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Day 99 – Who’s going to Chicken Inn?

30th December 2011

semi-overcast 24 °C

The first thing to do was take another spin around the ruins and take some pictures whilst the rain was only light. From there we headed out to the craft market, after a minor debacle trying to chase my four dollars change at the parks office. We took a fancy to one particular fish eagle monolith, made of highly polished, black serpentine stone. A few minutes making sure he was the one, two minutes bartering and we had a deal. Fred the fish eagle joined the Scramble. He’s a beauty but he lacks Joseph’s charisma. He acts all high and mighty and says very little. To be fair, his new home was a stinking hulk of damp.

We continued our journey to Masvingo in search of the Laundromat. We found one and by the time our Liverpool track-suited launderer had totted up the list we had a grand total of forty two dollars worth of washing. This was a price, which in all honesty, wasn’t too bad considering the volume and rank nature of our one week old damp belongings. But still, I had to try to barter. I failed. Somers pointed out he was charging a dollar per pair of under scratchers, the same for a towel or T-shirt. That was too much, we took them back. Our pantie-less price adjustment came to thirty six United States Federal Reserve Dollars to put smiles back on our faces and freshness back into our bedding; a bargain. They’d be ready at four. It was half eleven, time to go to the bank and head for lunch. It was whilst I was stood in a rather long queue at Barclays, (it made me feel at home,) that Miss Somers approached. “Do you want to know our latest mess-up?” I only managed a growl. “We left my shoes on the wheel at the campsite.”
I’d put them on the wheel under the wheel arch to keep dry. We would have reversed over them as we left. Forgetting stuff is what I’m good at, but as a team, we were presently a liability. One good thing came of our forty kilometre return journey; once again we met Kenny and Tracey as they pulled away from the craft market. We pulled over and chatted for a while. They’d stayed in a hotel in Nyanga, which at £200 a night wasn’t cheap, and they’d been put in the family wing. When the Zim family next door started going mental making noise galore, Tracey had phoned down to ask reception if they could have a word. Two minutes later a burly black Zimbabwean father of four had knocked on her door to ask what her problem was and ask why the hell she was complaining. He threatened her and Kenny and told them they were no longer in Rhodesia, they should go home. Tracey called reception to tell them to move her. They did, and the problem was solved until evening when, in the restaurant the Zim-daddy came over and berated them in public for complaining again. Kenny was a fighter, his reasoning was thus; “If he knocks me out, then that’s fair enough. But when I knock him out, I’ll go to prison.” His words rang true in this part of the world; in Africa, it’s only racism if it comes out of a white guys’ mouth. I liken it to a man in an England shirt on the Algarve. One guy can stain a nation.

The good news was that their stay at the ‘Lodge at the Ancient City’ had been magnificent. The service, food and room had been tantamount to luxurious perfection and half the price of the room that came with the angry next door neighbour. Once again we said our goodbyes, this time had to be the last, they were heading south and we were heading east. We found the shoes and about turned to Masvingo. On route we stopped to buy about a kilo of mushrooms, one the size of Lauras’ face. That journey brought our total of ‘stupidity’ miles to two hundred. Back in Masvingo we were late for lunch; we hungered for some traditional African fare, but, at the last minute, just metres from the door, we walked straight past Chicken Inn and into the Pizza Inn next door.

With all this enterprising time wasting we still had an hour and a half to spare. Somers is a people watcher; she’s very good at it. If someone catches her, she can stare them down until they think that they were the voyeur. An hour and a half was time a plenty for a spot of ‘Wig or Weal.’ It’s not a hard game, we sit in Redvers, partially disguised behind a lightly tinted windscreen, and take it in turns to say whether the lady walking by is wearing a wig or if it’s her own tufts on display. There’s probably an eighty-twenty split, wig to weal, Somers’ rule of thumb that will get you right eighty percent of the time is; long, sleek and shiny, the hair has been bought; short and fuzzy, its home grown . We slipped in a game of “Who’s going to Chicken Inn?” You could see the fatties coming from a mile away, but some would keep you on your toes. Having picked them at fifty yards they would hold true on their course, until, at the last second they’d bank hard right and head for a bucket of greasy chicken wings. Inside the car we’d be rejoicing. One woman missed out on our discriminatory advances as she momentarily bewitched us due to the fact that she had a toilet on her head. It was clean – brand new in fact – but none the less, an entire, sit down, porcelain throne, balanced with no hands on top of her head. She marched on, we sat in silence. Show me a single woman in ‘Great’ Britain with skills like that.

We booked a lodge in Chimanimani, collected our pristine, folded, lovely washing at half four and Somers drove like a pro for four hours all the way into the mountains. The highlights were a random elephant at the road side and a bridge, exactly the same as the Runcorn bridge in a little town called Birchenough Bridge

Posted by ibeamish 02:53 Archived in Zimbabwe

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