Zimbabwe, great potential, beautiful landscapes, some lovely friendly people, but OMIGOD some nasty pieces of work as well. I think there’s a certain nastiness/bitch detector that they use on all applicants to the police and CID. Those with grades of 8 or higher on the bitch scale are immediately selected. Other would be applicants are only occasionally taken in and then given jobs low on the ladder until their bitch grades improve. Okay I admit it, I am having a bit of a rant here, but having just been released from 20 hours of incarceration I feel entitled to whinge.
Messina, and we quickly found a police station to get copies of my passport certified. You have to go to a special lawyer to get this done in Tanzania, and they charge $20 for it. Free in South Africa. We took a wrong turn and ended up going to the jail instead, but the woman dishing up the inmates lunches was able to certify my documents. HATE TO HAVE BEEN IN THE Messina jail though, corrugated iron shed, no windows, barred gate for a door and extreme heat. It can’t be a pleasant experience. Siobhan was excited to see prisoners in a real jail, little did she know what lay ahead for us.
The border crossing at Beit Bridge was completely uneventful, we got through relatively quickly with no questions asked. Nobody was interested in our over-loaded car, just commenting that we were obviously relocating as it’s filled with our personal possessions. I didn’t notice that the customs lady accidentally kept the police clearance we got from the Zimbabwe CID.
Harare and we accidentally found the right road to the backpackers in our guide book. Unfortunately, even the latest guide books are outdated when it comes to Zimbabwe. None of the backpackers in the book exist anymore. We turned up at a dilapidated property, the tree-houses that had attracted us in the guide book falling from the trees. But, the people living there now directed us to another house around the block who sometimes took in backpackers. The guy actually owns Hippo Pools Bush Camp, but he took us in, let us use his room, and only charged us $10 for the night. There was no power, so they had a fire going, we nipped down to the supermarket and bought some meat to BBQ. I survived the lumpiest pillow ever, woke up with a chronic migraine from fighting the lumps all night, and then faced our next challenge. Finding an ATM that not only worked, but also dispensed cash and worked with visa cards. This challenge took us 2 hours. By this time, my fuel light was on and my mild panic was causing my migraine to develop into a jackhammer pounding away at my brain.
Anyway, final exit at Zimbabwe border post and entry into Zambia took a total of 45 minutes. I decided to be upfront, tell Zambian CID about the engine problem that the number was different, and all they said was to make sure I get it sorted when I get back to Tanzania. Now why couldn’t CID Zimbabwe have done that when it came up at 4.30pm yesterday?
Now in Lusaka at the Comfort Lodge on the Great East Road heading for Malawi. Internet access for the first time since Saturday morning. Hold thumbs, we have no problems leaving Zambia or at the Malawian border! Then of course, we still have to enter Tanzania!
Hold thumbs for us!\love