Lusaka shopping spree

We weren’t too keen on passing through Zambias capital city – Lusaka. After spending so much time in open bush, cities really crowd me in. Waiting at a robot (traffic light) makes me impatient and the simplest African city begins to resemble the hustle and bustle of Sydney.

Eventually though, we decided it would be a good test for our newly repaired bakkie to travel the 500km along smooth tar rd lined with watermelons – the tar road a real treat for our car and the watermelon a real treat for me.

Nick and I were heading north-ish which meant worldcupandup was finally on the way up again!

The road was hardly littered with cows or goats so I elected to do some driving, feeling safe from unpredictable animals on the road. I drove a good 100km, but after stalling (twice) upon arrival into a petrol station at Choma – under halfway to Lusaka, suddenly Nick decided he wasn’t too tired after all to drive the remaining 300km.

I did well mostly, I never went from 2nd to 5th gear, I only stalled twice, I overtook 2 trucks and I drove smoothly over countless speed bumps.

My sadness at leaving our Jollyboys home was gradually replaced with the excitement of new adventures in Zambia.

Thanks to some friends from Livingstone we had a contact in Lusaka to stay with. Matt had a ping pong table which meant our ping pong games could continue from Livingstone to Lusaka. We arrived in the capital city at 5pm – peak hour.  When I gave Nick directions to our meeting point, he asked me why I had directed him straight into traffic. Unlike knowing Sydneys M5 peak traffic (6am – 10am and 2pm – 8pm) and knowing the very little hours that you could drive through without being stuck for hours, I could not direct Nick to the nearest detour. Sorry Nick for being so inconsiderate.

In reality, the traffic was mild but now we preferred driving without rules, no cars and traffic lights on the road just the occasional elephant to stop (and maybe reverse) for.

We reunited with a friend from Jollyboys and proceeded directly to the Thai restaurant – our two main priorities for Lusaka were: Thai food and a cinema – two things greatly missed.

I was partly expecting a small thai restaurant lined with tiled floors and an oily counter, with tissue boxes on each table and one menu to be shared amongst customers. Instead we’d step into a fancy restaurant from Surry Hills with napkins and padded menus.

Since we’d met up with a group of friends it seemed too late to back out – plus the fragrance of curry and tom yum soup wafted through the air making us dizzy with sudden hunger.

We sucked it up and ordered a tom yum soup and green curry chicken (nick and I had to flip a spoon to choose between panang and green curry – I won).

Nick greeted our waiter with Kopankap, the waiter looked confused and we both giggled when they brought out chopsticks for everyone. Thai is Asian, and Asians use chopsticks I guess. Its also common to find sushi in a Chinese restaurant. When people go out for chinese, sometimes they just mean sushi.

Just perusing the menu give us tingles of joy – dreaming of all the different dishes we could order (we wanted ALL of them!). I ate till I almost passed out from Thai delirium, I dragged myself back to the car in an unconscious food coma.

It was a real treat – and to punish ourselves for the careless spending, the next day we stayed in, which cost us nothing.

However, the day after that was stock up day – at the Spar we found our favourite chips: Nik Naks (we bought 5 packets) and Nicks favourite spread Chilli Bovril, at Shoprite we found Brahims sauces (BKK eat your heart out), at Game they had propene gas (temporarily stalling our 9 month-long search) but the best of all – an Asian supermarket. Boy, would we need to punish ourselves with weeks of nothing.

We came into Lusaka prepared, our friend Rasa had written up a list for us including where to find giant Kikkoman soy sauce…GIANT KIKKOMAN SOY SAUCE!

We found more than a 1.5L bottle of soy sauce in the tiny 4x6m “Oriental and Thai supermarket”.  Along its compact 3 aisles I found strawberry pocky sticks, grass jelly and curry pastes, exactly like the ones mum and dad have permanently in their fridges. The lady had to give us a box to carry out our oriental goods and it took her about 10 mins to write up a receipt for us detailing our every buy. I kept reassuring Nick that I would soon find work to cover the cost of my oriental shopping spree.

On top of that asian frenzy, at Melissas supermarket we found tuna priced at 30c cheaper then in Livingstone – I keep having this reoccurring dream that one day we won’t find John West Shredded tuna in light sunflower oil and I’ll be forced to turn to unbranded fishy tuna. God help me.

We added 10 more cans of tuna to our existing pile of 20 cans.

And we replenished our 2 mins noodle stash with 30 new packets.

I’m not sure how many people are crossing Africa with coconut milk and pocky sticks in their back seats but I must be the most prepared Asian in Africa.

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