Saturday, September 08, 2007

Burn Out

Today was goodbye to Luangwa River Lodge and a travel day to Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana.

EMB 120 Brasilia / Zambian Airways / Mfuwe to Lusaka
EMB 120 Brasilia / Zambian Airways / Lusaka to Livingston

Yes it was the same plane, the same seat, even. But we had to deplane, collect our luggage, walk to the next room, go through the x-ray again, check in the luggage and board. Even the x-ray guy thought it was crazy.

Boarding at Lusaka was interesting. A Japanese family of five with two little kids were entirely upset when told that it was free seating and that the numbers on their boarding pass could be ignored. Dad and Granddad angrily and even violently harassed the little flight attendant until she went and made the other passengers move to other seats so the Japanese could have their appropriate seats. Everyone else seemed a little amused at the noise. I was just glad someone else had taken the Ugly Foreigner title and made the Americans look civilized. The event could have been handled much nicer with just a tiny bit of politeness. I've seen flight attendants work wonders just to make family seating happen, without any such disturbance.

We were met with the guy holding the sign "Melton X 2" and he drove us through Livingstone, giving us the tour guide's commentary, reassuring us that the unemployment in the 80% from after the textile mills failure was much better now at 50-60%. Unfortunately, the town did show signs of hard times, but he was obviously proud of the place. We drove across country toward the Zambezi River, checking out of Zambia and taking a water taxi across to Botswana, seeing a couple of hippos along the way. Once on the safari vehicle, we waited for some time, as the driver expected two more tourists, who never showed. After checking in through customs, and having our shoes disinfected for hoof-and-mouth disease, we drove on to the Chobe National Park and finally reached our hotel. Mary Ann immediately headed out for a boat tour, but I collapsed. What with non-stop activities for many days now, plus hours in the heat without water, I was suffering from a minor burn-out.

I enjoyed sitting in the air-conditioned room, raiding the mini-fridge for all the diet coke it carried (called Coca Cola Light here). I sat out on the back porch when I was cooled down and hydrated and was greeted by a bushbuck grazing on the manicured lawn. I may just rest here a while.

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