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The Road to HELL....oops I mean Lake Malawi

On the road to HELL

It's dark, we wake, breakdown camp and load onto the truck - oh - NO BREAKFAST!!!! That will come later...
Once on the bus I (and most it seems) go right back to sleep! A few hours later we stop - bathroom break and a breakfast. Back on the bus and the road, a few hours more and we stop for gas, another hour we stop for a roadside lunch and bush toilet. A few locals show up to watch our every move - they must think we have strange habits as we eat, wash dishes and then flap our dishes like geese flying to better climes in order to dry them before we reload EVERYTHING that we just unloaded only to then board and get back on the road.

3 more hours!!! And we reach our camp site - NOT our final destination!
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Along the way we go through a climate and environment change...
We have now climbed back up into the mountain region.
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We pass zebra, giraffe, elephant (some saw buffalo, gazelles and impala - I didn't, I was asleep!) and I think at the highest elevations some saw numerous baboons.
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Finally, we arrive at our campsite around 5 PM. After setting up our tents, we shower and meet at the bar
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for a pre-dinner drink. Again after dinner, Rose tells us what to anticipate for tomorrow...
Another early rise (4:45 AM), load the truck, breakfast by 5:30 and 6 AM departure. She explains that we will be en route for yet another 10 - 12 hours as we cross the border into Malawi. After dinner we walk back to the bar
where some have brownies and hot chocolate made with an African liquor called Amarula. Thom is tired and a cranky so he heads to bed early.

Up EARLY (4:50 AM)...

After breaking down and packing up AGAIN - simple breakfast - coffee / tea and oatmeal (if you want) and back on the road!
As we travel more of the same, snooze, more of the same, snooze, boredom and still more of the same!
Although this was interesting:
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Reminds me of India, which at this point of the trip I was missing dearly!!!

Besides that (which I think was from this part of the journey but I could be wrong and therefore I am just adding that to make this part of the blog more interesting for you) our pace is such that we don't even stop for pictures of land changes, rivers, wildlife - we stop for NOTHING!
It all takes it's toll and it turns out to be yet another LONG day! In the end the commute could have been worse. We sat at a table today across from the Canadians and at times we were able to "connect with them on various topics", however the amount of time and lack of space can have (and did) it's toll.
Back to that later.

For now we'll skip to finally reaching our first camp at lake Malawi.
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Lake Malawi is an African Great Lake and the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa, it is also the ninth largest in the world.
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We take a walk to the beach and some teenage boys hawk us to buy their wood carvings calling themselves some ridiculous names and pretending to know our guides so we politely (as much as you can) go back to the campground and hangout with our group at the bar.
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While really nice we are only here for one night before we leave again for another campground at Lake Malawi. Yes... More driving yay!
Here is a better view of Lake Malawi taken while we were driving at some point in the truck. It really looks like an Ocean as most Great Lakes do...

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Upon arrival to our new site it is so crowded and the tenting area is packed so we scurry to upgrade to better accommodations and "stretch out" / reorganize. Our lodging was right on the beach and only cost $46 US for two nights - not bad at all!!!
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Humble though they may be, the view was wonderful and the glass-less windows and ceiling fan offered a luscious breeze at night for pleasant sleeping. But first things is first - LAUNDRY!!!! We needed to get this done so we can hang it to dry. So we get out the basins and find the hose with water and do it African Style.

Our first night was very nice. We had a great meal prepared by Henly, pork - which Kelly not only tried but liked! Many of us hung out and drank, washing away the aches and sores from the long two day commute. Before bed we walked out on the beach to a campfire where some locals were drumming. The fire was nice and Kelly jumped in with the drumming but after a time (and their request for money) we headed back to our rooms for a good night's rest.
We had a friend waiting...
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Sunday morning it is peaceful so we decide to hop off our little deck and go for a walk.
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The hotel had two chaperones that followed us and took us around to see the sites (they didn't ask for money):
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Later we join Bob and Christine for coffee at the cafe before our group's scheduled breakfast. A nice breakfast (as usual - except on long travel days) and it's time for some heavy duty RELAXING!
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Kelly and I grab our books and two hammocks.
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Nap, read, nap, read some more, nap and lazily stare at the water and white sand until lunchtime.
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No swimming though. I mean it wasn't super hot and the water was rough but even if it hadn't been, Lake Malawi is known for having certain types of snails that are carriers of a parasite. Bilharzia is caused by a parasitic worm (schistomes) with a smart life cycle. So while others will tell you it is fine as long as the water is not stagnant, Thom and I went into this knowing we just weren't going to take any chances either way. Especailly after the whole Ganges River thing in India...ha ha ha!

A bit more relaxing and then Bob and I (Thom) share a stout as he shows me pictures of his art work and some of the housing projects they've done - nice time spent with a nice man. Little did I know that this was the beginning of the end of a totally pleasant day!

The group starts to assemble in the lounging area while waiting for out dinner. Kelly and the "Italian Ladies Club" drink wine that they had purchase earlier at road stops, I had two stouts (this is important to note because of what is about to come after dinner, which occurred out of TOTAL frustration NOT alcohol). Dinner was delicious - T-bone steaks!!! Sam grilled the steaks to perfection on an open fire. They were accompanied by lentils, garlic sauce and warmed cabbage slaw - DELICIOUS!

After dinner... Well that was another story and let's just say that many on the trip had been "tip toeing" around the Canadians, trying politely to deal with their irritating ways until unfortunately they picked Kelly to have words...
AND then persistently went to Thom to try and drag him into it. I'm not going to get into the unpleasant details of every word spoken here that but it ended like this: (read this part silently or skip if children are around...lol)

I (Thom) tell her that she needs to talk to Kelly if she has a problem and that I want out of the situation.
She is relentless so I tell her that I'm done and if she doesn't leave it alone I won't be able to remain very pleasant - she steps right up and into my grill and says "oh yeah?"...
Game on!!!
Thom: " If you have a problem with Kelly, you need to talk to her and if you can't do that then you need to back off or GO F$%* YOURSELF!"

Part of me (Thom) still can't believe I said that to her...
Another part of me thought that it was LONG overdue!!!

In any event, it prompted the attention of the rest of the group - BREAK TIME!!!
We all go our separate ways, until later we talk with "cool Aussie Nancy" and decide to go back to the gathering area and rejoin the others who are hanging out. Not our best night to say the least.

The next morning we woke early and saw the most amazing sunrise....
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Even though we had been waking at such ungodly hours to drive on the truck we hadn't seen too many really pretty sunrises like this before.
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My Favorite:
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Well we need to have breakfast and get back on the truck for some more long days...this should be VERY INTERESTING!!!

Posted by Kelly Rose 10:34 Archived in Malawi

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Comments

Aside from your seemingly endless transport it looks like you were able to catch some spectacular sights. I am sorry about the confrontation, but after all we don't all take to the abuse of unending discomfort while trying to bask in the sunshine of life. I am happy that you were calmed by such a glorious sunrise and even more pleased to see it as you filmed. Many thanks. Love you both, Mom and Dad

by Mom and Dad McLaughlin

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