Day 5: "I give you 20 cows for your scooter," a Zambian says

The ferry at Kazungula is a very special place. Four African countries meet here and two rivers run together. The ferry crossing is quite a mind-boggling affair. Trucks line up in a long cue up to the rivers edge. Luckily, with our tiny vehicle we get to move past everyone. All around us all possible trades: women and men alike running around with jerry cans, big plastic duffel bags selling and buying last minute things; others wait sitting on top of their luggage, full of DVD players and other goods which are hard to get on the other side of the river. Once the ferry docks in, things go pretty fast.
A truck rolls off the ferry, and another gets loaded on. We manage to squeeze behind. Dozens of foot passengers get to share the ride. Many more help carry plastic jerry cans onto the ferry. Shortly after taking off, a small fishing boat leaves the ferry with a number of those same cans, and I watch a man steer the small vessel to some undefined part of the Zambian shore. We get charged $7 to cross the river, but the cashier sees to have no change for my $100 bill. Only once we refuse to pay does she dish out a pack of all kinds of green notes out of her pocket. We arrive in Zambia and the chaos starts. "Money, money, money..." or "Madam, I know where you need to go..." or "Kwachas? I give you the best rate..." We struggle to get the people of our back, some only by calling on official to help us. Then the running around begins: our passports gets stamped with visas; carbon tax next, change money to kwachas to pay for said carbon tax. (How much does a little scooter pollute, we ask?). Back to carbon tax counter; then road toll charges... and no, don't forget to pay for the police and vehicle insurance charges... I do go for the government insurance. The other dozens of dealers sitting in makeshift barracks selling insurance seem just a tiny bit too 'unofficial'. Nearly two hours later (and much more dollars and kwachas lighter) we are ready to move on. Meanwhile, Alberto has been chatting to Elijah who offered him a car or 20 cows in return for our beloved scooter...
Towards Livingstone off we go. Beautiful hilly road, filled with green bush on both sides, a scenery stretching beyond the horizon. We can smell locals burning wood to keep their little shacks warm as another rainstorm is set to begin...

Waiting for the Kazungula ferry

We can finally leave the border... Halleluja!

We have survived the paper ordeal... Zambia, here we come!

On the road to Livingstone, Zambia

No comments:

Post a Comment