Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Lusaka, and the Taj Pamodzi

The first two times we stayed in Lusaka, we stayed at the Holiday Inn, or was it the Hilton? I can’t remember, all I remember is that it was very basic, and I don’t think it is there anymore. The first time we stayed there, it was alright, not great, but alright. It had a free shuttle to and from the airport, and a good dining room. Our first time, we had also arrived without luggage, and needed to pick up some things, quickly, to get us through until our luggage arrived.

The hotel recommended a taxi driver who drove us to two locations, the ShopRite and the Arcades. We found what we needed, basics, pants, socks, sweaters – it was winter, and it was cold. We had read the warnings about Lusaka, the high crime rate, the violent crime, so we didn’t venture far, and returned to our hotel when we were finished. I still have the sweater/sweatshirt I bought then, it was made in Cambodia and I still use it when we go to the bush.

The second time we were there, we were on the same floor with all the soccer teams (football if you are not American) in Zambia, a floor full of 11 – 18 year old males. It was very noisy, and they all hung out in the halls the way traveling kids do, so we had to negotiate through them to get to our room. It wasn’t an experience I wanted to repeat.

We had seen the Taj Pamodzi, it was nearby, so when we were meeting up with our son and his wife we reserved there. The hotel is nice enough, the rooms are basic, but the hotel is quiet and clean, and the best we can tell, about as good as it gets in Lusaka. (We can see a new Radisson being built near the shopping center The Arcades, so it might be a good bet to try in the future.)

The room we stayed in this time was almost identical. We had arranged for a transfer; the driver was waiting for us. That’s good. On the way to the hotel, we were NOT stopped this time by armed thugs wanting a donation. That is great. There were still a lot of people on the streets vending, but they were not aggressive.

When we arrived at the hotel, check in was smooth and we arranged to meet up for dinner. I snoozed a little, AdventureMan explored, then he, too, snoozed a little. There was a magnificent sunset.

We met our companions for dinner and had a great time, service was superb and the food was pretty good.

We got a good night’s sleep. The next day we spotted a large mosque nearby, but we couldn’t hear the call to prayer. In the morning’s paper there is a large article about churches in Zambia, and that Zambia has been declared “a Christian nation.” I wonder how well religious tolerance is working out here. When we have visited Zambia before, we have been so impressed with the culture of mutual respect they cultivate, this nation of multiple tribal affiliations and languages. Is that mutual respect and tolerance stretched to include religious respect and tolerance?

Here is the view from our room:

One of the very cool things we noticed is that there has definitely been an upgrade in the electrical system; they now have hairdryers that work AND this great receptacle system so that just about anyone can plug in their electronic device that needs charging:

I don’t know if all the rooms are like this, but one very odd feature is that as you walk into the room, you are a step higher than the rest of the room. The bathroom is on this upper level, and then you step down into the bedroom. We didn’t have a problem with it, but if you are jet lagging, and up in the middle of the night, and disoriented and sleepy, you could forget that step and take a tumble.

June 17, 2012 - Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Crime, ExPat Life, Hotels, Living Conditions, Restaurant, Shopping, Sunsets, Travel, Zambia |

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