Day 8: A state-subsidised bed in the heart of Zambia

Every day we plan to leave early to either cover the maximum distance... or to at least be able to stop in between to give our sore behinds a break. But every day the story is the same: it takes forever to fit everything back into our bags (it seems our stuff is multiplying even though we've been steadily depleting our food supplies); the scooter is getting less stable by the day while we try to pull the straps around its frame (or maybe it's just that we lack the energy to keep it straight)... then the getting out of bed seems such an impossible task!
But here we are, having breakfast at the charming Mapontela Inn, run by some American in this rather nondescript town. Nibbling on our toast we examine the gigantic map we glued together before leaving the house. There are big spots of nothing ahead of us, the towns we are due to pass way too small to be mentioned in any of the books or maps we happen to carry along. I wish there was more time to check out some of the national parks we see on the map in not too far of a distance, yet too far for us to visit this time around. We deplete all of our fuel supplies today. Luckily we make it to the next bigger town just in time to change money to have some cash to buy the next round. We were hoping to cross the border today, but have to call it a day way before that. The town of Chinsali or sleeping on the side of the road are the options we've got. The first "hotel" we come across -- and the only one people seem to know about -- is rather dull; and while we crave to get out of the rain which has caught us just before crossing into town, the roaches crawling up and down the walls and across the bed seem less inviting. The caretaker's slippers and jacket are also in the room he shows us, making us wonder if it's his own room he's offering. We decline and drive out into the pitch darkness again. The other two possible places locals mention don't seem to exist anymore. Then someone tells us about a government-owned spot that occasionally rents out to visitors. We knock on that door. The man overseeing the place is shocked, we manage to communicate, more with hands than words. He leads us to a room that seems like it hasn't been cleaned in ages. The lights don't work either, but the little Zambian happily jumps on top of a dresser and starts fiddling with the electrical wires. The water is running as long as you bring in a full bucket and have someone pour it while you wash yourself. A very spartan place, but it will do. We cook some ready-made dinner over our camping stove, while the watchman occasionally checks on us from his "reception" room. He sits in the dark as he insisted to give us the only working light bulb he could find. Either way, having a government-sponsored bed for $5, you can't complain. And the pasta was nice, very nice.

How much does a visit to the loo cost...?

Taking a nap :)

And the fun can begin ....

Scootering makes you hungry indeed!

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