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Pole to Pole

Day 114: Lusaka to Livingstone

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleWe are in and out of Lusaka without time to take much in. The hotel is bland and efficient. Patti is off her malaria-crunching course of drugs and perceptibly better. And the Times of Zambia carries barely believable evidence of the pace of the Soviet Union's Great Leap Backwards. The story, filed from St Petersburg (which was Leningrad to us, three months ago) reports that the Grand Duke Vladimir Romanov, heir to the throne of Russia, has arrived in the Soviet Union for the first time.

We leave early, departing Lusaka via Saddam Hussein Boulevard, and swinging away again from our thirty degree line to Livingstone, another 300 miles south-west on the Zambian side of the river Zambesi.

The main street of Livingstone is lined with low, run-down colonial-style buildings with verandahs. Money-changers dart out as soon as they see a bus-load of tourists, miming their occupation suicidally and jumping out of the way only at the very last minute.

Our hotel is called 'Musi-o-Tunya', which is the local name for the Victoria Falls, and means 'the smoke that thunders'. It is modern, but uncertainly run. A smell of drains wafts into my bathroom from a grille high on the wall. But I shouldn't complain; at least I have a bathroom. But I don't have either of my bags. The staff at the Lusaka hotel failed to collect them from my room, and inquiries are under way. Apart from my clothes, which are replaceable, my diaries and taped notes, laboriously assembled, are now unaccounted for, 300 miles away. But then, so is Dr Baela's bark.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 114
  • Country/sea: Zambia
  • Place: Lusaka
  • Book page no: 255

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