Africa

Goodbye Livingstone. Hello Camping Trip.

— 14 Sep 2011 —

With all the activities ticked off, I was off on a guided tour of the town with a Backpack Zambia ambassador. It’s good to see that Livingstone has a great tourist initiative. Our tour guide, Leonard, was great and we all left feeling a bit more cultured.

Some interesting things I found at the market.

A wooden chess table with miniature animal pieces. I think it’s better than your normal king, queen and pawn pieces. I would’ve bought it if the Australian customs weren’t so strict.

The king’s ship. The elephant on top is the symbol for a king and an ostrich for the queen. The middle cabin is two storeys in case there is a flood on the lower deck. Thought: How and where is the king supposed to escape to?

One of the shittiest bridges I’ve ever seen. As a structural engineer, I just wanted to fix it. And not walk on it. But seeing as it’s been in use in this condition for a while, I cautiously walked on it. Against my better judgement.

We made our way pass the village to the Muramba Markets. This market was established for the local people back in the days when there was a distinct separation between the blacks and the whites. The market expanded and expanded with the illegal smuggling of goods from neighbouring countries. Here you can buy anything from vintage clothing to custom beds to donkeys. The market has been and still is a place where everyone, from the poor to the rich, can afford something. If you wanted sugar but couldn’t afford the 1kg bag, there’s always a 800g or 500g or even 100g bag.

A store selling colourfully printed fabrics. There are fabrics which are locally printed but many of them are from the Congo or Nigeria. A nylon piece will cost K7,500 (USD$7.50) or a cotton piece will cost up to K25,000 (USD$25.00). You can then take it to the tailor and get a dress or skirt made.

The imitation crocs shoe store next to the fabric store. Crocs anyone?

Bars of soap sold by weight next to a store selling paint powder. The locals mix it with petroleum jelly and other stuff to make a paste and apply it to the floor. The place next door was selling rocks targeted at pregnant women who apparently crave it. Sometimes pregnancy does the weirdest things to you.

The fruit and vegetable section. After 9 weeks at the mines, I was happy to see some fresh food. And donkeys with big wieners. You can buy one of these for K750,000 (USD$150). Random and a bargain at the same time.

The first ever established pub/bar in Livingstone. Apparently it used to be the hippest place to hang out. Nowadays not so much, with all the development in the city centre.

So the guide thought it’ll be a good idea to walk through the prison compound on the way back. We were actually walking in amongst the prisoners. I’m told the prisoners on petty crime charges get to roam the prison grounds, visit their wives/girlfriends, take on gardening jobs here and there, get carpentry training in order to better themselves for the community. Many of them repeatedly commit these crimes as they get all the perks of a normal person and are actually better off with the prison living standards. Sad hey?

A funny sign I saw on the way back. It just goes to show what the society mentality is like.

What was meant to be an hour walk, ended up being a 3 hour history and cultural lesson. It was great. Thanks Leonard!

That night I met my tentie (a roomie but in a tent) and officially started my first ever camping experience.

I’m in for a hell of a ride.

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2 thoughts on “Goodbye Livingstone. Hello Camping Trip.

  1. Awesome post Shirley! The photos of the markets took me back to my time in Niger. Regarding the cool chess board – you might be surprised at what customs will let you through with – I have heaps of wood stuff I brought home with me. As long as it is solids and doesn’t look dodgy they are happy to let you keep it. Don’t let customs limit your souvenir purchases! I’m looking forward to more posts!

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