Well this is it, our last day in Malawi…our last day in Africa.
When we woke up this morning it was cloudy and the wind was really whipping around. It sure looked like rain but it isn’t rainy season so the clouds just went away and the sun came out within a couple of hours.
(Above) Sunrise over Lake Malawi
After breakfast, we hit the road, headed back to Lilongwe. About 10 mins. into our trip we saw the CPAR Chinteche vehicle coming towards us and they flashed their lights for us to stop. Turns out the “Water Mechanics”, on their way to drill or fix a borehole, had an accident just up the road and Laban had been called to the scene. He asked Joseph if we could stop and take a few pictures when we came upon it. When we arrived at the scene, we saw their transport truck was overturned down the embankment. Amazingly only one of the crew sustained injuries, a fractured leg. Thank goodness it wasn’t worse…from the looks of the truck, it certainly could have been.
There were tons of people on the road today…it makes the highway scene so colourful. I had my eyes peeled for boys who sell sticks of mice on them by the side of the road so I could take a picture. We had seen a bunch of them along the route on the way up. Apparently mice are a nice snack in these parts. We came across some after a little while and at first I was a bit hesitant about taking their picture because we weren’t buying anything, but they didn’t seem to mind and became very animated when they saw the camera.
(Above) Mmmmmm mice
Later, we came upon a large group of people slowly walking along the side of the highway and in the middle of the procession was a bride in a white gown and groom in a dark suit. I had my camera in my hand and people motioned for me to take the couple’s picture so I did.
(Above) The happy couple
We made one tourist stop along the way at a pottery place we’d been to on our last trip. It seemed way more expensive this time than last so we just bought a couple of things.
Near celebrity sighting…We saw Lucious Banda’s tour bus on the road between Salima and Lilongwe!! He had done a show in Salima on Friday night and had two coming up in Lilongwe on the Saturday and Sunday.
We arrived in Lilongwe around 3pm, checked into our hotel, then headed out to the craft market on the street. We had some things in mind that we wanted to buy to give to folks who come out to our CD Launch in September. That took awhile…vendors surround you and all work hard at getting you to come to see their merchandise and it’s a bit difficult to move through quickly. After browsing, we walked away and decided exactly what we wanted and what we were willing to pay…best price and second best price. We went back and started negotiating. This time we held to our price…okay, our second best price…had to cause we were running out of Kwachas. The deal was done and we were quite pleased. We left with just enough money to have dinner…until we ran into one guy who we had seen earlier selling bracelets “made by street kids” and, well…
We went back to the room and had showers and changed, then went for dinner at a restaurant right beside the hotel. Low on Kwachas, luckily the restaurant took USD so we had separate bills and I paid for mine with my remaining Kwachas and Dwight used American money for his. We had hoped to have a nap sometime before being picked up for our 2am flight, but just weren’t tired enough.
It’s now 11pm and I’m writing this at the Lilongwe airport. Our first flight is to Nairobi, then from Nairobi to Amsterdam, then Amsterdam to Toronto. The waiting times at each airport are just a couple of hours so it should be good.
Random Observations of Malawi…
- While Tanzanians uses the term Mzungu to refer to white people, it’s just Zungu in Malawi
- Lots of people kids and adults wave and greet you, when you pass by!
- Driving on Malawi highways is much less assertive than in Uganda; vehicles slow down when passing pedestrians and cyclists or when driving through trading centre; worst driver we encountered was a Zungu in an SUV
- The highways in Malawi are in great condition however, their bridges all file down to single lanes
- The currency is Kwachas…I like saying that…Kwacha, Kwacha
- Malawi has a tropical feel to it, especially up north along the coastal highway
- You know how we worry if we leave meat on the counter for more than half an hour? In Malawi (and actually all three countries we visited), the meat at butcher shops (stalls) is hanging on a hook outside with no refrigeration…do we worry too much?
- Malawi is known as ‘The Warm Heart Of Africa’
- There are a lot of people with the surname ‘Banda’; must be the ‘Smith’ of Malawi
Posted in Africa 2009 |