October 8th – Day Fourteen
Today was another travel day, this time further down the coast of Lake Malawi to the Kande Beach camp site via the capital of Malawi, Mzuzu. We were meant to leave at 8am but such is the efficiency of the truck team that we were all ready to go at 7.30am, having had breakfast and packed the tents. It’s not like there is someone constantly egging us all on, we just all seem to work together well and get the jobs done. The partying of the night before had led to a number of unfortunate events involving the ablution blocks. There was quickly no water for showers and three of the four toilets were barely working so it wasn’t a pleasant start for most of us, perhaps that is why we were so keen to leave. So we left and headed inland towards Mzuzu.
I dozed for a lot of the trip and it seemed that we arrived quite quickly in the city where we parked outside a small supermarket and all went our ways to get food, change money and find the Internet. Keryn and I bought some water and a few biscuits before heading down the road to find somewhere to change some of our US cash into Malawi Kwacha. We found a bank but couldn’t see a money changing counter, just long lines of local people. Leaving we tried the next bank on the street, the Malawi National Bank, and they had the counter we were looking for and a decent enough exchange rate. So we queued, got to the head of the line and filled out the required form. We then had to wait while the money was counted out so sat for a while watching people come and go. The money arrived and we counted it (Kwacha notes are rather large so it looks like you have more than you should) and then secreted it away and then left the bank. Ann was having adventures with the local money machines so we waited with her while she checked she could actually get money out and once she was successful we headed back to the truck to try and find Internet access. Dave pointed us in the right direction and we arrived at the rather full Internet cafe. Ann got a seat and we waited but ran out of time, it turned out we had come to the slowest Internet access on the trip so far. Back at the truck we separated out our money and then settled in for the final part of the trip down to Kande Beach.
There were at least another two trucks heading in the same direction as us that arrived after us at Mzuzu so Roger (I think) suggested to Jacques that we forgo the stop for lunch and have it upon arrival at the camp site, this way making sure we got the pick of the site. This was agreed and it was full steam ahead, no stops until we arrived at the site. Kande Beach camp site is a couple of steps up the accommodation ladder from Chitimba and was very nice with only one other truck already on site, a Kumuka truck. Kathy and Sharon set off straight away to find out if there was an available room, they wanted a room as it was Sharon’s birthday on the 9th and they felt they needed a bit of luxury. I convinced Keryn that we needed a room as well so she went off with Maria to see if anything else was available. Lunch was prepared while rooms were negotiated, in the end Kathy and Sharon got their room with ensuite and five of us shared a six bed cottage, John downstairs while Keryn and I shared with Maria and Will upstairs. The cottage was very nice though we continually find new and interesting bugs as the days go by. There is something that buzzes in the wall (probably a wasp nest, it sounds like the bumblebee nest that was in my wall at one flat when I was a student), a small wasp nest under the eve on the 2nd floor balcony, a number of different kinds of ants, cockroaches up to a couple of inches long and a mysterious creature defecating during the night on Will’s mosquito net.
The evening was spent relaxing and dinner was a Canadian thanksgiving meal done for Lyn’s benefit. Rather than turkey we had chicken and we all had marshmallows with chocolate custard for desert. A number of us had signed up for a horse ride in the morning, meeting the horse master at 6.30am, so again it was an early night. Well, early for some, a few of us had a few drinks at the bar and Will and I talked with Jo until past 11pm. We all found bed eventually.