A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Dubai

Dubai is bigger than life! Diversity wherever you look: people originating from everywhere, clothing worn in a food court queue featuring everything from Islamic robes to Western wear to burkas. Languages from all over the world fighting to be heard. Traffic on their ten lane highways bumper-to-bumper at 10:30pm, the Dubai Mall jammed at Midnight. My camera phone could not do justice to this biggest of magnificent sights, the Burj Khalifa. IMG_20160319_011325.jpg

Posted by lindaconnor 06:20 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (8)

Harare

20160320_093523.jpg Chimerenga is a Shona word that means "struggle" and refers to the several phases of the Zimbabwe struggle for independence. In a way, the city of Harare is still struggling. Although independence was won in 1980, signs of British colonialism abound. Beautiful buildings that were built during colonization are everywhere, such as the Presidential Palace, Parliament, the City Council building. Travelers are instructed not to photograph these buildings, lest your intentions be questioned. It is complicated city with multiple identities. We were there Monday and will return for Thursday thru Saturday.

Posted by lindaconnor 10:19 Comments (2)

Hwange National Park

What a gift to be here!
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Posted by lindaconnor 10:28 Comments (2)

Mopane Worms

You'd Eat it if You Were Starving!

We went to a fabulous restaurant in Victoria Falls last night called The Boma, which means livestock enclosure. Inside the restaurant as we were being seated, a wonderful group of Zulu musicians in traditional costume were serenading us with bongo drums and fun. We all donned sarongs and joined in the fun with our own bongo drums. Later we even joined in a big circle and danced inside (hope nobody caught me on camera!).

If a guest is brave enough to eat a mopani worm, which is a caterpillar, you are awarded with a certificate congratulating your accomplishment.

All of this was great fun but it was sobering for me (as I chewed on my mopani worm) to acknowledge that in these times of poverty and drought, dried mopani worms provide major sustenance for the poverty-stricken people of many, many areas of this country. On our drive to beautiful Vic Falls, I saw many communities on the side of the road that consisted of a thatched roof hut and an outhouse, without water or electricity, no address. No mopane certificate for them.

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Posted by lindaconnor 22:08 Comments (5)

Ivory Lodge, Hwange, Zimbabwe

Getting to heaven by driving through hell.

78 °F

After our day touring the urban circuit in Harare, we boarded an Air Zimbabwe flight Monday morning en route to Victoria Falls International Airport. The flight lasted an hour or so, followed by a two hour bus trip to the Ivory Lodge, located on the perimeter of Hwange National Wildlife Park.

We drove on Highway A8, the only way to get from the airport to our destination. I was mesmerized by the landscape beyond the bus windows -- sometimes dry and cracked from drought, then interspersed with an inexplicable, lush green. Rusty red hills formed at the bases of the trees -- termite mounds. The images that really captured my attention were the roadside communities that lined the highway. They were the picture of abject poverty: a thatched roof hut, a leaning shanty with a tin or tar paper roof, an outhouse, a clothesline aflutter with color. These communities were all roughly the same, perhaps with the addition of what could have been a cooking hut. Perimeters were marked with upright sticks, beyond which a small patch of maize or millet starved for hydration. No water, no electricity, no address.

Our journey took place at midday, and kids walked the highway from their primary school to their huts; some in neat white socks and uniforms, others in uniforms sans socks or shoes. The riverbeds we passed were dry as bones, evidence of this year's drought and the reason for the meager subsidence crops in those front "yards." Riding on this air conditioned, ostentatious bus made me feel awkward as I gazed on these meager homesteads.

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Drought-stricken riverbed

We were greeted by our gracious host, Jamie, and a trio of kudu milling about at the back watering hole. There is a main lodge comprised of a dining room, sitting room, office/library and bar, all of which is open air. After our two hour (air conditioned) ride, we were dusty and grumpy, so the ice cold towels Jamie handed to each of us were refreshing and welcome. Then we were shown to our rooms, each of which were a hut on stilts with open air windows.

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My Place

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Their Place

Another in a set of stark contrasts that define Zimbabwe.

Posted by lindaconnor 19:35 Archived in Zimbabwe Comments (0)

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