Bulawyo - Hire Car.

Trip Start Apr 01, 1990
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38
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Trip End Aug 21, 2002


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Flag of Zimbabwe  ,
Wednesday, August 20, 1997

We arrived at the border crossing at Beitbridge at 4.45 in the morning, and trudged into immigration well back in the queue. Finally reaching the officer he took one look and told us we had not declared our cash. We protested that we had, albeit we had written how much we had in US dollars, but he wanted it declared in local currency, so we went to write in the conversion, however he said because it was incorrect we had to line up again. You are kidding, its 5 in the morning, but we did as we were told, and eventually got through. Turned out there was no hurry, back at the bus we discover it has been selected for a customs search and everything was being unloaded. Heather elected to stay to watch our luggage while Avan wandered off with the video camera. Dawn was just breaking revealing a yard with numerous trucks waiting for customs clearance, playing on the trucks were a large family of baboon's, and at one stage were bouncing on a parked cars roof so they could clear the perimeter fence. Avan amused him self filming the baboons for some time, and was particularly interested in a game of 'king of the castle' on a truck with a high load. At about 6am, three local men spotted the video camera and in desperation thought that I may be a TV cameraman. They wanted to appeal for work outside Zimbabwe or for any help in any way. Not knowing what else to do I carried out a video interview and two of them wrote out their contact details, they have been put on the photo page so if you are looking for some enterprising employees, drop them a line.

Finally the bus is reloaded, and we are on the road again. Arriving in Bulawayo the bus was surrounded by loud and jostling touts, and when we alighted we were mobbed, men were trying to grab our bags and us. More than a bit disconcerted we managed to get hold of our own bags, and with some pushing of our own, hightailed it. Spotting the tourist office we dashed in for refuge, and they kindly agreed to look after our bags while we got organized. First to Barclays Bank for some local currency (served by the only white local we met in Zimbabwe) and deciding not to stay in Bulawayo, headed to Avis for another hire car.

Picking up our luggage, then heading towards Victoria Falls, it became painfully obvious why Avis South Africa would not let their cars across the border. This car sounded like it had not had a service for some time, and by the way the steering wheel bounced and pulled, no wheel alignment or balance either. Anyway we were that tired we were beyond caring.
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