From research, I knew that I would have to return to Zambia in order to get to South Africa for my flight home. Going through Mozambique from Malawi was a possibility but would cost me $100 visa at the border just to transit for a few hours so I thought Zambia was the best alternative. I took the early bus from Mzuzu to Lilongwe, stayed overnight there and then took the very early bus to Lusaka which took 15hours. At 5:30am I boarded the bus where I bumped i to a familiar face from Mayoka village in Nkhata Bay. He was going back to Zambia too but had taken the long journey all the way from Nkhata Bay instead of Mzuzu. He told me his crazy story about the 11hr journey, sleeping on the bed big ridden bus and then opting for a room in what he realised was a brothel, for a few hours.
We endured 15 hours of blaring loud Christian music and Malawian homemade soap operas, to the point where our ear drums nearly burst. I somehow had a few naps along the way despite the horrendous noise and the border the crossing at the beginning was straight forward. We were on the same bus me and Elise had taken from Lusaka back to Lilongwe last time and had our journey from hell but this time it seemed to be so smooth in the other direction. We chatted about our lives and laughed about the whole scenario on the bus, and there was even a point where a child started vomiting right beside him.
When we got to Lusaka, I spotted some buses to Harare (Zimbabwe), my next stop, and wondered if maybe I could carry on there overnight. After checking, it turned out they didn't leave until the morning and so I decided to take a taxi to Wanderers Backpackers because my favourite Lusaka Backpackers was full. I paid for a dorm room and a homemade pasta stir fry which the owner kindly made me (was delicious) and chatted to a Zimbabwean man who was travelling. I spent the evening watching 'Keeping up with the Kardashians' in their lounge and considering the wifi wasn't working, there wasn't much else to do. It was quite homely actually, but I was worried my friends wouldn't know if I had arrived safe or not.
I had a shower earlier and then went to bed at a reasonable time, only to be disturbed by a group of Scottish people banging on the door, turning the light on and having loud conversations. And I thought I was lucky to have the room to myself. The next morning I woke earlier than my alarm and decided to hop in the taxi outside my dorm and just get to the station early. When I got there I changed money into dollars for Zimbabwe at the bureau, bought some snacks for the bus (I'm a fan of the egg, onion and tomato roll sandwiches) and proceeded to my bus. When I saw the state of my bus compared to the luxury ones beside us, I hopped off and checked their price, to put my mind at ease only to discover they were the same price. I was tempted to pay another $20 to change to the luxury bus but thought I was being stupid. I tried to make a lame excuse to the ticket sellers of my bus but they were having none of it, so I just got back on and waited for the departure, trying not to overthink my stupidity and learn from it. In the midst I me waiting, a lady befriended me and asked if I would declare something at customs for her, which I bluntly declined. It was the first time anyone had ever asked me that and I could think of was 'Banged up Abroad'. The journey to Zimbabwe- my 47th country was about to start.