Il Diario di Tinton

{2001-05-29}   Day 5 – Lusaka, Zambia

We have arrived. Aneesh and his father came to pick us up with a van for the humans and a truck for the luggage.

But let’s talk about tonight: it was a big party. It all started as soon as we got here. First the food, but Aneesh, Mani, Windy and I went to deliver the visa applications for Botswana at the embassy. They were closed, so we cruised down to the golf club. Now, if you are looking for something, you go to the golf club. You start at hole #3. He shows it to you. Then at hole #4 you smoke it and at #5 you pay and exit. But that is not really how we did it.

At 2pm we went to the embassy. The building is fabulous. You enter on the top corner of a triangle, with stairs in the middle of it going to a second floor. The people there were very nice. I was thirsty and I saw there was a jug of water, drinkable water. So I asked if I could drink it and were I could find a container to drink it from, ignoring the fact that a glass was sitting, used, next to the distilled water distributor. She asked if there was a container there, I said there was the glass…, so she went and washed it for me and filled it up and handed it to me. It is best to always have container with you. also when you don’t have your backpack with you.

All this happened after Aneesh stepped into the secretary’s office to pay for all 14 visas for Botswana (our group happens to be 14 members). The math was easy, or so it seemed, at a first glance: 14 times 15. The lady asked how much the total would be. Aneesh asked for a calculator, did it, answered with a “210”, but the lady was not content: she did not trust the calculator. Aneesh had to prove to her, on a piece of paper, that it would, in fact multiply out to be 210. Once that was done, and she was happy and accepted the 210,000 units of local currency, which I believe are called Kwacha, he sat down again in the waiting room, and told us what happened. I then noticed that on a random magazine that was sitting on the table of the waiting room, another 4 sums… Obviously, Aneesh was not the first person to have to prove something to the lady…

In the office, a man was sitting, very authorative, behind a desk that looked very busy in a tidy way. There were stashes, yet small, of visa applications issued, indicating the work they hadn’t done yet. He was very relaxed. And was helping us until he was interrupted by a phone call. He was talking on the phone for about 10 minutes. It was funny: you would not think you could understand a word of what he was saying, but then, all of a sudden, you understand, and you understand also that he was speaking English. But then it just blends back with such a smoothness…

Back home was food time (for us, cuz everyone else had eaten already and the food was great and in great quantities. A nap followed. And then wake up and more food, and drink and more drink. Then everyone gets pretty smashed, especially Kamal, kdog. But we were all together, and that was great.

Then I decided to pitch the tent, or actually, Aneesh was hurrying me to do so. It was a great brake-in party for the tent. There were 4-7 people in there all the time, smoking and chatting and drinking, and enjoying the new tent. I am now doing the same, but alone.


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