Today’s forecast: Torrential rain

Livingstone, Zambia

The group split up this morning — some went canoing, others horse back riding; some did nothing nothing at all. A couple of us opted to make our way to Zambia for a different perspective of the falls.

Near the border, we passed a couple of elephants and several baboons without second thought. It’s amazing how a couple of weeks in Africa will make you immune to such occurrences. (I’d compare it to “temple fatigue” in Asia.) Several local people accosted us to sell old currency; a few others approached asking if we had any old shoes, socks or t-shirts. “Need clothing,” they said. How terrible this place has become.

Walking by some construction workers (with an 8:1 watching to working ratio), we stamped out of Zimbabwe and crossed the bridge that straddles the border. About halfway across, one of our buddies signed up for a bungee jump. Not for me.

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A one-day visa for Zambia was $20USD; from the border it was only a couple of minutes to the park entrance. And because the falls are actually located on the Zam side, the trails brought us right to the edge.

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After, we put on our rain gear for the walk to Livingstone Island, which sits just a few hundred feet from the falls. The bridge was barely visible as a torrential downpour completely soaked us.

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We left the park and stamped out of Zambia — thus marking what might have been my shortest stay ever in a country. Lunch back in Zim was at a fast food place; my chicken sandwich, small fries and Diet Coke was $9USD. Prices have skyrocketed here due to food shortages.

Back at the lodge, we got $20USD hour-long Swedish massages, checked the Internet and braved a temporary (yet commonplace) blackout. As the sun set, we piled into the back of a pick-up truck for a ride to the Victoria Falls Hotel, the classiest place in town, if not the country.

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The terrace overlooked the falls; drinks were surprisingly reasonable, just $2 for beers and $5 for mixed. After checking out the menu, we were on board for dinner also. The Zimbabwe beef, cooked medium, was served with a mushroom sauce, some mixed vegetables and chips.

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It was either delicious or my first red meat in 8 days.

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