Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for Zimbabwe

A view of Victoria Falls from a helicopter.

Z is for Zimbabwe

The guy read my paperwork. I filled it out on the plane like all the other passengers before we landed in Victoria Falls.

"What do you do?" he asked.

"I'm a journalist," I said.

He left his desk and consulted with his co-worker, who had waved through the last of the plane's passengers. I was the only person left.

"What do you do?" the second man asked.

I sensed this was a problem, but repeated my answer.

"You need special permission to come into the country," the first man said. "We're not supposed to let journalists in without a permit."

All the "no one told me this" cries bubbled into my head. "I'm here to see Victoria Falls," I said. "My whole trip revolves around this."

The two men whispered for a moment. The first said, "She clearly looks like a tourist."

I could see the safari company's guide lurking through the open doorway.

"I'm sure the guide would tell you. I'm here on holiday," I said pointing to the woman.

They looked back, read my paperwork once more and allowed me through.

I should have known about the political issues in Zimbabwe. I mean our bags were limited on one the plane due to fuel issues. Robert Mugabe liked tourists in his country, but didn't want journalists to snoop around.

While missionaries and workers in Zimbabwe shared stories of the problems, others — market vendors, van drivers, hotel clerks and waiters — begged us to say it was a safe place to visit. They needed tourists to return, so they could keep their jobs.

During my years as a journalist — from high school to adulthood — I've seen and experienced plenty of adventure, triumph and tragedy. My ability to ask questions has helped me in a million and one ways.

My advice to journalists on holiday in Zimbabwe? Just say your occupation is a writer.

Thanks for following along during my A to Z Challenge this month. I've shared some silly and sad stories. I appreciate your friendship and look forward to returning to a normal schedule in May. I've felt a tiny bit "challenged" this month. — Stacy 



On another note: 
Don't forget the Wish You Were Here Giveaway.



42 comments:

  1. :) A tense moment! I think you were lucky they didn't do a bag search! though, of course, they would have found nothing.

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  2. Ooh scary. You're lucky they didn't take your camera. What a beautiful place to visit. Did you ever write a story of what you saw there?

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    1. I've mentioned it a bit here, but have lots of notes and photos. The poverty was overwhelming.

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  3. Yikes! That must have been a scary moment! Glad you were able to pass yourself off as a tourist :)

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  4. Hi Stacy. Wonderful wrap up for the A to Z Challenge. Victoria Falls is magnificent. Thanks for sharing the aerial shot.

    Susanne
    PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

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    1. Thanks for visiting throughout the challenge.

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  5. WOW That is kind of scary! What a great picture of Victoria Falls!

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    1. Thanks Erik. It was more frustrating than anything. I wanted to see the falls so badly.

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  6. Wonderful wrap up Stacy. I've enjoyed your posts, although haven't gotten to all. We were with a group in Europe once, going into still another country & someone made a bad joke about security, was whisked away for a while for further questioning. Words do make a difference don't they?

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    1. Lina, I know. I knew from my first trip overseas not to joke about anything with authorities. During my safari travels, one couple in our group didn't notice that officials failed to stamp their passports when they arrived. Had our group guides not stepped in, no one would have left without a hefty "donation." Yikes.

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  7. I remember hearing that it took Livingston four years to reach Stanley at Victoria falls. Or vica-versa. How we've progressed.

    http://francene-wordstitcher.blogspot.com/

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  8. International travel is frightful at times. What a great A-Z you did - I'll bet you are pooped!

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    1. Thanks Karen. I am a bit, but more like "feeling behind" on some things.

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  9. What a wonderful way to end this series...just say you are a writer!

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  10. Boy you are one for an adventure. You have had some moments you've shared with us that I'm not so sure I'd been so brave.

    I have a close friend, Tatenda, from Zimbabwe. I have come to love her culture. After 20 years, she still dresses in native dress. Lovely family.

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    1. Patricia, I have a few relating to being a journalist that I might say were just stupid. I'll save those for another day.

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  12. Ooh, how about this: For even better treatment, don't just say you're a writer. Say you write for a tourism magazine.

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    1. Good idea Nate, but I was trying to avoid the rule that required special permission to enter the country. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll be "official" and return.

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  13. Wow, you made it to letter "Z". Congratulations! And what an interesting story. If I'm vacationing there, I'd rather much just say I'm unemployed. :o)

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  14. I almost made this mistake a few times in my travels, too. I always say I'm on vacation, which I always am. Life is a vacation!

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  15. I love Nate's idea!

    Congratulations on making it all the way from A to Z Stacy. You are a wonder!

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  16. Stacy, I loved your A - Z challenge and although I didn't comment every day, I read every single post. It was a wonderful way to get to know you better and I think you should continue it because I love reading about your life. Congrats on making it all the way through the alphabet!

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    1. Sheila, Thanks for following a long. I fear I've bored everyone with this challenge. I appreciate your encouragement.

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  17. Wow, how scary!

    Great job on the A to Z! Really enjoyed it.

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  18. Nice to meet you.
    What an adventure! Great photo of Victoria Falls.
    Zimbabwe is a good choce for 'Z'!
    Best wishes,
    Anna
    Anna's A to Z the letter Z

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  19. You've shared such wonderful experiences with us this month. Your life reads like good fiction (and I mean that in a good way.) :)

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  20. Ha! Who would have thought telling people you're a writer would be a good thing?

    Congrats on completing the A to Z Challenge! You rock, Stacy!

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  21. Stacy, You are an amazing writer. I know your memoir will be a huge success!
    Thanks for sharing your stories with us throughout the Challenge.

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  22. What a gorgeous way to wrap up the A-Z. Congratulations on finishing it.

    Breathtaking shot - and I'm VERY glad you were able to depart and share it with us!

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    1. Thanks Beverly for letting me know about the challenge.

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  23. I've really enjoyed reading through your A to Z Challenge. You've had so many varied experiences!

    ~Debbie

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