Trying to get off the bus in Lusaka, I could barely move as 15+ taxi drivers climbed over each other to try to get on the bus and grab us as customers. Lusaka is the “big city” in Zambia, but except for a few malls, it very much looks like a developing nation. The streets are filled with make-shift wooden stands where street vendors sell the locals all sorts of everyday goods (these are not tourist shops in any sense). The food shops have flies buzzing around all the food, but the food is surprisingly tasty (and very cheap). The majority of the vehicles have cracked windshields from the rocks kicked up on the dirt roads.
Needless to say, Caitlin and I stuck out in Zambia quite a bit...I would go days without seeing another tourist. We were the unwilling recipients of vendors and locals shouting whatever few english words they knew, such as “How Are You, Boss!” (they love “Boss”), “Ladies and Gentlemen!” or yelling “Jenny, Jenny!” at Caitlin, as they presume all Americans are named Jenny. One vendor even boldly shouted to me “please sir, give me your wife.”
Zambia is an extremely safe African country, but the crowded downtown markets can be a prime spot for petty theft. While walking through the markets, a stranger grabbed my right arm and as soon as I looked right to see what is going on, I felt my phone being pulled out of my left pocket. Some weird Android-loving instinct kicked in and I immediately whipped to my left and started shouting at everyone in that general direction. I don't know if these guys were too amateur or my reaction was quicker than they expected, but I saw my phone in the hands of one of the men. I made a snap judgment and yanked my phone right back out of the man's hand and yelled some more for good measure. The would-be thieves were stunned and turned and left in dismay. My phone now has a permanent home in my zippered pocket as I am sure this will not be my last pick pocket attempt on this trip. Still glad to have come out on top on round 1.
P.S. If you are interested in the local trends, this song is all over Zambia right now: