Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Livingstone, Zambia

So a really quick note because I wanted to make sure that I wanted to make sure I had a pin on my travel map from Zambia.. its in my passport, it has to go on the blog too 🙂

As so many are used to by now, and I myself have actually come to enjoy the chaos that every day brings in Africa.  Never knowing if the plan you have made will be destroyed by a flat tire, a coup, a metorite.. who knows?  And so this morning goes with our trip across the Zambian border to Livingstone to catch our flight to Johannesburg.

Colm and Caitln meet me at the Vic Falls with the taxi driver.  Before I get in I ask to confirm how much the trip to the airport is going to cost.  Does this conversation sound familiar.. keep in mind English is a first language for these folks..

“how much to the airport?”
“which one”
“Livingstone, Zambia.. across the border”
“For all of us”
“$30 for all of us to go from here across the border all the way to the LIvingstone airport”
“You’re going to take us across the border, through customs, to the airport for $25 for all three of us”
“Yes, all the way, for three of you $30, are you ready?”
“OK, lets go”

Well you know where this is going.. we get to the Zambian border control and..

“OK, you need to go get your passport stamped for exit”

So we do.. and come back out..

“OK, so I will pass you here to the next gentleman through the gate there who will take you across to the airport”
“Wait, you said you were taking us across the whole way to the airport”
“No no.. $30 to the airport, not me taking you, he will take you I have arranged it, lets go”

So we walk through the gate, and meet the new driver.  To the new driver..

“how much to the airport.. $45”
“WHAT!  What are you talking about.. no way.. we were told $30 and this guy carried us part way”
“No $40 to the airport from here”
“not a chance, we’ll walk to the border and catch a cab there”
“no no no.. wait wait wait.. $5 to take you to the border ..”
“No way.. get out of here”
“Wait wait wait.. $25 to get to the airport from here”

So now we have paid $55 to get to the airport on what should have cost me only $30 from the inital bargain.  Now I don’t mind the disorganization and the shuffling of responsibility but I hate the bait and switch on the cost when you are on a time schedule and they know they have you screwed to the wall.

So at the Zambian passport control, my lovely Irish friends are now gloating because they get into Zambia for nothing and I have to pay $50 to get in.  The US curse strikes again.. the cost of this trip is mounting!  The best part is that when we come out of immigration control, our lovely cabbie informs us that HE is not taking us to the airport, he’s just the shuttle between the two border controls and that the next cabbie will be taking us and he has already paid for it.  So here we go.. three taxi’s $55 in fees and $50 entry fee and I’m finally at the airport. 

Grand fun but just another highlight in the daily life of moving around Africa.  At the airport we wait for hours for our flight because we are crazy early and then we run into the Aussie couple from the tour who are on the same flight we are.  Finally on the way to Port Elizabeth via Johannesburg.

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