We occasionally leave our training village for day trips and visits to Lusaka. When we do, we sometimes take 4WD cruisers or small to medium sized buses. The roads here are mostly dirt and rock...and mud and holes. Traveling to and from town actually gives me anxiety. It feels like the worst carnival ride ever and I usually question the driver's sanity...and these are Peace Corps drivers...
The cruisers could probably double as fall out shelters...but they're still no match for the roads off the asphalt. Looking at a map of Zambia, there are basically 4 paved highway roads stretching NSEW from the capital. My new home will actually because stone's throw off the Great North Road.
We all have bikes to haul to our new sites. It took a while but more that half of us got bike racks on the backs...they can't handle much though. I may not use my bike very often in the village, and I'll probably take public transportation or hitchhike to get to other towns. Hitching is pretty common here, and not always free. People just taxi their cars out and make a ton of money. I am hoping to make friends with people from the national park by my house in order to hitch on with them if they go in to the provincial capital or Lusaka. I also expect to do a lot of camping there!
As I take more public transportation I will have more outrageous travel stories.... For instance, my first "taxi" ride was a guy's tiny 4door Toyota with 6 other people and 2 babies... We were on top of each other, and luggage was piled out of the trunk. I rode this way for 70 km into my nearest town. He also had fresh caught fish hanging from his driver's rear mirror...the smell was intense. Anyway, the ride cost 50 Kwatcha and took my right to my destination. Otherwise I could have caught a eurovan sized bus ..that gets just as cramped.
Traveling all be an ingoing tension for me. One if the things that continue to make me Africa strong.
Current mood: sinus and throat pains
Current music: On Green Dolphin Street - Miles Davis