Today the hotel hasn’t had internet for most of the day again. I rang reception after a few hours and was told the whole complex was out, which I found out the next day wasn’t true as one of the other riders staying there had had internet all day today, but didn’t have any the first two days. Luckily I did get internet for about 30 minutes late afternoon so was able to send off a few blog updates.
Lovely fine weather today, so the helicopter ride went ahead. It was my first time in a helicopter, I was a bit nervous heading to the airport. I nearly backed out altogether when they wheeled the helicopter out of the hanger, it was the smallest helicopter I have ever seen. Once we were up in the air I managed to relax. It was spectacular seeing the falls from above and then flying down through the gorge.
After the helicopter ride we went back to the hotel for lunch. We ate the left over cheese and crackers, and I spent a couple of hours catching up with the blog.
We were picked up at 4pm for the Livingston Steam Train trip which I had been really looking forward to, unfortunately it was a bit of a disappointment.
When we got there we were given no instructions about where to sit, just pointed towards the train and we weren’t sure if we were meant to sit in a certain section. In the end we sat down in an empty space. There were about 25 people in a group in the carriage with us and soon they were being given beers, but we weren’t offered anything. The advertising info said you would be served wine, beer and or soft drinks, so I stopped one of the waiters and asked for a glass of wine but the waiter refused to give us one. He advised the only option was beer or soft drink! I asked him about the numerous people in the two other carriages I could see who were drinking wine, and he informed me this happened by mistake and there was only beer or soft drink. This is a trip that cost $190 USD each!
I then questioned him about the advertising material that said there would be wine available and after a bit more dialogue he went off to talk to his supervisor, and came back and told me I could have one glass of wine. While I was waiting I saw trays of wine and what looked like gin and tonic being carried through the carriages. I finally got a glass of wine, then after I had drunk it the whole saga started again, but eventually I got another wine.
The Train stops on bridge where there is a great view of the Victoria Falls. Unfortunately, if you got out on bridge you were swamped by people selling plates, wooden animals etc. I saw a few wooden animals and plates get bought.
At dinner time a waiter came and told the group of 25 to come through to the dining car but totally ignored us. We didn’t know if we were meant to wait until you got called, or if there was more than sitting, but after a few minutes we decided to go and find the dining car and see. Lucky we did as there was only sitting.
The food out of 10 I would give a 4, the service a 2 and the wine a 3. The servings were small and cold. Some of the food was so bland you couldn’t even tell what it was.
After dinner there was a white Zambian speaker giving the background on Zambia – how fantastic it all is, and how well the country and everyone is doing. I was wondering is this the same country I am in, where there are insufficient schools, huge amount of poverty, and corruption.
My advice if you happen to be in Livingston: skip the train ride and go to the Elephant Cafe instead. Visit the falls and save the train trips for other areas. The only positive thing I have to say is the train itself was a beautiful old train.