Existing Member?

Alicia & Rich's Roads to Everywhere London to Australia on the route less traveled

Shalom Bus Ride: Pray we get there in one Peace

ZAMBIA | Friday, 28 November 2008 | Views [2403]

This morning we return to the bus station and buy tickets to Livingstone. The ride is smooth and scenic until we hit a diversion that sends us on a bumpy dirt road. We're 25km short of Livingstone and suddenly our "Shalom" bus decides it has gone as far as it's willing to go. Breakdown.

We sit around for about an hour, some passengers start to flag down cars to take them into town. Just as we're wondering if we should hitchhike, the driver says they're getting replacement transport. We're expecting mini buses (vans) when we see a large truck coming past. The bus driver and other passengers flag it down and the driver gladly agrees to take us (all 30 of us) on into Livingstone.

The truck is a little bigger than a pickup and has a flatbed with metal rails on the sides. I look at it thinking of the one I saw just a few hours ago from the bus window. It was packed with about 50 people standing in the back, trying not to fall off. I remember how glad I was that I would never have to travel like that and I now I remember to never say never!

We climb onto the flatbed and are lucky enough to be able to sit down. Then luggage starts to get piled in and on top of all of us. When we pull away, a TV that is precariously balanced on suitcases threatens to topple onto Rich's head, people are standing in the middle holding on to luggage for balance and I realize the metal rail, the only thing stopping me from tumbling over the side, is half unbolted.

As we're sitting in the open back of the truck, holding on for dear life, it occurs to me that this of course would never happen to us in the States or the UK. Firstly, most of the passengers would be threatening to sue the bus driver & bus company for something that amounts to little more than mild inconvenience. Also the chances of getting paying passengers to flag down a passing truck are better only than finding a truck actually willing to help. In Zambia though, this is all taken in everyone's stride; illustrated brilliantly by the woman sitting next to Alicia, breast-feeding her baby.

25 minutes later, we make it to Livingstone, windblown and grateful to be alive.

In another 20 minutes we're checked into our Hostel (called Fawlty Towers! - although there's no John Cleese in sight) and having a Tusker.


About rich

Follow Me

Where I've been

Photo Galleries


Near Misses

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about Zambia

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.