Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nkhata Bay, Malawi to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

It took us all day to get to Nkhata Bay on a bus from Lilongwe. The bus was completely stuffed (as is all the transport in Malawi) and I didn't even get a seat until about 3 1/2 hrs into the ride. Someone also hit one of the side windows of the bus with a rock and it shattered while we were bumping down the road. All good fun but honestly I'm surprised that more rocks haven't been thrown in Africa so far. We met up with Ben and Bre at Nkhata Bay as they'd already been there for a couple days and found a great place to stay. Not the cheapest but certainly the most popular and lively. Mayoka Village has the horrible effect on people of being so nice that lots of people end up "getting stuck" and staying a lot longer than planned. The same happened to us too :)
Nkhata Bay is one of the more popular stops for travellers on Lake Malawi and a very popular place for diving. We didn't do any but Ben was doing is PADI Open Water when we arrived and most of the others there also seemed to be doing a dive or two as well. We stuck to daily swimming and snorkeling. There are hundreds of species of Cichlid fish in the lake of various colours which are fun to see but dad rated the snorkeling as a 1 out of 10 overall. Picky..... It was better than that, if only because fresh water is so much nicer to swim in and the water temperature a warm 25C. The water was usually very clear (though there were windy, wavy days) and the sun always shining. The only real problem with the town is that it's full of Rastas with retarded names for themselves like Happy Coconut and Sweet Cheeks and other such nonsense. Pretty soon I'm going to despise Rastas as much as taxi drivers. It's getting really close.
Ben and Bre took off after about 4 days together with us. They've gone off to do Ben's stuff and we'll see them in about 5 weeks or so, though anything could happen at this point. They should be entering Burundi today and hopefully Bre will write blogs about her own adventures. We hung on in Nkhata Bay for a week total, the last 2 days of which we were supposed to have left on. I'd've stayed longer if it'd been up to me (there were cool guys and beautiful British medical students staying there, what can I say?) but just managed to stay long enough to have my birthday there. That was a little strange because there was a Canadian girl there turning 30 on the same day. What are the odds? The staff at Mayoka were awesome, baked us a cake and sang the most horrible, inharmonious version of "Happy Birthday" ever. It was great.
The reason we had to leave so soon was because Savannah was harping on us to go meet up with Kees in Dar es Salaam, since he was now alone again. I'd wanted to take the same route as Ben and go up the west side of Tanzania to Burundi and Rwanda but alas, I've lost any semblance of control here. I am merely a slave to the demands of the people...... So we left Nkhata Bay early on the 14th and spent the entire day transiting up to Mbeya, Tanzania. I was in horrible shape after late nights and early mornings the last few days before leaving and am actually still trying to recover a few days later. It was a terribly long day but without any specific complaints or hassle. The border was fine and the roads good. The landscape was beautiful and entering Tanzania somehow made the land greener and more suitable for growing tea because we saw lots of it on the hills. It kind of reminded us of India.
We'd been warned that Mbeya was full of hassle and scams, particularly at the bus station but we stayed a full day in town to recover and it actually seemed quite pleasant. I don't know where the hassle was supposed to be because we never really saw it. From Mbeya it took us 13 1/2 hrs to get to Dar es Salaam where we were picked up by Kees at the bus station and taken to a beautiful beach resort just north of the city. We now intend to be reunited for the remainder of the African trip as I understand it but we are in the process of planning again. No telling what will happen next.....


At 12:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ammon,
Welcome to married life, the reality being the females pretend to let you be in charge, but really it is all a facade. Surrender to the inevitable, your Mom and Sis's are a force of nature, the best you can hope for is to try to help them organize and stay safe in their rampage (picture and elephant herd) ( not that I'm implying anyone there is the size of an elephant)and hope they don't head for the wrong place. It's all those estrogens longing for the testostorones.... so to speak.
By now you guys should have arrived at your next stop, and I hope the big happy is happy together and healthy.
We're just back off a month vacation ( longest one I've ever had) and I'm settling into work again.
Gotta run, but glad to hear from y'all.
Love and Big Bear Hugs
The Bear


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