Similar to Lilongwe, Lusaka doesn’t offer much in terms of must-see touristic sights. Its clear highlight number one to most tourists: modern Western-style malls.
Some of us who score high on the upper end of the cultural immersion scale would disagree. They kept busy exploring the markets and other more local aspects of the town. That’s not me. I score high on the convenience and relaxation scale. You can read more about the different approaches we riders have in experiencing Africa in Brad’s latest official TDA post.
Back to my rest day in Lusaka—I guess you will have gathered by now that I like chilling in coffee shops, on this tour that is. Loyal to my new tradition, I headed back to Mugg & Bean at Manda Hill Mall for breakfast. Instead of taking a taxis, a 50-minute walk in fresh and cool air, before the heat and traffic picked up, seemed more appealing. No surprise hence that other riders had managed to beat me to my breakfast spot. Good food is attracting us like bees in a honeypot! Nevertheless, I managed to enjoy a quiet morning caffeinating and writing my blog.
By the time I had caught up on my posts, it was already time for lunch. Lucky me—I couldn’t wait to order another meal (or two) from the mouth-watering menu. While many of us had two meals or more at Mugg & Bean, I most likely broke the record—including yesterday’s lunch and dinner, I counted five meals within less than 24 hours!
As my lunch was being served, our five-star tribe showed up (the riders who upgrade to nice hotels and good restaurants whenever such are available). They got the taste of salad bowls and chicken quesadilla when they saw my enticing treat. Now with great company, of course I had to stay at Mugg & Bean even longer than initially planned. While I couldn’t possibly eat any more, at least I could join Kim, Kyle, Peter & co. for another glass of Chardonnay. Life is tough!
On the way back to the campsite, I stopped at East Park Mall (another big Western-style tourist heaven) to stock up on snacks from Pick n Pay (another big supermarket chain). This mainly because the Shoprite at Manda Hill didn’t carry any dark Lindt chocolate—yes, ever since I found it in Lilongwe, I go out of my way to satisfy my chocolate addiction!
Browsing through the aisles of Pick n Pay for a cold drink, I spotted pure Aloe Vera drinkable gel—loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals and other good stuff, yet no sugar added. As a health freak, I’d been looking for pure Aloe Vera in Europe but had been sorely disappointed. “Product of Zambia”, the bottle read. I couldn’t resist and bought two. “Recommended serving size: two table spoons per day”, the bottle further advised.
It tasted bitter and slimy—or simply disgusting, as most people would say. Hence, normal people wouldn’t drink it straight, but mix it into smoothies or other compounds. Not me. On the one hand, I’d trained my body to like what’s good for me. On the other hand, I didn’t have access to any smoothie making utensils. Last but not least, I hate to waste food. So, by the end of the day, I had finished both bottles.
Here’s the curious thing: Aloe Vera is ridiculously high in fibre, a fact I had ignored. The next day, I’d double my daily number two record and hide in the bush six (!) times for healthy non-diarrhoeal bowel movement!!! That just leaves me wondering how all that stuff fit within me in the first place?! Lesson learnt: Next time you struggle with congestion, try Aloe Vera!
NB: Sorry if I’m transgressing the line of what some of you will think appropriate by writing about my ablution business. Just that after three months on Tour d’Afrique—or even just three weeks for that matter—talking about bowel movement in all its shapes, frequencies and associated noises has almost become socially acceptable dinner talk amongst our group. It’s such an integral part of our daily life that it leaves me wondering why we make it taboo in the civilized world . . . ?
But back to my rest day for now which—guess what—ended with food. I joined Julian’s birthday dinner at Marlin, Lusaka’s top-rated steak place. Great company + great steak + great drinks = great evening. Happy Birthday Julian!