Running the gauntlet back thru Botswana!
When I thought hitting civilisation makes things easy, boy was I in for a treat! The detour into Zimbabwe was to get myself a new passport as I had filled mine up to the brim. Along the way we had to subsequently lift visas to put them over existing stamps to free up some pages, along with begging police officials to stamp in every nook & cranny on my passport. We even resulted in colouring in the Queen's head on a one penny coin, flipped it over & stamped it onto a unofficial page in my passport! (of course to say that its certified by the Queen and it worked).
In retrospect, we shouldn't have agreed to it but on behalf of the Australian embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe we were recommended to get an emergency passport instead of a ordinary one so we didn't have to wait 2 weeks there. We were told that we could use it with no problems to continue travelling through Botswana, Namibia & South Africa!
With relief we hit the Zimbabwe/Botswana border in Plumtree & exit Zim with no dramas. We then hit the Botswanian side & shocked to see about 300 other people trying to get in. (someone tells us it will take over 5 hrs to get through) When we get to the desk, Rob gets stamped in but my emergency passport causes alot of headaches. They rudely try & inform me that I need a visa otherwise they won't stamp me in (as Australians you don't need one). They start to become extremely rude, unhelpful & make us wait. We continue to wait, becoming more frustrated & annoyed. We cause a bit of tension until the senior comes out, but she's defensive from the word go and gives us more grief..... It's like beating a dead horse, completely useless.
We get told that our only option is to go back to Harare and get a visa!!!!!!!!!! Shit, what a predicament. I'm starting to get really pissed off now so we try to ring the embassies for advice but with our luck, its friday afternoon - the embassies are closed & noone can help us! Feeling defeated we have no other choice but to head back to Harare...
To get back to the Zim side (which at this stage we weren't sure if they would let us back in), we actually have to U turn through the Botswana entry gates. Low in spirit we pass the Botswana gate officials to turn around back to Mugabeville, surprisingly the official let us through without even looking at our documents or asking us where we are going.
As we ride into Botswana, I look at Rob and Rob looks at me. I know we are both thinking the same thing... Rob then sais to me " I'm with you all the way" So with that I choose to run the gauntlet & accelerate myself & my trusty baja illegally into the country. I have sudden frightening thoughts that I may be gunned down on the go so I dont dare to look behind me. Heart thumping, I see the border getting further away in my side mirror but I realise that I'm now an illegal immigrant.
Posted by Amy Lee at June 14, 2007 01:26 PM GMT