This trip to Livingstone was not how I envisioned spending my first week in Zambia, but as the week goes on, I’m thinking it ended up being just about the perfect way to spend a first week in this country.
Saying that yesterday was a red letter day would be an understatement. I got on a free shuttle leaving from my hostel, met some other travelers, and together, we marveled at the majesty of Victoria Falls.
Locals call the falls Mosi oa Tunya which literally means "The Smoke that Thunders." The (most likely untrue) story goes that this is because before David Livingstone arrived, people hadn't seen the falls up close; they'd been scared away by all of the spray (which looks like smoke) and noise. After visiting the falls, I can see why.
Dr. Livingstone, I presume?
There is no way to avoid being soaking wet there, which really only adds to the excitement. We walked, drenched, on slippery paths, and counted rainbows until we lost count, and were truly in awe of this wonder of the world. Its beauty and force are kind of indescribable.
Afterwards we visited the pool of a high-end hotel with its own park and I met Webster, a self-described “animal doctor” with an unusual name. We walked around with him and dried off in the hot sun. We saw zebras grazing, and a crocodile swamp, and after a long walk to find him, we petted a giraffe.
We got back to town and Livingstone was busy. The Chipolopolo boys, the Zambian soccer team who just won the African Cup of Nations two weeks ago are touring around the country and tonight they were here. I waited in line to get a glimpse of the cup myself. It was pretty wonderful, but what was even more wonderful was the morale of town--the creative Zambian flags made into dresses, the facepaint, the excitement.
With the cup!
I had originally pictured doing my research in Lusaka and then giving myself the gift of exploring Livingstone and the falls.
I'm thinking that maybe it worked out the right way after all. Maybe, before beginning my research in Lusaka, I needed to fall in love with this country, too.