Thursday, 28 August 2008

27th August 08

Date: 26th August 08
Location: Cahorra Bassa Dam, Mozambique
Weather: Clear blue skies and sunshine, very hot, 36°c
Status: Rach feeling better, Colonel has a smashed window and I’m fine!

Up before the sunrise at 5.15am ready for another full day’s travel north. We had a bite of breakfast before hitting the road and took another drive past the dam wall, this time ot was even more impressive with huge plumes of spray being sent up illuminated by the sunrise from behind. Stunning.

The road from Songa to the main tarred road north is a good flat, pothole-less engineering road which you can travel at 100km/h on easily with hardly any traffic to get in your way. So I was cruising along it waving at every villager as I always do when a group of kids to the right of the road caught my attention. One of them had a catapult and as we cruised past, pulled back on it and let a stone fly towards the truck. It smashed into the side window about a foot behind my head, very narrowly missing my open window at neck height.

I jammed on the brakes and screeched the colonel to a halt, grabbed my machete and took off after them into the bush with Rach shouting “Be careful Ben!!”. In the time it had taken to stop they’d totally disappeared and rather than run around an area which was probably full of mines I decided to give up the pursuit and return to the truck.

I was furious but luckily I had fitted anti-smash film to all the windows in the UK and it had paid dividends, the window although smashed held firm and didn’t compromise the security of the truck. A local walking down the road stopped and speaking good English asked what was wrong, I explained to him what had happened and he walked with me to the nearest group of huts some 100m from the road. I explained to him hat had happened and he translated for the locals there directing is conversation to the village elder who understood and explained that he would find out who had done it and act accordingly. My description of the kid I’d seen running away wearing a red t-shirt should be enough to catch the little shit. Nothing more could be done about it so I said my thanks you’s and hit the road again. I’d done similar when I was younger and just about got away with it….remember the piece of string incident Mum and Dad!!

The temperatures rose throughout the day and as we approached Tete hit 35°c, it was a long hot drive to the border with Zambia but the road was in good condition so we made good time and arrived there just after 2.30pm. The usual border formalities were carried out but in an exceptionally efficient way on the Mozambique side and we were gone within 5 minutes.

On arrival in Zambia we expected a number of ‘additonal’ charges which are always levied on tourists and reluctantly paid the “carbon tax” and “road insurance” along with the $150 each for a one week visa!!! That’s too much money gone again!!

Drove for another two hours before arriving in Chipata and were astonished by the cost of things here….fuel is £1.44 per litre, more than the UK so lucky I’d filled the jerry cans up to give us enough range for the coming week! As we entered the town I spotted a scrap yard with a Land Rover in the yard and stopped to find out if they had any windows lying around, after a couple of phone calls the owner Trevor said come back tomorrow and he’d try and sort it out for me. Awesome, but not a guarantee!

Made for Dean’s Hillside Campsite owned by an Englishman and again were the only ones there! Weird trees in the garden whose seed pods exploded in the evening sun sounding like a golfer teeing off and making us jump everytime!

Tired after the long day so early to bed.

End of day location: Chipata, Zambia
Distance covered: 581kms

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