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Pole to Pole

Day 107: Kigoma to Mpulungu

Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania 
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Kigoma to Mpulungu: one of the 15 stops.
Michael Palin - Pole to PoleAt one of our 15 stops a wedding party paddles out to welcome guests off the ship. Huge brightly-coloured flags and banners stream in the wind and there is great singing and chanting as they circle the ship. The progress of the Liemba reminds me of the Hurtigrute service which took us up through the Norwegian fiords three and a half months ago. In both cases the service is the only lifeline for communities unreachable by road or air. There the similarity ends. I cannot imagine the manic, uncontrolled exuberance of the Liemba surviving long in the cold Protestant waters of the North Atlantic.

As we progress south, some Zambians come aboard. Tomorrow they are voting for a new government, and I am quite shocked to hear that Kenneth Kaunda is so unpopular that he may well be unseated after twenty-eight years in power. I always had the impression that he was one of the most secure, successful and responsible of the post-colonial leaders, but Japhet Zulu from Chingola, who describes himself as 'a simple businessman', thinks Kaunda has ruined the economy and he will not be voting for him.

At dusk, unobserved except by me, one of the policemen who chases steerage passengers off the upper decks has removed his hat and boots and is praying towards Mecca. The sight of this man of authority so completely prostrating himself before a higher authority is oddly moving.
Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania 
click to enlarge 
file size
Kigoma to Mpulungu: one of the 15 stops.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 107
  • Country/sea: Tanzania
  • Place: Kigoma
  • Book page no: 243

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