16 October 2011

The day Frances was born.


3:30 am. 
Wake up, get dressed.

4:00 am. 
Leave for Ndola.

4:15 am.
Frances gets serenaded for her birthday from 3 Zambian men as we travel down a dirt road.

Instantly I’m jealous.

As we drive down the road in the dark I realize just how dark it is here.

And how some people are already awake pushing bags of charcoal to market.  Such hard work.  I asked Henry a few last minute cultural questions: what are those round straw baskets that sit 1 food off the ground and 6 feet tall?  A silo.  I make a mental note to see what a silo actually does for the grain sitting in it before I make a judgment on what I think of their version.

I’ve generally found that anything Zambian is way cooler than anything American.

5:00 am.
Board a bus.  We’re the first ones on.  We wave goodbye to Henry, who waits for us to depart because our supervisor made him.

Shortly after 4 other Masungus board the bus and sit up front.  We’re all the way in the back, we couldn’t be farther apart.

5:45 am.
The bus departs.

6:00 am.
We watch the sun rise.  That’s a first.

[sunrise pic]

I tried mildly unsuccessfully to sleep. 

8:00 am.
The bus makes a short stop somewhere but the other Masungus stay on the bus, and we do too. 

Good thing because the bus took off without warning.  We might have gotten left behind!

We watch a movie called “The Chaperone.”  I think it was American, and a decently poor representation of Americans.  No wonder so many people laugh at us.

But they spoke really quickly in the movie, and people “don’t understand us” when we talk fast. 

I don’t understand how they understand movies.

But we ate caramel popcorn during the movie, which we discovered during the missionary video, can make any movie watchable.

10:00 am.
We arrive in Lusaka, the capitol, and are forced to get off the bus so it can fuel up.  We’re taking the same bus all the way to Livingstone (thankfully!) so we don’t have to move our bags.

We get bombarded with taxi drivers. 

We get bombarded with people selling us things.

We get bombarded with dust and dirt.

We lost the other Masungus!

They got off the bus before us and we didn’t see where they went.

Thankfully, we’re pretty easy to find!

The first set was a married couple from Marietta, Georgia.  We made small talk with them because that’s where my Fiancé is from.  Turns out, his brother went to SPSU.

It’s a small world after all!

But they were staying in Lusaka for a few hours and then catching the late bus to Livingstone so they weren’t very helpful.

But they introduced us to their travel companions, who were incredibly helpful!  They were going to Livingstone AND staying at Jollyboys camp! How fabulous.  They told us we could walk from the bus station (we were under the impression we had to get a cab).  One was from South Africa.  She had her hair platted, like she lived here.  She also wore socks with her sandals, which looked decently ridiculous, like something a local would do and I wouldn’t understand.   But she’s lived here for 7 years teaching English, which makes her practically a local.  She was definitely legit.  The other was a girl from Australia.  She knew where Mt. Isa is, which is the only place I really know about in Australia and that’s because my roommate is studying there.  She is a nurse, but wants to be a nurse practitioner, so we tell her about PAs and how she should go to PA school.  She’s going to look into it.

Then Frances and I grabbed a coke since we had an hour in Lusaka. 


Well, I grabbed a Coke and she grabbed an orange Fanta.  We really both wanted yellow Fanta but we couldn’t find any.  Really, we just wanted to sit down, but we learned from Lorna that if you want to sit somewhere nice or use a nice toilet it’s polite to buy a drink.

And they were in the glass bottles which always taste much better.

We then walked over and paid 1000K to use a toilet.  Which was the first toilet we paid for, and the dirtiest toilet we had used yet.  Seriously, I’m not sure what our money paid for.


11:30 am.
We got back on the bus and ate some peanut butter crackers.

We depart for Livingstone and a man gets up to preach for 10 minutes.  How appropriate, I think, as I had just finished reading my bible. 

He preached some from Psalms and Proverbs.

11:45 am.
I decide to take another nap.  Sometime during the nap the Air Con goes out and so they open all the windows making us not able to hear the music.

Which is a shame because they finally started playing some American music.  I thought it didn’t exist in Zambia.  All morning we had been jamming out to Zambian music in Lamba and then suddenly, Seal’s “I’ve been kissed by a rose” comes on.  Frances and I start singing along.  We heard some old boy band jams and some Celine Dion.  It was pretty legit.

Until it wasn’t.

3:30 pm.
We watch another movie.

Only we can’t hear it because all the windows are still open.  It looked like a good movie though.  I pretended like it was one of those silent movies where you can figure out what’s going on just by watching people’s faces.  I came up with my own dialogue in my head.

But if anyone owns Hannah, I’d like to see if the dialogue I came up with is the same as the dialogue the director intended.

5:45 pm.
We finally arrive in Livingstone.  Our first task is to grab our luggage and find the other Masungus.  The one from South Africa has been here at least 5 times this year, and knows exactly how to get to Jollyboys.  We grab our bags and follow them.  The legit one from South Africa had a huge backpack so she helped me with our extra bag.  Backpacks are probably the coolest thing ever.


6:00 pm.
We complete our challenging walk uphill with all our luggage, only to find out we made it to Jollyboys lodge and not Jollyboys camp.  The lodge looked legit, and was more of a young adult crowd.  We made a mental note that we would stay there next time, and get driven to the camp, which is about 10 minutes away.  By this time we’re drenched in sweat and really dehydrated since we had 10 pounds of water with us but were afraid to drink any of it because we didn’t want to have to pay to be disgusted by another toilet.  We chug some water, settle in, and go find a beer for Frances’ birthday.

6:15 pm.
We have found our first drink in a month, Castle, a South African beer, which was the cheapest and most interesting option.  (1.60 USD/ beer)    we signed up for a sunset cruise and white water rafting adventure for Monday, sign up for a free lift to the falls for tomorrow, and ask for a cab so we can grab dinner.

[first beer]

6:30 pm.
We were unsuccessful in getting a cab, the 2 that Jollyboys uses are both busy, so we were told to go out to the gate and have the guard flag down a cab.  (Guards are common at all the compounds here, but we’re safe, don’t worry!!)

I propose walking since they’ve said it’s only 1.5 kilometers away and it’s the cheaper option.  Frances turns down that option as we’ve both only had 1 beer, but we’re both feeling it a bit.  She thinks a cab is the safer option and I give in since it’s her birthday.

He finds us a car with 2 seats and we get in.

Turns out walking might have been the safer option.

Every time we get in a cab and the driver finds out we’re American, the first thing they ask is “How’s my man Obama doing in office.”  We usually give a standard, “He’s doing great.”

But we had to tell the driver this 3 or 4 times, as he quickly forgets what he’s doing.

He also isn’t sure where we’re going.  All we know is the restaurant Jollyboys recommended is right across from Shopright grocery store.  Turns out there is more than 1 Shopright in this town, and the driver doesn’t really know where any of them are.

It’s not actually a cab, but a car with 2 guys and a girl on their way out.  They wanted to stop by the bank on the way to drop us off.   Frances and I aren’t sure what to do at this point.  We’re not really sure where we are, it’s dark out, and we don’t feel very safe.

The girl gets money, and after talking about Obama a few more times we pull across the street where there is a shopright.  There is no Zambezi cafe, but Frances and I get out anyway.  Anything else has got to be safer than these people.  Who were nice, but maybe drunk.  Or on drugs. 

After our near death experience, Frances just wants to go home.  We see blue cars with “Taxi” written on them and figure this is the safest option.  We ask to go to Jollyboys and I tried to convince Frances that we should go to the Lodge, grab another drink, and then go home.

She was a bit hesitant, but agreed. 

Turns out this might have been the best decision of the day. 
We order a cider and food.  Perfect.  We get lots of smiles from the other campers at the hostel.  We met some people, including a guy from England and his friend from Australia, who invite us out to the bar with a big group that’s about to leave.  We declined the offer since we had just ordered food.

But they were insistent when they found out it was Frances’ birthday.  They even tried to cancel our food orders.  It was too late to cancel, so they stayed back from the group and offered to walk with a second round of people going a bit later.  So we ate, felt much better, and embarked for “Fez Bar.”

[outside Fez Bar]

[inside Fez Bar complete with a wall mural and international friends]

We had no idea Fez Bar was a Mexican food restaurant.  Complete with margaritas and chips and salsa.  Not quite delicious, but the only salsa I’ve had in a month, so it was decent.

The girls we sat next to were from Dallas.  Again, what a small world.  One was a nurse at Baylor, where I did my last rotation.  The other girl was a teacher in plano!

[new Dallas friends]

After everyone finished eating, it was decided that we should go out dancing for Frances’ birthday.  We had 3 drinks at this point and wholeheartedly agreed!

The group heads back towards the Shopright.  Turns out there is a great Zambian club there.  The place wasn’t hopping when we got there, but our group of 15 filled the dance floor quickly.  Frances was in need of a Birthday Shot, so we got a group of friends to drink with us.

[Our new friend from Canada shooting with us]

The terrible thing was that Frances picked tequila to shoot, forgetting we weren’t in America.  It tasted like lighter fluid.

The name of our club was: Nakusema Nkutaka.  I would love to know what that means.

We learned a new song (that must be big here because the club played it 3 times) called shower.  The singer repeats “shower” over and over and you pretend to be in the shower washing your hair or your underarms.  It’s so easy to dance to and a lot of fun!!

We called it a night at midnight and the rest of the group did with us.  We were given the advice of “only get in a blue cab that’s labeled Taxi.  Perfect.  We were able to secure a ride home in a nice safe taxi.  I quickly showered and hit the sack.  It was a wonderful birthday celebration full of new friends!!

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