Sunday, October 07, 2007

It's good to be home

We weren’t sorry to leave Whiteriver last week simply because it was wet, cold and rainy the whole time we were there! Coming back home is always nice either way. Every time we make this trip by road, we wonder why we do it. It’s a 4 day round-trip, and the road is not ‘user-friendly’! But things have improved dramatically since the first time we drove this highway, the EN 1, in 1994. At that time, it still bore the wounds inflicted by the years civil war and neglect. It was nearly impassable then as trenches had been dug across it so that it would be, well, impassable! Over the last 13 years, the highway has been built, rebuilt, flooded (in the floods of 2000) then rebuilt again. For the most part it’s much better, but some parts still send you swerving back and forth through the maze of potholes.

As you can see, in Africa we really like Coca Cola, Colgate toothpaste, Lux bath soap and Surf laundry detergent! Many little stores will give companies the ‘ok’ to paint their ads on their store fronts. You have to admit, it IS eye-catching. Even I’m tempted to stop and pick up some of the advertised goods! Other stores are left to display their real character.
On the 2nd day of our journey we make a pit stop at one of the few fuel stations along this stretch. Caltex must have foreseen big returns here since they built on both sides of the 2-lane-no-shoulders EN 1! The station on the other side is more impressive in that it sports what was to be a convenience store & restaurant. It was built in 2000 but has never been open for business. Only this side has ever had fuel. And every time we stop here to fuel up, we’re always the only ones. I’ve never seen another vehicle here...ever. We usually have to wait several minutes until the attendant realises someone is really there. And when we’re done, he settles back into his chair, cell phone in hand.


This is the Save River and to us it marks the beginning of our ‘home stretch’...just 5 hours from here to home! There is a boom across the one end which is manned by police. Sometimes we have to pay to cross. Other times we don’t. We’re not sure why, but some questions are better left unasked.

There are really no places to stop at on the 2nd day of this journey, so the best we can do is stop along the road, get out and stretch, grab a coke from the cooler (see how effective the ads are?), and by the time we’re done all that, the intense heat is chasing us back inside the airconditioned car! Once we get home, it’s time to unpack and get geared for work and whatever current crises may exist. But still, it’s awfully good to be home again!

5 comments:

Amanda said...

I like the pics and also your reference to that Caltex on both sides of the street. It's not like there's even exit ramps or a divider down the middle of the road. All you have to do is turn off.
Aww. I miss home. :)

overworked EE student said...

Ahh yes, perfect pictures to illustrate the 2 day drive home. Cool picture of chitundu, but is that a new picture or that really old one we took for our brochure?

Amanda said...

yes, I wondered the same...

ruth said...

love the potholes

Anonymous said...

Wow_ what happened to that road - we drove in the ditch, did we not? Ya, we miss you too, you both look so young! Thanks for the updates and pictures.Amy & Ed