Lakeside perfection

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Written on Tuesday 8 October

The water, no more than 100 metres in front of me, is gently lapping at the shore of the lake. Dotted around me Oasis travellers are chilling in hammocks trying to get a few more hours sleep after the sun woke us at dawn (its 7am and I’m up and ready for the day). I’m sitting at a shaded bench overlooking the huge expanse of Lake Malawi, the first of the morning sunshine is warm against my skin as a gentle breeze takes the edge off the heat.

Early monring on Kande Beach, Lake Malawi.
Early monring on Kande Beach, Lake Malawi.

Breakfast will be served at 8.30 and includes bacon, which is exciting as we haven’t had meat for days. Although i didn’t notice the lack of meat until others mentioned it and last night’s vegetable curry was delicious it put any Indian take away at home to shame!

Tonight is hog roast night, basically a party where we all eat to much, get drunk and dress up in ridiculous fancy dress! The outfits were purchased anonymously yesterday from a clothes market in Mzuzu, Malawi’s second largest town. We picked names out of a hat at breakfast and had to buy clothes for that person. This was not a task I was relishing but within seconds of us getting off the truck we were surrounded by men with bags full of hideous clothes which they described as ‘bad taste’. I spent about ¬£1.50 on a gross leopard print all in one, which the seller assured me is for a man but looks suspiciously like ladies clothing. (We were advised that cross dressing was not an option as it could offend the locals).

The market stop also gave us time to do our first cook group shop of the trip. The market was huge with a plethora of stalls selling fruit and veg. Aware that we had to buy the clothes we zipped around the chaotic market as quickly as possible picking up carrots, peas, tomatoes, peppers and onions for what we intended to be a dinner of chicken, veg and mash.

But as often happens in Africa all the best laid plans go to ruin. When we arrived at the supermarket the chicken was not an option. Candie had to ask if they had chicken then when shown responded ‘oh, is that chicken’ so the fate was sealed we would have to do a very quick rethink. We ended up with mince¬†and some more tomatoes to make a tomato and mince sauce to accompany the mashed potato.

While the chicken disaster was playing out I was busy with my own dilemma. I needed cash, but such things don’t always come easy in Africa. After visiting seven different cash machines I was tearing my hair out and still didn’t have any cash. Grrrrrrrrrrr. With no prospect of getting any cash until Lilongwe I was stuck, especially as later we were visiting a wood carving market where I had planned to buy souvenirs.

Luckily tour leader John, stepped in with a solution and as always the situation resolved itself almost perfectly!

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