Malawi!! Yes, it is still amazing.
On the drive up from Zambia to Kande I jumped in to the cab of the truck and spent some time with the tour leader and driver. I always had an idea but after today these two have definitely become very good friends of mine. I shall always look forward to those moments where we bump in to each other on the road and to the quick catch ups. I spent most of the journey laughing, it has been a while since I have done that. To be truthful the laughing was mainly at them rather than us laughing together. You can tell that due to many weeks on the road they have become like brother and sister, husband and wife, best friends, worst enemies and complete strangers all in one. It’s great to watch and see. I hope that my driver and I become like that, although something tells me we will have no choice. Spending that amount if time with something, amazing friendships are bound to be formed. The real entertainment came when we tried to fish out a USB stick from a random hole in the compartment between the seats. Trying to pick up a small USB with a spanner and two pens in a moving vehicle is tricky work. Watching the tour leader attempt it for a good hour was more entertainment that TV could provide. If you have ever seen a chimp try to pick up rice with chopsticks you will be getting the picture. Hilarious. After a while she gave up so I decided to have a go. Being slightly less chimp like I fashioned a hook contraption out of a bracelet and fished it out within 15 minutes. I was impressed with myself and I don’t think she will ever get over it.
We also had a chance to plan for our party that we were going to have in Kande. Acacia, the company that I work for was turning 18 and so all trucks got given some extra money to throw a party wherever you would be. As we had a truck full of girls with one token male we decided to throw a cocktail party. We planned to buy umbrellas and balloons and put on our finest traveling outfit and have a jolly good time sipping on piña coladas and eating some good food. As soon as we arrived we got down to cooking dinner and the group got stuck in to the cocktails. It definitely wasn’t anywhere near as crazy as the previous time I had been in Kande but it was definitely up there with the good nights. Sadly as we had a long driving day that day we all went to bed early fairly sober, so nothing like how 18th birthday parties should be but we gave it a good shot and definitely did have some fun doing it too.
The next day was really chilled out, I spent most of the morning writing notes and catching up with things. I look forward to the days where I don’t have to continuously note write and instead can unpack my kikoi and enjoy the beach and the fresh water of Lake Malawi. The afternoon I spent most if my time with the driver and tour leader, they gave me heaps of good points and provided me with some insightful information. It was a good afternoon well spent. The evening was spent having dinner in the village, kindly cooked for us by Christopher Columbus the Second’s wife and watching his children sing and dance. Wen we headed back to the camp most of us were exhausted so it was an early bed again. The Oasis truck that was also staying in camp were having a large one in the bar so a couple of us decided to go and have a drink or two and watch the messiness unravel. I am so glad that I decided to do this. The entertainment that they provided was priceless. They had travelled down from London through West Africa and were now on their way up through the East. Apparently they had a rough 18 days where they ran out of food and had no opportunity to shower so as you can imagine the sight of semi civilisation and a bar was enough to get the party started. I had the chance to meet a couple of them and get talking to them. It turns out they were a bunch of friends who all knew each other before hand and had all decided to get together for the drivers lat hoorah working as an overlander. This is definitely the way to travel. They all had such crazy stories and good memories that made me so jealous. I was glad to be a part of their fun for one night, and thankful too that it was only one night. I knew I would be bumping in to them again at some point but that was enough. They were too crazy for me and there was no way I would have been able to keep up. They were fun people though and I would like to think that one day my friends would do that for me too. That is definitely the way to travel, they had it spot on.
The rest of my time in Malawi was spent in Chitimba. I love this place. There is something about it that makes me happy. It sounds cheesy and it is but it is so true. The beach, the lake, the scenery and the managers all make for a magical place. We had two days here where we did very little but relax. We snuck in a night of fancy dress and fruit punch that didn’t turn in to a wild party but in fact a great evening dressed like idiots sitting round a campfire. I also had a chance to walk through the village here, much the same as Kande with the same “we need more donations to make our lives better” spiel from the locals. The difference with this village walk was that I was on a mission to find pasta. I though the driver and tour leader were testing me but they weren’t. I had to find some pasta in a very small town where they didn’t even know what pasta was. With lots of explaining and hand gesturing I manage to find one small measly packet of spaghetti. I was pretty chuffed. I also popped in to the local witch doctor just for a laugh. According to him and his potions I am going to have a job soon (yay), my family is healthy (yay), my trip up north would be very successful with few problems (yay) and that I will have three children (not sure what to make of this yet). Probably not worth the few dollars I paid to visit him but it was all about the experience and for the laughs. His outfit was also very typical of an African witch doctor. See for yourself in the photos, I don’t think I could do it justice!
All in all it has been a pretty chilled time in Malawi. It’s been awesome actually and just what I needed. We had some laughs and some drinks and did some shopping, pretty much what you would do on any vacation. Even though it was very different from the last time I still very much enjoyed myself and will again be excited about returning time and time again.