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Pole to Pole

Day 108: Kigoma to Mpulungu

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleHave taken another Imodium. This is quite definitely not wise, and may have contributed to a general feeling of malaise as we approach Zambia. The ship has emptied overnight. Apart from the crew there are now only ourselves, Japhet and his friend, and twenty-five overlanders left on the Liemba as we cross the border into our thirteenth country.

A new country and a new month, our fourth on the road. The small deficiencies of Tanzania have begun to grind me down, and the prospect of a hot bath and clean clothes and a bed away from heat and mosquitoes is a more alluring one than the network of forested bays and islets that is the coast of Zambia.

'It's the first day of spring,' I hear someone say as we crowd at the deck rail.

'Don't be stupid,' another retorts, 'It's November. Spring starts in September.'

Of course, they're Australians. Or New Zealanders. Looking around at them I do not see the faces of explorers but of pale, tired children. They look as if they might have got lost on a hike from Sydney to Brisbane or Auckland to Wellington rather than being in the centre of Africa. They wait patiently for a sight of their truck, which has been driven overland from Kigoma and should be waiting for them on the dockside. Their journey will cost them £1000 or thereabouts and they sign on for nine weeks. I admire them. It isn't the easiest way to see the world, but it may be the one they will remember most.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 108
  • Country/sea: Tanzania
  • Place: Kigoma
  • Book page no: 244

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