Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Leaving Lusaka

The drive to Lake Kariba was a slow one. Located less than 250 kilometres from Lusaka, to get there you have to travel along some of the worst roads in all of Africa. For most of the afternoon our speed was comparable to a fast paced walk, travelling 67 kilometres in 4 hours.

I was not in the mood for a long drive, irritable and hung over i was a real pain in the arse to be around.

The night before i went 'crazy' and decided to have a tipple (or two... ok three) for the first time since Dave had departed. The bar at the Eureka campsite (incidentally the toilets were identifiable by a Shelia and Bruce sign... the Aussie diaspora is amazing)was heaving as another truck was in residence.

Rob, Steve & I played pool (the boys swapping as my partners) and we occupied the table for most of the night with my form ranging from extraordinary to piss poor.

It was at the table that i met Zane and Ziz two cashed up Zim boys (people from Zimbabwe are abbreviated as being from Zim... well on the truck anyway). Ziz was a sleazy 30 something (looked about 40 with a huge beer belly and red nose) whilst Zane was younger, baby faced and talkative.

For the entire night they challenged the boys and I at the table and refused to allow us to buy our own drinks... as the drinks were drunk i decide to delve deeper into why they were together (such an odd union)and what they were doing in Zambia.

So the story goes... they were in Zambia on their way to The Congo so they could trade car parts for diamonds, surreal does not even cut it. Despite not being able to spot any glaring illegality with their money making scheme (unless buying diamonds is a crime... and i am not talking ethics)- with their story they seemed like dodgy but very interesting people... I felt as though i was on the set of Blood Diamond and instead of Leonardo DiCaprio i was staring face to face with a fresh faced all American quarter back type (who had a Zim accent) and his unintelligible pot bellied accomplice.

According to Zane because of the economic situation in Zimbabwe it is almost impossible to make any money so diamond trading (or smuggling) is his only way to make ends meat (believiable). I asked him why he does not leave Africa or at the very least Zimbabwe to give him more options, safer options and his answer surprised me (it should not have) he said

'I am a Zimbabwean, 4th generation, i have white skin but i have a Zimbabwean passport and no one wants a Zimbabwean immigrant... i have no where i can go'.

I was shocked because he was white and for some reason i never associated white people with being real Africans but i should not have been as Zane is as African as anyone else.

On a tangent, I have thought about national identity a lot on this trip (mainly because i have been associating lots with people from lots of different places) and i always ponder the same question when is it that you become less of where you are from and more of where you are??? enough digressing.

As a joke and for a writing exercise i decided to write my next entry about The Congo as if i went with them (they did ask multiple times)anything to pass the time on the bus.

With love,


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