Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Zambia - Part III: Getting Around In Zambia
Zambia is a very rural country. It is sparsely populated. After living in busy, sometimes chaotic Uganda for the last year and a half, I was surprised to find Zambia so different. Partly because of the lack of people, thus lack of need for transportation, and partly because of our frugality over unnecessary spending, we found ourselves hitch-hiking through Zambia. Throughout my 2 weeks in Zambia I never paid for a ride except from and to the airport.
A disadvantage that comes with hitch-hiking is that you sometimes find yourself on an empty road with no car in site for hours. Or, you find yourself on the side of the road with no car willing to pick you up. Or, you find yourself on the side of the road being picked up by people who are not going where you want to go but they want to have white passengers in their car so they pretend they are going your direction just to get you in the car. Or, you've been picked up and they go so slow it takes several hours longer than necessary.
One story I particularly like remembering is on the day we tried to get way up North to Kasama where my friend Ellyn lives. We tried, unsuccessfully, for several hours to get a hitch going North. This was a particularly empty road and we decided to take ANYTHING that would stop. Usually we had rules about only flagging down extended cab pick-up trucks, vans, Land Cruisers, etc. Semi-trucks were a definite NO because they are so slow. However, the only vehicle that came along that morning was a huge, fully loaded semi-truck. Lucky, the driver, welcomed us up into his semi. It turns out his brother worked for Peace Corps Zambia so he was happy to give us a lift. Lucky, drove painfully slow. The trip should have taken 6 hours but after 6 hours we were only half-way there.
CHERIE WAITING FOR ANYTHING TO COME BY:
Now, there was a section of the road where trucks needed to be weighed. It turns out Lucky knew his load was over the weight limit so he had to pull over and wait for the weigh station staff to change shifts. The next shift had a friend of his working who would let him through with only a small bribe. We decided to leave Lucky and find a faster ride. We got a small car to take us a few kilometers further where he stopped and we decided to eat lunch.
After a sit-down lunch we were back on the road trying to flag down a kind, fast driving soul to take us the next leg of the journey to Kasama. Hours passed. Then Cherie's phone rang: "This is Lucky. Where are you girls? In Mpika? O.k. I'm coming to save you." Sure enough, a few minutes later Lucky pulls up in his giant, fully-loaded semi truck to take us the rest of the way to Kasama. Our should have been 6 hour trip took 14 hours. But we made a good friend who we know we could call for anything. I love hitch-hiking in Africa!
LUCKY COMING TO SAVE US!:
SAM AND CELESTE TRYING TO FLAG DOWN A RIDE:
ELLYN AND I CARRYING OUR LUGGAGE IN TRUE AFRICAN STYLE WAITING FOR A HITCH:
CHERIE AND I ON THE BACK OF A TRUCK WITH WET SAND:
CELESTE AND I TRYING TO STAY WARM ON A TRUCK CARRYING GLUCOSE IN BARRELS:
Posted by ajr at 9:12 AM