Sunday, June 8, 2014

Two Nights at Lake Malawi

Thursday morning, we drove about 3 hours north to Cape Maclear on the southern coast of Lake Malawi. The lake runs almost the entire length of the country, and is incredibly beautiful. We spent two nights at Cape Mac Lodge for a little R&R between Josh’s time teaching in Zomba and in the Lower Shire.

On the way up, we saw some monkeys on the side of the road! I saw a big baboon before these, but we were going too fast to get a picture. When I spotted this little monkey family, Eric stopped so I could get some pictures. Can you see him sitting in the Y of the tree? There were more on the ground.

We spent the afternoon relaxing after the rough drive. Most of the roads, even the main roads, are just dirt roads, which makes travel pretty bumpy.  The place where we are staying is on the beach, but surrounded by a village, and the whole beach is full of village kids playing, women doing laundry, and men trying to sell things to white people.

I went briefly out to the beach, and was immediately approached by a man trying to sell me things. I kindly told him I didn’t have any money, and he went on. Then, I was swarmed by little boys that were probably between the ages of 5-8. Only the oldest two had anything on (and just underwear briefs). They wanted me to take a picture of them, and I made them squeeze in tight so I could get one of them from just the waist up.

This is the plague of being a mzungu (white person, literally “miracle worker”) here. There is no blending in or going unnoticed like we could do in Moldova.

On Friday, we took a small boat out to an island in the lake where we snorkeled, and then the man leading our little excursion, Isaac, cooked us a lunch of rice, potatoes in tomato sauce, and grilled fish over an open fire.

I feel the need to also mention that I’d made some homemade sunscreen for this trip out of only coconut oil and carrot seed oil. I read that coconut oil has a natural SPF of about 5, and carrot seed oil of about 40. I was really excited about my sunscreen, and put it to the ultimate test that morning. Sadly, it failed. It may or may not have done better if we weren’t in and out of the water (I did reapply), but I got burned to an ever-loving crisp, and so did Eric, who tried my sunscreen that morning, too.

On the way back to the lodge, Isaac took some small fish he’d brought and we went to find some eagles. He would whistle and then throw the fish, and an eagle would come out and swoop to get it. It was really cool.

We rode along the beach for almost the entire length of the village on the way back, and it was neat to see everybody out on the beach. There were lots of naked kids. Jude would fit in well here!

After we got back, we ordered a pot of coffee and drank it out in the lawn. That's kind of a mundane detail to include, but I just love the picture I got during that coffee break:

Then, Stephanie and I walked through the village. There are several souvenir booths set up along the way, and after much indecision, I finally got Jude a couple of souvenirs.

That night after dinner, I got really sick. Not puking sick (though I did feel like I could a few times), digestively sick, if you know what I mean. All night. I had choked on my snorkel a couple of times, so we think maybe drinking the lake water was to blame.

Sunburned and sick, I loaded up on Immodium and we made our way back to Eric & Stephanie’s house in Zomba. We are pooped, but so grateful for the chance to spend some time at the lake. I took a few pictures through the window on the drive back.

A fairly typical Malawian house. Nicer houses will have metal roofs.

Driving through a village on our way home.

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