I always thought Canadians were nice people

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
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67
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Trip End Jun 12, 2006


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Flag of Zambia  ,
Thursday, April 13, 2006

Decided I'd best take a cab back to the bus station, it got me there for 5:45am, unfortunately my minibus took a while to fill up so we didn't get on the road until 7:30. We were trying to get the 10am bus on the Zambia side of the border to Lusaka, but this wasn't looking now. I met a nice guy on this minibus who had left from Blantyre at 1am the same morning and was trying to get back to Lusaka to visit his family for Easter. As with all the border crossings I'd negotiated so far, it was definitely nice to have someone to help me navigate, what tends to be the scum of the earth that hangs out at these places. Actually I have to say the money changers, taxis and other people at this border crossing were all very pleasant indeed.

There were lots more fields of maize laid out in front of us as we took the 2 hours drive to the border, and once there I saw all the guys from the overland tour the previous evening. They knew I was coming the same way, but hadn't been gracious enough to offer me a ride in their near empty truck.

There was a bit of a wait again at the border for our next shared taxi to fill up, so I took the opportunity to enjoy what I though would be my last Sobo Cherry Plum drink from one of the local street vendors while I wondered what the sodas would be in Zambia.

My friend told the taxi driver to get a move on so we could make our bus - not a good thing to say to your average macho Africa taxi driver. I don't think I've been driven so quickly or been so scared since Uganda!

I'd spent a summer in 1993 in Ontario, Canada picking tobacco and had been told around Lilongwe area was the place in Africa where all the tobacco was grown, although I never spotted any. I was a bit disappointed as I'd hoped to see some of these monsters plants that had provided 45 days of back breaking work for me in my younger days, while at the same time depositing thick chunks of tar down my arms.

My visa for Zambia cost an extortionate $60, for some reason Brits were charged more than any other country. It didn't seem like all that time as a colonial power had done the future British tourist any favours! To make this matter ever worse, I found out if I came here on a pre-arranged tour I'd only pay $10. A pre-arranged tour, I was to find out later, was as simple as e-mailing the place I was staying at that night and for them to contact immigration to let me in for this cheap rate. Oh well another $50 down the toilet!

We finally arrived in Chipata, just over the border and about 20 minutes late for the 10am bus and had 3h 30m wait for the next one. I got a very tasty plate of chips, battered hard boiled egg and smoked sausage.

This bus ride turned out to be an 8 hour marathon and besides the maize, we also saw lots of cotton and beautiful fields of sunflowers. Despite the length of the trip though, I have to say that this bus was probably the best bus I'd taken in the whole of Africa. It surprised me as my Lonely Planet guide book had mentioned that travel in Zambia could be a nightmare. Oh well better this way around than thinking the transport was good and it turning out crap.

There was a Canadian guy on the bus, who spent his whole time smoking. Nobody else on the bus smoked as it was banned and people kept asking him to stop. I really can't believe some people - what a wanker. He was also the guy who smuggle told me about the way to get cheap visas, which certainly increased his wanker status.

We arrived at Chachacha Backpackers about 11pm and I had to try one of the local Mosi beers before hitting the hay. I have to say Mosi isn't the best beer I the world, I want my Carlsberg back!
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