. I was a bit put out when someone blatantly pushed to the front. Later is realised why, as he unsuccessfully attempted to pick pocket the guy at the counter purchasing a ticket. Then he left. I had a tight hold of my bag there, that's for sure. A sad reality of Lusaka – you have to be careful.
We got our tickets for the bus the next day with no fuss, and walked on the main Independence Avenue towards one of the nicer hotels in town. We relaxed in their courtyard by a pond with lots of pretty birds who had built many clever nests on the pond plants.
Walking around at night is not recommended, so we set
off back to the hostel before the sun set. Dusk was a beautiful time of day with pink skies and a bright moon. I very much appreciated great expanses of sky, and the presence of stars, which I'm usually deprived of in Hong Kong.
We spent the evening relaxing at the hostel, which is a bit of a social spot for some locals and expats it seems. Overall, first impressions of Lusaka were that there wasn't a lot to do, especially for tourists. We were happy to head South to Livingstone after a day in the capital.
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