It was a relief getting into Zambia from a Malawi stirring in fuel shortage and winds of revolt - in fact, massive riots would breakout in 2 weeks' time, causing at least 18 deaths.
Chipata was a soft introduction to laidback Zambia. Friendly people and clean streets. We stayed at the 4-star Protea Hotel, which was merely a few months old and staffed by friendly and well-trained young Zambians.
We flew from cozy Chipata airport into Lusaka, the nation's capital. Another big and messy African capital. Taxi and hotel costs were exorbitant. There was little to see and we spent much time trapped in the awful traffic congestion. The guidebook also warned about robberies and dodgy characters. We visited the National Museum, which was a Soviet style box building with painfully little to see within - I could do a better story about the country than their curators. Spent rest of the time shopping for necessities and surfing the net.
The sign of the rising superpower is everywhere in Zambia. A full Chinese language billboard of Standard Chartered Bank sat prominently on the highway from airport to Lusaka city. And ad billboards of the Bank of China Zambia could be seen across the city. A large casino complex complete with Chinese traditional rooftop, unreservedly named Great Wall Casino, is located right at the heart of the city. No wonder Zambian opposition politicians took the opportunity to take pot shots at the ruling party. Perhaps discretion is necessary when investing in a big way in another country.