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Published: November 30th -0001
Harare to Mutare is 4 hours by the express route, which is a minibus which stops every 20mins to pick up or drop off, rearrange baggage, get papers checked by police, get papers refused by police, bribe police and generally faff about. Lucky I did not take the local minibus option which would have been much slower. This is at least a high class minibus so even though the seats and body are falling apart, it has a large screen with music videos... For some of the journey I sit next to a woman and her 1yr old son, he is mesmerised by me which stops him crying. She is on her way to a women's convention, so is with her mother, they have left her husband and 2 older children at home in Gweru. Seems a tough journey with a baby tied to your back and just one bag of belongings, we are also very tightly packed in the minibus so I'm surprised the baby remains so peaceful.
I decide to stay in Zim. for one more night in the Bvumba hills, the journey there is amazing, very picturesque and green, could be at home. The hostel I am looking
for, in the new Lonely Planet, actually burnt down 3 years ago, so I stay at Hivu Nursery and Backpaackers instead. It has the logic and service of Fawlty Towers. The dorm has 2 beds, but as someone already has one of those beds, I am not allowed to stay in it. I ask if it's a private room, but am told it's definitely a dorm. So I have to sleep in a small gypsy caravan at the end of the garden... at least it's cheaper than the dorm. It has no bedding or mattress, but the woman gets this from the spare bed in the dorm, once again making no sense. The dorm guest is the only other person staying here, an Andorran. He explains a few walks in the area and how the hostel works. The kitchen shuts at 5 so we must order food in advance that they cook, and we then heat up later, but there is no electricity until 8pm. I try to order food quickly at 4 as I want to climb a hill and get back before dark, but this is easier said than done. The woman says I can order now, but
then hurries off to do something else, eventually I get her to listen to my order and tell her I'm going for a walk. 2 minutes later she chases me back to tell me to pay, then she has no change so wants me to wait. Eventually we come to an agreement that she can give my change to the Andorran and that I don't need a receipt as she's also a slow writer, I also leave him my key as she wants to put more bedding in the caravan and wants me to wait to lock the door. I then run before she calls me back for something else.
The view from the hill is amazing, I'm sure some of the land I'm looking at must be Mozambique, I am already picking up that phone signal anyway. There are rolling fields and lakes all around, it looks too lush to be Africa. The path up the hill is well trodden but thickly overgrown with grass and bushes, on the way back down it fades away and I'm soon on the edge looking down a cliff, time to retrace my steps as the sun is almost down. Also wary of
snakes as I'm sure they've love this long grass.
Back at the hostel the gate is locked so I have to shimmy in, there is only the Andorran here. All staff have left so we have the house to ourself. There is no electricity but they have left fire wood. Almost like a horror film, very strange way to run a business. A security guard arrives later on, but he just sits outside in the dark, not looking forward to the walk back to my caravan!!
After sitting in the house blog writing for a few hours, I get peckish and hunt out my dinner. The table is laid ready, but after both of us hunting the kitchen with head torches, it is apparent that there is no spag bol for me! I will have to eat $6 worth of cake instead as there is no other food to be found, good job this is also a tea shop!!
My findings of Zimbabwe:
They now use the dollar after their economy collapsed, but you can also use other currencies such as Rand and Pula. Although exchange rates vary per town, in Vic Falls they use 10Rand
to the Dollar which is completely wrong, but it helps with change as you can pay in either currency easily, then 2rand is 20cents. In Bulawayo the exchange rate is correct so it's one currency or the other. There are no US coins in use so when I bought a drink for 70cents and paid with a dollar I was given a chomp bar as my 30cents change.
Everyone says “hello, how are you?” in the street. Not to be sleazy or try and sell something, just because they are friendly. The same in Zambia, love it!
There is a beauty salon in Harare with a male beauty therapist, called Courage. When I asked for a brazilian wax, he asked if I would be comfortable with a man doing it. No thought needed, NO!
Harare was a nice city, didn't find it any more dangerous than any other city. A helpful local, who I got chatting to in the internet cafe, even popped by and picked me up to show me some new funky bars around town.
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