I know I know… my last 2 blog entries were downers but my time in malawi has been positive so here it goes:
Location: Blantyre, Malawi
I’ve had a positive vibe and feeling since arriving in Malawi. My initial feeling when arriving in Tanzania was that it didn’t feel right, let’s just say, the feeling never changed and yet I managed to stay for 3.5 months… maybe to try and figure out why??? meanwhile, I will only have stayed 10 days total in Malawi. I would love to come back!
After our long journey to Mzuzu, we stayed a few days at a neat but slowly becoming run down hostel called Mzoo. They had yummy chips (french fries) with Heinz ketchup. Yes, Heinz ketchup is a luxury as is real butter. I only ate blue band brand margarine in Tanzania so it was quite nice to have the real thing. I tell ya, It’s the little things in life!
We headed off to the lake after getting recommendations from travelers and people living there that Kande beach was the place to go. We arrived after a 2 hr, tight squeeze minibus ride with me holding a 7 year old girl on my lap. She smelled of dust and hay but that’s alright. We were crammed, though they just passed the law in Malawi that it’s 3 people to a bench seat instead of 4 or 5!
The lake was beautiful and surprisingly we were the only ones staying there. They had space to camp, dorms (where we stayed, and very nice) and chalets. I’m happy not to be traveling alone now. The weather wasn’t too good the first day, rainy and that night the water was rough and wind and rain howling. I awoke a lot. The following few days were spectacular and if we weren’t pressed for time, we could easily have stayed for a week or more. You loose track of time.
I went for a 2 hour horseback ride and absolutely loved it. It was the first time I felt so comfortable on a horse and was lucky enough to be the only one riding that afternoon with the owner, Adella. This meant she could give me pointers and teach me some things about riding- it certainly makes a differnce when you’re getting one on one attention. I was trotting and stopping the horse. I thought, I could get used to this…maybe sometime in my future I’ll learn to ride! I even got to strip down to my bikini and go into the lake for a short swim with my horse, Ferguson! (photos will eventually be posted!).
We had planned to explore the southern section of the lake until we were dissuaded due to the amount of travel time, difficultygetting to cape maclear and not being as nice. So we stayed an extra day and then went back to Mzuzu to take the night bus to Blantyre! A 12 hr ride and felt like an airplane with 2 passengers beside me. My body was stiff the following day as my back is all too sensitive to being stuck in uncomfortable positions. We stopped numerous times but somehow I managed to sleep about 4-6 hours off and on!
Blantyre is nice. I’ve been impressed with Malawi. It seems to have a lot more infracture than Tanzania but can’t explain exactly why this is. It could be because it’s a 6th the size of Tanzania and has population of 12 million so they need to be more efficient?
I’ve also felt more comfortable around Malawianas and haven’t been harrassed. It makes a difference. English is widely spoken here as well. It makes it easier communicating and traveling when there’s less of a language barrier.
For one, there are lots of grocery stores. We even went into one, called Cash n Carry, that sold in bulk- 2 boxes of crackers, waters, chips etc. A mini version of a Costco. I never encountered a store like this in Tanzania. Maybe there was one in DAR or Arusha but considering Mzuzu was the size of Moshi, I would have expected Moshi to have bigger sized grocery stores. I’ve also been able to get more westernized things- I was able to order a lettuce salad at a nearby Italian restaurant that just opened. At the western restaurants in Moshi, I never had this available! There is even a store called Game that has electronics, furniture, office supplies, desks, toiletries, kitchen ware, beverages, snacks and so on. THe closest thing to a Target- a one stop place for all your needs. It’s nice to be able to go to one shop and take care of everything! I figured I’d have to wait till South Africa to have the western things I miss but so far, some that have been on my ‘I miss list’ have been found here!
Tommorrow Heather and I are off to Mozambique. we’re an hour from the border but our journey to Central Malawi is a long one. I think we need 3-4 different buses! If you’re curious we’ll go vis Zobue, take a bus to Tete, then to Choimo. we’ll crash there and if we’re filling up to it, hop on an 8-9 hr bus ride to Vinakulo on the coast, linger there for a while until we make our way down to Tofo and Inhumbane!
We’re hoping for lots of sunshine. Unfortunately, were traveling during rainy season but it’s been gorgeous in Malawi.
hope all is well,