"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The African Journals, Ch. 33, When in Rome......Uh, Victoria Falls

The Africa Journals

Chapter 33
When in rome Vic Falls

Travelers never think that they are the foreigners.
—Mason Cooley

Are you hiding?” asks Brian.  I am indeed.  

I’m hiding in the coach, away from the hawkers and the persistent salesmen at the craft market we’re visiting.   I didn’t last five minutes out there and only that long because I couldn’t get away from them quicker.

“I kind of feel sorry for them,” I say as I watch the dozens of men and women tending their wares.  They outnumber the shoppers. 

Brian has a different opinion, “They could work elsewhere.  Instead, they sit here day after day.”

All these little shops seem to have the same stuff.


Cell phone, of course.

Though I’m in the coach, that doesn’t stop wandering hawkers from trying to get my attention, holding up various items that they are certain I can’t live without.   At first, I smile and shake my head.   That doesn’t work, so I avoid eye contact.

I see some of my travel companions wandering around the stalls.   Some look comfortable; some look like I feel.   Finally they all show up and we head back to the hotel.

My friends from Michigan.

The squatting guys are playing some kind of game.

We have a full day of activities today and I’m anxious to get on with the next part.  This morning, I’d taken a 20-minute helicopter ride above Victoria Falls and shot lots of photos.

Now, free for lunch and not wanting an $18 hamburger or anything else in that price range, I walk down the street, watched carefully by the Tourist Policemen stationed along the way.   One offers to accompany me, but I tell him I’m only going as far as the casino, which is the next building, so he smiles and wishes me a good day.  Brian had told us the policemen would go with us, especially when it's dark.

Tourist Policeman, easily recognizable in his blue uniform with lime green sleeves.

This Tourist Policeman was part way between Victoria Falls Hotel and the casino, but I was still approached twice by hawkers after I passed him.

My neighbor Rose, who had visited the falls a few years ago, warned me about the persistent hawkers trying to sell billion dollar bank notes that were worth nothing, and anything else they could get to sell.  She said they were awful.

Nowadays, the town of Victoria Falls has hired a number of policemen specifically to protect tourists from hawkers and bad guys.  The whole town is dependent on tourism for its survival and, according to Brian, if anyone does anything wrong, the whole town will know the perpetrator and turn him in to the police, just to help protect their own livelihood.   It’s a comforting thought.

However, when your coach takes you to a craft market, you’re free game.

This reed cormorant apparently lives in this landscaping pond.

I stop in front of the casino to take photos of the statuary in front of the entrance.   They  intrigued me every time we drove past.  


I had also noticed a sign that advertised a food court, so I am here to try my luck in the food court.   It’s pretty quiet in the casino.  The gaudy lights from the slot machines shine only on their fellow one-armed bandits.  Apparently all the gambling takes place in the center as there are shops around the outer circle.

I find a large restaurant that looks like a family place.   I’m the only patron.   The menu is huge and overwhelming.   The décor and theme—I kid you not—is American Southwest cowboys and Indians.   Finally I order a chicken Caesar salad.

Then I wait.  And wait.   Unbelievably, they have Coke Zero here, so I sip it while I wait.   There’s a pizza joint adjoining this restaurant and I think I should have gone there, but I’m not in the mood for pizza.  My waitress places four (count ‘em, 4) bottles of salad dressing on the table.

Uh, oh.  
Three of the bottles are Greek salad dressing, the fourth is balsamic vinegar.  Pizza is sounding better and better.

After about 20 minutes, she brings my salad.  “Do you have Caesar dressing?” I ask.   She is dumbfounded and says she’ll check in back.

My "Chicken Caesar" salad.   There are two flat slivers of fried chicken by the tomato.  There were a few more but aren't visible in this photo.  The iceberg lettuce is fresh and crispy, the tomato tasty, and the chicken elusive.

A fellow comes over and introduces himself as the manager.   We chat briefly about Caesar dressing and it is apparent he doesn’t know what a Caesar salad is either.  So, I tell him everything is fine and turn to my salad, which looks like a generic house salad with about six fingernail size bits of very, very well-fried bits that I sincerely hope are chicken.

Ah, well.   I’ve been spoiled by the plentiful and wonderful food on this trip and a salad is just what I need.

I give the waitress a smile, a nice tip, and say “bye.’

Actually, I think, a salad really is what I needed.   I certainly don’t need any extra weight where I’m going now:   Zip-lining across the Second Gorge at Victoria Falls.


  1. Another Awesome blog Jeanne. Zip lining? OMG, this is gonna be a good one.

  2. Well your tour managers are IN with the hawkers when they deliver you all to the craft market en masse no? Tourist Police .. interesting .. in Cambodia you MUST BE AWARE of the night police for THEY will shake-you-down. I once had a real spiritual experience in India with these hawkers. A most pleasant elderly gentleman spent day-after-day-after-day doing this: winding up a small motorized boat .. placing the small boat into a bowl about 9-inches in diameter .. watching the boat circle in its small world until it ran out of juice .. then pulling the boat out .. re-winding it .. and again .. and again .. day-after-day-after-day .. I became so 'touched' by this man that I could NOT take a photograph of him.. he was elegant and proud of his 'little gig' .. truly touched my soul in depth. And I still am deeply touched by this memory over twenty years later. Other times I have pulled a 'combat knife' I carry and threated to kill hawkers. In India the hawkers will try to pick-your-pockets and they are good at their trade believe me.

    Patti just said .. comments are not your web site .. Smiles .. Cap and Patti ..

    1. After we posted the above comment .. Patti said to me words to the effect that .. Gullible's Comment Section of her Posts are NOT your (meaning me) web site .. she did NOT say "So cut it out" but that is how I took-it. I did not think you would be too upset. Smiles .. Cap