Travel Journal

Zambia – Lusaka

(Tuesday 25 January 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 162-163 1/14-15/11
The broker showed up the next morning and we got a cab, which we had to pay for naturally, to the large bus station out of town that we had originally arrive at. Once there the broker went to collect the ticket while we waited and then led us to our bus. It was a dump. Julie recognized it as a bus from one of the companies we had visited before so we were already screwed out of the extra 40K we had paid the broker. Our backpacks were thrown onboard and we got seats and the broker was actually surprised that we were upset and quickly disappeared. Do not use a broker named Hassan in Dar that operates next to the Royal Coach office. Trust me on this.
Things got worse when the bus left and then pulled into a station to take on extra packages that blocked the aisle and additional passengers that ended up lying on the packages because there were no more seats. The road was actually pretty good and we made good time but it became apparent that there was no way we’d make the border before it closed at 6PM. We pulled into the city about eight and decided not to sleep on the bus as many did and the conductor talked to some people and found us a room at a dive hotel for 7,000 Tsh which was rather bare but would do for the night. I decided to skip the bucket shower and went immediately to bed. We were uncertain of when we had to be back at the bus. We heard 6, 8, 10 and even 2 PM but the conductor said to be back at seven to go through immigration.
The next morning we checked out of the hotel and quickly exited Tanzania and entered Zambia and just in time as we saw our bus going through the checkpoint and pulled off on the Zambia side. We got inside and after a few inquires found that the bus was leaving at two o’clock. It was now 8 AM. That means the bus would not arrive in Lusaka until the next morning. Why, I don’t know but we’re on African time.
Around two, a pickup pulled up next to the bus and unloaded a lot of items which were to be loaded on the bus. Nothing less than a revolution ensued. A couple of vocal passengers, supported by the rest, refused to allow any more packages onboard as the aisles were already full and the room cramped. Insults were sent to the bus employees of which my favorite was “You are old, but you have no brain.” After an hour delay, the bus finally departed without the extra cargo and we were on our way. I think Julie and I got a few hours of sleep but I did not have any problems with my knees.
We arrived at the bus station at Lusaka at 5:30 AM having set our watches back one hour for the time change at the border, and because we were feeling alright despite not having showered for two days, we decided to catch the next bus to Livingston so we really didn’t see any of the capitol. A quick bathroom break and we were on a bus with assigned seating, a cargo hold for our luggage not shipping containers and no one standing in the aisle. It was heaven!

 


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