Malawia - five days without luggage

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November 4th 2014
Published: November 4th 2014
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On the move again, arriving at the Kilimanjaro airport our temperature was taken now for the second time. They motion us on, so far so good. No signs of Ebola.

Once through all the security we discovered that our flight is delayed an hour and a half. Didn't find out why until we finally boarded. There was an incident at the connecting airport (Narobi), the airport was shut down and the air space cleared. WTF???never did find out what the incident was. Finally on board and fly to Narobi then onward to Lilongwe and was uneventful. Except for the fact our luggage did not follow us. Well it did follow us, they just didn't take it of the plane and sent it through to Lusaka. Now our bags have been to more cities than we have. We filed a report and were promised our luggage would be sent to us the following day. Even though Francine insisted they look for the pink bag. The obviously didn't even try. We had to leave for Cape Maclear, as it was a 4hour drive to the very remote area of Malawi. It would be well past dark when we arrive. We had to negotiate with the taxi drivers and was able to get a rate $20 cheaper. We got into the cab and our young cabby asked for money up front so we gave him half being $90usd. Once we gave it to him he jumped from the taxi and ran back into the terminal with his boss tapping the roof of the cab and saying " ok thanks bye bye". I looked at Francine and said "I think we were just robbed. Francine the senior sprinter that she is follow the young man at breakneck speed, to catch the culprit. To our embarrassment and his surprise he was just exchanging USD for Kwacha. We all laughed about it later. The drive was longer than expected as our driver was pulled over for speeding. Of course we had no idea what was happening. Francine was sure they (the police) were going to shake us down for bribe money, but no it was just a $ 10 fine. However the policemen were very stern and intimidating to us. It was unbelievable the amount of people out walking and cycling on the roads. Thousands of people along the 300km stretch of travel. It was Friday night and there were usually weddings and other celebrations at the end of the week. Many more walking and cycling than in cars. They use the cycles as taxis, by have a metal tray over the back wheel for the passenger to sit on. We were so tired and it was so dark we had no real sense of the place, the only thing that seemed good was a shower and bed. During the night we experienced an electrical storm, strange in the dry season, but after all Angie and Fran are in town anything can happen😜. At least it cooled down for a few days. It is getting warmer the further south we travel. The next day was pleasantly warm with a nice breeze but remained cloudy for the next two days. Since Francine had no clothes (Angie packed some in her carry on) and so far no luggage we put the local tailor to work on various clothing items, happy pants, tops, bags, dresses, and headbands and padded laptop bag. The price was soooo cheap and the product fairly good. We totally exhausted his inventory of wild African print material. The owners of the Thumbi View Lodge were South African and were charming and hospitable. They made you feel right at home. We took long walks in the village and on the beach. The people here live simply and in very poor conditions. It was rather depressing seeing the poverty and the trash that surrounded the village homes and streets. Although at our end of town it was kept very clean and rubbish free. It's safe but we never leave the compound at night. There is no need and really not anywhere else to go. The favorite thing was TV! They were able to get a lot of movie and sport channels. channels! Francine watched the rugby and New Zealnd beat Australia by 1 point right at the end of the game. 😢 Our big plans were to snorkel, dive and swim in the large Lake Malawi, however the night before our planned scuba and snorkel, to our horror we discovered the water is susceptible to skin invading worms/parasite that can lay eggs in your body and make a home especially in the bladder, and it it get in the blood stream can travel anywhere in the body and cause havoc for years to come. We purposely decide not
to swim. However every lodge on the beach pump water from the lake for showers and water faucets. So we could still be subjected to the possible contamination. Even though we only used bottled water for drinking and teeth cleaning. There is a medicine you can take 12 weeks later once the worms begin to lay the eggs. We will be taking the medicine😱. Happy Australia Day in January to Francine when we will be due for our meds.🎉 We to take a boat ride out to the big island and get to see the small colorful fish and the fish Eagles in action on our last day and when the sun finally came out and it is getting hot. Our most enjoyable moments of Cape Maclear was sharing travel stories with a fantastic couple from Seattle. They have been everywhere! What a great resource of knowledge. They are the same travellers as us in trying to have a different experience and abut off the beaten track where possible. Bottom line we spend our last morning at Thumbi Lodge trying to track our luggage, as it never showed up at our lodge as promised. The couriers were supposed to send
it to the district office in Mangochi and then on to our Lodge. We found out that it's been sitting in Blantyre 4 hours away and in the opposite direction to where we are heading back to the capital of Lilongwe. Many calls later, we have a promise of delivery to our hotel in Lilongwe. We wait and wait once returning to Lilongwe, make more phone calls and still no luggage. The 1:00 am promised time passes, Francine calls at 2 am get a man out of bed and still no luggage. It finally arrived at 4.30am, one hour before leaving for the airport, for our flight out of the country. Now that's a close call. Francine had made a contingency plan to stay in Malawi until the luggage arrived. We were sure we would not see it again if we left the country. We leave Malawi finally having our luggage for only an hour the entire 6 days in the country. We hugged it goodbye as it was again checked in for our flight to Zambia via Johanesberg.

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25th February 2015

Sounds like you had immense fun in Malawi. I see you stayed in a lodge; that really is the best way to really appreciate Malawi, Kumbali Country Lodge is also a great place to stay

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