Zambezi 94.1 fm ft Aaron Mertz

Meet Aaron Mertz, guest on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay Hillz. There were two things different about this show. Firstly, Zambezi fm has changed its frequency from 107.7 to 94.1 fm. Apparently this is a temporary change – the station hopes to obtain a frequency lower than 90.0 fm to make it more accessible to local taxi drivers whose radios only reach that range. Secondly, Jay stood in for Milli Jam on this show, so he was the Ingredient and I featured! We managed. Milli Jam had been struck down with an eye infection. There’s also a rumour that he’s started jogging!

Aaron told listeners that he’d arrived in Livingstone that afternoon from South Africa and would just be in Zambia for about 48 hours, before taking the night train from Victoria Falls to Bulaway, then on to see Harare and the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. Whilst in Livingstone he would be taking the one day safari to Chobe NP in Botswana, as well as swimming in Devil’s Pool on Livingstone Island right on the edge of Victoria Falls. He was also looking forward to spending a few hours at the Livingstone museum. Aaron hails from Chicago but is currently living in New York City. He is a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University working in the laboratory of mammalian cell biology and development. “Ah!” We said! Aaron did his undergraduate degree (summa cum laude) at Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri, USA) and his doctorate (with distinction) at Yale University. He is  also a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford University in UK. He told us that he had very much enjoyed the two years he’d spent in England but had not learned how to play cricket or to support Arsenal FC…..

The music on the show was good as usual. we opened with new tracks from Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars, and Oliver Heldens ft KStewart. Both current smash hits in UK. Jay dropped items from Doc Shebekza, Afunika, Kritic and DJ Khaled. Our ‘oldie of the week’ was a track by Jo Klassic ft PJay. Listeners have to text us the name of the artist on the track, but on this occasion no-one won the prize. One contestant forget to mention their own name and another knew the name of the track – Method 2 – but did not text the name of the artist. So, no-one won the dinner for two with drinks at the lodge on offer! There’ll be another chance on the next show.

Aaron revealed that when he’s not working or travelling (his first love), he plays the cello and in fact had recently given his first concert with a friend. He loves classical music and opera and living in New York gives him the chance to go to live shows. He also loves cycling and makes full use of the ‘Public Bikes’ now available in the city for the public to rent, cycle and return to a cycle bank. He revealed that he’d found out about Chanters Lodge from the Lonely Planet Guide Book and TripAdvisor on the internet. He was happy with the choice he’d made to stay with us. Aaron is still single and has one older brother.

Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in ten years’ time, Aaron said that he’d like to be a University Professor in Physics and Biology with his own research laboratory. Given Aaron’s academic achievements already, in our opinion that’s a ‘nobrainer’!! Unlike Mr Mertz who is clearly super brainy!


Free Fast Hotel Wifi

This from Larry Mogelonsky writing on HotelInteractive caught my eye. Here at Chanters Lodge we count ourselves lucky if we can go 24 hours without a break in our wifi. Fast broadband? Never really heard of it. One of our ISP’s says we are on ‘4G’ but it is very slow – perhaps a Zambian 4G is different from 4G in other places. Anyway here’s the piece detailing how important fast free wifi is to hotel guests and therefore occupancy.

“I realize that Westerns aren’t exactly the most popular genre of novels or films these days, but I believe the following comparison still stands. Back in the Old West, the gunslinger who draws the fastest wipes out the competition. Replace the word ‘gunslinger’ with ‘hotel WiFi’ and the same can be applied nowadays.

If you aren’t providing free WiFi to your guests by now then you are doing them a great disservice. Guests expect this for free much like they do heating, air conditioning and tap water (or at least have the costs buried into the nightly rate). It’s 2014, so get with the times.

But it’s no longer just about offering complimentary internet connectivity, but giving it out at a satisfactory speed. To comprehend why fast is just as important as free in this regard, you should first understand the theory of cognitive drift. The basic idea is that if a website takes too long to load, users lose interest. This varies based on patience levels but I’d ballpark it for millennials at around one to two seconds.

Many hotels now offer free WiFi to customers (definitely a good thing) but slow connections frustrate people. It makes them impatient. It makes them feel like they are being slighted. Free WiFi that’s slow rings of false advertising; you’re marketing a service to guests to get them through the door but then you don’t sufficiently fulfill your end of the bargain.

I’m sure you can recall your emotions at a time when you were a victim of false advertising. It’s not great, hateful even. I doubt you’d want those feelings bestowed upon your property for something as small as failing to offer adequate free wireless connection rates. Do yourself a favor and get up to speed (pun intended).

One other note is the use of smartphones and tablets for browsing. I’m not one to tout endless numbers to prove my point, but if you were to look up any current statistics on the topics, no doubt you’d find that these mobile devices represent a very sizeable portion of total internet traffic in relation to laptops and desktops.

Seeing as how smartphones and tablets are wholly reliant on WiFi or 3G/4G, this puts extra emphasis on getting your internet running with enough bandwidth to support an abundance of users. Moreover, websites generally do not load quite as quickly on mobile devices as on computers, further driving home the need for lightning fast WiFi.

While delivering fast and free WiFi to all your guests is a noble goal that I’m sure every hotelier would love to see realized sooner rather than later, for many of us it’s simply not feasible – not with our budgetary constraints and not with the way consumers voraciously gormandize bandwidth through the likes of streaming videos (eg. Netflix) or gigabyte downloads (eg. torrent files). We have to find a middle ground, a compromise as we ease into a world where free internet connectivity becomes the expected norm.”


The Sikalongo Experience

Meet Kathy and Ed Barlow (above) from Elizabethtown, PA, USA, Guests on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay Hillz. ‘The Experience’ is our weekly radio show airing from 20.30 to 21.30 hrs CAT on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. The show is a smooth mixture of Zambian and international pop music interspersed with chat with our Guests. On this occasion, as the headline reflects, the chat was about Kathy and Ed’s two months spent as volunteers at Sikalongo Mission in the Southern Province of Zambia.

Sikalongo Mission is run by the Brethren in Christ Church out of the USA and trains Zambian pastors for their church. Kathy and Ed, both teachers by profession, told listeners that Kathy had spent most of her time teaching English to the trainee pastors’ wives, while Ed was busy helping with maintenance at the mission. They had learned some Chitonga during their visit and Milli Jam was quick to start chatting away with Kathy in his own language. Others of us just listened….

This quiet, charming couple, told listeners that their daughter Kelly had visited them during their time in Zambia. They took the opportunity to thank staff at National Airports at Livingstone Airport who, after Kelly had arrived in Livingstone from a very long journey from USA, had safely recovered and returned Kelly’s wallet which she’d left in the ladies rest room at the airport. Everything in the wallet was in tact including cash, credit cards and passport. “Wow!” we said, and meant it. Kelly is trained in physical therapy and had taken the chance to help some of the Sikalongo residents with exercise programmes during her visit.

The music on the show was good. We opened with tracks from Avicii, Melissa Street and Bakermat. Milli Jam and Jay dropped tracks from DJ Cassidy and Robin Thicke, Pompi, and AKA as well as Mampi featuring Judy. Our oldie of the week was ‘Dilemma’ from Nelly and Kelly Rowland. We closed with ‘Faded’ from Zhu.

Ed and Kathy told listeners they had been ‘wowed’ by Victoria Falls and were happy that they had been told before they arrived. that they could not come to Zambia without seeing this particular natural wonder of the world. Their trip to Zambia had been inspired by Dr Dwight and Mrs Carol Thomas, Zambian/Sikalongo veterans and neighbours of the Barlow’s in America. The Barlows had visited Chobe NP in Botswana during their visit and had been delighted and awed to watch a leopard kill a guinea fowl. They had also seen a pride of lion, their first time to see big cats in their natural state. This was their first visit to Zambia and indeed to Africa.

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing ten years’ from now, Ed and Kathy said they would like to be retired and free to be the ‘hands and feet of Jesus’. We thanked them for volunteering their time and resources to come and help Zambians in Southern Province.


Ryan Kelly

Ryan Kelly (above), a second year graduate school student in forensic psychology at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA, was our Guest on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay-Hillz. That’s our weekly radio show on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station, which features chat with a Guest of the week, a great selection of latest international and local music, as well as news from social media sites and pop chart updates. Airs every Sunday at 20.30 hrs CAT. We also give away a prize of a dinner for two with drinks at the lodge to the first person to text us with the name of the artist on our oldie of the week. On this particular occasion the prize was not won – due to network problems the text messages were late to arrive!

Ryan told listeners that he had been in Zambia for a month, in the capital Lusaka, as a volunteer with the Advocacy For Child Justice, a Non-Government Organization that uses an issue-based approach to advocate for the rights and best interests of children who come into conflict with the law. Ryan briefed us about the work of ACJ. He had learned a lot from his time in Lusaka and felt that the experience blended well with the course he was undertaking back in the States. It was his first time to be in Zambia and indeed Africa. “Was Zambia what he had expected?” We wondered. “Yes and no……” The cautious response.

The music on the show was good. We featured tracks from Avicii, Oliver Heldens, Example, Whitney Houston, Taio Cruz, Austin Mohone, Krytic, DJ Clock, JK and Sam Smith.

Ryan told us that he had been busy since he arrived in Livingstone on Friday. He had spent a whole day with Abseil Zambia on Saturday and had abseiled, swung the gorge, and performed the flying fox but not the bungee jump. He had thoroughly enjoyed the day and praised the Abseil Zambia staff. He had also loved the sunset cruise on Lady Livingstone and was very much looking forward to white water rafting the day after the show, before travelling back to Lusaka the following day, then flying back to America that night. “Will you come back to Zambia?” Milli Jam wondered. “I certainly hope so!” Said Ryan.

Jay wanted to know if Ryan though the USA would win the FIFA World Cup. “Not really”, but he was proud that his team had progressed to the last 16 for the second consecutive World Cup finals tournament. He professed a keen interest in American football. The Boston Patriots is his team. Music wise Ryan told us that he loves Sam Smith. “So do we!” We said. He’s also a fan of Imagine Dragons, Disclosure, and more especially Eric Clapton and Cream. He had enjoyed a local concert in Livingstone featuring some Zambian bands and music. He had also had nights out at Fez Bar and Cafe Zambezi while he’d been in Livingstone.

Ryan is single, free, and comes from a big family, he has a twin brother as well as step brothers and sisters and half brothers and sisters. “They’re all just brothers and sisters in Zambia!” I commented. Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in ten years’ time Ryan told us that he’d like to be wherever he would be happy and doing what made him happy too. He did not rule out an academic career or returning to Zambia!


The Barker Experience!

We were delighted to welcome Mariann and Gary Barker (above) as Guests on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay Hillz – our weekly radio show on Livingstone’s local radio station Zambezi 107.7fm. Mariann and Gary told our listeners that they were staying at Chanters Lodge for the weekend to celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary. “How did you meet?” We wanted to know, and Gary explained that they had been together at high school in California, their home state in USA. “So you were high school sweethearts?” I surmised. “No!” They said “We met up again later after high school when we both went to the same college and that’s when we started dating”. “Awwwww!” We said and congratulated them on their anniversary thanking them for choosing Chanters Lodge for their celebration.

Pastor Gary, to give him his correct title, told listeners that he and Mariann live in Choma in the Southern Province of Zambia and are the founders of Grace Baptist Church located in the showgrounds at Choma. Gary also teaches at, and operates, the Baptist Bible College and Institute of Choma where pastors are trained on a four year programme. The current number on training is seven. The couple have lived in Choma for seven years and Gary has been a pastor for some 33 years. The mission was founded in 1930 and has about 1200 missionaries worldwide. The missions are funded largely by individual donations leading to great interaction between the missionaries and the donors, and Gary told us that Mariann does a great job in sending photos and other information about their work in Choma back to donors in USA. “They love to see that lives are being changed in Zambia!” Said Mariann.

The music on the show was far from classical or gospel, this couple’s stated preference. We opened as usual with ‘Hey Brother’ from Avicii before dropping tracks from 5 Seconds Of Summer and Gorgon City. Jay and Milli Jam gave us numbers from Brinky ft Kantu, Casper Nyovest, Ne-Yo, Slap Dee and 2 Pac. No-one won the prize of a dinner for two with drinks at the lodge we offer each week on the show to a listener who can answer a simple question. Gary revealed that wife Mariann had been a brilliant drummer in her youth!

Mariann told us that the couple have three grown up children, four grandchildren and two great grand children back in the USA and that they miss them a lot! They were happy that Bart, their son, a policeman in California operating with a police dog, had been able to visit them in Zambia earlier this year with his family. The family had loved all the tourist activities they had been able to do at that time, including the one day safari to Chobe, the lion encounter and the microlight flight. Mariann had drawn the line at any member of the family being allowed to do the bungee jump! They also revealed that they were friends with Jo Brooks, proprietor of the Livingstone Crocodile Park although Mariann does not like going there! Gary revealed that Jo had told him ‘plenty of stories’! We moved on unsurprised – Jo was a Guest on our show a while ago so we could just imagine!

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing in ten years’ time, Mariann wanted to be back in America with her family, Pastor Gary wanted still to be ministering and to be close to his family at home.


Flabbergasted and other new meanings….

Thanks to Judy in Australia for these gems!

The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. And the winners are:

1. Coffee: The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted: Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate: To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Willy-nilly: Impotent.

5. Negligent: Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

6. Flatulence: Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller

10. Balderdash: A rapidly receding hairline


Hotels Are Booming Again In USA!

This piece from Glenn Haussman on HotelInteractive is about America – it’s not about Livingstone, Zambia – I only wish it was! The picture? MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, the USA’s biggest hotel! Hope the good results over there spread worldwide! Soon!

“All hail the upswing! The lodging industry is in record breaking mode. After the depth of the Great Recession it’s great to see the amazing heights the industry is achieving. And the best news is there is still so much upside profit potential to be mined during the next few years. People just have to be savvy enough to take their share.

As we have discussed here in the pages of Hotel Interactive before the hotel business is perfectly positioned in an amazing sweet spot as a confluence of factors play into the industry’s favor. More people are traveling than ever before and those same travelers feel wealthier as 401k values and home values soar, which makes them willing to pay more for a hotel room. Plus, supply in most markets is below demand levels. That’s keeping hotels filled while investors are just getting started on projects that won’t really impact raw supply numbers until 2015 and beyond.

When you look at industry fundamentals, records are being broken everywhere, including most industry revenue ever at $122 billion. Other records broken in 2013 were ADR, RevPAR, and most room night sold at 1.1 billion.

According to numbers supplied, final 2013 occupancy was 62.3 percent and is expected to rise to 63.2 percent and 64.4 percent for 2014 and 2015 respectively. It’s also expected that ADR will increase 4.8 percent to $115.60 this year and rise another 5.6 percent to $122.12 in 2015. ADR and occupancy increases together will help propel RevPAR from $68.69 (5.4 percent increase from 2012) up another 6.6 percent to $73.10 in 2014 while rising an additional 7.5 percent to $78.62 in 2015.

Even better news is the economy is soaring, both in and out of the hotel industry. The general economy is seeing record high stock market valuations while large type sale items such as homes and cars are doing very well. Plus, more things are being made in America than in a generation.


Young Travellers And Price

I liked this piece from HotelInteractive. I’ve shortened it a little. I’m also happy that at Chanters Lodge we have newly introduced low and high season rates, special rates for Zambian travellers and have resisted the temptation/need to raise rates in line with increased costs. In Livingstone we are in a very competitive environment, and yes, Customers are shopping on price.

“Here’s confirmation of what many of us already knew: Millennial travelers don’t express hotel brand loyalty like their older brethren when it comes to booking leisure travel. And that could be a problem in the coming years for hotel industry executives trying to pin down this increasingly important group. Leisure travel makes up more than 75 percent of all hotel bookings in the United States, says U.S. Travel. So this emerging trend has the potential for massive upheaval of the status quo in the coming years.

Millennials are becoming an increasingly critical part of the hotel room buying mix, and at some point during the next decade will supplant the importance of Gen X travelers and Baby Boomers to the hotel industry’s bottom line. Millennials currently drive billions of dollars in spending decisions with many of those dollars going to hotels and travel related activities. And they have yet to reach peak spending!

And their travel buying behaviors are way different than the aforementioned older groups. Remember, this is the first generation that has never known a world before the internet and the way they have integrated technologies into their lives is wholly different than older generations. That’s going to make it tricky for hoteliers to capture Millennial’s loyalty for the long term, but they are trying! Worse yet, the problem seems to be seeping into the Generation X mindset as well which is making online bookers inherently less loyal as they are increasingly driven by factors such as price more than loyalty.

The new study “Who’s Sleeping with You? A Detailed Look Into the U.S. Online Hotel Guest,” reports that 123 million travelers researched hotel options online in 2013, with 92 percent subsequently booking rooms online. And by looking at an incredible one billion monthly travel transactions per month over a three month period, the study determined that because of an “expanding array of hotel options”, a “let-the-best-deal-win” mindset is now in place among the younger class of travel consumers.

This confirms a study earlier in the year from Driftwood Hospitality Management that queried the general managers of its managed hotels. In that survey released in September, 43 percent of Driftwood general managers believe price is the number one concern of millennial travelers when choosing where to stay for leisure travel.

Separately from this study another recent study released last month and conducted by
Harris Interactive and commissioned by and Egencia, said to book business travel, 32 percent of Millennials report using a smartphone, and 20 percent report booking on a tablet. Just 12 percent of those older than 45 used a smartphone, and even fewer used a tablet to book travel. Millennials are also much more likely to use mobile devices to enhance their travel experience, the study concluded.”


Blue Flame Gospel

Thanks to George aka Kaufela for this piece!
Mwango Kondolo aka Blue Flame Gospel was born in Lusaka, Zambia and raised by his grandparents. At the age of nine he and his young brother went to live with his mother in Dallas Texas, USA where he gained an interest in hip hop / rap music.

Due to ‘mistakes and wrong choices’ he made through his early teen life, his mother found it fit for him to leave Dallas and head back to Zambia to live with his father for the first time, at the age of fourteen. Mwango found himself trying to record at any studio he could find and afford, but because of the difficulties he faced he decided to start his own studio, making his own beats and producing/ mixing his own music.

While living a “not so positive life” he faced many ups and downs, ‘does and don’ts’ but on the 4th of November 2011 his life changed forever. Answering the call of the Lord that came through a man of God (Brother Louis). Flame decided to rededicate his life to the Lord, making up his mind to completely surrender his life to the Lord and let God take control.

He deleted all his circular music from the mix tape he was supposed to release called “Heat Wave” and become a full time gospel artist / producer /sound engineer/ song writer. He replaced his earlier mix tape with one called “Heaven Sent Fire” and is now an architectural student also undergoing leadership training to become a pastor. Praise God!


American Girls Rock The Experience!

Meet Kristen Sawyer and Amber Lind (above left to right) – American girls and our Guests on the most recent edition of The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George ‘Kaufela’. The Experience is our weekly radio show going out live every Sunday night for an hour at 20.30 hrs CAT, on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. Both girls are from Pennsylvania though Kristen now lives in Boston, Mass. – they met at school ‘way back’ they told listeners, and although they now live in different places they meet up most years for vacations. Kristen is a physiotherapist and Amber an IT specialist.

The girls had been staying at Chanters Lodge at the end of a two week safari that started in Johannesburg and ended in Livingstone, camping all they way. They were mighty relieved to find big comfortable beds and an en suite bathroom waiting for them at Chanters at the end of their trip! They told of roaring lions outside their tents at night in Botswana, together with honey badgers and other animals running around the camp. ‘Scary?’ We wondered. “Only slightly!” Replied Kirsten! Altogether we gathered they had had a wonderful trip, being their first to Africa. It had included a one hour flight over the Okavango Delta, cheaper we noted than a fifteen minute flight over Victoria Falls. After arriving in Livingstone they had swum in Devil’s Pool on Livingstone Island just a meter away from the edge of the Falls and had even dangled over the edge. They loved it! They had also enjoyed a visit to Zimbabwe to see the Falls from that side and had dined on salad with crocodile meat while they were there!

The music on the show was great. We opened with tracks from Example and Coldplay – both latest, while George dropped new releases from Zone-Fam and T-Boy in his Zambian spot. Milli Jam chose tracks from French Montana featuring Nicki Minaj, as well as Bruno Mars’ beautiful ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’. Our oldie of the week was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers ‘Running Down A Dream’ but the prize we give on each show to the first person to text us the name of the performing artist went unwon! My pick of the week was Ellie Goulding’s gorgeous ‘How Long Will I Love You’.

To George’s excitement the girls told listeners that they were both single, although Kristen had a boyfriend waiting for her back in Boston. They both loved snow skiing and in their anxiety to leave for Africa had recently been on a skiing weekend to try to curb their excitement. The girls are American Football fans and Kristen a keen supporter of the Red Socks. Amber said she loved country music and ‘like Richard’ was a fan of Darius Rucker. They had chosen to stay at Chanters as they had wanted a downtown location, the price suited them and the lodge had great reviews on TripAdvisor. They had not been disappointed.

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing in ten years’ time, Amber wanted to be still living in Pennsylvania near her family, hoped to have children and still to be travelling. Kristen wanted to be living in north east USA, working as a physiotherapist and married with children.

Great girls! Great show!

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