Killian and I started off the week by being true tourists for once. Before crossing back into Zambia we decided to visit one of the seven wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. We arrived at the gate, raincoats in hand, paid our fees and made our way towards the loud thunder off in the distance. At first sight, I was in awe. The amount of water flowing was amazing and the sheer size of the gorge was breathtaking. The sound was mighty impressive as well. We made our way along the path and as we proceeded it began to "rain" a little more with each step. Eventually we couldn't see the falls any longer because of the amount of spray the falls were kicking up. In the end, we got soaked but it was totally worth it. We then headed to the border where we FINALLY had a border crossing go smoothly and we were back in Zambia in under an hour. A quick trip to get groceries followed by us navigating to our campsite and the day was complete. Jollyboys Backpackers and Camp is a wonderful place in Livingstone. Full of lively tourists of all ages huddled around the Wi-Fi hotspot near the bar and pool. We spent the rest of the day relaxing, eavesdropping on other people's convos and enjoying the poolside.
The next day was Valentine's day. It also marked Killian's two week anniversary of being in Africa. To celebrate, we did our laundry by hand and then sat around all day surfing the web or reading. Later that night the bar had a Vday Pub Quiz (what we call trivia). Killian and I were paired with 3 Zambians, a guy from Holland and one from Brazil. We called ourselves "The Stephanies" after the wonderful host that works at the establishment. We didn't win but we got 5th place out of 14 so we did pretty well. After the game we sat around with our team and chatted about politics, Zambia, what they did back home and why they were in Africa. It ended up being a late night but it was great to talk with others from around the globe, and the cheap drink specials helped keep the convo flowing and the sleep come easily.
The next day we departed the tourist town of Livingstone in order to get back to Lusaka on Thursday. Other than the speeding ticket (I still swear there was no sign indicating 80kph), the drive to Monze was quick and uneventful. We hit a lot rain along the way but it's expected this time of year and again, it really helps cool the air so it's a welcome sight. We arrived at Moorings Campsite early afternoon, set up camp under the thatched tent stall thingy and relaxed with the resident calico cat while a humongous storm strolled by and thundered off to the east. Our sausage dinner was another Killian masterpiece and due to the previous late night we quickly fell asleep after taking our pills (aka gin and juice).
Thursday's drive to Lusaka was really short compared to most of our typical driving days. We arrived back to Eureka camp early afternoon and were settled in by 2. The remainder of the afternoon was spent reading and waiting until our weekly dinner outing for that night. We chose to dine at Lusaka Club's Marlin Restaurant. We arrived just before the rush which was perfect timing because we didn't have a reservation. The atmosphere was lively and full of great smells coming from the kitchen. Killian and I both ordered steaks for 105 kwacha each. The plates arrived shortly thereafter and we were surprised to see TWO huge steaks on our plates that were cooked to perfection. We quickly devoured them and enjoyed the chatter surrounding us. Our total for the evening was $336 kwacha, which included two drinks, an appetizer and two entrees. I love how cheap Africa can be! We then made the short, dark drive back to camp and hit the hay.
The next day we visited the University in hopes that my permits were ready. Unfortunately, they were not. So Florence the herbarium technician accompanied us to the ZAWA headquarters so we could apply some pressure. After an hour of driving through traffic we arrived and were informed the permits wouldn't be ready until Tuesday since some information was missing and the director was out of the office for the day. Great! 3 more days wasted waiting for permits but I wasn't too bothered actually. The long days of driving and constantly going were getting to me so a relaxing weekend didn't sound too bad. We just needed to figure out how to fill the time. Killian and I then returned Florence to the University and headed to our favorite coffee shop in town, ZamBean. Their wonderful staff, tasty drinks and really fast and reliable Wi-Fi make it a must visit. After returning to camp we watched some overlanders unpack their ungodly large safari vehicle, made weekend plans, and continued reading whatever books we were currently in the middle of finishing (I'm juggling two: Desert Solitaire and Endless Forms Most Beautiful).
Saturday was full of sitting around, reading and a quick trip to the grocery store. That evening, as we watched two overlanders of tourists amble about, Killian made a delicious dinner of fried potatoes and pork steaks (think Canadian bacon but bigger). We also built a fire for the first time and listened to the sizzle of the wet wood as we talked about life and coming adventures.
On Sunday we awoke to our first sunny day in Lusaka!! It was quite the sight to see since it had been rainy and cloudy every other day that we were in the city. Again, the day consisted largely of sitting around and reading except for the small excursion into town with some travellers from Holland. They needed a lift to the bus station to get tickets for their trip to Livingstone the following day, and they were in need of some groceries. I gladly took them where they needed to go and in return they purchased me a bottle of gin and some tonic water. That afternoon the sun was replaced with large dark clouds and sounds of thunder. So much for a hot, sunny day. Regardless, it was another lazy/relaxing afternoon. I must admit that it was nice but I was starting to miss seeing Ledebouria in their habitat and was eager to make more collections for my research. Later that night we had dinner and drinks with the people I took to the grocery store that day. The event was termed "the Superman party". It was an excellent night of talking about Holland and America, politics, future plans and goals. We also made fun of the 3 overlander trucks that were parked in the campsite. Our loud banter until 1:30am was probably not welcome since the big trucks roll out between 5-6am. Welcome to Africa! haha