21st October 2010
We are off-duty today – a relief after trying to do the washing-up by torch light yesterday. It seemed to take forever: Rinse, wash and scrub in dishwater, wash in Dettol, drip dry. (I HATE the smell of Dettol, but I guess it's the cheapest disinfectant on the market.)
I love the smell of burning wood that is drifting in from outside wherever we go.
The villagers are already busy by 6am. I have the impression that they have already done their key chores like fetching drinking water. And here I moan about dismantling a tent and loading my luggage.
Our drive today is shorter in kilometers, but may almost take as long as yesterday, as the last 100 km or so consist of gravel – the worst road on the trip...
Traditional Christianity gets competition as we travel on. There are Jehovah Witness halls and mosques along the way.
The ware offered at the side of the road varies from tomatoes, potatoes and finger bananas to wooden doors and beautifully carved beds.
Top up opportunities seem to become rarer, and more worryingly, toilets. I am beginning to wonder whether today I will dig my first hole, when I am told that if I can hold on for another hour or so, there will be a toilet in a petrol station in Chipata.
So I try to distract myself, trying to take photos in manual mode. I miss many a photo opportunity as the light reading keeps changing as we speed past.
I have finally understood why numbers go up as the aperture gets smaller. The figure represents a ratio. Surely they could have made this clearer rather than intimidating scores of amateur photographers with mysterious measurements...
Finally, the petrol station. I'm glad our tour guide scouts things out for me. After several discouraging attempts, I finally get the key to the one semi-usable toilet...
And then it's off onto the red road that first needs to be built. Every few hundred metres there is a sign saying „deviation“ and we are on the gravel whereas on our right lies a smooth road.
As I bounce up and down in my seat and the truck sways from side to side, I get a glimpse of what I missed when I did not go water rafting...
The only break is a quick lunch stop in the „courtyard“ of a village. The villagers get paid with our leftover food.