Zimbabwe - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 59

Harare

Saturday 10th May

We approach the two month mark as we sit hear comfortably in the Small World Backpackers lodgings in Harare. We are over the half way mark for the African leg of our journey but still less than a quarter of the way through our overall world tour. It’s hard to believe that we’ve crammed so much into such a short space of time. I feel like we’ve acquired a lifetime of experiences already yet there is still so much more to come.

Today was very relaxing for the both of us. No early start, no having to be somewhere on time and no tasks that needed completing. For the most part, we just sat around all-day and relaxed. We ventured into town this morning to wander around the Saturday morning market at a place called Avondale, which is about a ten-minute walk from here. I was expecting a very busy and bustling market place but it was actually quite relaxed and there weren’t too many people there. Apparently, the fuel shortages that are plaguing the country are somewhat to blame for the low attendance not only at the market but in general life here in Harare right now. It’s the same story across the nation. The ongoing political and economic woes of this country have brought the entire nation to the very brink of total collapse. Having gotten to know a lot of locals, I feel for these people deeply and can only hope that the self-proclaimed dictator of a president, Robert Mugabe, either dies soon or is assassinated – either would be good.

I was hoping to find some more curio purchases at the market but the pickings were rather slim and nowhere near the quality of goods that we were spoiled with in Victoria Falls. It was also a lot more difficult to bargain and the prices were certainly a lot higher. Perhaps we will have better luck in Nairobi. Clair from Wildlife did tell us at the start of the overland tour that Nairobi would be a good place to get very cheap curios.

When we returned from the market, I tried my luck at hooking up my laptop to the local phone line and was pleasantly surprised when I got connected and was able to send instalment fourteen of this travelogue as well as uploading another page full of photos. No replay from anyone yet but it will take people a while to read through this latest update since it’s quite a long one. The Internet connection here costs Z$850 per hour which works out to roughly 72 US dollar cents per hour and is thus by far the cheapest Internet connection we’ve had to date. As such, it didn’t matter that it took almost two hours to upload the batch of photos. A meal here costs around $6, a taxi ride about $1.50 and a bag of forty or so oranges about $1.50 depending on how hard you bargain. At $20 per night for the double room with on-suite bathroom, it is relatively cheap accommodation in the grand scheme of things but expensive when compared to everything else here.

In keeping with the relaxing theme of the day, we went to the movies this evening and watched ‘Catch me if you can’ with Leonardo DeCaprio and Tom Hanks. The cost of the ticket was Z$600 (about 50 US dollar cents) each.

When we returned back to the base, there was a note waiting for us from Wildlife Adventures. Our northbound truck will pick us up at around seven thirty tomorrow morning and so everything now looks set for our trip up to Arusha. As an added bonus, the truck will actually be passing through Arusha itself and will be able to drop us off right in the thick of it all. We will arrange our safari tours into the Serengeti from there and we expect to be in that neck of the woods for less than a week. This being Africa, however, anything is possible and everything could and does happen. We’ll see.

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