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Published: September 1st 2009
Well after what we had thought was a crazy trip to get to Malawi we soon realized our first trip inside Malawi was gonna be a good one! Once at the main bus center in Lilongwe we found out that there was only one bus to Senga Bay where we were going and it was completely full. So I leave Tyne with the bags and go to find out when the next bus is and end up buying tickets for the already super overfull bus sitting in front of us. Needless to say Tyne is pretty happy, so we walk up to the bus and the conductor is ready to squeeze us and our packs into the bus, since the saying goes " there is ALWAYS one more seat in Africa" so as the sheet metal of the bus groans we squeeze in. I end up getting the conductors single seat at the front and Tyne stands in front of me while our backpacks are crammed against the windshield and the front doors, at which point we see the capacity sticker for the bus which says 65 and we're pushing closer to 80! To top it off Tyne has
a 250lb African woman standing in front of her the whole way and this lady decides to lean up against Tyne the whole way. It was pretty funny.
After arriving in Salima, Malawi we jumped on a Matusa (Pick up truck) and headed out to Senga Bay. We chose to stay at Cool Runnings Hostel which turned out to be really laid back and very relaxing right on the lakefront. Once we got settled in we got right down to buisness... reading and working on our tans!! We ended up meeting an Irish couple Mike and Maire who were living in Malawi while Mike completed an internship with the local Farmers Co-op. We ended up spending most of our time hanging out together and sharing lots of traveling stories as they have also done alot of traveling.
Our first outing was to "Lizard Island" which is a small island off shore from where we were staying that is inhabited by monitor lizards and birds. Our guide for the trip was Manson who is a local who is friends with Mike and Maire. Our trip started out with us having to switch boats while everyone in the small fishing
village watched as we were shipped from boat to boat. We were the talk of the village that day for sure! Once our boat issue was resolved we were off to the island, the island does in fact have several large monitors living on it, the problem is hiking around the island sucks because it is covered in bird shit and tons of dried dead leaves which makes it impossible to sneak up and get any good pictures of these darn lizards! So we did some snorkeling around the island which proved to be a better idea. The lake is awesome with crystal clear waters and tons of African Cyclids(tropical fish).
The next day was another awesome travel day that was memorable for many reasons. Our day started heading back into Salima to try and get some money out. After trying all 3 banks in town we are unsuccessful at getting any money, and we are both very frustrated at our futile efforts to access our cash. It's at that moment as I look around at where we are in a very small town in Rural Africa that I realize that even though we have what to most Africans
Partying at the local Bar!
me, Tyne, Moira, Mike and Manson
would be all the money in the world we are so upset that we temporarily unable to access it, while most of the people here wake up everyday without access to money for the simple fact that they have none. Once again we're shown that we rarely stop and truly appreciate what we have as we tend to take everything for granted not realizing that most of what we have was granted solely through the lottery of birth. So after counting our blessings and re thinking our options we were able to get some money using the old visa. We headed back to Senga bay to meet up with Mike and Maire and head out for dinner. After our dinner we met up with Manson and headed to the local "Shebeen" (bar) for some pool and drinks, we had a blast! Everyone was so friendly and wanted to talk to us and just hang out. We sampled some Chibuku or "Shake Shake" which is very raw beer, and by raw I mean it looks like a beer with a pack of oatmeal in it. They come in Milk Cartons and if you open it up like a milk carton it
After winning the pool game, this old guy picks me up and carries me around the bar for a victory lap it was too funny!
means it's just for you but if you cut the entire top off that means it's for sharing and anyone is welcome to some. The evening was great as we got to hang out with all the locals and make lots of new friends.
We had planned to leave this evening on the ferry to the Northern part of the lake but since we couldn't get a cabin booked we decided to spend the 3 days we would have on the ferry staying put instead. Also there was a concert happening on the beach featuring "The Black Missionaries" who are Malawi's best reggae band. The concert turned out to be a blast as we danced the night away on the beach while listening to some really good music. The funniest part was Mike who had forewarned us that when he got really drunk he lost all muscle control in his back, so sure enough here he is trying to walk around with a completely limp/dead upper body, it was pretty funny as Mason and I tried to carry him around.
No big surprise that the next day was pretty mellow. We enjoyed our day once again reading books
Me and the owner of the bar
Can you believe that this guy is 24 years old with 2 kids???
and lounging in the sun. Tyne had a small army of local children adopt her as their new best friend and she spent most of the afternoon playing with them, best of all unlike many other children we have come across not one of them asked her for money or anything else for that matter. We had a final visit from Manson to say goodbye and drop off some crafts we bought off him that he makes. The coolest ones are our new wedding rings made from Hippo teeth! They are really cool and I'm not big on local local jewelry or curios but I thought these were a definite must have. Where else on earth can you get rings made from a Hippo's tooth? We were sad to leave Senga Bay since we had what to date was our best experience in rural East Africa and we really got to mix with the locals more as travelers and not as tourists. Everyone we've met in Malawi so far has more than exceeded Malawi's reputation as being the friendliest people in Africa and anyone looking at having a genuine Africa experience that is free from constant harassment to buy things
or money should head here.
Next blog Malawi Part II Nkhata Bay...Diving, Diving and More Diving
Until Next one
Matt & Tyne
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