How to travel when sick

When I was told we would travel to Uganda, I looked forward to the trip. But two days before travelling,  I fell ill. There must be a bug being passed around because I know a number of people that were also sick. I quickly went to the hospital and collected my antibiotics because as much as I hate medicine, I hate missing out on trips more.

I figured that since I am a relatively healthy person with a highly functioning immune system,  two days was enough to get better. But it wasn’t.  When it was time to travel, the initial fever, chills and body aches were gone but the cough was in full force. I was scared that I would not be allowed to board the plane with officials being extra cautious of Ebola. But the ticket has already been paid for and I hate to waste money so I packed my bags and was on my way.

When I got to the airport, my body just decided to betray me. I started coughing so badly I thought I would pass out. A man in the queue advised me to buy a packet of halls to keep me sane until I got to my destination because I just might be turned back like that. So I tried out the sweets and you won’t believe it, my cough was managed just like that.

The whole time I was in transit I didn’t have a coughing fit. I was relieved.  Sometimes it’s the obvious solutions that work.
Firstly it’s advisable to stay put when you have a flu to avoid infecting other people. But if you really have to travel, here are some tips on how to travel when you have the flu. Some might apply to any other sicknesses.

1) Pack your medicine in your Carry-on luggage.  I didn’t want to be weighed down by a heavy handbag so I packed my medicine in my bigger bag – big mistake. I needed to take my antibiotics at midday but because I was stuck in transit and my bag was God knows where, I couldn’t. So carrying your prescribed medicine is a good idea.

2) Keep Hydrated. Most people drink very little water when travelling to avoid frequent trips to the toilet. But you need to drink as much water as possible.

3) Sit near a bathroom.  When picking seats, try and choose one as close to the bathroom as is permissible.  That way you can easily rush into the bathroom if need arises. The plane I got on was free seating so I just explained my situation to one of the air hosts and he led me to the back of the plane. It was the best place for me to sit because I didn’t want to get funny looks from people during a coughing fit.

4) Cough into your handkerchief. It’s bad enough you’re in public with a flu so try and reduce the split as much as possible. It’s polite and hygienic.  I saw a man on the plane who had a mask on. I don’t know if he was trying to keep the germs in or out.

5) Carry hand sanitiser. When sick, you need to wash your hands more frequent than usual. When you’re travelling,  you might not have quick access to water. So carry hand sanitiser and apply it to avoid the spread of the germs.

Is there anything else that you would like to add to these tips?

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A weekend away in Siavonga

For someone who claims to love travel, I have been to very few places in Zambia. So when friends of ours suggested we drive over to Siavonga for a weekend, I was ecstatic. It had been on my to-visit list for too long. Because we were a large group of 10, we decided to carpool. We started off early on Saturday morning and arrived two hours later. The thing that struck me was how beautiful the country is once you drive out of the city. We drove past hills and valleys all covered in green.

The beautiful green landscape

The beautiful green landscape

We had already reserved rooms at a lodge called Freshview Homes so all we did was go straight to our rooms. The room was a decent size. I was glad to see an air-con because Siavonga is really humid.

The room was a good size

The room was a good size

Now for those who might not know, Siavonga is on the edge of Lake Kariba, the biggest man made lake in the world. So imagine my awe when I found that we had an awesome view of the lake just from our doorstep. I want a life like this you guys. A place where I can write while looking out on the lake. I bet I would never have writers’ block.

The awesome view of the lake

The awesome view of the lake

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by lizards. So my siblings and I would kill them and arrange a whole funeral procession for them. We even had someone give an eulogy of the life of the poor lizard. So one of the things that I noticed was how the lizards were so different from the ones I used to bury. These ones had blue tails. I tried to capture one but they moved so fast. I suspect word about me must have spread across the Zambian lizard world.

Blue tailed lizard

Blue tailed lizard

If you’re trying to decide on what to eat in Siavonga, let me make it easy for you. Eat fish. Because of the proximity to the lake, fish is guaranteed to be extra fresh. In Lusaka, by the time a fish gets to your plate, it has traveled far much more than you ever will. It has been touched by more people than necessary and is on its way to rotten. Siavonga fish is fresh y’all. And that’s what I ordered. The cooking is quite ordinary I must say. I kept on thinking I could have cooked a better meal. But then I’m just a budding foodie so I ate what I was given like a good girl.

Fish served on a fish-shaped plate. These people have a wicked sense of humor

Fish served on a fish-shaped plate. These people have a wicked sense of humor

By the time it was afternoon, it had become really hot. So The Hub and I decided to take a dip in the pool. Because of my fear of large bodies of water, I still don’t know how to swim so I never set foot in the deep end. But The Hub quickly went there and started showing off his skills. It was weird because I had never seen him in a pool ever since I have known him. (That goes to show just how much I avoid water)

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The lodge does not have a gym but that didn’t discourage me. Siavonga is very hilly so you are always going up or down. So I just ran up and down the rocky stairs a number of times, did some push ups and dips and I was good to go.

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Great workout space

Just to prove that I was there and I didn't get these pictures from the internet.

Just to prove that I was there and I didn’t get these pictures from the internet.

The restaurant prepared an awesome breakfast (it’s very difficult to mess up breakfast). And after lots of group photos and weird poses by the pool, we started our journey back to Lusaka. We didn’t get to go on the boat cruise because of our tight program but it’s in our future plans. I wish we had stayed longer but life was calling us back. I wish I could go away every weekend because it is such a peaceful place.The great thing is that it is just 2 hours away so it’s easy to get there. It is a great place to go and relax. I’m definitely going back there soon.

Day Trip to Chaminuka

Zambians are spoiled with a wide variety of places to ogle at wildlife. All you need is a functioning car and a tiny heap of money and you’re good to go. A few friends of ours suddenly decided they wanted to visit Chaminuka, a privately owned game reserve in the outskirts of Lusaka. Lucky enough, it coincided with my day off from work so I gladly tagged along.

We were all from different parts of town so we met in a central place and got into the two biggest cars and started off. It takes 30 minutes to get to Chaminuka from the Kenneth Kaunda airport. The road is not tarred the whole way but thankfully it is not bumpy either and we quickly got there at 11am. Chaminuka offers a load full of activities. We decided to go for a game drive first. We hopped onto the open safari vehicle and we were off. The guide really knew his stuff and described each animal we came in contact with.

The elegant giraffe

The elegant giraffe

By the time the drive was over we were famished. Chaminuka serves lunch at 1 pm so we rushed to eating area to eat. I was relieved to see that it was a buffet arrangement. There was such a wide variety of food, I didn’t even taste some of it. After lunch it was time for a boat ride and we were driven to a beautiful large body of water on the property.

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Now the problem is that I am terrified of water. When I was a kid, an evil friend of mine pushed me into a swimming pool. I just remember so much confusion going through my mind and my mouth involuntary taking in gulps of water. Needless to say I was pulled out alive, unless it is my apparition writing this. So when it was time for the boat ride, I tried to get out of it but the horrible people I was with insisted that I get on so I had no choice. I screamed half the time and was so tense no amount of massage would have helped. I kept on flinching every time the boat tilted and I was convinced we were going to die. I lamented not having left a will and regretted not having finished the chicken at lunch. But the longer we stayed on the water, the more I became at ease. So I braved a smile and took a few pictures even though my soul was dying inside.

When mean friends force you onto a tiny boat, just grin and bear it.

When mean friends force you onto a tiny boat, just grin and make a peace sign.

The guide led us to a tiny island in the middle of the water and we settled there for a while. I wanted to claim it as mine and name it after me but it was so tiny I knew that any hint of rain would make it disappear.

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The tiny island almost sinking under our weight

When we got back to shore, the adrenalin was kicking in and I wanted to go again but I got distracted by the sight of The Hub fishing. He looked so natural at it with a bored face that I wanted to dig a lake for him in our backyard (which we don’t have because we live in a tiny flat). But after 10 minutes of catching nothing but the sun on his face, he got tired and gave it up.

The Hub fishing (Is it still fishing if you don't catch anything?)

The Hub fishing (Is it still fishing if you don’t catch anything?)

After the fishing, we were driven back to the lounge area. None of us had carried swimwear so we just chilled and chatted until it was time to go home.

One of the activities we missed out on is walking the cheetahs. But I made a mental note to do that the next time we go there. It was a day well spent and I had lots of fun. I would definitely want to go back and spend a night. It is perfect for a romantic getaway trip or group/family outing and the food is great.

To find out more about them, check out their website.

Festival Madness!

Lusaka is really becoming a hub of activity. People often complain that there is very little to do in Lusaka but I think that is being turned around.

Last month we had the Barefeet Festival and on 29th August there was a concert that just rocked! It brought brilliant performers to the stage. Pompi represented Zambia. Zimboita, a Zimbabwean and Italian group, wowed the crowd. FreshlyGround from South Africa just came to blow off what was remaining of our brains. I danced so hard I had body aches for a week.

Photo cred: barefeettheatre.org

Photo cred: barefeettheatre.org

This month on the 21st and 22nd September, Stanbic bank and The Misty will be hosting Zambia’s first ever Jazz festival. Hugh Masekela, Oliver Mtukudzi and Zonke will grace the stage alongside Pompi, Maureen Lupo Lilanda and Uncle Rex. I’m really excited about this one though I must admit I have listened to very little Jazz. For more information follow @SMJazzFest on twitter and like their facebook page here

photo cred: @SMJazzFest

photo cred: @SMJazzFest

Next month R and G events will be hosting their annual festival called Oktoberfest on 11th – 12th October. I am absolutely excited about this one because I couldn’t make it for last years. It will be 2 days of extreme fun, music, food and drink. It will definitely be the highlight of my month. South Africa’s Liduideep will be the main acts.The organizers have planned it very well and have developed a website solely dedicated to providing information about this event. You can get all the information you need at www.randgfestivals.com

There are a lot of other festivals that are being planned and are probably happening right now that I’m not aware of. I am just glad that we get to have so much choice.

Livingstone – Victoria falls

During the easter weekend, The Hub and I travelled to Livingstone for a mini vacation. All I wanted to see was the Victoria falls but we got to put in a few more things. It was in the spur of the moment so we didn’t plan out everything in detail. I learnt that if you want to visit Livingstone during a long weekend, you have to reserve a room very early. A few days before the weekend I tried to book a room in some recommended lodges but each one was fully booked. A friend who was out of town for the weekend saved our trip by letting us use his house. Continue reading

Roadtrips, Retweets, Rituals and Relatives

This past weekend my boyfriend and I travelled to the Copperbelt. The purpose was to introduce me to his relatives. So Friday morning found us heading to Intercity Bus Terminal. The 6 hour journey looked quite daunting but I was prepared with two Marian Keyes novels, an ipod full of music and home improvement magazines. Continue reading