Today was a whirlwind. Andrew and I woke up early (before anyone else) and decided to walk around Collin’s neighborhood. We walked by the housing developments (which are much more developed than those in Malawi) and visited the local shops around the area. We bought a Zamtel sim, restocked on airtime (minutes to call), and purchased some food from the local Shoprite for breakfast.
We met up with Collin and Justin around 11am and headed into the city enter. Lusaka is a wonderful large city, but the only sights worth seeing lie in the cities mixture of local markets. We spent the entire day walking around the markets, searching for second-hand buys and solar panels. I purchased a shirt and shawl to keep me warm in the African winter (it is much colder here than you would ever imagine) and we purchased lots of oranges to snack on along the way.
Around 3:00pm we stopped at a little ice cream shop (these are rare in Africa) and decided to celebrate our 6 Months of Marriage. Today is June 20th, exactly 6 months from when we were married in the Temple in Logan Utah. Our time together since that day has been the best experience of my life, and I am so glad that Andrew and I have had the opportunity to go on so many adventures together.
During our time walking through the busy markets in Lusaka, Andrew and I nearly got pick pocketed twice. Read Andrew’s account for his experience. My experience was this; we were walking through the main market looking for a long black maxi dress or skirt for me to wear with all my shirts that I brought from home. The markets in Africa are filled with second-hand clothing from Europe, the United States, and China. When I look through the clothing and the current style situation of Africa, I can’t help but be frustrated at the lack of modesty from Europe and American fashion. In the markets it is impossible to find a dress that hits below mid-thigh, because all the dresses in the western world are created to be short and sexy. In a place like Africa where everyone is typically modest, you see people starting to wear shorter dresses and more revealing tops (because that is what we are giving them).
Anyways, as I was looking through a pile of used dresses, I felt a tug on my bag. I swung around and slapped my bag close to me, and saw a man turn around and run past me swiftly. I quickly checked my bag and noticed that the outer pocket was unzipped, but luckily I didn’t have anything inside for the man to steal. Everyone at the clothing stall started yelling at the man and asking if I was alright. Luckily nothing was stolen. That was actually my first instance of being pick pocketed in all of my travels. I will always be more cautious now.
We arrived home via bus around 5:00pm and made another stop at Shoprite to grab some snacks before returning to Collin’s house. Andrew and I are our snacks (bread and oranges) and had a good conversation about how we want to continue having wonderful adventures for the rest of our life.
When Collin and Justin returned home, we spent the evening chatting about their travel experiences and life goals. Today was a great day.
Today marked six months of marriage for Kylie and I! Spending it in Lusaka, Zambia most definitely wasn’t the way we expected to celebrate the milestone, but hey, it made for a great adventure. In the relative scheme of things six months isn’t that long and some people refuse to celebrate milestones under a year, but I think it’s good practice to celebrate things!
Kylie and I woke later than usual today, exhausted from the long journey we had the day before. We gathered our things (once we were finally up) and set out for downtown Lusaka.
At 8am the streets were fairly empty, with only a couple vendors open for the early birds. I guess I can’t expect the streets to be bustling at 8am on a Saturday. As Kylie and I walked we tried to determine our plan for the day, but were at ends about what to do. Eventually we developed this type of hybrid plan which… Well didn’t work the best. We ended up walking back to meet up with our host and Justin, the other couch suffer staying with Colin.
When we got back home we met up with Colin and Justin who were just waking up for the day. We all jumped into a local bus and made our way downtown (Cairo Road).
Downtown was busy and modern, the way a big city normally feels. It was different than I expected though, a kind of hybrid between Rwanda and Lilongwe. As we weaved our way through a mix of market stalls selling fruit, spices, and other goods, Colin warned us about the prevalence of pickpockets. That warning turned out to be well timed.
We all split up, Justin and Colin to run some errands and Kylie and I to explore. As we wandered street to street, stall to stall, we had to cross a few roads. As we were crossing a main intersection, there was a man coming from the other direction. At first I thought it curious that instead of moving to avoid the flow of traffic that he almost moved towards me (there was a break in the crowd just to my left he could have taken). As he semi-bumped into me he said ‘sorry sorry, excuse me.’ But was slow to move out of the way.
Too slow and I was suspicious.
I moved my leg (the one holding my wallet), slightly forward as I felt his arm reach around me back as he tried to make a quick pinch for it. Feeling his arm brush against me I took my left hand and grabbed his wrist, clenched down on it, and looked at him. ‘I know what you tried, and get away from me,’ I told him angrily. He didn’t make eye contact but broke my grip by continuing away from us (down the flow of traffic).
A quick check confirmed that everything was still with me, nothing nabbed. Phew.
As we continued walking through the markets hunting for some items for Kylie we had a second incident. A man tried to open Kylie’s bag without her knowing. When Kylie spun around to confront him he let go and walked away into the crowd. Again, nothing was taken.
While lucky that the pickpockets weren’t having any luck with us, I told Kylie it made me nervous how bold they were in the daytime, and that we should get back well before dark.
We started making our way through the streets and found our way…mostly home. We had to throw in the towel and take the local bus to the Shoprite store (just near Colin’s place) since it was starting to get dark and we weren’t 100% sure of the way.
Oh and along the way one of my water bottles opened by accident spilling water all over my bag. It drenched our food, but most importantly it drenched my phone sending it through a series of strange colors and worrying reboot sequences. I prayed that it would work again. In fact, I’m still praying.
We finished the day with a good long chat with Colin and Justin in our room. Justin has been to, and done some pretty amazing things. Everything from working with Tibetan yak farmers in the northern reaches of the country, to climbing through the Nepalese mountain ranges (just him and his sister in the winter), to living in China along the Silk Road. Pretty astounding the experiences he’s accumulated.
What a day!