He Sells Sea Shells on the Lake Shore

Day 15

Country : Malawi (Senga Bay)

Distance : 15km

No lions, no hippos (thank heavens), no hyenas and very few birds – after the past 12 days it was funny to sleep with only the gentle lapping of waves against the nearby shore.

And the stuttering , on again-off again, staccato snoring from the Tripod tent accompanied by the whimpering sounds of the lonely iPod.

After arriving in the dark, setting up camp, eating and passing out I was awake before sunrise so I took the opportunity to egress from the tent and check out where we had washed up. Obviously, on grass, for a start. Bonus.

The Barefoot Barman joined me and we watched the sunrise over the far side of the lake, both of us enjoying the lack of dust which was now replaced by beach sand.

The morning was spent chilling in the camp, catching up on some clothes washing – amazing how brown everything had become – and eating a leisurely breakfast.

A swim in the lake was most refreshing but also very disconcerting – as we all come from the coast we naturally associate waves and large expanses of water with salt. So it is a bit of a shock to the system to swim in all this fresh water!

The marathon International Boules Tri-Nations Tournament (SA vs Zim vs Zambia) was won by Kwatcha Man (representing SA). A hard fought game that rampaged up and down the beach, oblivious to boundaries or change in elevation and liberally lubricated in true colonial style by G&T’s, it ended in a 10-8-8 final score. All I am going to say on the subject of the win is that Kwatcha Man’s victory run/antics/celebration was not even closely matched by anything displayed at the Olympics! However, middle aged epileptic polar bear, comes to mind.

After lunch we went for a drive through the local town, following our noses with no specific destination (other than a short visit to Cool Runnings where they could not serve us lunch or beer because we were not staying there). Eventually we washed up against the lake shore at a small hotel/motel – I think it was called the Baobab? (Help guys?)

The manageress welcomed us in and we settled on to the patio and ordered a few drinks, followed by some more and a menu. After ordering our lunch, a couple of local artists/bangle makers/vendors stopped by to see if we wanted to purchase anything.

Off to get supper

We had found no real place to purchase local stuff before now as all the places we had stayed were not specifically mass tourist areas. What followed was a marathon buying, negotiating and creative session that would have made our collective female partners proud. One of the traders took charge of the others and we went through each of the craftsmen’s offerings. Bracelets with names were ordered and craftsmen scuttled off with lists of names and instructions.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Our lunch time spot

Our lunch and several more rounds of drinks arrived, were consumed and refreshed. Finally, as the sun was getting low on the horizon, the completed ornaments arrived and the price negotiations started. With one of the traders taking the lead, several hard bargaining sessions took place with big smiles breaking out all round – on both buyer and sellers sides – when the final deal was struck.

As we ordered a final celebration round and waved goodbye to the happy traders the mist started to roll in again so we decided it was definitely last rounds, drank up, settled the bill and prepared to negotiate the roads out from where we had ended up.

Damn, here comes that bloody mist again…

A final photo from the patio of the moon rise.

On our way out we passed through the Malawian version of the ‘Running of the Bulls’.

Back at the camp we settled in to a quiet evening of sundowners, a good meal and a relatively early night as we watched the moon slowly climb up over the lake.


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