African shoestrings – Zimbabwe Day Ninety-Seven Harare
Possum Lodge had such a quaint name for a backpackers hostel that we felt we had to stay there. We ended up in a small (and I mean small) wooden cabin in the back yard listening to something that is described as ‘Techno’. The main bar and recreation areas are outside and not that far away from our cabin consequently we could hear everything as if we were actually there at the bar and it was horrendous. I’m sorry but call me out of touch, old fashioned or just plain ignorant but I cannot for the life of me see how anyone can enjoy this type of sound (its not music).
Its mind numbing headache material that’s produced by people with little or no musical talent (if they have its well-hidden) on electronic devices and computers not on musical instruments. Fortunately for us it was eventually changed to rap (see I’m not that single-minded) and then even better turned off at 11.30 pm.
We had a whole day in Harare to do a couple of chores. The next four days were to be spent canoeing the Zambezi and then we would return to Harare where we would catch a bus to Lilongwe the capital of Malawi, which meant having to cross the infamous Tete corridor in Mozambique. So chore number one was getting a transit pass from the Mozambique embassy, a three-day visa that allowed you just enough time to get to Malawi.
Just before getting in the long queue we thankfully discovered that we needed two passport photos instead of the one we had been led to believe was required. We found a stall around the corner that obviously does a roaring trade in passport photographs of tourists who like us have been caught short and then have to pay through the nose for them.
Back to the embassy and half way through the hour and half queue we discovered that unlike every other embassy this one only accepts local currency not US currency.
I left Sue in the queue and went off to find the nearest bank or ATM and after a sweaty search eventually found one about a couple of k’s away and got back just as Sue was about to be served by a grumpy and unhelpful official. Later that day we returned to queue for another half hour to pick up our passport that we had somewhat nervously left behind for them to stamp.
Chore number two was visiting the Goliath safaris office in the slick looking Bronte Hotel. There we reluctantly paid for the canoe safari and made the final arrangements with the two very friendly and helpful girls that manned the office.
They also helped us organise a taxi to bring us from the backpackers to the Bronte in the early hours of the next morning to get picked up for the safari. The Bronte looked that good that we decided to treat ourselves to a bit of luxury and book a room for a couple of nights there when we got back. We just needed a rest from backpackers and camping to remind ourselves of what we were missing.
Chore number three was booking the bus to Lilongwe at Possum Lodge.
Chore number four was buying a torch and a few supplies for the next few days and chore number five was trying unsuccessfully to find a guide book on Zanzibar.
The final chore was checking our e-mail at Possum Lodge which was so painfully slow that you wondered whether it would have been quicker to use the old fashioned lick the stamp method.
Somewhere in between all these chores we found a great little restaurant called the The House Café in a small shopping centre not far from the Bronte and bumped into John and Alice (our companions on the Audi camp trip through Botswana) for the second time in twenty four hours. The first was at Possum lodge the night before.
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