Heading here today but as of now (2:30 pm) we are still at the internet, ha!! And it is costly, $3.20 US per hour, but we doubt we will find any connection in Nkhala that will be cheaper and maybe none at all!
After reading a Steve Martin book I realize I’ve let myself get too serious. Like holding back a sneeze, I read the stories and because it was 6:15 am in a dorm room I had to stifle my laughter. This, I find not only very difficult but wholly unsatisfying, like stopping a hiccup but realizing how good it felt to let it go on…a release, like a shit or piss early in the morning before getting on an 8 hour non-stop bus ride, ha!
It is a bit disconcerting as a backpacker in our travels, we see the 3-5 Star hotels going up everywhere, beautiful, lots of personnel, sky high prices. Then there are the backpacker places falling down, barely maintaining, locals trying to carry bags in for a few pennies, water/electricity in short supply but prices are also going up beyond our backpacker budgets. To me this says the rich are here to stay and either the backpackers are getting richer(I do see some very well off ones but don’t consider them as true backpackers…they usually are just traveling on holiday or are NGOs off for a bit of R&R) or those of us on a budget are getting squeezed out or the places we frequent will disappear soon! The gap between rich & poor now is hitting the travel trade. But then to the locals we are all rich!!!
Arr. In dark at 6:15 in Nkhata Bay and went to 3 places, two very unsatisfactory…small, cave like and no fan (it is humid), the other had priced itself for the upscale folks, definitely out of our budgets. Bon & I were a bit at the end of our ropes but Mari persevered and got transport to Mayoka Village over a rough road up up then down down arriving 7:30. Met Gary(w/ Katheryn) owner & Phillip who were very welcoming hosts. They began building the place 10 yrs ago, this is Tonga tribal land, unique to Malawi…all on sweat equity – they had only 2000 Euros – the locals are all part of the enterprise. Met Finlayson, an old fellow who is grandson of the first black doctor who became educated in Livingstonia and went abroad to get his degree. Finlayson was the first commercial fisherman in the area now retired and sells candy bars at the hostel(he was born just uphill on land the hostel occupies).
It was a great relief to arrive here especially since we had been in the internet til almost 4 & then directly here with only a bit of breakfast only to find that tonite is FREE buffet night! It was the rainbow after the storm.
Apr 9 & 10
Our stay has been most pleasurable. Our first opportunity to swim in freshwater lake unconcerned about flukes or pests of any kind. The water is exceptionally clear 10-12’, and the cichlids all came from one progenitor but exist in a plethora of colors-blue, gold, white, striped-great tropical fish. Many Brits, Irish, US, Euros, S. Africans, NGOs & PCVs from all over on holiday mostly. Met a French fellow Mark who has been traveling most of the past 20 years after spending 20 years with logging companies in the Congo, Gabon, etc. from late 60s on. Lived 11 yrs in a native village of 50 inhabitants. He works at whatever he can in Europe for 3 months saving $$ then travels for as long as he can-6 mos+ camping mostly, very interesting fellow, does not write anything, he just talks to folks he meets because he believes that what he has seen cannot be put into words, it is emotional from heart experiences…he is right, words do not tell the tale.