Days 1,422-3: This Is Africa

Thu 22 - Fri 23 Nov 12: I didn’t want to use this as a title, said while pointing to at the red earth, imitating Leonardo DiCaprio ’s Rhodesian mercenary Danny Archer, but bear with me on this one. We were supposed to arrive over the border into Tanzania at dawn, but as we ran out of petrol last night and the engine overheated (hey Africa! Try turning it your engines off when you’re not going anywhere OR REFUELLING!!), I didn’t get stamped in until just after midday. Incidentally, Tanzania is a portmanteau word which combines ‘Tanganyika’ and ‘Zanzibar’ into one. This is novel but not unique in the world. The letters PAKSTAN of ‘Pakistan’ stand for Punjab, Afghan Province, Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan and the first six letters of The United Nations stands for Useless, Nefarious, Idiotic, Tyranny-Endorsing Dickwits. (One can only presume.) At the…

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Day 1,421: Wham Bam Thank You Zam

Wed 21.11.12: So then, Zambia, my third country in three days. Zambia has always been Zimbabwe’s poorer neighbour, even back in the day when it was Northern Rhodesia, it was always neglected by its (actually not very) benevolent overlords. The general indifference towards Zambia continued into independence, but in the past few years, things have started to pick up. After being freed from the burden of billions of dollars of debt in 2005 as a result of the successful ‘Drop The Debt’ campaign, Zambia has been finding its feet. Transport infrastructure has improved, as have literacy levels and a lot of work has been done on AIDS awareness. It never suffered the rollercoaster riches and rags story of Zimbabwe, so in the long-run, it seems as though the tortoise might just beat the hare. But there’s still a long way to go. As we approached the…

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Day 286: Zam, But No Beer

13.10.09: Jason was a Peace Corps volunteer for a couple of years in Malawi (luck of the draw I guess) and decided to stay on and set up a business here, and why the hell not, eh? Malawi is a remarkably great place, landlocked, sure, but at least it has roads (wouldn't that be a fine thing, Guinea?) and electricity (oh Nigeria, you tickle me you really do). We chewed the fat for a couple of hours in the morning over (rather excellent) coffee. After getting him out of bed at some ridiculous hour last night, it would have been infradig not to. The question was how on Earth I planned to get over the border to Zambia and then catch the overnighter to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. It all seemed so simple... there was a bus later that night that left at 7pm. It…

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