What a week! actually two... I am a little bit behind but let me try to make up for it. I promised myself that I will get to the routine of adding at least an article every few days about random travel stories and mabye some more. That was the original reason why I decided to stay not two days but the whole week in Bulawayo, where my Couchsurfer (host) left me in his beautiful and huge house, after he left for Botswana. Well, he shouldn't have introduce me to his friends, who took very good care of me and of me not having time to spare.
So now, I am sitting in an old bus heading to Harare, watching sunset, and thinking where did the week go? So nice to see sunset though, thanks to my spontaneous me, who never plans more than few hours ahead I reached Zimbabwe in the middle of its rainy season. (To be fair, climate change is playing a bit with their rains, it should have been here months ago!). The rain today was also the reason for me taking the bus and not hitch-hiking. Yet just few hours ago I was walking all around the beautiful Great Zimbabwe not minding getting soaked and wet. But one after another.
Bulawayo is a typical Zimbabwean city, yet as many cities in Africa it does not reflex our typical image of an African city.
I arrived to Bulawayo on Tuesday already (February 20) and as it is slowly becoming a tradition, instead of the two days I stayed a week. The city is lovely, slow, spacious and green. The size of the streets and roads will never stop amaze me. Apparently ox cart used to do a U-turn here - hence the infrastructure... During the day I was searching some postcards, walking around town and talking to people, for lunch I would have my typical sadza and beans (who wouldn't want to eat for one USD?) and the evenings were full of new friends, beer and chill. The fact, that I am from Czech spread quickly and I soon found that the beer culture is very similar here.
With the weekend big plans came. A group of young Zimbabweans got comfortably seated in two cars and drove to Matopos National Park. Two cars - one full of ladies and one full of guys. Just half an hour was enough to know that the day will surely not go as planned, but will also be full of fun. Already at the gate, a new member of our crew jumped on the back of our bakkie (pick-up truck). Viktor in an older traveler from Russia, who doesn't speak much English and who -poor thing - paid for his stereotypes. Seeing group of white people he assumed we are all tourists going to see the same touristy things on our checklist as he wanted to. However our plan was just to find a nice place where to drink few beers, swim and relax.
''Do you have 4x4? The off-road is the best road!'' We heard from the other car. We did not need more than 10 min and our car was stuck in a small stream full of sand, slowly sinking lower and lower. The guys run to help us, '' so not 4x4 I guess...''
''Isn't the wheel way too low??!''
Viktor, who had to jump off the back of the car just realized, he is surrounded by Zimbabweans and not tourists. Finding out, that I am the only foreigner, he was at least happy for the little bit of Russian I know. With fear in his eyes he watched as a group of people tries to imitate rope with a piece of plastic sheet in the rain with approaching storm. Those guys knew what they were doing and before we finished the next beer the car was out of the water. Few more beer breaks and we were on the way to the lake!
No rope but we managed nevertheless.
When we finally reached the lake, we parked our cars, got few beers and got ready for a short trek to find the best spot near the lake. At some point even Viktor understood that this is gonna take a while and he decided to join us. I have to admit that it was quite fun watching everyone inventing theories about what a lonely Russian like this is doing here in Zimbabwe. Russians surely have their Mafia stereotypes all around.
Girls don't need to do the hard work, right?
After half an hour walking through the bush we finally found the paradise. We chilled, we laughed, we swam, we talked. Few hours later and hungry we had to go back to the cars, where all our food was. After late lunch girls and Viktor left back for the city and I stayed behind with the guys and all the leftover beer. We found another place to chill, listen to music and just sit. Kids from nearby village heard the music and came to challenge us for a dance battle, two of the bravest fought hard but could not defeat the strongest, youngest and most flexible kids and so the prize stayed in the park. What we did not realize is that playing music for hours may use up all the battery in the car. Which it did. Luckily we had a mechanic on board and we did not have to camp in the wild jungles of Africa (not that there are many that wild jungles in Zimbabwe :))
We met few more cool dancer on the road back to the town, who taught us some cool moves and around 10pm we finally reached the city.
After the long and great day another one full of chill vibes followed. Sunday was the day for braii (local BBQ), jackuzzi and music. Although everybody was treating me like a sister, I decided I am here to do other things than just relax and so on Monday I sailed to the next destination - Masvinga and Harare. As it happens, Monday morning was raining like hell, so instead of my planned hitch-hiking I took the easy way - boring bus. 4 hours (and 8USD) later, I found myself in Masvinga, very close to the beautiful ruins of Great Zimbabwe. However, this article is already long enough, so about this next time!