Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
22Trip End Dec 19, 2012
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Outlying areas (meaning, anywhere outside the few blocks of the center) are flat, dusty, and non-descript. Buildings look more or less the same, regardless of function – a house looks like a school looks like a church, mostly set in the same "Zambian football field" of dust. The dust is bright red, and very fine, so walking any distance leaves at least your feet reddish. Everything is, however, set on quite large lots, and there are a few gardens, like the one at the lodge where I’m staying. It takes a full time gardener to keep it green. From what I could see flying in, and have seen walking around both on my edge of town and in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, everything around the city is flat, (red) dusty, and mostly empty, although with lots of trees and grasses waiting for the rainy season to start. I’ve heard that after about two weeks of rain, the whole place comes alive. I’m tempted to come back to see that.
So, it doesn’t look like much. I like the town, though. People are nice, even the ones trying to sell you copper bracelets and trinkets from their pockets, and the town is laid back. It’s just touristy enough that it’s pretty easy to get things done, but it’s not overly packaged and systematized, and you can find people to arrange just about anything you want whether it’s offered or not
What else? The grocery store I’ve been to has an interesting layout. Usually you’d have your separate section for housewares, but here, for example, in one aisle, on one side there’s tea and coffee, and on the other, coffee mugs and coffee pots; in another aisle, there’s rice and corn meal on one side and cookware on the other. Well, I thought it was interesting – just a different way of organizing the same basic things.
Anyway, Zambia in general and Livingstone residents in particular are working hard to preserve what they have as part of developing tourism, which of course includes Victoria Falls (which I’ll get to several times over the next few weeks, in different ways), but also their native animals and local culture. With Victoria Falls’ (Zimbabwe) decline, Livingstone has been booming in the past years, with adventure sports and mini-versions of the walking safaris Zambia is known for (including the next entry coming in this blog, “Rhino Walk,” which I went on yesterday). They haven’t got it all organized yet (why is there a tourist gift shop outside the grocery store where regular people buy their food?).