A dose of Bilharzia

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Flag of Malawi  ,
Saturday, April 8, 2006

Took advantage of Doogle's full monty breakfast again this morning before we all head off to Cape Maclear on Lake Malawi. This is one of the first times I've traveled with other people for long distances on public transport and it was great to have help from people watching the bags for when I wanted to go and buy food at the stops.

It was a long day on the bus and most of the day was spent just driving past mile after mile of maize. We also had a long spell driving along the side of Lake Malombe before we eventually got to Mangochi where we met an interesting character named Keith. Despite the fact he was from Manchester I had a really good chat with him, maybe because he was a City fan!

He'd spent most of his life in Australia and was over here helping with child welfare and education programs. When we got to Monkey Bay he sent the young boy who was traveling back from town with him to get a pick-up while we all went straight for beers. As I mentioned, it had been a long day and we all deserved them!

Our pick-up truck arrived early so we took the beers with us for the 40 minute trip to Cape Maclear.

We arrived at Steve's Place just in time for a quick dip. Followed by sunset on the beach.

Thomas's for dinner, although with all the fisherman hauling around their catches, it's hard to believe they didn't have any fish left on the menu! I ordered a chicken curry.

Next day and up at 6:30 for a swim. Some local guys offered us tea and banana and lemon pancakes cooked on the beach. We took them up on the offer and sat their watching the fish eagles soaring above, while the kingfishers and cormorants went about their fishing.

Spent the rest of the morning lazing on the beach, swimming in the lake and generally doing nothing. Roland, Eva and Marie joined us for lunch, half way through their first day of their PADI diving course. This turned out to be a mistake as the food took 2 hours to arrive and they didn't get started again until after 3pm! The Chamba fish I ordered from Steve's Place was really good, but after that mammoth wait, poor Roland didn't even get what he ordered and ended up with a plate of chips!

Gail and I rented snorkels that afternoon and headed down to Otter Point in the national park that afternoon. Some very pretty cichlid fish including some nice yellow ones and some blue and blacked stripped ones.

With all the swimming over the last few days in this disease infested water, I'm pretty guaranteed of a good dose of bilharzia disease. Let's hope my doctor can sort me out with something to fix it up once I get back to the US!

We arranged for one of the beach boys to cook barbecued food for us on the beach that evening. The food was good, but they promised lots of fish that never really materialized. Joe, the director for the national park joined us later that evening and I was asking him if selling crocodile teeth was legal as some of the local guys had tried to sell me some earlier in the day. I told me it was not legal and at the same time Mike, the cook, was banging on my leg telling me to be quiet. Obviously he didn't want to get the other beach boys in trouble.

Next morning and said goodbye to Gail who was going to meet her husband in Harare.

That afternoon I headed out to the national park. To be honest for the $5 entry fee there really wasn't too much there. A short walk along the beach and I was at Otter Point where I had snorkeled the previous day. I saw a few lizards with lovely blue tails, baboons and of course the usual array of lakeside birds.

Just outside the park entrance were some missionary grave sites from the 1800s. A famous one included William Black. Cape Maclear was the site of the first missionary center set up by Livingstone. When it was found the whole area was malaria ridden the site was moved north to Livingstonia.

Had a very nice Cherry Plum soda made by Sobo later that afternoon before meeting up with Keith that evening to swig a few beers while watching the sunset.

He kindly invited me back to his place for a few more cold ones and a large helping of stewed beef and potatoes for what turned out to be an enjoyable evening.
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