Saturday, December 30, 2006
Africa: Paradise at last!
In Blantyre, I woke up at 5AM to catch the morning bus to Mzuzu. Apparently there is no more morning bus, and I would have to take another overnight bus. More defeat and frustration. One guy recommended that I take a minibus to Lilongwe, then another minibus to Mzuzu. Minibusses are vans, a little bigger than a normal van, where 30 people squeeze in like sardines. It's truly unbelieveable. A van that should fit 8 people fits 30. They leave all afternoon, but won't leave until completely stuffed full. I was desperate enough to get to Nakhata bay by nightfall so I did it. Lucky I was by a window. The man next to me was a but chubby, so it was a nice cushion. I kept thinking of that early 90s dance song to myself "Hey fat boy!! come stay with me for awhile... hey fat boy, I wanna make you smile!" catchy song. We were sealed together, shoulder to knee. Actually the minibus wasn't bad. Again, I was the only foreigner but I felt fine. I was on a mission. At Lilongwe used the nastiest bathroom, I thought about putting the picture here but decided not to, and got on another minibus. The bus was empty when I got to it so we had to wait a good hour. In that time, dozens of guys tried to sell me everything under the sun through the window. kitchen knives, muffins, firecrackers, cell phone covers, mothballs (!) and drinks. All kinds of RANDOM stuff. It was sweltering outside and my clothes were soaked, but luckily I was in the front so no squeezing. We drove through the Malawian countyside, which is very pretty, lush, almost like Costa rica at times, sometimes reminding me of northern Michigan. Every 60 miles or so we had to go through a police checkpoint for some reason. I finally got to listen to my ipod. I listened to Sean Paul, then Kaskade, which put me in a great mood. I also listened to "boogie on reggae woman" and "do I do" by Stevie Wonder, which will now always remind me of Africa.
At Mzuzu I wondered, do I trust these taxi drivers? Its dark and I really have no choice. I picked the most trustworthy looking one. Isaac took me up the 45 minute ride to Nakhata bay. He was actually playing a tape of coutnry music in the car! Slow, 1970s ballady stuff. where I checked into my very own cozy hut, pictured above, and hit the bar for a much needed beer. I drank with some peace corps girls and some local guys, one of whom had dreadlocks and was dancing around to Michael Jackson's "I'm bad". It was funny, I took a video with my camera. In the dark, the series of huts and backpacker places were lovely, they reminded me of Thailand. I went over to the guesthouse next door, Mayoka Vilage to check in for the remander of the week. It was so much fun - a pool table, friendly people everywhere, dogs sleeping on the floor, fun music playing.. Waves from Lake Malawi crashed below and tropical plants are everywhere. There are hammocks and pillows to lounge on. I was so happy. It was a hard earned journey to get here but all worth it. I slept for 12 hours.
Oh, and Saddam Hussein was hung? And Gerald Ford and James Brown dead? I've missed a lot of news.
well, in honor of James Brown, I feel good! may he r.i.p.
above - my hut, my hut interior (not sure why the pic is small?), women selling fruit through the minibus window