The contrasts in Africa are great, from hearing about a grandmother taking care of 10 grandchildren since all parents have died from AIDS in Zimbabwe and tribes in Tanzania living the old way in straw cottages to staying at Radisson Blue in Lusaka (mostly we stayed in low cost hostels, but as a reward for the 52 hour train journey from Dar es Salaam we stayed one night at Radisson). Speaking with people, they are optimistic regarding the future, except from Zimbabwe where people are waiting for RM to …..- then they hope that things will change. In Tanzania the new president seems to be a good man that works for the people of Tanzania – it has not always been like that.
There is a good reason why people are interested in the stars. The sky is totally different in Africa then in Norway. Luna described it as the sky was like glitters. The same comes for butterflies, there are so many different that are magnificent.
Access to internet is widely spread, but the quality is not always acceptable. One day I did spend 90 minutes to pay two bills in the bank. This is an important weakness related to using bank-id without java. The old java bank id is much faster, even if I then had to upgrade java sometimes.
Tazara train using the old wagons means cold nights where lots of clouding is required in July. At the moment there is a new train running on Fridays from Dar es Salaam, but the old train is still running from Dar on Tuesdays. Rumours says that there will come a new train within one year, which will make the journey more pleasant. When arriving in Kapiri Mposhi there are lots of taxis and minibuses that can bring to Lusaka. We payed 500 Kwacha for the whole family with taxi. You may expect to pay 60 kwacha going sharing minibus with others.
Traveling with NRZ (National Railway Zimbabwe) on 1st class is like going back 40 years, but still ok. There are no linen for sleeping so a silk sleeping bag and some extra cover like sarongs are preferable. In July you probable should use wool underwear to keep warm (temperature down to 2 C at night).
Visas and border passing is managed in different ways. In Dar es Salaam there is chaos, cost 50$ each and if you do not have dollars you are asked to go through the custom to withdraw Shillings and change to dollars and then return back to pay. A total of 6 persons were involved in putting the visas into the passport and it took 90 minutes. At the Tazara train we were met by some friendly ladies that efficiently provided 4 visas (visas for under aged was not required) for 50$ each, this took less than 5 minutes, and no extra documents where filled in. Be aware that if you do not have dollars, then there is a guy at the train selling dollars for Kwacha or Shilling. At the Zimbabwe border we had to fill in a visa application (registration), and the total process took 20 minutes with 30$ per visa.
Charging electronic devises without access to European sockets (only British) is no problem. Just use a pen or similar to push down the tap in the grounding slot and then insert the European plug in the remaining slots:)
Gloria made our stay in Johannesburg very nice. Thank you sooo much – miss you already!
On the evening of the 28th of July we left Johannesburg to go to Tokyo in Japan. We had a loooong journey in front of us. We spent altogether 18 hours in the air, only changing planes in Doha, Qatar. Arriving Tokyo was a breathtaking experience. As we arrived late in the evening, we watched the city grow bigger and bigger under the plane until we landed. The city looked like a billion stars… The following days we were about to discover a beautiful, diverse, clean, funny, well organized, low crime, interesting and amazing city with polite, helpful and nice people. Among many other things, we saw Supermario and his friends drive peacefully through the center of Tokyo one saturday morning. We all just loved the city from day one. 🙂 Continue reading