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Published: October 17th 2008
Having enjoyed Kande Beach so much the first time, Mike and Lesley and I decided to take a trip back there on Friday, for a three-day weekend, this time with our friends Sebastien, John Paul, and Tayllor (who came Saturday). We had two holidays to celebrate: American independence on July 4, and Malawian independence on July 6! The five of us piled into my little car and we headed out of Lilongwe around 6pm, making it to Kande at the reasonable hour of 10pm. We had a celebratory springbok shot and then sat on the beach for a while, enjoying that amazing view of the stars you can only get when you’re in such a remote place. Kande is nothing more than a tiny village built on a perfect stretch of white beach, with one backpacker-friendly “resort” built on it, so there is very little light interference.
We awoke to crystal clear turquoise water and immediately set out to the beach to resume Operation Get-A-Tan and continue John Paul’s swimming lessons. We were all staying in Kande’s prime accommodation: the Stoned Cottage, a beautiful, 2-story stone structure with a thatch roof that sleeps 6 people. The second
The Stoned Cottage
Isn't it beautiful? That's the upstairs open-air bedroom up top.
floor is completely open to the air. We had our own kitchen in the cottage (as well as our own hot water shower) so Saturday afternoon we headed into the village to buy provisions to cook a proper feast—it was July 4, after all! At the Kande market we bought some fresh goat meat to put on the braai—the photos show you what typical butcher stands look like here. You don’t see them in Lilongwe unless you go to the outer areas where most Malawians live, but on the way home from the camp we pass a stand or two where you can get the best deals. We also bought some tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and garlic to make pasta and rosti and salad.
Unlike our foray into the village on our last trip, the town was very active on Saturday afternoon and the Kande Beach Social Club was packed. The music blaring from its one speaker could be heard all throughout the village so we couldn’t resist going in. Needless to say we drew some attention, and I think we may have caused a serious drop in business in Kande’s other bottle store (what locals call bars here) because
people started pouring in after we arrived. As usual it was a little sad, given that it was only around 2pm and there were some seriously drunk men around (and no women, of course). But we had fun joking around and then started making our way back home to cook.
John Paul and Mike took care of locating a braai for us to borrow and some charcoal (one of the backpackers’ guards sold us a huge bag of it for around $2), while Sebastien, Lesley, and I got to chopping. One thing I have to say that is nice about knowing how to cook: you can assign other, less qualified people to the menial labor! Sebastien was our trusty onion and garlic peeler and chopper; Lesley and Sebastien took turns grating potatoes for our rosti, and Mike took care of cutting the gristle off of the goat meat and preparing it for the grill, which John Paul was getting ready. Our little hot plate cooker wasn’t working so well, so Lesley and I decided to try and cook our dishes over the fire on the grill, which turned out to be a very slow process! The pasta and rosti
The Stoned Cottage - upstairs
This is where we slept, right under the thatch roof, in the open air, in a shady spot right on the beach!
must have cooked for something like two hours. Somewhere during our waiting someone had the brilliant idea to pass the time by playing “I never…” and you can imagine how it went from there 😊. Our rosti wasn’t frying quite how we’d hoped so Lesley kept adding more and more butter—it ended up being nothing like rosti but perhaps the most delicious potato dish I have ever had! One part potato, two parts butter. The pasta turned out less than perfect due to the problematic cooking conditions (the water never actually boiled!), but the goat was delicious. Tayllor and I (the two américaines
) felt pleased with ourselves that we'd managed to pull off a beach bar-b-que for the Fourth of July, in Malawi
! We sat up at our outdoor picnic table talking into the wee hours by candlelight and then we headed to bed.
Sunday we all woke up to have breakfast at the little Soft Sand Café; while there we met a former Malawian political activist who had been alongside Kamuzu Banda (who would become Malawi's dictator) fighting for independence back in the 1950s. This man had been put in prison in Zimbabwe (these were all part of
Saturday morning breakfast (inside)
The tables are all covered in Far Side cartoons!
the same territory back then) and was telling us what it was like and discussing the current political situation here. It was pretty neat getting insights from a Malawian on current events; sadly the media here leaves a lot to be desired so it’s hard to get an accurate picture from newspapers, let alone insightful observations.
Next, Part II (there were so many photos I had to split this up in two; the last two videos actually go with Part II but I wasn't going to download them again so sorry about that!).
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