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Old 10-17-2011, 10:28 AM   #162
Underboning OP
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Back in PDX again!
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10/9 Tourists in Victoria Falls

After a surprisingly good night's sleep in the yard behind the bar at Shoestring Backpacker, we spent a lazy morning of internet surfing and travel planning. Around 11:00 am, we headed out for the 1.5 mile walk to the Falls. On the way, we stopped at the local Spar grocery store for picnic provisions. We were surprised at the lack of food in the store and the high cost for what they did have. Food prices here are higher than they are in the US and anywhere else we've been in Africa so far. Boxes of Kellogg's cereal range in price from 6USD to 9USD. We purchased some locally made peanut butter, cheese, and crackers.

From there we continued on to Victoria Falls and ran the gauntlet of souvenir salesmen. Due to Zimbabwe's meteoric inflation a few years ago, they recently changed their official currency to the US dollar. The souvenir salesmen have wads of the now out of circulation Zimbabwe dollar. The note we were most commonly offered was the 50 trillion dollar one! Dollarization has had two primary effects in Zimbabwe: that food and fuel are now generally available, but the price of everything has increased. I guess that's why admission to Victoria Falls has gone from 20USD to 30USD in the past year. As we paid the 60 bucks to get in, we hoped it would be worth it, especially since we were here during the dry season. And it was.

We spent the next couple of hours walking between viewing points and marveling at the beauty of the Falls. Along the way we ate our picnic lunch and chatted with other visitors.

After the Falls, we walked back into town with the plan of stopping at the grocery store again for the makings of dinner. What we hadn't realized was that today was Sunday and the store closed at 1 pm. Fortunately, we found the local handy mart, which was open. From their odd selection of foodstuffs, we were able to buy some frozen ground beef, 3 packages of ramen noodles (mushroom flavored), and half of a basketball sized head of cabbage. I was skeptical, but Re promised she could make something out of these ingredients. Back at the guesthouse, we spent the rest of the afternoon and into the evening working on RRs and blog posts. Re disappeared into the kitchen and came back a while later with ramen, meatball, and cabbage soup, which was actually better that it sounds. While she was cooking, one of the guesthouse employees was also fixing dinner for the other employees. Re admired the curried sausages and mealie pap he was making, as he looked enviously at the huge amount of ground beef that she was making for just two people. Since there was no way we could eat all the cabbage ourselves, she offered the half she didn't cook to her fellow chef, which he gratefully accepted. Later, she offered him the soup that was left in the pot, and he was again happy to have it. Times here seem to be very hard for people in Zimbabwe, with low wages and high costs. After dinner, we ran into Sue again and were entertained by the traditional dancing and singing (?) by a local troupe. A few beers later it was bed time, so back to the tent we went.

0 miles.
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