Kande Beach to Lilongwe; Rainbow sunrise; Big expensive supermarket; Italian in Lilongwe

Today’s most spectaccular highlight was certainly the sunrise over Lake Malawi. Sheryl and I got up early just to watch it, and it was well worth the yawns. Over an hour the clouds built up in front of the sun in a great tower of cumulonimbus pile, back-lit and glowing with rose light and crackling with lightning. Streamers of rain swept down from their bottom reaches to the wter, and the sun lit up their lower edges with a line of orange fire.

The rest of the day wasn’t as interesting, though. We left Kande Beach for a seven-hour drive to Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital. We reached it around 1pm. It’s a quite modern city - at least the little bit we saw. Some glass buildings and a few banks. There are still the drifts of garbage we’ve been seeing everywhere, though, and the sidewalks are torn-up dirt strips beside deep trenches, but there are proper traffic signals and a big supermarket, which was our reason for stopping in the city. I ws part of the shopping team this time. Ida and I split up the supply-buying for our cooking day - she bought for dinner nd Sheryl and I got breakfast and lunch. We both ran over budget theough - the big supermarket was also an expensive supermarket - not much cheaper than back home, in fact. I spent 5000 Kwachas on breakfast and lunch groceries for sixteen people - that’s about CAD$35. We were all determined not to run short of food again, though - especially as our next destination is another remote one and we won’t be able to buy any food at all for the next three days. At least weve finally got some ice for the coolers so hopefully the food won’t spoil

Dinner toight, though, was at an Italian restaurant in Lilongwe. Yes - you read that right. Adam and Elton recommended the place, so we all cabbed down there. I made small talk with the driver and happened to ask if he’d eaten at the restaurant. He gave a hopeless little laugh and said that he coult’t afford it. Of course I felt horrible and tried to make him feel better by going on about how we couldn’t really afford it either and how it was a big treat for us, but he wasn’t buying it. And rightfully not, since I was lying through my teeth - or so I thought, anyway. The restaurant turned out to be way too expensive for our budget - most of the dishes were between 1500 and 2000 Kwachas ($10-15) Sheryl and I really had to be careful, since we didnn’t know it was going to be so expensive and had left with only $14 in US currrency and 2000 Kwachas, and needed to leave some for the taxi back to camp (we’re leaving Malawi tomorrow wo we didn’t want to take out any more Kwachas). We split a pizza and it turned out to be enough for both of us. We mostly wnt along to be social, but I wish we hadn’t bothered, it was a silly thing to spend money on.

The food was quite good thouh, and the Malawian staff pronounced everything with impeccabe Italian acccents, which struck me funny for some reason. No gelato, unfortunately - only ice cream. They called it gelato when I asked, but sadly it wasn’t. When the time came to leave we walked down the road to the area where the banks are, to try and find taxis back to the campground. This was a lot harder than I expected. This far, everywhere in Africa we’ve had to practically beat the cabbies off with a stick, but now when we needed them they were nowhere to be found. There don’t seem to be any licensed taxis in Lilongwe, though - only guys with cars. I’m really not wild abut this system, because you can never be sure that the guy with the car isn’t going to drive you someplace to get mugged or worse. This time there wasn’t really any choice, however. There were four of us in the cab, so I was happier than I would have been if it was just Sheryl and I, but still. I watched the turns he was taking carefully and only relaxed when I saw the campsite gates. I hate not having a phone that works here, I feel so helpless sometimes without a way to call for help if necessary.

Flourish

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Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
This travelogue comprises 16,426 photographs and 402,515 words in 307 dispatches written from 335 places in 52 countries on 6 continents around the world.
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