The past few days we made our way from South Africa to Swaziland to Botswana and are now currently camped in Zambia. Here in one of the country’s few cities, Livingstone, we have found what may be the best hostel we have yet to stay at–Jollyboys. We chose this hostel because most others in the area refused us due to the fact we have children in the group and because they gave us an awesome deal on our visas (instead of us paying $100 a piece to get the visa we paid $25 each and got three free nights accommodation, two free meals, and a free drink). After a hassle at the Botswana- Zambia border and an hour’s drive we arrived at Jollyboys. From the second we arrived we could tell this place was decked out. They had dorms, a campground (which is where regrettably we would be staying), a pool, a pool table, a restaurant, a giant loungelike area with loads of African decor, a laundry area, and basically everything else you could want from a place you’re paying $4 a night to stay at. Another great advantage of this hostel are the tours they can set up for you. Being in Zambia, one of the two homes of Victoria Falls (the highest waterfall on earth), it is impossible not to go see them. Jollyboys can hook you up with a ride to the Falls and a few activities like bungy jumping, abseiling, repelling and the like. Yet the best advantage of staying at a place like this is meeting the people. In our short three days here we have made numerous friends.
When we arrived we set up our tents and immediately people started talking to us. My mom made friends with a dual citizened Irish-British woman and talked to her about crossing the borders and ridiculous visa prices. After having a little trouble setting up the tent (shows what good the Boy Scouts really do), I moved over to the pool table where the family’s pool addict, McKane, was challenging some Canadians to a few rounds. We played pool until the sun beat down so hot everyone agreed that it was time for a dip in the pool. While swimming my dad spoke to a Japanese couple about their trip and our trip. They would be going around the world for two years on a motorbike. Quite the accomplishment. They gave us their e-mail and phone number and said if we were ever in Japan to call them. We swam until the sun went down and then McKane and I made our way back to the pool table. We then ate our first free dinner and soon were back at the pool table. We played a few games and then Kieran came running down yelling, “Dax! Dax! Do you want to come get your hair blonde with me?” I said, “What?” He repeated his previous statement and told me that some people were going to bleach his hair. I followed him and saw the group of Brits who had been teaching in Tanzania for six months and were now making their way around Africa dying each-others hair. I talked to my dad who had previously been showing off pictures of our trip around India to one of them, and he said that they were going to give Kieran some streaks or maybe just dye his hair blonde. I agreed that I’d go after Kieran being half asleep and not fully comprehending the entire situation. They dyed Kieran and McKane and then came my turn. I sat down and the bleach was applied. After playing a few games of dice with them I went to wash off my hair. When I did I was shocked. Unlike Kieran and McKane who had streaks, me, the one who was least fond of the idea and was doing it for Kieran, had gotten the full treatment. I had light blonde hair, sort of like I did when I was an elementary school student. I dealt with it and played a few more rounds of the dice game until it was time for bed. I went to the tent to sleep while McKane stayed, played pool and chatted with some of the festive travelers who were quite interested in our trip.
The next day we were to head to the falls. We woke up, ate, and got ready for the shuttle bus to the Falls. We had heard the Falls were wet so we all opted to go in swimming suits.We missed the first shuttle but managed to fit into the second. On the drive there we talked with the three M’s (three Argentine women from Buenos Aires) about our trip and they offered to give us some advice on what we should do while in their home country. We parted ways at the Falls as we were just sight seeing and they were headed for the bungy. We made our way into the Vic Galls area and saw how giant the falls truly were. We viewed them from a few other points and were soon drenched as walking around the falls is as close to being in a body of water as you can get without actually being immersed. We headed back to Jollyboys and here did school and ate some lunch.
To escape the heat of the Zambian sun we went inside the lounge and laid around. McKane of course was playing pool at this time. Soon we had another free dinner, which I ate none of, and were speaking to the Argentines again. They gave us a variety of helpful hints about travel in Argentina and said that when we finally made our way there they would take us to go do things around Buenos Aires, like taking us to a local soccer match. In turn we helped them fix a malfunctioning iPod. We talked with them about their travels around Africa and compared points of view between Africans, Indians, and those of the developed world. After a lot of talking it was time for sleep. We bid farewell and gave them our sixinttheworld.com business card so they could e-mail us on the road. We went to sleep in our tents and prepared for the next day.
I am writing this post on our last day in Jollyboys. Our short stay has been a wonderful experience. We have played pool, played in the pool, studied too much, and made many friends. There really isn’t a better way to meet a variety of people than in a hostel.