After the stress of flying three days, losing luggage and having our ride be three hours late to pick us up, everyone was just glad to be on the bus together and headed in the right direction.
We drove about five hours – talking the entire way of course – to Lusaka, the nearest major city. There we ate at a sit down restaurant and we had our first taste of Zambian-style food. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t Zambian food. It was just their version of an international restaurant and food choices. We tried new-to-us foods like Malawi Sun and Home Style Chicken Schnitzel.
Then we stayed in a very “American” hotel, the StayEasy - clean rooms, great showers and even FREE Wi-Fi. The only negative to our evening was that we had been in the same clothes for about 72 hours at this point and we didn’t have anything clean to put on after we took showers. Thank goodness the boys had extra outfits in their bags, so they were able to change and be clean.
The next day we were supposed to go back on the road, but we needed to stop at the Lusaka airport to see if our bags had been flown up from Ndola overnight. And pick up some visas from the American embassy. And then we were told the bus we were on needed a brake job. Oh my . . .
When Joey and I arrived at the airport to pick up the bags that were supposed to be flown in at 11 p.m. the night before, I was fairly optimistic. When we entered a small room marked “Lost and Found” that had 2 bags – neither which was ours – I started to doubt. Trying to explain the situation to the lady at the desk seemed futile. But when she finally looked at me and said, “Oh, you were the ones going to Veektoria Falls?” I thought we might be getting somewhere. And then she followed that with, “Your bags arrived last night. We sent them back to Ndola.”
Back to Ndola?? The wrong direction? I’ve been in the same clothes for 3, going on 4 days and you thought my clean clothes needed to go 6 hours the other direction? I had to sit down. Me and Africa weren’t getting along so well at that very moment. In fact, I was barely holding on to my tongue.
Joey reacts to life differently than I do. He was mad too, but instead of fighting when he’s mad, he just shuts down. So he was done. He was ready to go. He didn’t want to talk to these ridiculous people anymore. Knowing that would mean no longer having any prayer of getting our bags, I wasn’t leaving without more information.
The lost and found attendant made another phone call and came back saying, “Oh, they sent the four bags back from Ndola on the plane that is landing now. The other four bags, we don’t know where they are.”
Four was WAY better than zero. I couldn’t even figure out what bags to wish for as two had our clothes and 6 had fun gifts for our friends many of which were intended to be used and enjoyed on the trip.
This was our bathroom at home while we were packing the eight bags that got lost.
The bath tub is full of stuff to pack the rest of the suitcases not pictured.
I’m not sure I can tell you the feeling of excitement I had when I saw the largest suitcase that had our personal clothing in it roll into the airport building. Whew, clean clothes here we come. In the end we had four bags as they said, one of ours and three of the “fun” bags. Our friend Mitzi’s bag made it so she was able to enjoy and put to use many of the items that were sent from her friends in Texas.
Our main issue was that none of our boys clothes came. We had one additional outfit each for them and then there were about three extra boy outfits, three pair of underwear and a bag of white socks that had been in the “fun” suitcases. But it was better than nothing.
Finally everyone’s errands were run, the bus was fixed and we were back on the road. About eight hours later we arrived at our hotel with a bus full of cranky, hungry and exhausted peoples. There was an all you can eat buffet that we went to – it wasn’t a huge success especially with our small kids who were looking for McDonald’s nuggets, I think. Instead, it was crazy expensive - like $40 a person - and there were 6 adults plus two teens and five kids. Trust me when I say the fact that it had adventurous game like Crocodile and Impala was lost on most of those eating that night . . . but it filled our bellies and we were able to go to bed full and looking forward to the days of adventure that were coming.