Once a Hospitalization, Twice a Hospitalization

by Spencer

An adventure! It’s often sought, rarely found, but here in the heart of Africa (surprise surprise) we have found one!!

Last week, Ben’s mother (code name: Red Eagle) descended onto Lusaka with the intention of cycling some 1000 kilometers with Ben through Malawi. I was then going to cycle up the Great North Road by myself and meet Ben in Kigoma, Tanzania. Unfortunately, 200 clicks out of Lusaka, she took a tumble, fracturing her clavicle and scapula, plus incurring a concussion, resulting in three days at one of Lusaka’s finer hospitals.

In many ways, as is usually case, it’s a story with plenty of good news. In short time, a truck driver found them and gave a ride to a nearby mission hospital. A safari operator picked up the bicycles. An ambulance happened to be going from the hospital back to Lusaka. (Sad back-story there: they shared the ambulance with an injured pregnant woman and the man who was responsible for beating her to that condition.) Though not ideal, we share the experience of Zambia’s healthcare system and the interesting stories behind the people who make it work. Adventure!

The DD – An Epic Vehicle

by Spencer

I had the honor of trying out a night in this awesome vehicle. It’s a house on wheels and a work of art. Vincent built out the back, adding a sink / shower, water boiler, fridge, batteries, solar panel and bed / living room. From his native France, he’s overlanded through Iran, the Middle East, the western US, South America and is now circumnavigating Africa. Check out his web site: (use Chrome’s built in translator).

Slept Here: An Abandoned Guest House

by Spencer

Looking for that all too rare dilapidated decrepit feel? Well, do I have the abandoned guest house for you! Complete with spiders, creaking doors and a rotting ceiling, it’s conveniently located only one kilometer out of downtown Pemba. From the market, head northeast along the dirt path, over the train tracks and past the three huts, it’s the only brick structure on the left; watch out for the cows.

(Also, there’s a very nice, generous family who lives on the property.)

Tomorrow The World is Ending (no really)

by Spencer

We were first introduced to in Polkowane, South Africa. But they’re everywhere. Harold Camping’s Rapture is on a billboard next to the largest shopping mall in Zambia. Their theory is simple. Judgment Day is May 21st. As in tomorrow. Hope you’ve got someone special to spend the night and repent with…

Update: The Times is on this story as well.

Basically, We’re Tramps

by Spencer

I’m at a hostel in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital. I’ve been here for three days and all I’ve paid for is internet and beer. To save money, I’m sleeping in a mosquito net, under a tree, down the road, but because it’s just safer I sometimes fall asleep at various locales within the hostel proper. In other words, I’ve become a tramp.
Being a tramp raises various ethical concerns. (more…)

So Lucky, So Awkward

by Spencer

Serious bicyclists use “clipless” shoes and pedals. They lock your foot to the pedal, making the cycling more efficient. Previous to this trip, I had only used clipless pedals once. Figuring out how unlock myself (basically you click your heels outward, Wizard of Oz style) in downtown Johannesburg surrounded by dozens of unemployed drunks at dusk was an intimidating experience, especially as I keeled over a few times. (Watching white people fall is funny!) But that’s another story.

This story begins on the road to Mazabuka, where one of the screws that attaches the cleat to the bottom of my shoe came out, meaning I couldn’t detach my foot from the pedal. This makes stopping problematic. What to do?