Arriving in Lilongwe was fraught with difficulties for myself and comparatively easy for Andrea! We had planned to arrive at the same time but the Emirates plane exploding in Dubai delayed my journey by two days and led to my suitcase going missing for a week. Thus, my first experiences were shivering in the depths of a southern hemisphere winter without clothes, dog-tired, and desperately trying to catch up with everything. Andrea, on the other hand, had to cope with being by herself, in a new home, with no electricity, no transport, nothing to cook on, or more importantly, no way to make a coffee. However, very quickly, and with the help of some marvellous people, we started to settle in; I say started, because the process has been ongoing, and only now, at the end of the first term, can I confidently say we are beginning to think of this as home.
This Easter break saw us take off on our first real safari since arriving in Malawi. It was 2011 when we last ventured in the world of elephants, giraffe and zebra, so we deemed it time to break out the bush hats, binoculars and cameras, so as to annoy a lot of wild life!
It's not a long trip over the border, to South Luangwa, in Zambia, a straight forward road, and with only an hour for formalities at immigration and customs, the trip totalled less than six hours and was completed on some excellent roads. Only the Forex touts at the border were an annoyance, and with ATMs thirty minutes away, in Chipata, they were also unnecessary.
Entering Zambia, it was apparent immediately that it was a lot cleaner than Malawi and that the population density was far lower. Admittedly the scenes at the South Luangwa River, which can be seen in the photo above, are exceptional, and not the norm, but the whole atmosphere was more serene than our adopted home.
Of course, the first thing you want to see on a safari is a lion or two, and we were not disappointed. On this occasion the males were more active and interesting than the females; it is normally the other way around! This particular lion was in the process of marking his territory, presumably before lying down and waiting for the girls to catch his food!
Well, I managed this post after only four months gap, somewhat shorter than the last lay off! Time, however, has been moving very quickly, perhaps age is the main factor here, but it does feel as if the world speeds up as bits of my body slow down! On the domestic front, we've settled in very well; one factor in this has been the purchase of an inverter and a bank of four major batteries, which keep the house powered for around twelve hours when Escom, the national power supplier, fails us. This has proved to be such a magnificent improvement on our quality of life that I keep wondering why I didn't do it from day one. It has also meant that the petrol fired generator has been mothballed; I'm sure it will have to be used, from time to time, to supplement the inverter, but not as yet.
My working life has improved considerably. Ironically the major problem was not work but my upper right wisdom tooth. Now the tooth has been extracted my whole attitude is better; I had no idea how much I had been dragged down by this problem. I reckon that a low level infection had been bugging me for as much as six months, but it only came into the open in two phases, either side of Xmas. My most grateful thanks go out to my dentist, who was fantastic.
The second instalment of my blog from Malawi, Gossip from the Gecko Ghetto 2, can be found on this link. It is focussed on our recent safari to South Luangwa, Zambia and Vwaza Marsh, Malawi; a road trip of some 1,500km.
Due to housekeeping problems on the website, I have relegated all the blogs from the front page, this being the only remaining item, and instead will once again provide links to the articles most in demand. Here they are: