August 08, 1998

Zimbabwe: Possum Lodge, Harare

Been a fairly slow ten days: I'm more-or-less kicking back and wasting time. Another couple days of sloth and then it's back to road-life again, I reckon.

L.A. Kings paraphernalia everywhere. Forests of soapstone carvings. Sunset like crimson cotton-candy sky over the boulevards of Harare. Great Zimbabwe's Great Enclosure looming out of the mist of the Hill Complex.

Great Zimbabwe quite impressive, though, as Kyra put it, not quite the Parthenon. Traipsed there through surprisingly cold wind & rain with John the Aussie & Luke the Luxembourger, after the bus dropped us 2K away.

(oh yeah: night before, met a Frenchman who'd been travelling for >8 years, working at scattered Alliances Francaise and then hitting the road to the next. Was off to Antarctica to complete his grand tour. Admirably insane.)

The Great Enclosure, layered stone twenty feet high, with a warren of narrow paths through many smaller buildings dotted with bulbous trees behind it. The Hill Complex, where the walls were built around, or met at odd angles, the towering slabs of granite. Narrow stone steps between two walls of granite. Chest-high passages and hidden nooks & crannies.

The rain, eerily, repeatedly cessated and waited for us to get out from cover before starting again.

Back to Masvingo, pause for lunch, and a bus back to Harare, BLOODSPORT on the TV followed by music even louder than the previous bus. Taxied to Possum, crashed.

Next day - Friday - ehh...did very little, in fact, nothing really worth recording, far as I can tell. Checked mail, ate Possum braai, watched movies, zoned.

Saturday, went over to George & Amalia's to watch a (v. entertaining) nature movie "Beautiful People" and were interrupted by a load of Witnesses coming from the south: Americans transferred from Mozambique to Zambia, South Africans coming to investigate construction problems in three countries. Interesting close-knit community. Always have time for people.

Sunday, helped the Watch Tower Society of Zimbabwe move office from inner-city building to outskirts ranch, loading & unloading furniture all day long. Not a bad day, actually.

Monday, fled the city - eventually, after laundry & errands - to Chinhoyi, where I stopped at the pricier-than-expected Caves Motel and refused to see the much-(?) caves (reportedly underwhelming).

Tuesdays, hopped on a bus to Kariba, not so much a town as several _widely_ spaced out clusters of buildings. Visited Kariba Dam's impressive curving span, dined & watched the sunset at the Lake View Inn.

Wednesday, went on a canoe-and-game-drive day trip; quite nice, but I was somehow expecting more. Saw, er, the usual. (Funny how blase you get, and how fast.) Fish eagles swooping o'er the waves. Back to the Lake View, where I bumped into Rich, a fellow-Canadian met at the Possum, and spent the night drinking with he and his British buddies. Entertaining.

Thurs. the 6th, walked up to pleasant Kariba Heights and back, about 20K round trip up and down hills. Nice walk, and terrific panorama of the lake from the heights. Later that night walked up to the dam observation point. A stunning elemental view: a million tons of concrete holding back 300 km of water, while a huge bushfire burned its warped elongated away across the river in Zambia and a strong wind ruffled even my hair. A full moon beaming down above. Quite a sight.

Friday, bussed back with Rich's Brits. Taxi ride on the most decrepit vehicle since Kayes back to Possum, which was full, so stayed at nice-enough-but-expensive Small World lodge up the street.

Sat - that would be today -

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