Anyway, on Monday we left for Livingstone. From Kabwe it is about a 10 hr drive by bus. Now it probably doesn't take that long by car, but we had luggage on top of the bus and lugagge in a trailer, so we could only go so fast. Dan, Tina (cache) and their 3 kids went with us to Livingstone. It's actually their bus (cache) we were traveling on. We loaded up the bus and were on the road by 8:15 after a yummy pancake breakfast cooked for us by Carl and Joanne.
Along the way we stopped at 2 roadside stands to buy gift items. The first place we stopped was selling drums. We were actually able to see one man working on a drum while the rest of the people with him were helping us spend our money. The next place we stopped was selling wood giraffes, hippos, etc. Dan said they make some of the best giraffes that he has seen. Caolinn and I each bought one there. One thing we didn't realize until later is that they paint on the giraffe's spots at that place, so you have to be really careful when you touch them. (We have managed to make some of the spots on Caolinn's giraffe run since we've been home. Both giraffes are now polyurethaned). The people at that stand really did have some beautiful carvings and used a variety of wood.::
|The drum maker|
We continued on our way a while longer and then stopped to shop for our lunch makings. (And also had a potty break). Bathrooms are kind of iffy when traveling in Africa, so we took advantage of what we had there. Back on the bus we decided to make lunch as we were traveling and not stop on the side of the road somewhere to eat. So, that was an interesting affair and once more was a great show of the team work we had developed by then. Lunch was pretty yummy all things considered. Later we had one more potty stop...for those who are male it was no problem, for the females you either really had to go or just be daring. We peed in the bush.::
|Mike & Kathy making lunch|
We finally got into Livingstone around 6 pm and checked into our accomodations and then headed off to dinner. Our accomodations were chalets in a campground. The chalets were really nice. Two walls were screened in windows with curtains, the roofs were thatch, each room had a set of bunk beds and 2 twin beds (Greg and I felt like we were in some 50s show the whole time we were in Africa) and the bathroom was quite nice. There were signs that said "Beware of the hippos" and down by the water "Beware of the crocodiles". We thought the hippo signs were a joke until we were told about the elephant that had come through the campground the day before. We had a yummy dinner out and just pleasant time relaxing and then we went back to our chalets and to bed.
The next morning I got to have my second cold shower in a row. Sad to say this was due to operator error and is a little embarassing to admit. Hey, when you are the designated first one up each day you are allowed to make a mistake here and there. And let me tell you it was a cold shower, the windows in the bathroom are just screens, so at 60 or so it's a little cool even with warm water.
We all headed off to breakfast and then on to a day of extreme sports. We went to this place that is part of the Vic Falls Gorge (cache). It's pretty much at the end of Vic Falls, so there is not any water where we were - just gorge. The two things our group did that day were the zip line and the gorge swing. The gorge is essentially 270 ft down and about 200 feet across. Let me tell you 270 ft is a LONG way down. Donna Jacobini and I took one look and said there is no way, not a chance, nuh uh! Caolinn shared those sentiments. Greg (cache) and Kyle (cache) did the zip line and neither one of them liked it, but I have to say at least they had the guts to try. Most everyone in our group did the zip line. The gorge swing was another story. The people who went from our group went in pairs. They had to stand with their backs to the gorge and pretty much just fall over the side. They are on a rope that lets them fall 50 meters (150 ft) at which point they stop falling and then start swinging. Once they stop swinging they
Once we were done there, we had lunch and then headed over to the falls. We had a couple hours to tour the falls and do some bartering with the vendors outside the falls and then on into Zimbabwe.
The falls are beautiful!!! There is no picture we can take that would them justice. They just go and go and go. There is so much water going over the falls that there is a steady roar. The water also causes a mist and so at various places people can get really wet. At one point there is a bridge to cross. The bridge is fairly mossy due to the amount of water that lands on it from the falls. As we were starting across the bridge we saw a rainbow. Really big and clear. We realized there was a faint double rainbow and that the really clear one was complete. About halfway across the bridge, as we were looking down into the gorge and at the falls, we realized that the rainbow was a complete circle around the bridge! It was cool! So, we enjoyed looking at the falls. They are gorgeous. Dan told us that he had been there about a month ago and that there was much more water then. We could see lots of rocks where the water was going over the edge and he said that a month ago you couldn't see any of the::
|Victoria Falls - a small piece|
After we left the park, we went out to the vendors and did a little browsing. Some of the people in our group bought things. I really wanted a Zambia t-shirt so we went into the little gift shop and looked around. I found a shirt I really liked, but of course no smalls or even mediums. I finally found one I could live with although I have my doubts as to how long it will survive. Then we went back outside and browsed the vendors some more. Greg and Kyle tried to buy a mankala game made out of soapstone, but the guy really wouldn't come down too much on his price. So no mankala board.
At 4:45 we all boarded the bus, went through Zambia customs to exit and we headed over the gorge into no man's land. At the end of the bridge is the Zimbabwe customs. The building looks like 1950's and not well maintained. The men went into the building with all our passports, filled out the paperwork, paid the $30 per adult to get into Zimbabwe and loaded back into the bus. The paperwork took forever because there are no computers. You fill out forms in triplicate and it's a slow process. Once we were all back on the bus we had to show our pass to the customs/policeman guy before we could officially enter Zimbabwe. He wanted three US dollars before he would let us pass. We gladly gave it and got out of there. The whole passport, customs, police thing is so different than here. If we weren't states then we'd be doing the same thing here, but let me tell you it makes you glad for the way things are here!
Shortly after that we arrived at our new "homes"and unloaded our luggage for what seemed like the millionth time since we'd been in Africa. Talk about 1950s CCC seeming - this place definitely had that feeling. My favorite part was the sign that said in essence "Due to circumstances beyond our control you may or may not have water". Later Greg really loved the bugs he found in the refrigerator. The places were concrete block with concrete floors. We had chairs that were from the '60s and done in a nice floral pattern. The plus side was that there were 2 bedrooms, so although we had twin beds again, Greg and I could sleep alone in our room. No one was in love with the place, but it'd be ok.
THEN we went to dinner at the resort hotel just down the street. Boy did we think it'd be nice to stay there. We ate dinner and chatted with the Fords. The Fords had asked about room rates 2 years ago when they were there and had been told $200 and up per night. AND even with only 25% occupancy they weren't willing to play let's make a deal. We decided to go over and talk to the reservation people anyway. When we got there Dan, the great, was already at the desk talking. He came to us and said he could get us the rooms for $100 per night for the whole family and that would include 2 breakfasts and for $120/night everyone could eat breakfast. (Usually it is $200/night for 2 and then more money for more people). We had a group discussion and decided to make the move in the morning. It was $70-80 per night at the other place anyway and this was MUCH, MUCH nicer. You could hear the collective sigh of relief.
Tomorrow, I will write about "The Kingdom" (that's where we stayed) and the Zimbabwe side of the falls. But this is it for now.