Day 1

Sorry, no actual photos taken by me yet, aside from a mediocre shot of my hostel room. When I just arrive at a place, I always feel too touristy and a bit disrespectful if I jump right into snatching photos. When I’m not simply taking a short day- or weekend trip, I prefer to take some time to get a feel of general environment first.

My plane arrived on time via Dubai. When I got off the plane in Zambia, I was really glad that the heat here isn’t the type of humid heat in Dubai that completely envelopes you. Unfortunately, my airport transfer didn’t show. I ended up getting a taxi waiting there. I haggled a bit, as my airport transfer was supposed to be 200 kwacha (or about 20USD), while this driver asked for 250 kwacha. We ended up compromising at 220 kwacha. He didn’t seem like much of a talker, so I respected it and sat quietly for most of the ride; if you know me, you may be a little surprised that I am calling someone not much of a talker, but the truth is when I’ve been abroad, I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations with taxi drivers. They’re usually very knowledgeable about current affairs and are willing to share their thoughts. It’s a good way to get a local’s perspective. Anyway, suddenly, when we hit Lusaka, he suddenly started to talk. While I had been trying to control myself to not ask him about the divisive election that just occurred, he simply volunteered his views. It was fantastic! According to his view, most people are aware that Lungu stole the election and his methods are overt. For instance, in many areas the vote count in Lungu’s favor exceeded the number of registered voters for the area many times over.  Many people in Lusaka seems to have supported the opposition leader who has a background as an economist and people think he is the better candidate to give Zambia’s economy a much needed boost. He sees Lungu as simply a corrupt politician. Anyway, it sounds like there will be clashes at tomorrow’s inauguration and he is pessimistic about how this government will be able to govern effectively in the next five years with a shoddy foundation.

I walked for about half an hour from the hostel to find Shoprite, a supermarket. However, I didn’t end up finding it, and bought some pizza instead. The “sidewalks” are not paved unfortunately, and crosswalks are not very existent. Lusaka is definitely more car-oriented (keep in mind that I’m not in city center). The roads are paved really nicely and in good maintenance. People are quite friendly though; on the way, several people greeted me on the streets, which never happens in London. One greeted me in Nyanja and I was able to respond back with the simple Nyanja that I’ve learned so far. One said ‘nihao’ to me. The Chinese community definitely has a presence in Zambia, though I didn’t see any on this walk. These two girls probably in their late teens or early twenties even asked if I had any jobs that they could help with. At that point, it was getting dark out and with no street lights, I felt slightly uncomfortable and therefore had been speed walking. I felt rude that I was walking so fast, so I decided to slow down to ask them what they do after I told they that I didn’t have any work for them. They responded that they aren’t doing anything and are simply staying at home. Indeed, with the falling copper prices in the past several years, Lusaka’s economy has been suffering. I wonder how high the unemployment rate is, particularly among youth.


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