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Pole to Pole

Day 113: Kasanka to Lusaka

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleSometime in the night I wake to hear a big wind blowing. It heaves and sighs around the hut with inexpressible mournfulness. I lie awake and think of the day ahead. If all goes well we should be in Lusaka by tonight, then Victoria Falls, and from what I hear our troubles are over after that. Zimbabwe and South Africa are comfortable, efficient, Westernized. Akuna Matata. No Problem. Wild, uncomfortable, incomprehensible Africa will give way to tamed and tidied Africa - hot baths and iced beers, air-conditioning and daily newspapers, French wines and credit cards. Lying here, listening to the aching wind in a hut by a lake in a forest, I feel a pain of sadness at the prospect of leaving behind all I have been through these past months and returning to a world where experience is sanitized - rationed out second-hand by television and newspapers and magazines and marketing companies.

The next thing I hear is a knock on the door and a soft voice outside:

'Four and thirty minutes, sir.'

The dawn reveals a sky mottled grey from last night's storm, and a thin orange line cresting the trees across the lake. Another farewell, and along the stony track out of the Park and south towards Lusaka, capital of Zambia, over 300 miles away. We have moved and filmed for seventeen of the last eighteen days, and there's some good old-fashioned exhaustion about. Patti's blood test could not indicate conclusively if she had malaria as the drug level was so high after the doses she'd been taking, but the hospital thought the symptoms fitted. She is too weak to work at the moment, but still has to travel, and squashed in the back of a bumpy minibus is not the best way to recuperate.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 113
  • Country/sea: Zambia
  • Place: Kasanka
  • Book page no: 254

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