21st Aug 2013 (from diary)
We have been here for 2 days and I have not wrote a word. We arrived on Sunday night exhausted from our epic journey overland from Tanzania. A journey that included early morning rising, dalla dalla’s, walking, an epic 4 hour cab journey and a 19 hour train journey. Ach.
Malawi is very beautiful; the landscape varies from being very lush; the rubber plantations and groves of banana trees invoking India. It has dramatic up and downs as you are driving across the country and of course the Lake is the cherry on the cake. The lake is a shimmering expanse that stretches as far as the eye can see. I have seen more sunrises and sunsets than I care to mention and there have been some pretty spectacular orange and pink ones which I have attempted to photograph and one day I will upload!
On Monday I woke up at 6.30am and headed out for breakfast which is a communal affair here at Butterfly Space. We grabbed our swimming gear and headed to the private ‘beach’ and honestly I have never seen such clear water. I was sitting in the water and could see fish swimming around my body and at one point was nibbled one! The water was so clear that I finally put my face in the water and had a good look at some very pretty turquoise fish. We spent the morning at the lake and headed into Nkhata bay town which was very busy as it was market day. Cue lots of sardines and tomatoes being sold side by side. The next day the lake was incredibly rough, it resembled the sea with large waves, completely different to the clear glass of the day before. Butterfly space where we are staying is a right hippie place, shitting into compost toilets that are open above the waist, cold water showers made out of rock that look over the lake, communal breakfasts and inclusive community project. Toilet was up a small rocky slope- not a fan myself, luckily we were encouraged to water the trees. Owners very nice and friendly.
Bom dia Mozambique!
29th August 2013
After a horrific journey from Malawi to Mozambique, which involved my card not working in several atm’s and not being to cross the border we had chosen. We ended up in the small town of Mangochi in Malawi and were helped by a very nice civil servant Josiah who found us somewhere cheap to stay and most usefully, an ATM that worked! (Fu lost his wallet & card in the cab coming into Malawi). We ended up on yet another coach that didn’t leave until packed to the rafters, this one had people standing in the aisles as well as the usual rice/ luggage etc. We were introduced this day to bicycle taxi’s- just picture fu and I with our massive rucksacks on the back of these bicycles. Getting over the border was very hard because there was no taxi’s or buses contrary to other borders we had crossed, our two options was a van with the driver being told off for the amount of beer bottles on the car floor or a massive haulage truck. Massive haulage truck it was! Comedy night ensused, we rented someone’s hotel room from them for four and a half hours and finally got on the train from Cuamba to Nampula.
Window shopping takes on new meaning in Africa, at every stop people rush to the train with fruit, veg, snacks, chickens, fried food and the others in the compartment rush to buy these via the one window. We found that the bread in Mozambique is excellent and enjoyed ourselves buying various snacks. (I was enjoying Fu’s ridiculous Portuguese accent).
So onto Mozambique itself. Well we both love it so far despite not being to speak the language. People are friendly and the landscape beautiful. We are now on Ilha de Mozambique which is the definition of decaying grandeur. Many of the Portuguese mansions and elaborate buildings have crumbled in places; however people continue to live in the shells of past houses. We went on a bicycle tour yesterday- those of you that know my cycling technique can imagine the stopping, starting and general hilarity of me trying to cycle over bumps and not career into playing children, women carrying babies on their hips and boys staring at the foreigner on the local bicycle. At one point a girl came up behind me and pushed me along! Achhhhhhh. Lol.
Today Fu went to Goa Island, a beautiful desert island with a lighthouse that is only accessible for several hours a day. I spent the day enjoying the beautiful coast and having a guided tour of the museum and museum of sacred art. The latter delivered entirely in Portuguese. Thank goodness for a Catholic upbringing and some basic Spanish! The Island is how I thought Zanzibar would be, and it is both lively and incredibly serene depending on where you are. We are hoping to party hard Latin style over the weekend and then Fu can practice his chat up line ‘Hola minina, tu es muy bonita’ (Hey girl, you are very beautiful). Of course I will not being doing anything of the sort lol. Small note on where we are staying- Ruby’s is gorgeous- beautiful white med style terrace with cerise bougainvillea and lovely rooms. Loving it.