Where they do things differently
To get to this, you need to go with this. The driver who took this photo on his phone of one of the convoy escorts was briefly arrested. No photos! They took the phone but the shots were already stored in the cloud. Remember Mr Mugabe tripping up at Harare airport last year when officials ordered photographers to erase the images, but they were already in the cloud too The cloud is a terrestrial mainframe computer that clicks in automatically when the device is connected to the Internet by 3G or whatever link you have.
Soldiers and police ask to ride on the back of my pick-up. On no account allow them to do that, it makes you a target, strategically it is a mistake for armed men to ride on civilian vehicles and, what’s more, they will demand cigarettes, drinks and money on the journey, say local veterans of the anti-Renamo convoys in central Mozambique. What do you call a man with a gun? You call him Sir! that’s what you do.
The commander relents in the end. His bluff is called.
The Chinese are repairing the road from Muxungue to Chimoio and Mutare. They have brought their own wheelbarrows, these ones with two bicycle tyres. It has always made me wonder – since they were building our own provincial hospital in Chinhoyi years ago – why they bring their own wheelbarrows thousands of kilometers over the high seas when there are perfectly good one-wheel wheelbarrows available down at the local hardware store a couple of kilometers away for $20.
Africa footprints symbolise eco-friendly tourism, but the trees and animals have gone hereabouts, the footprint now washed by the tide of illegal logging of hardwoods for export to China and Malaysia and the ubiquitous charcoal sellers denuding this once-thickly-forested landscape.
Local time is more erratic than unpunctual Africa time in general. ‘Now now’ is the equivalent of ‘just now’ but could mean anything from soon to anytime – ‘how long is a piece of string?’ It’s all to do with the history handed down by sloppy Portuguese rule.
This starfish is going to die, as are dozens of others stranded on the beach in the midday sun. You can’t throw them all back into the sea, so it’s pointless to even try. It’s not pointless to the few you do throw back into the sea. Remember charities who can’t feed all the starving so it’s pointless to even try. No, it’s not pointless for the minority who are fed and saved.
An anthropologist whose name escapes me once said Africa will survive any future nuclear holocaust and provide the new master race of survivors. Much of Africa already lives in post-holocaust conditions, no electricity, no water, no fancy toys their counterparts elsewhere take for granted.
By the way, for sun worshippers on the beach, sunshine takes eight minutes to reach earth from the sun and the sun has a lifespan of 400 million years, about half of which has been expended so far. So for those of us with solar power, the Zimbabwe electricity company has another 200 million years to get its act together.
Toughest beer glass, beach-look selfie, John Gardiner’s Special Recipe for piri piri, Portuguese-style splash-proof urinal, village-made toy car, Zhing Zhong flip flops, the original pristine eco-friendly symbol.