Greetings from Lusaka,
Arrived in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, tired, but still very positive about the journey both behind and ahead. There are about 3,950 km, (2,450 miles) that still need to be traversed until we reach Cape Town. We are enjoying a rest day today, after five pretty tough days of riding. The first three, as mentioned, were all 100+ miles and the fourth day despite only being about 80 miles was over 6,000′ (1,820 m) of climbing. My legs were like mush for the fifth and final day into Lusaka. It was only 103 km, (64 miles), but each pedal stroke was a chore.
I finished the fifth day on an upbeat and amusing note. Our campsite was on a Jehovah Witness school grounds. There were about thirty, or forty kids playing on the dusty, soccer field out back. Our camp was at the far end of the field, so as I slowly rode by, I shouted my African greeting, that seems to get a rise out of the kids. “Muzungu,” as I raised one arm in a muscle poise. (“Muzungu” means “white foreigner” and might be the only word used in every East African country.) Totally, spontaneous all the kids jumped up and screamed “YA.” I tried it again and the response was louder and more enthusiastic. This interaction went on command, multiple times, as I slowly pedaled down the length of the pitch. When I arrived in the camping area, my fellow riders were all smiles and laughs, as the “Big Muzungu,” alias “The Chief” had a new found following.
Another positive came out of my SIM card fiasco from a couple days earlier. I had totally given up on getting my original 2 gigs of data, that I paid $17 for two days earlier and spent four hours chasing. Magically, in my mind, the two people, in two different towns, that worked on my problem followed through and loaded the data onto my new card. I was two hundred and fifty miles further down the road and they could have very easily forgotten me, or used the data for their own benefit. But no, they did the right and honest thing. They totally restored my confidence in Zambians. I was flabbergasted when I received calls from both of them concerned if my data loaded. NICE people.
We’re back on the road tomorrow headed for Victoria Falls. Three days rest and a stay at a beautiful resort. I need a break from the camping, or disgusting, flea bag hotels, like the one I’m in now. No hot water, no screens on the always open windows and no electricity for most of the day. I’m kicking myself, “Why didn’t I go down the road to the Radisson.”