Greetings from Zambia
Laying in bed, it’s ten to seven, under my mosquito net, glad this day is over. It’s been two tough days, not only because of the riding, but because Africa is Africa. Don’t expect anything to work, if it does it’s a bonus. Don’t expect things to come easy and without delay, because they won’t. And don’t expect Africans to give you correct information or directions.
It all started yesterday, a border crossing day from Malawi to Zambia. It was a 152 km ride, that because of my own stupidity, turned into a 182 km, (113 mile) jaunt. I missed a turn and kept thinking I had gone to far, but asked at least six people, at different times, “is this the way to Chipata” and all six confirmed I was headed in the right direction. Little did I know, I passed the town and was just getting further and further from my destination. Finally, I stopped a couple of elderly guys on bikes and asked my question for the day, “is this the way to Chipata?” They both kind of chuckled and said, ” NO” and pointed me back the way I came. So, I switched directions and pedaled about 5 km back to a small village and in desperation asked a guy dressed in a tie, (I figured, I could believe a guy in a tie), how far it was back to Chipata and he said 28 km. Ouch, I had run out of water and had no local currency because we had changed countries. So, plan “B” was in order. Jump a ride in a vehicle. The first car that stopped, were two young guys, with bloodshot eyes and most likely high on the local hooch, or smoking some mean Zambian weed. I loaded my bike in the trunk and then they announced they wanted an outrageous $30 (likely a month’s wages), for the lift. I just said, we’ll work it when we get there. The driver proceeded to start coasting along an elevated brick sidewalk that was about six ft wide and two feet high. (A perfectly good highway, ran alongside the walkway.) It didn’t take long for the car to slide off the side and bottom out on the cement side wall. We were stuck. Was this a Cheech and Chong movie, gone bad? We all got out of the car and the first two tries to lift the car, back on to four wheels, were unsuccessful. Then the havoc started and about 50 locals, started yelling at my new found friends. All I could think about was the “mob justice” that happens in these remote African villages. Exit stage left, I didn’t want to stay around and see the end of this story, so I grabbed my bike and headed down the highway. “Let’s try that again,” I thought, and flagged down a truck. The driver was a South African, working in the area. He was more then happy to give a helping hand, so I piled the bike in the back and sat on the wheel cover in the truck bed. He most graciously took me to our camp and I bought him a beer for his good deed. A far cry from the huge sum of “kwatchas” (Zambian currency), that I would have had to pay the two young burn-outs that I first encountered. (Note: my Garmin hasn’t worked in over a month and my GoPro is in he same shape. By the way I hate GoPro).
Then today, another 176 km, (110 mile) ride was smooth sailing, until I decided I better get a local SIM card, so I could wish my Mother a happy 88th birthday and tell Mary all was good. Let’s make this story short…. Much shorter than my day. I spent over four hours in two different towns trying to get a SIM card to work. Four Hours added to my endless time in the saddle. SHOOT ME.
I started the ride at about 6:10 am and finished in camp at about 6:00 pm, (that’s just under 12 hours, if anyone cares) and still didn’t have any minutes loaded on to my phone. Sorry Mom and Mary.
Tomorrow is another 171 km (106 mile) day. Let’s hope it goes without incident.
OY VEY…entertaining to read but I am sure harrowing to live through to say the least! How did you get separated from the group? Don’t you usually bike in a group?
Hope you don’t have much longer in Zambia!!
Played tennis with Mary yesterday-she is well but missing you (as do your pals!!)
Everyone rides at their own pace. I ride with one guy usually, but we split up that day. Actually, I’m loving Zambia. Vic Falls in three days and we have three days rest. Thanks.
You could write a book after this adventure. Just happy you are safe and back on track. Tomorrow will be a better day!
The next day was a great ride and lots of fun.
Wow, Hob you are a very dedicated or insane person, not sure which but you will have memories for a lifetime – those are worth alot.
Take care of yourself,
Thanks DJ. Adventure and then some.
OMG. The pictures you take sometimes make the trip look enjoyable but the written text often makes me squirm. Be safe and know that the end is shorter then the beginning and there will be many unforgettable experiences ahead
Thanks Stubs. Feeling good, laying in bed. Resting today.
Wow Mike you are truly a gluten for punishment!!!!!! Stay safe!
Full of salient points. Don’t stop beeivling or writing!
Smirked, huh? I’m glad my detailed analysis led you to Donald Trump your way thru the reading process. You don’t know what I went through with mono. It caused me to have an entire summer without a job, even though I was 17. Wait, maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing. Do you know anybody with mono I could, um, maybe share a Cherry Coke Zero with?
Yes, we try very hard to be a good ambassador..We do the usual waving at kids, and always take time to talk to people when they stop and look at the bikes when we are parked somewhere. Many times, get caught up in a conversation with a total stranger and almost miss dinner because of it. I think most of the biking community is very friendly. Great subject…Thanks!!!
for those of you who follow my blog know that the last post I got out was March 27 and that was just days before we had found out that we were going to be expecting our 6th