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02.04.2011, 21:00   ---   Medical care in Malawi

After a short rest in Blantyre for laundry and planning the onward journey I went to Cape McClear by the Lake Malawi . And the means of transport are becoming less and less comfortable… The bus to Monkey Bay was still quite alright. But for the bumpy track to Cape McClear I had to take a Matola – nothing else than a pick-up truck – along with three nice British girls.
But it was worth it! The lake is truly amazing, the water crystal clear and our camp was situated right in the middle of a little local village. No ATM, no supermarket and regular power breakdowns, but in return lots of incredibly friendly people – a place to relax!
But on the next day this idyll was gone and I was ill for four days. Cold and flu-like symptoms, I felt sick and dizzy, in the evening I got fever apparently, was rotational freezing and sweating… to cut it short: I felt like shit! On the second day my hostel took me to the next village to hospital with suspicion of Malaria and I don’t know what frightened me more: Malaria or the African hospital. Luckily we skipped the public hospital and drove to a small private clinic instead – very basic but it seemed to be clean. To my ease the malaria test was negative, but that was pretty much all they could do for me. Any further diagnosis was not possible! So there was nothing else to do than taking pain killers and hoping to get well soon…
On my last day in Cape McClear I went to one of the islands along with some others from the camp, but I still wasn’t able to do any activities and couldn’t even think of scuba diving.

Lilongwe , the capital of Malawi , surprised me quite positive. Even though it also offers the typical African townscape with dusty roads, scruffy shop huts and lively crowds, but in contrast there’s also a relatively westernised and modern town centre. I really didn’t expect anything like that!
By now I feel already quite good again, but still exhausted and tired and especially I’m lacking the motivation to travel at the moment. Leaving Vilanculos, the stolen phone, being sick… maybe that was just too much at once! Pretty annoying though as I was very much looking forward to Malawi , but I just can’t motivate me to take a minibus and explore the country. So tomorrow I’ll just go to Nkhata Bay by the lake to recover for a few more days and then I’ll head straight to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to kill the time at Sansibar until my flight leaves. Only 16 days in Africa and then finally one week with fdamiliar faces from home in Dubai !! :-)

10.04.2011, 9:45   ---   Last journey in Africa

After almost one week in Nkhata Bay I finally feel well relaxed and recovered. In my hostel I had a little hut right next to the water with a lake-view-window at bed-height and nice people around me. So the time passed by quickly and apart from one dive I hadn’t done much else than relaxing. The dive was… different! It was an interesting experience to dive in freshwater, one needs less weights and the underwater-world is completely different to saltwater. Instead of coral gardens there are just rocks and the fish life is not as abundant and colourful. But there were some nice swimthroughs between the rocks and the funniest thing were the mouth breeder fishes. As indicated by the name they breed their eggs in their mouth and afterwards they protect them intensely against potential enemies. So you see a big group of tiny fish babies above a rock and a bigger one circling around and chasing away every other fish that gets too close. As soon as it senses any danger it lets all the fish babies swim into its mouth (looks like it’s eating them) and spits them out as soon as the danger is over – really funny!
By now my time in Malawi is already over and even though I haven’t felt very well for a single day I enjoyed this country. The lake is fabulous, the landscape that I passed on the buses is amazing and the people are overly nice and friendly – Malawi is definitely worth another visit!

On Friday morning I left Nkhata Bay together with Steph, who I met in Lilongwe , and we were facing a 2-day-trip to Dar es Salaam – my last journey on African public transport!!! 14 hours, one puncture, some newly learned Swahili words and heaps of buses, minibuses and taxis later we finally arrived in Mbeya in Tanzania along with Bart (he left Nkhata Bay a day earlier and on our way to the border we met several times and kept overtaking each other on our buses). That day was a hell of a trip and I’m really glad to have some nice company! Spontaneously we decided to skip the early-morning bus and to take the train in the afternoon instead. With a 5-hour delay the train eventually left for the 24-hour-trip, the night’s already over and tonight we’ll probably arrive in Dar… 9 days until Dubai !! :-)


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