The first leg(s) of our travel are completed; today we head for our destination, the Robin Pope Camps in the upper Luangwa in the eastern part of Zambia. We took the relatively new Delta flight 200 from Atlanta to Johannesburg, leaving out of the new airport terminal in Atlanta for international flights. More on that later when I am back to my computer and can more easily insert photos the size I want them.
Fifteen hours is a long flight. There are a couple ways of doing long travel; one is to break up the journey, like go through Paris and spend a couple days, then fly on to your African destination. I say Paris, because it would be our destination of choice, but you can as easily connect through London or Frankfurt, and a few other places. Many people like doing that, and one of these days, we might, too.
During our years in the Gulf, we developed a pattern of just gutting it through, getting on a very long flight and just getting there, dealing with all the consequences once we reached our destination. For me, going west, it is a piece of cake. For some reason, when I fly east, my body rhythms are jangly for two or three weeks, my sleep patterns erratic, and all you can do is gut it through. We have learned that getting on schedule at your arrival destination helps, getting sunshine and exercise helps, but nothing keeps you from those long lonely hours awake in the middle of the night.
It has hit each one of us differently. I got almost no sleep for two nights, then got a good eight hours (broken) last night. AdventureMan is getting lots of sleep and having very little trouble adjusting.
I am getting used to using the iPad. Just before leaving, I discovered a Sudoko program, and very shortly learned a couple things – electronic Sudoku is just different from paper Sudoku, it is harder to quit. You also can find you’ve lost hours to playing and it gives you a splitting headache – unlike paper Sudoku. It also eats up your time, and although the battery is supposed to have ten hours, either it runs out faster when you are playing Sudoko, or it FEELS like it runs out faster because the time passes so quickly. All I know is that I suddenly became aware that ten hours is not all that much, and I am constantly looking for re-charging places; it has become a priority.
At the last minute, I also pitched my books, and downloaded books to the iPad. I find I am enjoying reading on the iPad (I never thought I would), but once again I am constantly concerned with how fast the time is going (it doesn’t seem to use as much battery time when I am reading) and when and where will I be able to recharge? I am wondering if the camps in the bush have made allowances for their customers increased reliance on electronics – iPads, cameras that have batteries that need recharging, etc.) and I am also wishing I had brought a book with me – it’s just easier.
On the other hand, I have also discovered that on the iPad I have a little program called “notes” where I can make . . . notes! I can do it on a daily basis and it keeps them separate, and it is much faster than writing notes in a little notebook.
The internet at the Taj Pamodzi in Lusaka is much more reliable and much faster than the last time I was here. I hope it is also more secure.
Small things. We are hearing a voice singing outside, we heard the call to prayer from the mosque this morning and felt oh, so nostalgic for our times living near the mosques of Qatar and Kuwait. The singing voices are coming from a nearby school; we can’t understand the words, but it sounds joyful. We have a newspaper, it is much wider and thicker than our Pensacola News Journal, and I think I remember our newspapers also were wider and thicker once. The first few pages were full of people being arrested for corruption, and it makes me happy for Zambia, not happy that they have corruption, but happy that their police are free to arrest highly placed corrupt officials who are stealing from the Zambian people and their heritage, and also that they are free to name the names.
I have lived in countries where offenders are not named, so as not to bring shame on the innocent families, but I believe that when the offender is named, it is a deterrent to corruption. And for what? Is a shiny Mercedes worth the shame, and the jail time? Even though corrupt people in high places steal on an unimaginable scale, the things they buy with them are . . . just things. When you place your value in things, you lead an unsatisfied life. No thing can fill the void that lack of integrity leaves.