Blog 3: On the ground and watching out for snakes
The trip to Lusaka was quite uneventful. Going through customs I remembered how people line up here—they don’t—they just push. I call it the ooze, once you have mastered it you just forget about politeness. It is ironic because within African societies people are much more polite than in the USA except for lining up and then it is every person for themselves.
Lusaka has weather like L.A. Warm and dry and cool at night. I like the controlled chaos of Lusaka. People are moving everywhere, but always with some kind of purpose.
Mr. Chango was there to pick us up and I was never so happy to get in a car. Of course, getting into a car can pose a problem when they drive on the “wrong” side of the street. I try to sit in the driver’s seat. Next, we went to the nearest mall. They have supermarkets like ours. It was called “Food Lovers” with all kind of organic foods and “whole Paycheck” prices.
All of these are recent additions to Lusaka with the arrival of White Zimbabweans and White South Africans who have bought up a great deal of land and most of the major industry. There are also large Chinese populations in Lusaka who are involved in road construction and other infrastructure work.
We arrived at Coffee Cottage which is the back of a house. It is like a log cabin with a thatched roof. The kitchen is quite modern and the bathrooms are fine. Of course, this is Africa so usually there is a great collection of bugs. I would later make friends with two black spiders in my bedroom who were really good at eating mosquitoes. I also found a gecko. As we settled in slept for a very long time since that trip was rough, but we would have rougher.
The gentleman who is renting us this cabin is a British scientist who works on tropical diseases. His wife, Julie, is a Zambian from the south. They have three beautiful children and another on the way.
He introduced us to Chango the guy who drives us around. He is quite a character. He told us he liked Trump because “Trump wants America for Americans, and we Zambians should want Zambia for Zambians.” Our various rides would regale him with our stories of Trump.
But probably the most interesting thing about Chango is that most of his knowledge of American people is his watching of “Judge Judy.” Yes, I said Judge Judy. He wanted to know why we Americans are so into suing people over little things.
He also wanted to know why we saw marriage as a contract and not a sacrament. Now let me step back here for a moment, this is a man in his late 30’s who has one son with a woman he is not married to and is at present no married. Anyway, he proceeds to tell us about one episode where a married couple were trying to get a divorce because the husband would not go out and buy sugar.
Now this sounds much more like something from Zambian life, but since I do not watch Judge Judy—I am going to have to accept this. We finally got Chango off trump when we told him that Trump had owned a casino. Chango does not believe in drinking or gambling. He was once a Catholic, but now he is a protestant.
We have internet at the house, but it is sometimes iffy. So, we went to a place called the Palm Wood lodge, which was about ¾ of a mile from the house. They had great internet, but the service left much to be desired. We started ordering and our waiter ran down the list of things that were not available.
Finally, we settled on a few things and of course when delivered they were different—now delivered does not mean in 15 minutes, 30 minutes –more like an hour. But the waiter was charming and we found the food excellent even if it wasn’t what we ordered.
The next day we decided to go and take the short cut through fields and peoples partially built houses. Often here people first get enough money to buy land, then they put up a foundation and continue to build as they have the money.
Anyway, this path was great while it was light out, but on a way home the light was fading and a woman warned us about snakes. The trail was very uneven and with my new knee I was not as sure as I could have been. I decided that I did not need good internet that much. We either get a ride or walk the long way on the dirt road.
When we got home and my colleagues found another spider. We asked the owner about the spiders and whether there are poisonous ones, and his reassuring comment was “Well in biology class in junior high we learned that all spiders are poisonous. It is just a matter of how much you get in a bite.” OK????!!!!
More from Lusaka coming.
Palm Wood Lodge-Working hard???